Papal Documents - The Prophet - 748 

pursuit of knowledge, is allowed to the brothers. From the above analysis it is thus clear to anyone who thinks in a rational fashion that, by demanding renunciation of ownership, the Rule is not only observable as possible and permissible, but also as meritorious and perfect. In fact, [by demanding renunciation of ownership in common] it is even more meritorious, as pointed out above, because those who profess it are so much the more removed from temporal concerns for the love of God.

Article 4: The Church's Ownership of Things Allowed the Brothers

1 As said above, the brothers can acquire nothing for themselves or for their Order either individually or in common. Yet, when something is offered, granted, or donated to the brothers for the love of God, it is presumed, unless otherwise specified, to be the likely intention of the person so offering, granting, or donating the thing to make a complete offering, grant, or donation of it, abdicating any right thereto and desiring to transfer the right to some one else for the love of God. There is, however, no one to whom in God's place the ownership of such a thing can be more fittingly transferred than to the Holy See or the person of the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ. Although he is the father of all the faithful, in a special way he is father of the Lesser Brothers.a

Now, the ownership of such things should not be left in doubt. And so, just as respectively, a son acquires for his father, a bondsman for his master, and a monk for his monastery whatever is offered, granted, or donated to him: we of our Apostolic authority take over for ourselves and for the Roman Church the property rights and ownership of all the utensils, books, and other movables present and future which, or the use of which—simple use of fact, of course—the Order or the brothers may lawfully have, just as our predecessor Pope Innocent IV of happy memory is known to have done.b And with this Constitution, to be perpetual in its effect, we decree that the said right pertains wholly and without reserve to us and to the said Church.

2 Moreover, places bought with various alms, or offered or granted to the brothers under whatever formality, we do likewise with the same authority take over as the right, property and domain of ourselves and the said Church from the persons possessing said places in




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 748