Curia Generalis Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum

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The Rule of the Friars Minor

and

the Testament

of Saint Francis of Assisi


THE RULE OF THE FRIARS MINOR OR LESSER BROTHERS

[Chapter I]

In the Name of the Lord!

The Life of the Lesser Brothers Begins

The rule and life of the Lesser Brothers is this: To observe the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience, without anything of our own, and in chastity. Brother Francis promises obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope Honorius and his canonically elected successors, and to the Roman Church; and the rest of the brothers are obliged to obey Francis and his successors.

2Brother Francis promises obedience and reverence to our Lord Pope Honorius, his successors canonically elected, and to the Roman Church.

3Let the other brothers be bound to obey Brother Francis and his successors.

[Chapter II]

Those Who Wish to Adopt This Life

and How They Should Be Received

1If there are any who wish to accept this life and come to our brothers, let them send them to their Provincial Ministers, to whom alone—and not to others—is permission granted to receive the brothers. 2Let the ministers examine them carefully concerning the Catholic faith and the sacraments of the Church. 3If they believe all these things, will profess them faithfully, and observe them steadfastly to the end; 4and if they have no wives, or if they have wives who have already taken a vow of continence and are of such an age that suspicion cannot be raised about them, and who have already entered a monastery or have given their husbands permission by the authority of the bishop of the diocese, 5let the ministers speak to them the words of the holy Gospel that they go and sell all they have and take care to give it to the poor. 6If they cannot do this, their good will may suffice.

7Let the brothers and the minister be careful not to interfere with their material goods, so that they may dispose of their belongings as the Lord inspires them. 8If they ask advice, the minister may send them to some God-fearing persons according to whose advice their goods may be distributed to the poor.

9Then they may be given the clothes of probation, namely, two tunics without a hood, a cord, short trousers, and a little cape reaching to the cord, 10unless, at times, it seems good to these same ministers, before God, to act otherwise. 11When the year of probation has come to an end, they may be received to obedience promising always to observe this rule and life. 12On no account shall it be lawful for them to leave this Order, according to the decree of our Lord the Pope, 13for, according to the Gospel: no one who puts a hand to the plough and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.

14Those who have already promised obedience may have one tunic with a hood and another, if they wish, without a hood. 15And those who are compelled by necessity may wear shoes. 16Let all the brothers wear poor clothes. They may mend them with pieces of sackcloth or other material with the blessing of God. 17I admonish and exhort them not to look down upon or judge those whom they see dressed in soft and fine clothes and enjoying the choicest food and drink, but rather let everyone judge and look down upon himself.

[Chapter III]

The Divine Office, Fasting

and How the Brothers Should Go About in the World

1 The cleric brothers are to recite the Divine Office according to the rite of the holy Roman Church excepting the psalter, 2 for which reason they may have breviaries.

3The lay brothers, however, may say twenty-four Our Fathers for Matins, and five for Lauds; seven for each of the Hours of Prime, Terce, Sext, and None, twelve for Vespers, and seven for Compline. 4Let them also pray for the dead.

5They are to fast from the feast of All Saints until the Lord’s Nativity. 6May those be blessed by the Lord who fast voluntarily during that holy Lent that begins at the Epiphany and lasts during the forty days which our Lord consecrated by His own fast; but those who do not wish to keep it will not be obliged. 7Let them fast, however, during the other [Lent] until the Lord’s Resurrection.

8At other times they may not be bound to fast except on Fridays. 9In cases of obvious need, however, the brothers are not bound by bodily fasting.

10I counsel, admonish and exhort my brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ not to quarrel or argue or judge others when they go about in the world; 11but let them be meek, peaceful, modest, gentle, and humble, speaking courteously to everyone, as is becoming. 12They should not ride on horseback unless compelled by an obvious need or infirmity.

13Into whatever house they enter, let them first say: “Peace be to this house!” 14According to the holy Gospel, let them eat whatever food is set before them.

[Chapter IV]

Let the Brothers Never Receive Money

1I strictly command all my brothers not to receive coins or money in any form, either personally or through intermediaries. 2Nevertheless, the ministers and custodians alone may take special care through their spiritual friends to provide for the needs of the sick and the clothing of the others according to places, seasons and cold climates, as they judge necessary, 3saving always that, as stated above, they do not receive coins or money.

[Chapter V]

The Manner of Working

1Those brothers to whom the Lord has given the grace of working may work faithfully and devotedly 2so that, while avoiding idleness, the enemy of the soul, they do not extinguish the Spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all temporal things must contribute. 3In payment for their work they may receive whatever is necessary for the bodily support of themselves and their brothers, excepting coin or money, 4and let them do this humbly as is becoming for servants of God and followers of most holy poverty.

 

[Chapter VI]

Let the Brothers Not Make Anything Their Own;

Begging Alms; the Sick Brothers

1Let the brothers not make anything their own, neither house, nor place, nor anything at all. 2As pilgrims and strangers in this world, serving the Lord in poverty and humility, let them go seeking alms with confidence, 3and they should not be ashamed because, for our sakes, our Lord made Himself poor in this world. 4This is the sublime height of most exalted poverty which has made you, my most beloved brothers, heirs and kings of the Kingdom of Heaven, poor in temporal things but exalted in virtue. 5Let this be your portion which leads into the land of the living. 6Giving yourselves totally to this, beloved brothers, never seek anything else under heaven for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7Wherever the brothers may be and meet one another, let them show that they are members of the same family. 8Let each one confidently make known his need to the other, for if a mother loves and cares for her son according to the flesh, how much more diligently must someone love and care for his brother according to the Spirit! 9When any brother falls sick, the other brothers must serve him as they would wish to be served themselves.

[Chapter VII]

The Penance To Be Imposed

on the Brothers Who Sin

1If any brother, at the instigation of the enemy, sins mortally in regard to those sins concerning which it has been decreed among the brothers to have recourse only to the Provincial Ministers, let him have recourse as quickly as possible and without delay. 2If these ministers are priests, with a heart full of mercy let them impose on him a penance; but, if the ministers are not priests, let them have it imposed by others who are priests of the Order, as in the sight of God appears to them more expedient. 3They must be careful not to be angry or disturbed at the sin of another, for anger and disturbance impede charity in themselves and in others.

[Chapter VIII]

The Election of the General Minister of This Fraternity

and the Chapter of Pentecost

1Let all the brothers always be bound to have one of the brothers of this Order as General Minister and servant of the whole fraternity and let them be strictly bound to obey him. 2When he dies, let the election of his successor be made by the Provincial Ministers and custodians in the Chapter of Pentecost, at which all the Provincial Ministers are bound to assemble in whatever place the General Minister may have designated. 3They shall do this once in every three years, or at other longer or shorter intervals, as determined by the aforesaid minister.

4If, at any time, it appears to the body of the Provincial Ministers and custodians that the aforesaid General Minister is not qualified for the service and general welfare of the brothers, the aforesaid brothers, to whom the election is committed, are bound to elect another as custodian in the name of the Lord. 5Moreover, after the Chapter of Pentecost, the Provincial Ministers and custodians may each, if they wish and it seems expedient to them, convoke a Chapter of the brothers in their custodies once in the same year.

[Chapter IX]

Preachers

1The brothers may not preach in the diocese of any bishop when he has opposed their doing so. 2And let none of the brothers dare to preach in any way to the people unless he has been examined and approved by the General Minister of this fraternity and the office of preacher has been conferred upon him.

3Moreover, I admonish and exhort those brothers that when they preach their language be well-considered and chaste for the benefit and edification of the people, announcing to them vices and virtues, punishment and glory, with brevity, because our Lord when on earth kept His word brief.

[Chapter X]

The Admonition and Correction of the Brothers

1Let the brothers who are the ministers and servants of the others visit and admonish their brothers and humbly and charitably correct them, not commanding them anything that is against their soul and our rule.

2Let the brothers who are subject, however, remember that, for God’s sake, they have renounced their own wills. 3Therefore, I strictly command them to obey their ministers in everything they have promised the Lord to observe and which is not against their soul or our Rule.

4And wherever the brothers may be who know and feel they cannot observe the Rule spiritually, they can and should have recourse to their ministers. 5Let the ministers, moreover, receive them charitably and kindly and have such familiarity with them that these same brothers may speak and deal with them as masters with their servants, 6for so it must be that the ministers are the servants of all the brothers.

7Moreover, I admonish and exhort the brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ to beware of all pride, vainglory, envy and greed, of care and solicitude for the things of this world, of detraction and murmuring. Let those who are illiterate not be anxious to learn, 8but let them pay attention to what they must desire above all else: to have the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity, 9to pray always to Him with a pure heart, to have humility and patience in persecution and infirmity, 10and to love those who persecute, rebuke and find fault with us, because the Lord says: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you. 11Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 12But whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.

[Chapter XI]

The Brothers May Not Enter the Monasteries of Nuns

1I strictly command all the brothers not to have any suspicious dealings or conversations with women, 2and not to enter the monasteries of nuns, excepting those brothers to whom special permission has been granted by the Apostolic See. 3Neither shall they be godfathers to men or women, so that scandal may not arise among the brothers or concerning them.

ty[

[Chapter XII]

Those Going Among the Saracens and Other Non-Believers

1Let those brothers who wish by divine inspiration to go among the Saracens or other non-believers ask permission to go from their Provincial Ministers. 2The ministers, however, may not grant permission except to those whom they see fit to be sent.

3In addition, I command the ministers through obedience to ask our Lord the Pope for one of the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, to serve as governor, protector and corrector of this fraternity, 4so that, being always submissive and subject at the feet of the same Holy Church and steadfast in the Catholic Faith, we may observe poverty, humility, and the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as we have firmly promised.

It is forbidden, therefore, for anyone to tamper with this decree which we have confirmed, or rashly dare to oppose it. If anyone presumes to attempt this, let him know that he shall incur the anger of Almighty God and of His blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Given at the Lateran, the twenty-ninth day of November,

in the eighth year of Our pontificate.


