The Later Rule - 99 

The Later Rule

The Earlier Rule of Francis’s brothers had its origins in the statement presented to and approved by Pope Innocent III in 1209/10. It grew as the experiences and structures of the brothers became more complex. The Rule which received its final redaction at the Chapter of 1221, inspirational as it may have been, received a re-working that its vision would be more succinct and forthright. This later description of the Gospel life became a papal document on November 29, 1223, when Pope Honorius III placed the papal seal on it. Since that time it has been the foundational document forming and inspiring the Gospel vision of Franciscans of the First Order (Conventual, Capuchin Friars as well as those of the Leonine Union), of the Sisters of Saint Clare whose Rule incorporates many of its passages, and of the Religious and Secular Third Order. While some of the language of this document seems foreign to that of Francis himself and thus suggests the presence of canonists or other religious, e.g. the Cistercians, who helped with its composition, there is no doubt that it expresses his Gospel vision.

Bull of Pope Honorius III

Bishop, Servant of the servants of God,
to His Beloved Sons,
Brother Francis and the other brothers
of the Order of the Lesser Brothers,
Health and Apostolic Benediction.

2The Apostolic See is accustomed to grant the pious requests and favorably to accede to the laudable desires of its petitioners. Therefore, beloved sons in the Lord, attentive to your pious prayers, 3We confirm with Our Apostolic Authority, and by these words ratify, the Rule of your Order, herein outlined and approved by Our predecessor, Pope Innocent of happy memory, 4which is as follows:




Regula bullata, Fontes Franciscani, p. 171

Regula Bullata

episcopus, servus servorum Dei,
dilectis filiis,
fratri Francisco et aliis fratribus
de ordine Fratrum Minorum,
salutem et apostolicam benedictionem.

2Solet annuere Sedes Apostolica piis votis et honestis petentium desideriis favorem benivolum impertiri. 3Eapropter, dilecti in Domino filii, vestris piis precibus inclinati, ordinis vestri regulam, a bonae memoriae Innocentio papa, praedecessore nostro, approbatam, annotatam praesentibus, auctoritate vobis apostolica confirmamus et praesentis scripti patrocinio communimus. 4Quae talis est]:

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 99