Papal Documents - 560 

true believers and religious and to hold them, out of reverence for God and for us, as having been favorably recommended.

Given at Viterbo, the twenty-ninth day of May, in the fourth year of our pontificate (1220).

C) Cum secundum of Honorius III (1220)

With this bull,a the Papacy moved to correct what it saw as deficiencies in a yet highly unstructured religious brotherhood. Francis was known for accepting all who wished to join him; the simple act of distributing one’s goods to the poor and putting on the habit of penance made one a Lesser Brother. There was no stage of “formation” which could test those who may have made a hasty, unconsidered decision to follow this demanding radical Gospel life, a point which drew criticism from even enthusiasts of the new brotherhood.b Furthermore, the total freedom of movement which characterized the itinerant life of the early brothers also came at the cost of undisciplined or idle brothers causing scandal rather than edification. Accepting the minimum structures contained here also helped the Lesser Brothers gain recognition as a true religious Order. The provisions of this bull were incorporated by Francis when he prepared the 1221 revision of the Rule.

Honorius, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God, to our beloved sons, the priors and custodians of the Lesser Brothers:c greetings and apostolic benediction.

The Wise One tells us that the clever do all things intelligently, Prv 13:16 lest they come to regret it later on. So it is important that anyone proposing to undertake a higher way of life look before he leaps, that is, take prudent stock of his own [inner] resources. Otherwise—which God forbid—he might aspire to things that are beyond his strength and his steps waver and turn back, only to be turned into a pillar of salt, because he did not know how to season the sacrifice which he intended to offer to the Lord—his very self—with the salt of wisdom. Gn 19:26 For just as a prudent man becomes stale should he lack enthusiasm, so the enthusiastic man will be covered with confusion if he is not prudent.

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Cum secundum, Bullarium Franciscanum, p. 6


& religiosos in vestris Dioecesibus admittatis, habentes eosdem pro divina, & nostra. reverentia propensius commendatos.

Datum Viterbii IV. Kalendas Junii, Pontificatus Nostri Anno Quarto.

Cum secundum of Honorius III (1220)3

Honorius &. Dilectis filiis Prioribus, seu Custodibus Minorum Fratrum Salutem, & Apostolicam Benedictionem.

Cum secundum consilium Sapientis nihil sit sine consilio faciendum, ne post factum poenitudo sequatur; expedit cuilibet excelsioris viae propositum aggressuro, ut praecedant palpebrae gressus suos; vires videlicet proprias discretionis moderamine metiendo; ne si, quod absit, altiora se quaerens in commotionem dederit pedem suum; retrò respiciat in salis infatuati statuam convertendus; pro eo quod sui Sacrificium, quod Domino fuerat oblaturus, sale Sapientiae non condivit; sicut enim sampiens desipit, si non fervet; sic fervens confunditur, si non sapit.

Quare penè in omni Religionis est ordine providè institutum, ut Regulares observantitas suscepturi certo tempore ipsas probent; & probentur in eis; ne sit locus de cetero poenitudini, quam non potest levitatis occasio excusare. Auctoritate itaque vobis presentium inhibemus, ne aliquem ad professionem vestri Ordinis; nisi per annum in probatione fuerit, admitattis. Post factam verò Professionem, nullus Fratrum Ordinem vestrum relinquere audeat, nec relinquentem alicui sit licitum retinere. Inhibemus etiam, ne sub habtiu vitae vestrae liceat alicui extra obedientiam evagari, & paupertatis vestrae corrumpere puritatem; quod si qui forte praesumpserint, liceat vobis in Fratres ipsos, donec resipuerint, censuram Ecclesiasticam exercere. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostrae inhibitionis, & concessionis infringere, vel ei ausu temnerario contraire. Si quis &c. Datum apud Viterbium. Kalendas Octobris, Pontificatus Nostri Anno Quinto.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 560

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