THE TESTAMENT OF SAINT FRANCIS

(1226)

 

1In this way did the Lord give me, Brother Francis, the grace to begin doing penance: when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. 2And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. 3And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of soul and body. And afterwards I delayed a little and left the world.

4And the Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would pray with simplicity in this way and say: 5“We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches throughout the whole world and we bless You, because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.”

6Afterwards the Lord gave me, and gives me still, such faith in priests who live according to the rite of the holy Roman Church because of their orders that, were they to persecute me, I would still want to have recourse to them. 7And if I had as much wisdom as Solomon and found priests of this world impoverished, I would not preach in their parishes against their will. 8And I desire to respect, love and honour them and all others as my lords. 9And I do not want to consider any sin in them because I discern the Son of God in them and they are my lords.

10And I act in this way because, in this world, I see nothing materially of the most high Son of God except His most holy Body and Blood which they receive and they alone administer to others. 11I want to have these most holy mysteries honoured and venerated above all things and I want to reserve them in precious places. 12Wherever I find our Lord’s most holy name and written words in unbecoming places, I want to gather them up. And I beg that they be gathered up and placed in a becoming place. 13And we must honour all theologians and those who minister the most holy divine words, and respect them as those who minister to us spirit and life.

14And after the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what I had to do, but the Most High Himself revealed to me that I should live according to the pattern of the Holy Gospel. 15And I had this written down simply and in a few words and the Lord Pope confirmed it for me. 16And those who came to receive life gave whatever they had to the poor and were content with one tunic, patched inside and out, with a cord and short trousers. 17We desired nothing more. 18We cleric brothers said the Office as other clerics did; the lay brothers said the Our Fathers. And we quite willingly remained in churches. 19And we were simple and subject to all.

20And I worked with my hands, and I still desire to work; and I earnestly desire all brothers to give themselves to honest work. 21Let those who do not know how to work learn, not from desire to receive wages, but for example and to avoid idleness. 22And when we are not paid for our work, let us have recourse to the table of the Lord, begging alms from door to door. 23The Lord revealed a greeting to me that we would say: “May the Lord give you peace.”

24Let the brothers be careful not to receive in any way churches or dwellings or anything else built for them unless they are according to the holy poverty we have promised in the Rule. As pilgrims and strangers, let them always be guests there.

25I strictly command all the brothers through obedience, wherever they may be, not to dare to ask any letter from the Roman Curia, either personally or through an intermediary, whether for a church or another place or under the pretext of preaching or the persecution of their bodies. 26But, wherever they are not received, let them flee into another country to do penance with the blessing of God.

27And I firmly wish to obey the General Minister of this fraternity and the other guardians whom it pleases him to give me. 28And I so wish to be a captive in his hands that I cannot go anywhere or do anything beyond obedience and his will, for he is my master.

29And although I may be simple and infirm, I nevertheless want to have a cleric always with me who will celebrate the Office for me as it is prescribed in the Rule.

30And let all the brothers be bound to obey their guardians and to recite the Office according to the Rule. 31And if any are found who do not recite the Office according to the Rule and want to change it in some way, or who are not Catholics, let all the brothers, wherever they may have found such a one, be bound through obedience to bring him before the custodian of that place nearest to where they found him. 32And the custodian is strictly bound by obedience to keep him securely day and night as a prisoner, so that he cannot be taken from his hands until he can personally deliver him into the hands of his minister. 33And the minister is bound by obedience to send him with such brothers who shall guard him as a prisoner until they deliver him to the Lord of Ostia, who is the Master, the Protector and the Corrector of this fraternity.

34And the brothers may not say: “This is another rule.” Because this is a remembrance, admonition, exhortation, and my testament, which I, little brother Francis, make for you, my blessed brothers, that we may observe the Rule we have promised in a more Catholic way.

35 And let the General Minister and all the other ministers and custodians be bound through obedience not to add to or take away from these words. 36And let them always have this writing with them together with the Rule. 37And in all the chapters which they hold, when they read the Rule, let them also read these words. 38And I strictly command all my cleric and lay brothers, through obedience, not to place any gloss upon the Rule or upon these words saying: “Let them be understood in this way.” 39But as the Lord has given me to speak and write the Rule and these words simply and plainly, may you understand them simply and without gloss and observe them with a holy activity until the end.

40And whoever observes these things, may he be blessed in heaven with the blessing of the Most High Father, and on earth with the blessing of His Beloved Son with the Most Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, and all the powers of heaven and with all the saints. 41And, as far as I can, I, little brother Francis, your servant, confirm for you, both within and without, this most holy blessing.


The Constitutions

of the Capuchin Friars Minor

and

the Ordinances

of the General Chapters


ABBREVIATIONS and Acronyms

I PCO First Plenary Council of the Order, Quito, 1971
II PCO Second Plenary Council of the Order, Taizé, 1973
III PCO Third Plenary Council of the Order, Mattli, 1978
IV PCO Fourth Plenary Council of the Order, Rome, 1981
V PCO Fifth Plenary Council of the Order, Garibaldi, 1986
VI PCO Sixth Plenary Council of the Order, Assisi, 1998
VII PCO Seventh Plenary Council of the Order, Assisi, 2004
1C Thomas of Celano, The Life of Saint Francis
1Cor First Letter to the Corinthians
1Jn First Letter of John
1LtC1 Letter to the Clergy, earlier edition
1LtCus First Letter to the Custodians
1LtF First Letter to the Faithful
1Pt First Letter of Peter
1Thes First Letter to the Thessalonians
1Tm First Letter to Timothy
2C Thomas of Celano, The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul
2Cor Second Letter to the Corinthians
2LtCl Second Letter to the Clergy (later edition)
2LtCus Second Letter to the Custodians
2LtF Second Letter to the Faithful
2Thes Second Letter to the Thessalonians
2Tm Second Letter to Timothy
3C Thomas of Celano, The Treatise on the Miracles
3LAg Clare of Assisi, Third Letter to Agnes of Prague
AA Vatican II, decree Apostolicam actuositatem, 1965
AC The Assisi Compilation
Adm Admonitions
AG Vatican II, decree Ad gentes, 1965
AP The Anonymous of Perugia
BlL Blessing of Brother Leo
CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
CCFW John Corriveau, Circular Letter 24: Courageous Choices for a More Fraternal World, 2005
CD Vatican II, decree Christus Dominus, 1965
CDRL Sacred Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes, The Contemplative Dimension of Religious Life, 1980
CDWDS Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
ChL John Paul II, apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, December 30, 1988
CIC Code of Canon Law (Codex Iuris Canonici), January 25, 1983
CLBE Thomas of Eccleston, The Coming of the Lesser Brothers to England
COFS Constitutions of the Secular Franciscan Order
Col Letter to the Colossians
Const Constitutions of the Order of Capuchin Lesser Brothers
CSDC Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, April 2, 2004
CStg Consideration of the Stigmata of Saint Francis
CtC Canticle of Brother Sun, 1225
CV Benedict XVI, encyclical Caritas in veritate, June 29, 2009
DD John Paul II, apostolic letter Dies Domini, March 31, 1998
DH Vatican II, declaration Dignitatis humanae, December 7, 1965
DPPL Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, December 17, 2001
Dt Book of Deuteronomy
DV Vatican II, dogmatic constitution Dei verbum, November 18, 1965
EA John Paul II, apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in America, January 22, 1999
EBr John Corriveau, Circular Letter 11: Evangelical Brotherhood, 1997
EE Sacred Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes, Essential Elements in the Church’s Teaching on Religious Life, May 21, 1983
Eim John Paul II, apostolic letter Euntes in mundum, January 25, 1988
EN Paul VI, apostolic exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi, December 8, 1975
EP Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Eucharistiae participationem, April 27, 1973
Eph Letter to the Ephesians
ER Earlier Rule, 1221
ES Paul VI, encyclical Ecclesiam suam, August 6, 1964
ESa Paul VI, motu proprio Ecclesiae sanctae, August 6, 1966
ET Paul VI, apostolic exhortation Evangelica testificatio, June 19, 1971
EV John Paul II, encyclical Evangelium vitae, March 25, 1995
ExhP Exhortation to the Praise of God
FC John Paul II, apostolic exhortation Familiaris consortio, November 22, 1981
FFCh Mauro Jöhri, Circular Letter 4: Let us Fan the Flame of our Charism, 2009
FLC Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Fraternal Life in Community, 1994
FrCh John Corriveau, Circular Letter 9: On Our Fraternal Charism, 1996
FV Form of Life for the Poor Ladies
Gal Letter to the Galatians
GBCW John Corriveau, Circular Letter 20: Gospel Brotherhood in a Changing World, 2002
GC07 Benedict XVI, address to the Conventual General Chapter, 2007
GC68 Paul VI, address to the Capuchin General Chapter, October 21, 1968
GC74 Paul VI, address to the Capuchin General Chapter, October 30, 1974
GC88 John Paul II, address to the Capuchin General Chapter, July 12, 1988
GILH Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, General Instruction for the Liturgy of the Hours, February 2, 1971
GIRM Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, General Instruction of the Roman Missal, March 26, 2010
GNLYC Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, February 14, 1969
GrW John Corriveau, Circular Letter 17: The Grace of Working, 2000
GS Vatican II, pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes, December 7, 1965
GUW Mauro Jöhri, Circular Letter 8: Get Up and Walk, 2010
Heb Letter to the Hebrews
Hos Book of Hosea
HTrb Angelo of Clareno, The History of the Seven Tribulations
ICF Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Inter-Institute Collaboration for Formation, December 8, 1998
IM Vatican II, decree Inter mirifica, December 4, 1963
Ir John Paul II, message Il ricordo, November 23, 2003
Is Book of Isaiah
Jer Book of Jeremiah
Jn Gospel of John
L3C Legend of the Three Companions
LBL Letter to Brother Leo
LC Paul VI, apostolic constitution Laudis canticum, November 1, 1970
LE John Paul II, encyclical Laborem exercens, September 14, 1981
LFl The Little Flowers of Saint Francis
LG Vatican II, dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium, November 21, 1964
Lk Gospel of Luke
LMin Letter to a Minister
LMj Saint Bonaventure, Major Legend
LMn Saint Bonaventure, Minor Legend
LR The Later Rule (with papal seal), 1223
LtAnt Letter to Brother Anthony
LtOrd Letter to the Entire Order
LtRPrp Letter to the Rulers of the People
LW Last Will to the Poor Ladies
MCB John Paul II, Message to the XIV General Assembly of the Conference of Religious of Brazil, July 11, 1986
MCult Paul VI, apostolic exhortation Marialis cultus, February 2, 1974
MD John Paul II, apostolic letter Mulieris dignitatem, August 15, 1988
MG Paul VI, message Magno gaudio, May 23, 1964
MHO Mauro Jöhri, Circular Letter 5: Mission at the Heart of the Order, 2009
MisEp Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayers I-IV (third typical edition), 2002
MisPref Roman Missal, Preface (third typical edition), 2002
Mk Gospel of Mark
MyP Paul VI, motu proprio Mysterii paschalis, February 14, 1969
MP Mirror of Perfection (longer version)
Mr John Paul II, discourse Mi rivolgo, October 29, 2003
Mt Gospel of Matthew
NA Vatican II, declaration Nostra aetate, October 28, 1965
NMI John Paul II, apostolic letter Novo millennio ineunte, January 26, 2001
OL John Paul II, apostolic letter Orientale lumen, May 2, 1995
OfP Office of the Passion
OT Vatican II, decree Optatam totius, October 28, 1965
PC Vatican II, decree Perfectae caritatis, October 28, 1965
PGFP International Convention on Ongoing formation, Piano generale di formazione permanente, 1991
Phil Letter to the Philippians
PI Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, Potissimum institutioni, Directives on Formation in Religious Institutes, 1990
PO Vatican II, decree Presbyterorum ordinis, December 7, 1965
PostNov Convention on Post-Novitiate, final document, 2004
POT John Corriveau, Circular Letter 16: The Poor – Our Teachers, 1999
PrCr The Prayer before the Crucifix
PrG Praises of God, 1224
PrOF A Prayer inspired by the Our Father
Ps Psalm
PVI Nc Paul VI, address Noi concludiamo, December 7, 1965
PVI Nm Paul VI, address Nel momento, October 4, 1965
PVI Paen Paul VI, apostolic constitution Paenitemini, February 17, 1966
PVP International Convention on Prenovitiate, Pastorale vocazionale e postulato, 1993
Ratio Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, Basic Plan for Priestly Formation, March 19, 1985
RD John Paul II, apostolic exhortation Redemptionis donum, March 25, 1984
Rel06 John Corriveau, Relatio Ministri Generalis, 2006
Rel82 Paschal Rywalski, Relatio sexennialis de Ordinis statu (1976-1982), 1982
Rel88 Flavio Roberto Carraro, Relatio de statu Ordinis in sexennio 1982-1988, 1988
RH Rule for Hermitages
RM John Paul II, encyclical Redemptoris missio, December 7, 1990
RMat John Paul II, encyclical Redemptoris Mater, March 25, 1987
ROFS Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order
Rom Letter to the Romans
RomM Roman Missal, third typical edition, 2002 – USA edition, November 27, 2011
ROrd International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Rites of Ordination of a Bishop, of Priests, and of Deacons, second typical edition, 2002
RSC Rule of Saint Clare of Assisi
RSP Conference of General Ministers of the Franciscan Family, Rito Romano-Serafico della Professione religiosa, 2000
Rv Book of Revelation
SAFC Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Starting Afresh from Christ, May 19, 2002
SalBVM Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
SalV Salutation of the Virtues
SAO Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, The Service of Authority and Obedience, 2008
SC Vatican II, constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, December 4, 1963
ScEx The Sacred Exchange between Saint Francis and Lady Poverty
Sg Song of Songs
SMD John Corriveau, Circular Letter 15, Solidarity and Mutual Dependence, 1999
Smo John Paul II, discourse Sono molto onorato, May 28, 1983
Sp John Paul II, discourse to the General Chapter of Third Order Regular, Sono pervaso, June 15, 1989
Sqr John Paul II, discourse Siete qui riuniti, July 11, 1986
SRS John Paul II, encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis, December 30, 1987
StatAbr Flavio Roberto Carraro, Letter to the Provincial Minister of Abruzzo, in Statuto particolare dei Frati Minori Cappuccini d’Abruzzo, 1988
StatAlb Statutes of Albacina
StatSA Conference of General Ministers of the Franciscan Family, Statutes for Spiritual and Pastoral Assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order, 2002
Test Testament, 1226
TestS Testament of Siena, April-May 1226
TestSC Testament of Saint Clare of Assisi
Ti Letter to Titus
TMA John Paul II, apostolic letter Tertio millennio adveniente, November 10, 1994
TPJ True and Perfect Joy
UR Vatican II, decree Unitatis redintegratio, November 21, 1964
VC John Paul II, apostolic exhortation Vita consecrata, March 25, 1996
VD Benedict XVI, apostolic exhortation Verbum Domini, September 30, 2010
WG The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, Synod, 2008


CONGREGATION FOR INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE

AND SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE

Prot.n. C.37 - 1/ 2013

The General Minister of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor, in the name of the General Chapter, requests Your Holiness to approve the Constitutions of his Institute.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, having carefully examined the Constitutions presented, approves and confirms them by the present Decree, in accordance with the text drafted in the Italian language and presented with the letters dated 28 September and 2 October, 2013, a copy of which is kept in our own Archives.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Vatican City, 4 October 2013,

Solemnity of St Francis of Assisi

Joao Braz Card, de Aviz

Prefect

Jose Rodriguez Carballo OFM.

Archbishop Secretary


FOREWORD

Brother Francis of Assisi, led by divine inspiration and burning with an ardent love for Christ, chose for himself and his brothers the form of gospel brotherhood in poverty and minority, and, in few and simple words, presented it in a Rule. Pope Innocent III approved this Rule and way of life of the lesser brothers by word of mouth, but Pope Honorius III confirmed it in the Bull Solet annuere on November 29, 1223. When the holy Founder was close to death, he left his remembrance, admonition and exhortation as a Testament for the brothers who were living and those who were to come, so that we may observe in a more Catholic way the Rule we have promised to the Lord.

As the years passed, Francis' disciples had to adapt their life, activity and legislation to the varying needs of the times. This was done in General Chapters by way of Constitutions.

Clement VII, in Religionis zelus, published on July 3 1528, approved the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor. From its very beginning this Order has desired to preserve the faithful, simple and pure observance of the spiritual heritage of the Founder Saint Francis, according to his Rule and Testament and under the magisterium of the Church, and to hand it on to subsequent generations of brothers.

To renew this faithful observance, a Chapter of the Order held in 1536 drafted Constitutions which were later amended at various times when necessary, and especially adapted to new prescriptions of the Church. This occurred, for example, following the Council of Trent, after changes in some ecclesiastical laws were made in the course of time, and after the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law at the beginning of this century. Nevertheless, our Constitutions have always retained their spiritual character and the fundamental intention of Saint Francis.

Another event of the greatest importance for the renewal of the life and legislation of members of religious Orders was the Second Vatican Council, especially its dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium and the Decree Perfectae caritatis.

In his Apostolic Letter Ecclesiae sanctae, published motu proprio on August 6 1966, Pope Paul VI required all religious Institutes to revise their legislation. The criteria for this revision of the Constitutions are found in the texts of the Second Vatican Council and in other later documents of the Church. These criteria are chiefly: a continual return to the sources of all Christian life and to the original inspiration of the Institutes, taking into account the signs of the times, and the necessary fusion of the spiritual, juridical and merely exhortatory elements.

Our special Chapter of 1968 revised the Constitutions, which were then promulgated for an experimental period, and slightly reworked by the General Chapters of 1970 and 1974.

In the General Chapter of 1982 they were again revised in accordance with Ecclesiae sanctae (II, nn.6 and 8), and with the will of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, made known in the Letter of November 15 1979, so that definitive approval could be sought from the Holy See.

The same General Chapter, anticipating the new Code of Canon Law and in obedience to the directives of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes published on August 4 1981, set up a capitular Commission to revise the language of the text, and to adapt it to the prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law.

The General Definitory, concluding the mandate it had received from the General Chapter and having obtained the appropriate faculty from the Holy See in the Letter dated November 12 1982, published the definitive text of the revised Constitutions. This text came into force on March 25 1983, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, until it was duly approved by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

When the Code of Canon Law was promulgated on January 25 1983, the text of the Constitutions had to be adapted to it in some parts. For this reason, the Congregation gave to General Superiors and their councils the faculty of promulgating provisional norms for those matters which were required by the new Code but had not yet been inserted into the text of the Constitutions. These norms were to be presented to the next General Chapter.

In the meantime, the text of the carefully revised Constitutions was sent to the Congregation, which approved it on December 25 1986.

The General Chapter of 1988 carefully examined and approved the proposals prepared by the General Definitory, which, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law, had to be incorporated into the text of the Constitutions. The Congregation approved the proposals in a Letter dated February 7 1990.

Finally, in accordance with a decision of the General Chapter in 2000, further refined and repeated by the General Chapter of 2006, the Constitutions were once again revised. This was in response to the need to transfer some norms to the Ordinances of the General Chapters and to adapt them to the most recent teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, enriching them at the same time in the light of inisghts that had been growing in the thinking of our own Order, especially as a result of Plenary Councils VI and VII.

Subsequently, the text of the Constitutions was carefullty examined and ratified by the General Chpter of 2012. The same text, duly approved by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in a Decree dated 4 October 2013 (Prot. N. C. 37 – 1/2013), was promulgated by the General Minister in his Decree dated 8 December 2013 (Prot. N. 00935/13).

Therefore, the present text of the Constitutions, rendered in Italian and definitively approved by the Holy See, must be considered authentic, and all vernacular versions must conform to it.

The text is as follows:

Rome, May 18 2014

Feast of Saint Felix of Cantalice


In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

Begin

the Constitutions

of the

Capuchin Lesser Brothers


CHAPTER I

THE LIFE OF THE CAPUCHIN LESSER BROTHERS

Article I

Our Life according to the Gospel

1C 84; FV 1

2C 15;

1

1The holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is in every age the source of the entire life of the Church and the message of salvation for the whole world.

2Thes 3:1-3; 1Cor 4:15;

LG 20; DV 7; AG;

CIC 225 §1; 747 §2

Adm I 6; 1LtF 2:19; 2LtF 3; ER XXII 29-31; Test 13

2In fact, it is through the Gospel that the Church, led by the Holy Spirit, comes to know Christ, and, with faith, accepts His deeds and words, which are spirit and life for those who believe.

Jn 6:63; Lk 24: 19; Heb 1:1; DV 2,4; 17,19; CIC 225 §1; 747 §1

1C 22-25; LMj III 1; L3C 25;

LR I 1; XII 14; Test 14;

IV PCO 1; 4; 13; VI PCO 2

3Saint Francis, the founder of our Brotherhood, embraced the Gospel from the very beginning of his conversion and made it the guiding principle of his life and activity. For this reason, at the beginning and end of the Rule, he expressly commanded its observance and, in the Testament, confirmed that it had been revealed to him that he must live according to the pattern of the holy Gospel.

CIC 578; 587 §1; 631 §1

2C 102-104

4Since we are his sons, we commit ourselves, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to make continuous progress in understanding the Gospel.

DV 8

Adm VII 3; XX 1; XXI 1; SalBVM

1C 84; 90; 110; 2C 102; 105; 216; LMj XIV 5;

5We follow the Gospel as the highest law in all the circumstances of life. Let us attentively read and meditate on the words of salvation, and, in imitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, carry them in our hearts. In this way our life will be ever more formed by the Gospel, and we will grow to the full stature of Christ in all things.

Lk 2:19.51; Eph 4:15;

LG 57;

DV 8; 21; 25; PC 2°; 6

ER VII 16; IX 1; LR VI 3; X 7-9; LtOrd 50-52; Adm VII 1-2; 2LtF 11-13; 1C 84; 89; 2C 61; 90; 148; LMj I 9; 42; 49;

2

1Saint Francis, a true disciple of Christ and an outstanding example of Christian living, taught His brothers to walk joyfully in the footprints of Christ poor, humble, and crucified, so that through Him, in the Holy Spirit, they might be led to the Father.

Mt 11:29; 1Pt 2:21; Eph 2:28; 1Cor 12:13

2LtF 4-5; 8-13; Adm I 14-18; Test 10; LtOrd 14-16; 27-32; 1C 84; 2C 199-201; LMj I 2; VI 1; IX 2; X 7

2Burning with the love of Christ, we contemplate Him in the kenosis of the Incarnation and the Cross in order to become more like Him. By celebrating the Eucharist in brotherly joy we participate in the Paschal Mystery as a foretaste of the glory of His Resurrection while awaiting His coming.

Rom 8:24; Phil 2:7; Heb 2:46; 1Cor 11:26; SC 47; CIC 897; 1246 §1

LR I 1; 2,11; VI 4-5; X 3; Adm III 6-9; XVI 1-2; 2LtF 36-39; 1C 4; 103; 129; 2C 80; 191; 220; 251; LMj VII 1

3We observe the gospel counsels with a generous and faithful heart, especially those we have promised: loving obedience, poverty — which is for us the special way of salvation, and chastity consecrated to God.

LG 42; PC 1; 2 a-b, 12-14; 25; RD 8; VC 93; CIC 207 §2; 573 §2; 574 §1-2; 575

LFl 13; LMj XIV 4; XIII 5;

3

1The Lord granted Brother Francis the grace to begin to do penance by leading him among lepers. He showed mercy to them and after hearing the voice of the crucified Lord at San Damiano he embarked upon the gospel life in order to follow in the footsteps of Christ, with a burning desire to pattern his life upon Him in everything. In this way, true love of Christ transformed the lover into the image of the Beloved.

Phil 2:5

1C 34; 38; 45; 2C 149; 221; LMj Prol 1;

Const 1536, 6

2In order to take on the features of a true disciple of Jesus Christ, so wonderfully evident in Francis, we commit ourselves to imitating him, or, rather, Christ in him. Therefore we diligently cultivate the spiritual inheritance of our Founder in our life and work, and share it with people of every age.

PC 2b; 20;

CIC 578

Test 1, 14; LR I 1; LMj Prol 1;

IV PCO 6; V PCO 64; 82ff

4

1After giving him brothers, the Lord revealed to Francis that they were to live according to the form of the holy Gospel. In this way the brotherhood of lesser ones came into being so that, living in communion, they might witness to the kingdom of God preaching penance and peace by example and word.

CIC 577

 

2Brotherhood and minority are original features of the charism given to us by the Spirit. They also shape the contemplative and apostolic dimensions of our vocation. Docile to the same Spirit, we commit ourselves to live this gospel ideal to the full.

 

IV PCO 1; 13

5

1Our specific form of life as Capuchin lesser brothers flows from the sound tradition initiated by our first brothers who were inspired by their intention to be faithful to the gospel insights of Saint Francis.

 

IV CPO 1; 13

2 It is necessary, therefore, to know the nature and purpose of our brotherhood in order to remain faithful to the Gospel and to our genuine tradition. We do this by returning through conversion of heart to the original inspiration, that is, to the life and Rule of our Father Saint Francis, so that our Order may be constantly renewed.

PC 2

ER VII 1-2; XXII 19-27; LR I 1; V 1-2; X 8-9; XII 4; LtOrd 2,29; 50-52; LtAnt 2; Test 19; 2LtF 47; Adm VI 1-3;

3For this purpose we make every effort to give priority to a life of prayer, especially contemplative prayer. Living as pilgrims and strangers in this world, we practise, both individually and communally, radical poverty inspired by minority, and we propose a life of austerity and joyful penance out of love for the cross of the Lord.

PC 13

ER IX 2.16; LR VI 7;

IV PCO 46-48; V PCO 29-40

4Gathered together in Christ as a single distinctive family, we develop among ourselves relationships that are fraternally spontaneous, and gladly live among those who are poor, weak and infirm, sharing in their lives and maintaining our characteristic closeness to people.

GS 1; 27; AG 20;

 

5We promote the apostolic dimension of our life by proclaiming the Gospel and in other various ways that are in harmony with our charism, while always preserving a spirit of minority and service.

 

GC 1968;

6

1Creative fidelity to the charism of the Capuchin Lesser Brothers requires us to safeguard and lovingly develop the spiritual heritage of our Brotherhood.

MCB 1, 4

VC 37; 110

 

2To this end let us frequently read the life and writings of Saint Francis, as well as other books that reveal his spirit. Let us also ensure that we are familiar with the Franciscan sources and with Capuchin tradition, especially everything referring to our brothers renowned for their holiness, apostolic work, and erudition.

 
 

3In the light of the signs of the times, we work hard to find suitable ways, approved by the legitimate superiors, of living our form of the gospel life and giving our apostolic witness in the different regions and cultures.

Test 14; 1C 32; 2C 208; AP 76

7

1The Rule of Saint Francis, which flows from the Gospel, spurs us on to live the gospel life.

 
ER II 11; IV 2; V 3-4; V 8; VII 15; XII 3-4; XVII 15; XXII 26; XXII 29; XXIII 1; XXIV 1-3; LR IV 2; VI 8; X 4; X 9; Test 13; 38-39; Adm I 20; 1LtF I 10; II 8; 2LtF 53; 67; LtOrd 14; 41-42; 2C 208

2With untiring dedication let us apply ourselves to the task of understanding it spiritually. As our holy Founder exhorts us in his Testament, we strive to observe it “simply and purely and with holy activity,” in accordance with the spirit and gospel intentions of the first Capuchins and the Order’s living tradition, following the example of our saints.

 

2C 185

3Let the ministers and guardians, together with the fraternities, make it their heartfelt concern to promote knowledge, love, and observance of the Rule.  

ER V 6; IX 16; LR II 9-10; IV 2; 7,2; LBL 3;

I PCO 1,1; 4; 2,13; 17,19; 21ff.; IV PCO 3ff; 9ff.; 23ff; 32

4In order that the Rule and intentions of our Father and lawgiver may be faithfully observed throughout the world, let the ministers make sure to seek the most suitable ways for the brothers to live their lives and conduct their apostolates. This may be done in a variety of forms, in accordance with different regions and cultures and the needs of times and places.

PC 20

2C 23ff; 2MP 78;

GC 1968

5This variety of forms, when authentic, always safeguards the unity of the same original spirit and is based on fraternal communion and obedience to superiors. In this way, gospel freedom of action is guaranteed, especially in what concerns the renewal of our life, so that the spirit is not extinguished.

1Thes 5:19; Eph 4:3

LMj IV 11;

ER XXIV 1-3; Test 40;

8

1Shortly before his death, after receiving the sacred stigmata, being filled with the Holy Spirit and desiring our salvation more eagerly, our seraphic Father dictated the Testament.

 

Test 36ff

2In it he recalls and re-presents his gospel experience, declares his last will, and entrusts to us the precious inheritance of his spirit.

CIC 587 §1

Test 34

3The Testament has been given to us so that, day by day, we may observe the Rule we have professed ever more perfectly, according to the mind of the Church.

LG 45; PC 2;

CIC 587 §1

Const 1536

4Therefore, continuing the tradition of our Order, we accept the Testament as the primary spiritual exposition of the Rule and an outstanding source of inspiration for our life.

PC 2;

CIC 587 §1

 

9

1The purpose of the Constitutions is to show us how best to observe the Rule in the changing circumstances of life in order to safeguard our identity and to give it concrete expression.

CIC 578 §1; 207 §2; 573 §1; 598 §2; 607 §1; 662; 758

ER XVI 10

2In them we find a sure means of spiritual renewal in Christ and effective help for each brother to bring to completion the total consecration of his life to God.

PC 4

  3We observe these Constitutions, to which we are bound by virtue of our religious profession, not as slaves but as sons yearning to love God above all else, heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit who teaches us, and dedicating ourselves to the glory of God and the salvation of our neighbour.

Jn 14:26; 16:13-15; Gal 4:31-5:1; Rom 8:15; 2Cor 3:17; 1Pt 2:15-16

  4Let us lovingly devote ourselves to the personal and communal study of the Rule, the Testament and the Constitutions so that we absorb their spirit.

PC 18

  5May we also endeavour to know and observe all the other norms of our particular law.  

Article II

Our Life in the Church

LR VI 1-2; Test 24; 2C 59

10

1The Church, the universal sacrament of salvation, namely the sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of the whole human race, appears as the People of God making its pilgrim journey in the world. Established by Christ in a communion of life, charity, and truth, this people is enriched by the Holy Spirit with a multitude of gifts or charisms useful for its renewal and further development, in order to usher in the kingdom of God.

Rom 12:5ff; 1Cor 12:4ff; Eph 4:2; LG 1; 5; 6; 9; 12; 14; 44; 48; 68. CIC 204 §1; RomM, Easter Vigil, Prayer after 7th Reading

  2Among such a variety of charisms, the consecrated life is an outstanding gift that the Church has received from the Lord. Profoundly rooted in the example and teaching of Christ, it expresses the innermost nature of the Christian calling and belongs to the life of the Church, to its holiness, and to its mission.

LG 43; 44; PC 1; AG 18; VC 1; 3

CIC 573; 574 §1

Test 14; 2C 24

3The Church has accepted the Franciscan Brotherhood as one of the spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit. After approving it with her hierarchical authority, the Church continues to protect with motherly care the form of life presented by Saint Francis. In this way the image of Christ, poor, humble, and devoted to the service of people, especially the poor, may shine more brightly upon her face.

LG 45; PC 1; GS 27; CIC 574 §1; 577; 590; 593

  4The Church has also approved the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor in the decree Religionis zelus issued by Pope Clement VII on July 3, 1528.

CIC 576; 577; 590 §1; 593

ER II 12; XVII 1; XXIII 7; LRIII 1; XII 3-4; TestS 6; Test 5; LtOrd 30; ER XIX 1-2;

2C 25; 148

5Therefore, let us love holy Mother Church wholeheartedly, meditate upon her mystery, apply ourselves to the study of her teachings, while observing them faithfully, and actively share in her life and mission.

LG 44; PC 2c; CD 33; CIC 578; 675 §1; 783

ER Prol. 2; XIX 1-2; XXIII 7; LR I 2; II 2-5; XII 4; 2LtF 32; OfP Vesp. ant. 1; Test 31

6Professing our faith in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, which breathes with its two lungs—East and West—and also finds expression in our Order, we commit ourselves with all our strength to build up the Body of Christ and to manifest its unity.

11

1After the example of Saint Francis who was a catholic and totally apostolic man, we offer faithful obedience to the Spirit of Christ living and working in the Church.

LG 8; Smo 6; RMat 34; DD 17; Eim 12; EA 48; Eph 4:4.11-16; 1Cor 10:16-17; 12:12-27; Col 1:22

AG 4; CD 33ff; ESa I,22ff

ER Prol. 2; LR I 2; XII 4; 1C 100

2We offer obedience and reverence to the Pope as our highest superior, to whom religious are subject also by virtue of their vow of obedience, and to the college of bishops, which, together with him, is a visible sign of the unity and apostolicity of the Church.

LG 22,45; CD 35; OT 9; CIC 212 §1; 273; 330; 336; 590 §1-2

LR IX 1; Test 25-26; 2C 141; 146; 147; LMj VI 8; 2MP 10; 54; AC 15

3Wherever we may be, we contribute to the good of the particular church through our fraternal and prophetic presence, working together for its growth and progress in accordance with our charism and under the guidance of the diocesan bishop, offering our apostolic service to the People of God and to the entire human community.

CD 33; CIC 394 §1; 678 §1; 680; 681 §1; 757; 790 §1; LG 45; CD 34; 35, 1.3

LR IX 1; Test 25-26; 2C 141; 146; 147; LMj VI 8; 2MP 10; 54; AC 15

4Let us show due honour to priests and to all others who minister spirit and life to us, and actively work with them.

PO 9;

CIC 275 §1

ER Prol. 3-4; LR I 3; VIII 1; X 1; Test 17-28; 2C 184-186; 193; 222

12

1With a generous heart let us love and obey the General Minister who is constituted for the service and welfare of the entire brotherhood as the successor of our holy Founder, and as the living bond uniting us with the authority of the Church and among ourselves.

LG 18; PC 14; CIC 596 §1-3; 601; 617; 619; 622; 678 §2

LR X 2-3; XII 1-2; 2C 145

2We also show love, as well as active and responsible obedience, to the other ministers of the brotherhood whom the Lord has given to us as shepherds and in whom the brothers have placed their trust, so that we may be more closely and more securely bound to the service of the Church in a spirit of faith and love for Christ.

PC 14

LtOrd 51; 2LtF 63; CtC; LMj VIII 6; IX 1; 1C 80; 2C 165; PCO I 1,9; IV 15ff, 33; V 28; VI 26

13

1Saint Francis, inflamed by the Holy Spirit, drew from his adoration of the Father, Who is the highest Good, that sense of universal brotherhood which enabled him to see in every creature the image of Christ, the firstborn and Saviour.

Col 1:15; Eph 1:15, 19-20

LtOrd 9; ER XVII 17; PrsG 11; 2LtF 62; ExhP 1,1-7; PrOF 2;

2C 172

2As children of this Father we regard ourselves as brothers of all without any distinction. When we encounter every creature with a brotherly spirit, we continually offer the praise of creation to God, the source of all good.

Jn 8:39; GS 29; AG 12

ER II 1; XI 1-13; LR VI 7-8;

1C 38; 39; 46; 2C 180;

IV PCO 17; V PCO 28

3Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit to share the same calling, we foster a sense of brotherhood throughout the entire Order through common prayer and action, particularly in our provincial and local communities. We cultivate that same sense toward all our brothers and sisters, whether religious or secular, who with us form one single Franciscan family.

PC 15

  4Our life as brothers is a fruit and a sign of the transforming power of the Gospel and of the coming of the kingdom. Like the leaven of the Gospel, it calls us to promote genuine relationships among all people and nations so that the world may live as a single family under the gaze of its Creator.

AA 14; GS 42; 78;

CCL 02/84 42;

VC 51

ER IV 6; V 10ff; Adm I; IV 1-3;

I PCO 1,4; IV PCO 43ff;

VI PCO 9-10;

14

1The Son of God, assuming the condition of a servant, came not to be served but to serve and to give His life for the salvation of all. His kenosis is perpetuated in the sacrament of the Eucharist where He daily humbles himself and comes to us under humble appearances.

Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45; Lk 22:25; Phil 2:7; LG 8; PC 14; GS 1,27; PO 6; AG 20

ER V 7-12; IX 1-3; XXII 1-4; LR X 9-11; Adm   XII 1-3; 1C 38,40; 2C 61; 71; 145; 148; PCO: I 1,4,13; III 9, 21, 38, 40; IV 1; V 29-40; VI 9-10; VII31

2Awestruck and deeply moved by the humility and compassion of God, Saint Francis chose to make himself lesser among the lesser ones. Following his example, and desiring to be conformed to Christ, we too strive to be truly lesser, never presuming to become greater. Inspired by this spirit, we generously dedicate ourselves to the service of all, especially of those who suffer want and hardship and even of those who persecute us.

Mt 5:10,44; 20:26ff; Mk 10:43; Lk 22:26; Rom 8:29; 1Cor 12:12ff; Phil 2:3; GS 69; AG 20; PC 13; AA 8

ER IX 1-3;

I PCO 1,4; V PCO 28

3Therefore we gladly live our life as brothers among the poor, sharing their distress and lowly state with great love.  
  4While we relieve their material and spiritual needs, may our lives, actions and words be generously spent for the promotion of their human and Christian development.

CIC 222 §2; 287 §1; 528 §1; 602; 672; 768 §2

LR III 10-11; Adm XV,1-2;

1C 41; 2C 108

5By doing this we manifest the spirit of our life as lesser brothers and become a leaven of justice, unity, and peace.  

I PCO II,20; II PCO 9ff; V PCO 1-14

15

1In order that our gospel calling may bear fruit in the Church and in the world, we commit ourselves to live faithfully the apostolic life, which inseparably unites contemplation and action. We do this in imitation of Jesus, who spent His life unceasingly praying and accomplishing the work of salvation.

Mt 4:1; 14:23; Mk 1:12ff; 4,46; Lk 4:1; 6:12; LG 33; PC 8ff; PO 14; AA 3; CIC 577; 675 §1-3; 758

  2Conforming to their Master’s lifestyle and being sent out into the world by the Lord, the apostles were untiring in prayer and in the ministry of the word.

Mt 28:12; Mk 16:15; Heb 6:2-4

ER I 1; XXII 2; 2LtF 13; LtOrd 5-11; 51; 1C 35; LMj VIII 1; XII 1-2; XIII 1; LFl 16

3In order to follow in the footsteps of the Lord and the apostles, Saint Francis chose a form of life that closely united prayer with the proclamation of the message of salvation, wisely alternating times of contemplation and apostolic commitment.
 
Const 1536; RH; VI PCO 17; 4Capuchin tradition, too, from the outset, by proposing the example of both Martha and Mary, teaches us how to unite contemplation and action harmoniously. In this way it prompts us to follow Christ both in His contemplation on the mountain, and in His proclamation of the Kingdom of God.  

ER XXIII; Adm XX 1-2;

1C 40

5May we therefore persevere in praising God and meditating on His word, desiring ever more ardently that our work too may draw people to the joyful love of God.  

ER V 2

6In this way our life of prayer will be entirely imbued with an apostolic spirit, and all our apostolic activity will be shaped by the spirit of prayer. PC 8

CHAPTER II

THE VOCATION TO OUR LIFE

AND

THE FORMATION OF THE BROTHERS

Article I

The Vocation to Our Life

ER XVII 17-18; Adm II 3; VIII 3; XII 1-3; XVII 1; PrG 3; 2C 165; LMj IX 1

16

1In His goodness God calls all the Christian faithful in the Church to the perfection of love through different states of life, so that the salvation of the world may be advanced by means of personal holiness.

LG 40; 42; CIC 210

IV PCO 58-60

2With the greatest freedom each one must respond lovingly to this call, rooted in Baptism, so that the dignity of the human person may be in harmony with the will of God.

GS 17,21; LG 46; CIC 219

ER II 1; Test 14; LtOrd 29

3Let all of us gratefully rejoice that God has given us the exceptional grace of a religious vocation. The Father, in fact, has called us to give ourselves to Him, “keeping nothing of our own for ourselves, and to follow in the footprints of His beloved Son,” so that we may be transformed into His image by the power of the Holy Spirit.

LG 43; PC 1, 5; VC 17-19;

CIC 574 §2;

ER IX 1-3; LtOrd 9; 1C 89

4In responding to our calling as Capuchin lesser brothers, we follow the poor and humble Christ, spread His message to people everywhere, especially to the poor, and offer a public and social witness of the Kingdom of God.

Mt 11:5; 11:29; Lk 4:18; LG 44; CIC 607 §1, §3; 640; 673; 758; MG (?); VC 1; 26

1C 35; 71; LMj VIII 3; L3C 37; 59

5In this way, as a pilgrim brotherhood, penitent in heart and deed, we devote ourselves to the Church’s mission of salvation, serving all people in a spirit of minority and joy.

LG 6; 9; 48ff; DV 7; UR 2; PC 2;

IV PCO 59

17

1Concern for vocations arises above all from the awareness that we ourselves are living and offering to others a way of life rich in human and gospel values, which, while offering genuine service to God and people, fosters personal growth.

2However, if we wish to give clear testimony to this way of life, we must renew ourselves constantly.

OT 2ff; 11; PO 11; PC 24; AA 2; CIC 661; 664; LG 46

CIC 663; 664;

ER II 1-3; LR II 1;

AC 19;

IV PCO 60

3Let us actively work together to foster new vocations, moved by the desire to carry out God's plan according to our charism. Let all of us, therefore, but primarily the ministers and individual fraternities, take the utmost care to discern and cultivate genuine vocations, above all by the example of our life, our prayer and our words, and also by explicitly proposing a vocation.

OT 2; PC 24; VC 64

  4Let us actively promote various forms of the pastoral apostolate for vocations, especially among groups closer to the spirit of our Order, keeping in mind that better results are obtained where a few brothers are specifically assigned to promote and coordinate the apostolate of vocations. However, all the brothers shall contribute to the work as a sign of the vitality of Franciscan life.

CIC 233 §1; 385; 791

  5In this way we work together with God who calls and chooses those he wishes and we contribute to the good of the Church.

Mk 3:13; Lk 6:13; Jn 15:16; Rom 6:16-18; OT 2; AA 2

Article II

Admission to Our Life

2C 70; 192;

AC 106

18

1Saint Francis, being concerned about the purity of our life, foresaw that his brotherhood would grow into a large multitude and, at the same time, was afraid of having a number of unsuitable brothers.

 

LR II 1-3; VI 8

2For this reason, since the brotherhood must constantly grow in virtue, in the perfection of love, and in the spirit of the Gospel rather than in number, those who wish to embrace our life must be thoroughly examined and accompanied with care in the discernment of their vocation.

CIC 219; 597 §1-2

ER II 1-3; II 12; LR II 1-2;

IV PCO 22; 52ff

3The Provincial Ministers are to enquire carefully whether those who are asking to be admitted to our life meet the requirements of universal law as well as our own for their valid and lawful admission. In particular, the following must be observed:

OT 6; CIC 220; 597 §2; 642; 643 §1; 645 §1; 684 §1, §5; 690 §1; 730; 744 §2

  a) candidates must be temperamentally suited for the living of our gospel life in brotherly communion;  
  b) it is to be ascertained that they enjoy the physical and mental health necessary to lead our way of life;  
  c) candidates are to show by their lives that they firmly believe what holy Mother Church believes and holds to be true and that they possess a Catholic instinct;  
  d) it must be evident that they enjoy a good reputation, especially among those who know them well;  
  e) they are to be endowed with the required human maturity, particularly affective and relational, and with a generous will. In addition, it must be ascertained that they enter the Order with the sole purpose of sincerely serving God and for the salvation of people, according to the Rule, the form of life of Saint Francis, and our Constitutions;  
  f) they are to be educated according to the standards of their own region and show promise of being able to carry out their future duties effectively;  
  g) all useful information shall be collected about their previous life, especially in the case of older candidates or those who have already had some experience of religious life;  
  h) for the admission of diocesan clergy, or of those coming from another institute of consecrated life, a society of apostolic life or a seminary, or for the re-admission of our own candidates, the prescriptions of universal law are to be observed.  

ER I 2; II 4; LR II 4; Const 1536

19

1Christ, the teacher of all wisdom, responding to the young man who expressed the desire for eternal salvation, said that whoever wanted to be perfect should first sell all he had, give it to the poor, and then follow Him.

Mt 12:21; 19:21; Mk 10:21; Lk 18:22

LR II 4; Adm IV 3; 1C 24; 2C 80; LMj III 3; L3C 28-29; 39

2Francis, the imitator of Christ, not only fulfilled the Teacher’s counsel in his own life, but taught it to others whom he received and laid it down in the Rule as a norm to be observed.  

ER II 4; LR II 1-5; 8; 2C 15; 81

3Therefore, the ministers and guardians shall make known and explain these words of the holy Gospel to the candidates who are moved by an interior love of Christ to come to our Order, so that, at the proper time before perpetual profession, they renounce their property, preferably in favour of the poor.

PC 13; CIC 668 §1-4

1C 24; 2C 15;

V PCO 95

4The candidates shall prepare themselves interiorly for the future renunciation of goods and dispose themselves for the service of their neighbour, especially of the poor.  

ER II 5-7;

LR 2,6-7

5However, as the Rule directs, the brothers are to avoid becoming involved in these matters in any way.  
  6Moreover, the candidates shall be ready to make their strengths of intellect and will and their other gifts of nature and of grace available to the entire brotherhood in fulfilling the duties that they will receive in the service of the People of God.  

ER II 3; LR II 1

20

1In addition to the General Minister, the Provincial Minister in each province enjoys the right to admit candidates to the postulancy, novitiate, and profession. He can delegate this faculty to the provincial vicar and to the Custos.

CIC 641; 656;

658

  2These ministers, before admitting candidates to the novitiate, are to consult their council, or three or four brothers appointed by the council. However, before they admit a candidate to first profession and to perpetual profession, they must have the consent of their council.  
  3If the case requires it, they are also to consult those who have special competence in the matter.

CIC 642

 

21

1The master of novices is responsible for conducting the Rite of Reception of Novices, unless the Provincial Minister decrees otherwise.

 
  2The Provincial Minister, however, in the name of the Church and the Order, receives the vows of those making profession, but he may delegate this faculty to another perpetually professed brother of the Order.

LG 45; SC 80; PC 5; CIC 654; 656; 658

VII PCO 17

3The liturgical norms for the beginning of the novitiate and for the profession of our life shall be observed and the celebrations kept moderate and simple.

RSP 30

  4Religious profession is ordinarily made during Mass, using the following formula approved by the Holy See for the Franciscan First Order and for the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis:

CIC 654

ER II 1;

LR II 1; XII 1

ER Prol.

LR I 1; Test 14

LR X 8

For the praise and glory of the Most Holy Trinity!

Moved by divine inspiration

to follow more closely the Gospel and the footprints of our Lord Jesus Christ,

in the presence of my brothers,

and into your hands, brother N.,

I, brother N.,

steadfast in faith and will,

vow to God the Father, holy and all-powerful,

to live for (… year/s) (…my entire life)

in obedience, without anything of my own, and in chastity.

At the same time, I profess the life and Rule of the Friars Minor,

confirmed by Pope Honorius,

promising to observe it faithfully

in accordance with the Constitutions of the Order of the Capuchin Friars Minor.

Therefore I entrust myself

with all my heart to this brotherhood,

so that by the working of the Holy Spirit,

after the example of Mary Immaculate,

and through the intercession of our Father Francis,

and of all the saints,

with the help of my brothers,

I may constantly strive for the fullness of love

in the service of God, of the Church, and of all people.”

 

LR I 1

                                                             22  

1The nature and goal of the three gospel counsels, which we promise by vow at profession, is to unite us to Christ, our hearts freed by grace, in a life that is obedient, has nothing of its own, and is chaste for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, after the example of Saint Francis.

LG 44; 46; CIC 573 §1

LR X 3

2The gospel counsel of obedience, promised in a spirit of faith and love in order to follow Christ Who was obedient even to death, obliges us to submit our will, for God's sake, to legitimate superiors whenever they command according to our Constitutions “in anything that is not contrary to conscience and the Rule.”

Phil 2:8; PC 14; CIC 601

  3The gospel counsel of poverty, in imitation of Christ Who though he was rich became poor, in addition to a life which is poor, in fact and in spirit, entails a dependence upon superiors and a limitation in the use and disposition of goods. It further requires a voluntary renunciation of the capacity of acquiring and possessing, which must be made before perpetual profession in a form which, as far as possible, is also valid in civil law.

2Cor 8:9; PC 13; CIC 600; 668 §4-5

 
4The gospel counsel of chastity for the Kingdom of Heaven, a sign of the world to come and a source of greater fruitfulness in an undivided heart, entails the obligation of perfect continence in celibacy.

Mt 19:12; 1Cor 7:32-35; PC 12; CIC 277 §1; 599

Article III

Formation in General

 

23

1Formation for the consecrated life is a journey of discipleship guided by the Holy Spirit leading one progressively to assimilate the sentiments of Christ, the Son of the Father, and to shape one’s life according to His obedient, poor, and chaste life.

VC 65; 14; 16; 19; Mt 10:37

  2Since formation tends towards the transformation of the whole person in Christ, it must be lifelong, as regards both human values and the evangelical and consecrated life. Therefore, formation must involve both the actions and intentions of the whole person in its various dimensions—human, cultural, spiritual, pastoral, and professional—taking every care to foster the harmonious integration of the various aspects.

VC 109; 65; CIC 279 ,1-3; 661

IV PCO 1,3ff; 13ff; 23-30; 31ff; 35; 57,1; 70ff

3The purpose of formation is to make the life of the brothers and fraternities become ever more conformed to Christ, according to the Capuchin Franciscan spirit, taking into account the diversity of places and times.

OT 8ff; PC 18; ESa II,33-38

  4Formation in our Order is implemented in two phases: initial and ongoing. Initial formation includes initiation into consecration according to our form of life, lasting until perpetual profession, and preparation for work and ministry, which may begin during initiation. Ongoing formation follows initial formation and is life-long.  

LR X 8;

IV PCO 77-79

24

1All formation is first of all the work of the Holy Spirit, Who inwardly gives life both to those forming and those being formed.

 
2As it was for Francis, the Church, in its universal and local dimensions, is for us the living context and essential point of reference for any formation journey, since in it the Spirit is unceasingly at work.  

2C 193;

VI PCO;

VII PCO;

POT 16

3The Father reveals the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven to little ones and, as Francis taught us, the Spirit rests equally on the simple and the poor. We therefore recognise closeness to the people and sharing in the life of the poor as particularly favourable conditions for our formation, and remain open to learning from them.

Mt 11:25; Lk 10:21

  4Our brotherhood, called to cultivate its own identity in the Church, has the duty and the right to ensure the formation of the brothers in conformity with our charism. Therefore, formation is a priority among the commitments of the Order and all its circumscriptions.

ICF 7.1

CIC 652 1-2; 659 V1-3; 680 §1-2

  5Active formation demands the cooperation of those being formed who are the principal authors of their own growth and the ones primarily responsible for it.

CIC 652 §3

  6Throughout his life, every brother is at the same time in need of formation and imparting formation, because all of us always have something to learn and to teach. This principle shall be laid down as the programme for formation and put into practice in our life.

CIC 662

IV PCO 13-22ff; V PCO 23; VI PCO 3

7To live together as lesser brothers is a primary part of our Franciscan vocation. Therefore, living as brothers is always and everywhere a basic requirement of the formation process.

CIC 659 §1-2

IV PCO 80;

VII PCO 13; FFCh 25

8In order that each of our fraternities, in particular those specifically designated for formation, may fulfil this primary function, they need the support and stimulus of the primary brotherhood, which is the province through which our belonging to the whole Order is established. Candidates shall develop an awareness that the Order constitutes a single family, and that all of us are bound to contribute responsibly to its well-being.

CIC 651 §1-3; CIC 652 §4

IV PCO 77,80ff

9While all the brothers have a formative role, it is necessary that some brothers be invested with greater responsibility. It is a particular task of the General Minister and his council to guarantee the authenticity of the formation of all the brothers of the Order. In each circumscription, this responsibility falls to the ministers and the guardians, who are the ordinary leaders and coordinators of the brothers’ formation process. There are, moreover, qualified formation personnel who undertake this particular duty in the name of the Order and the brotherhood.

OT 5; ESa II,36

IV PCO 57; 77; 81,83

25

1The Order shall have at its disposal the means of formation that meet the requirements of its own specific charism.

OT 4ff; ESa II,36

CIC 659 §2

IV PCO 2; 12; 23; 27; 30; 32; 40; 42; 54; 75; 83

2Since particular attention must be given to the candidates during the period of initial formation, suitable educational structures shall be provided for each circumscription or groups of circumscriptions.

OT 1; CIC 659 §1-3

  3The process of education requires, above all, a team of brothers in charge who follow consistent norms throughout the entire journey of formation.
  4Let the ministers therefore take every care to provide qualified training for a sufficient number of those responsible for formation who assume and exercise their particular ministry in the name of the Order. For this reason, they are to have the support due to them from the whole brotherhood.

VC 66

  5Those responsible for formation shall be aware that the task assigned to them is of the greatest importance for the life of the Order and the Church, and devote themselves to it generously, all other duties taking second place.
  6Formation secretariats are of great importance, both at the general level and in each circumscription, at the level of Conferences, and where areas collaborate. Therefore, care shall be taken that they be well provided for and made effective.
  7The General Secretariat for Formation is the first structure of direct collaboration with the General Minister and his council in everything concerning the initial and ongoing formation of the brothers and the study centres of the Order. It is available to the different circumscriptions, to various areas that collaborate at an interprovincial level, and to the Conferences, offering them assistance and input for the promotion of all that pertains to formation.
  8Likewise, each province or group of provinces shall have a Secretariat or Formation Council.
PostNov 6,1; FFCh 38

9It is appropriate to define in a Ratio formationis or Formation Plan those principles that are valid everywhere in order to safeguard in formation the characteristics proper to our Order.

.

VC 68-69

  10Individual circumscriptions or groups of circumscriptions, depending on the situation in each region, shall have a formation plan of their own that outlines the goals, plans, and specific courses of the entire formation process.  

Article IV

Initiation into Our Life

I PCO 1,7; IV PCO 3ff; 34; 52ff; 57,71; VI PCO 8

26

1Those who are admitted to the Order must be initiated and progressively introduced into the Franciscan gospel life. In order that this journey of initiation may unfold, candidates, guided by the formation personnel, shall be given the necessary experiences and knowledge.

GS 61; OT intr.; PC 6; SC 10; 12; DV 25; CIC 652 §1

  2During the time of initiation the formation of the candidates, harmoniously blending the human element with the spiritual, shall be sound, all-embracing, and adapted to the needs of times and places.  
  3Suitable methods of interactive education are to be used. Above all, candidates shall perform tasks and services that gradually lead them to acquire self-control, as well as psychological and emotional maturity.  

ER XXII 40; Adm I 1

4With consideration for individual personalities and gifts of grace, candidates shall be introduced into a spiritual life that is nourished by the reading of the Word of God, active participation in the liturgy, and reflection and private prayer so that they are drawn more and more to Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Jn 14:6

CIC 652 §2

  5During the time of initiation the brothers shall acquire a thorough knowledge of the Capuchin Franciscan spirit and its practice by studying the life of Saint Francis, his mind concerning the observance of the Rule, the history and sound traditions of our Order, and, most of all, by assimilating internally and practically the life to which they are called  

IV PCO 22

6 In particular, they are to cultivate living as brothers both in community and with others and be solicitous to meet their needs, so that, each day, the brothers learn to live ever more perfectly in active communion with the Church.

PC 2

FFCh 20

7Let them therefore be led to make a generous and total gift of their lives, and to develop in themselves the availability of a missionary.  
 

27

1Candidates to the Order are to spend all the stages of initiation in fraternities suitable for living our life and for taking care of their formation.

 
  2The choice of houses and the designation of formation fraternities are made by the competent ministers with the consent of their councils.  
  3The establishment, transfer, and suppression of a novitiate house pertain to the General Minister with the consent of his council and in a written decree. In particular cases and by way of exception, the same authority may allow a novice to make his novitiate in another house of the Order under the guidance of a capable religious who takes the place of the master of novices.

CIC 647 §1

  4The major superior may permit the group of novices to live for certain periods of time in another house of the Order specified by him.

CIC 647 §3

ER II 1; Test 14; 1C 24; 27; 31; LMj III 3.6; L3C 27; 29; AC 3;

28

1Every brother given by God to the brotherhood brings it joy, and at the same time is an incentive for us to renew ourselves in the spirit of our vocation.

 
2Responsibility for initiation involves the entire brotherhood, since the candidates are part of it.

CIC 652 §4

IV PCO 80

3However the Provincial Minister, with the consent of his council, in the manner and within the limits he determines, shall entrust its direction to brothers who are experienced in the spiritual, fraternal and pastoral life, endowed with learning, prudence, discernment of spirits and familiar with the workings of God in the human heart.

CIC 651 §1-3;

  4The directors of postulants, novices and professed brothers shall be free from all duties that could interfere with the care and direction of the candidates.  
  5The directors shall be assisted by associates, especially in matters concerning the care of the spiritual life and the internal forum. OT 8

IV PCO 61

29

1Initiation into our form of consecrated life unfolds through the stages of postulancy, novitiate, and post-novitiate and is conducted in accordance with universal law and our own particular law.

CIC 651 §2-3;

  2The time of initiation begins on the day when the candidate is admitted to the postulancy by the Provincial Minister and continues until perpetual profession. From the moment of admission, the candidate, as far as formation, life, and work are concerned, is gradually incorporated into the brotherhood.  

IV PCO 62

30

1The postulancy is the first period of initiation when one makes the choice to adopt our life.

CIC 597 §2

IV PCO 63; PVP 10

2During this period, the postulant comes to know our life and makes a further and more careful discernment of his vocation. For its part, the fraternity comes to know the postulant better and ascertains the growth of his human maturity, especially affective maturity, and his ability to discern his life and the signs of the times according to the Gospel.

CIC 597 §2; 642

  3The postulant, therefore, must be helped in particular to deepen his life of faith. To this end, the formation of the postulants is chiefly aimed at completing their catechesis in the faith, introducing them to the liturgical life, to the methods and experience of prayer, the study of our Franciscan heritage, to life in brotherhood, and to an initial experience of apostolic work.

CIC 597 §2

IV PCO 61; 64-66

31

1The novitiate is a period of more intense initiation and more profound experience of the Capuchin Franciscan gospel life in its fundamental demands. It requires a free and mature decision to try out our form of religious life.

CIC 642; 643 §1, §4; 645 §1; 646; 648; 652

ER II 8;

LR II 9.11;

RSP 28-31

2On the opening day of the novitiate, a rite shall be celebrated asking for the help of God so that the aims of this period may be achieved. It is fitting that the novices receive “the clothes of probation” on this occasion. This rite shall be carried out in the religious fraternity. A document is to be drawn up as a record of the beginning of the novitiate, which is the beginning of life in the Order.

CIC 669 §1; 646

3The process of initiation during the novitiate is based on the values of our consecrated life as known and lived in the light of the example of Christ, the gospel insights of Saint Francis, and the sound traditions of the Order.

CIC 652 §2

V PCO 95

4The rhythm of the novitiate shall be in harmony with the primary aspects of our religious life, particularly through a special experience of faith, contemplative prayer, life in brotherhood, contact with the poor, and hard work.

CIC 652 §5

  5The direction of the novices, under the authority of the ministers, is reserved to the novice master alone, who must be a professed brother of the Order in perpetual vows.

CIC 650 §2

  6In order to be valid, the novitiate must comprise twelve months spent in the novitiate community itself. The minister, with the consent of his council, determines when it begins and how it is conducted.

CIC 647 §3; 648 §1; 653 §2

  7An absence from the novitiate house that exceeds three months, either continuous or intermittent, renders the novitiate invalid. An absence that exceeds fifteen days must be made up. All the other requirements of universal law in respect of the novitiate must be diligently observed.

CIC 648 §3; 649 §1

I PCO II,11;

IV PCO 22; 61; 67-69;

32

1The post-novitiate, which begins with temporary profession and concludes with perpetual profession, is the third stage of initiation. During this period the brothers progress further in maturity and prepare themselves to make a definitive choice of the gospel life in our Order.

CIC 659 §1-3; 660 §1

PI 58-60

ER V 9-12; VI 3-4

2Because of its essential reference to religious consecration and to perpetual profession, the journey of formation undertaken in the post-novitiate must be the same for all the brothers. Since the gospel life in brotherhood holds the primary place in our vocation, it must also be given priority during this period.  
  3The brothers are to be led into a living relationship with Christ, to be ever more conformed to Him, and to find their identity in Him. According to each one’s gifts of nature and grace, they are introduced to a more profound study of sacred scripture, spiritual theology, liturgy, and the history and spirituality of the Order. Let them be initiated into the exercise of various forms of the apostolate and of work, including domestic work. As this process of initiation unfolds, their life and growth to maturity as persons shall always be taken into account. MCB 5

Article V

Profession of Our Life

 

33

1Let us often consider how great is the grace of religious profession. By it we embrace, under a new and special title, in praise of the glory of the most holy Trinity, a life which impels us towards the perfection of love. Definitively consecrated to the service of God, we adore Him in spirit and in truth.

LG 43-46; PC 1,5-6; 12; Eph 1:6,1,14; VC 17-22

  2In religious consecration, the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ by a special covenant, makes us sharers in the reality of the mystery of Christ Who is united by an indissoluble bond to the Church, His Spouse, and places us in a state of life that heralds the future resurrection and the glory of the heavenly Kingdom.

Eph 5:3; Rv 19:7; 21:2,9-11; CIC 573 §1; 574 §2; 598 §2; 607 §1; 662; RD 2; 8; VC 93

  3In order to gather more abundant fruit from the grace of Baptism, through this consecration we bind ourselves to live out the gospel counsels in accordance with the Rule and Constitutions.  
  4In this way we aim to free ourselves from the impediments that could draw us away from perfect love, spiritual freedom, and the perfection of divine worship.

LG 46

IV PCO 22

5Finally, by means of profession, while we enjoy a special divine gift within the life of the Church, we work together through our witness in its saving mission.

LG 43ff; 46; PC 1; 5ff

6We therefore exhort the brothers to prepare themselves for profession with great care by means of an intense sacramental life centred above all on the Eucharist, by fervent prayer, and by a spiritual retreat. This shall be done more intensely and in a special way before perpetual profession.  

LR II11-13

34

1When the novitiate has been completed and the suitability of the novice has been ascertained, temporary profession of vows is made for a period determined by the minister with the novice himself, to be renewed freely until perpetual profession. But if his

suitability is still in doubt, the time of probation can be prolonged by the minister, but not beyond six months. If then the novice is judged unsuited, he must be dismissed.

CIC 653 §2

  2The time of this profession shall not be shorter than three years nor longer than six, though it may be extended if it seems appropriate, but in such a way that the entire period during which the brother is bound by temporary vows does not exceed nine years.

CIC 655; 657 §2

  3If a brother is judged suitable and freely requests it, perpetual profession is made at a time determined by the minister after consultation with the one making profession, as long as the full three-year period of temporary profession is observed and never before the completion of at least twenty-one years of age. By means of perpetual profession a brother is definitively incorporated into the brotherhood of the Order with all the rights and obligations set out in the Constitutions. CIC 654; 657 §1, §3; 658; 684 §2; 685 §1; 689 §§11-3
  4When the period for which temporary profession was made is completed, a brother may leave the Order. For a valid reason, the competent minister, after he has consulted his council, may exclude him from renewal of temporary vows or decline to admit him to perpetual profession.

CIC 657 §1

  5All other prescriptions of universal law pertaining to profession must be observed, especially those concerning the disposal of the brother’s goods before temporary and perpetual profession.

CIC 656; 658; 668 §1-5

 

35

1Our religious habit is given during the celebration of first profession, even though the novices may have previously received “the clothes of probation.”

PC 17; ESa I,25,2d; CIC 659 §1

  2Our habit, according to the Rule and custom of the Order, consists of a tunic with a hood, chestnut in colour, a cord and sandals, or, for a good reason, shoes. With regard to the custom of wearing a beard, the principle of pluriformity applies.

PC 17; ESa I,25,2d

3C 2

3Remembering that Saint Francis wore a penitential garment made in the shape of a cross, we, too, wear the habit as a reminder of conversion, a sign of consecration to God, and of belonging to the Order. In this way we also express our condition as lesser brothers, so that even the clothes we wear witness to poverty.

CIC 669 §1

2C 130-132; LMj I 6

4Clothed as we are with the meek and humble Christ, we must not pretend to be lesser ones, but truly be so in heart, word and deed, since our outward signs of humility are of little use for the salvation of others if we ourselves are not inspired by an inner spirit of humility.

Mt 11:29; Gal 3:27; Rom 13:14

ER VI 3.VII 1ff; LR II 14-17;

2C 130; 183

5Therefore, after the example of Saint Francis, let us make every effort to become good and not merely to appear so, to be the same in word and deed. Considering ourselves “lowly and subject to all,” as the Rule admonishes us, let us show esteem and respect to others.

Rom 12:10; Phil 2:3

 

36

1The Provincial Minister, and by special mandate those mentioned in number 20, have the faculty to dismiss a postulant or novice whom they judge unsuitable for our life.

CIC 653 §1

  2For a serious reason allowing of no delay, the master of novices or postulants has the same faculty, but with the consent of the local council. The appropriate minister must be notified immediately of this action.  
  3The General Minister, with the consent of his council, can grant an indult of departure to a brother in temporary vows who requests it for a serious reason. As the law itself provides, this indult includes a dispensation from vows and from all obligations arising from profession.

CIC 702 §1; 688 §2; 692

 
4Regarding transfers to another institute of consecrated life or to a society of apostolic life, departures from the Order, and dismissals of a brother after either temporary or perpetual profession, the prescriptions of the universal law of the Church are to be observed.

CIC 684 §1-3; 691-699 §1; 700; 703

Article VI

Formation for Work and Ministry

 

37

1Called as we are to the gospel life by one and the same religious vocation, all of us, in imitation of Saint Francis and following Capuchin tradition, are bound to express the apostolic nature of our vocation by the witness of our life in all the assignments we undertake in obedience and brotherly communion.

 

Test 21;

AC 62

2Therefore, mindful of the admonition of Saint Francis in his Testament: “Let those who do not know how to work, learn,” may we strive to acquire the necessary preparation for any service that is required of us.  
3Indeed, it is difficult to do any work properly without special and suitable formation.  

ER VII 3-7;

LR V 1;

IV PCO 22;

4It is the duty of the Order to help every brother to develop his own “grace of working,” because it is by working that the brothers support one another in their vocation and strengthen the harmony of their life in brotherhood.

CIC 670

ER II 5;

Test 20;

ScEx 22

5Formation for work and ministry shall be planned in such a way that the brothers, in accordance with their talents and vocation, are sufficiently prepared for the duties and offices they will have to fulfil. Therefore some may learn skills and technical trades, while others engage in pastoral or technical studies, especially those of a sacred character.

OT 8; PO 14; PC 6, 8

LR VIII 8;

FFCh 35;

FrCh 3,3; 3,6;

6The greatest care shall be taken to ensure that preparation for work and the apostolate is conducted in a true spirit of service, compatible with religious consecration, and in harmony with the journey of initiation, ensuring the primacy of life in brotherhood.  

LR X 8

38

1Let all the brothers remember that, while serving the Lord in minority, “they must desire above all else to have the Spirit of the Lord and His holy activity.”

Rom 12:11; CIC 673

LR V 1;

IV PCO 49ff; 57

2Therefore, while acquiring manual skills and a sound education, let them seek to become holy and, at the same time, competent in their particular “grace of working.” OT 9,15
3Let them prepare themselves for the apostolic life in keeping with their gifts and aptitudes in a spirit of self-denial and self-discipline. In this way, through personal formation and the development of their education, they contribute to the good of the Order, the Church, and society.  
4Studies, given light and life by the love of Christ, must be entirely in keeping with our way of life.  

2C 102; 194-195;

LMj XI 1

5While engaged in studies, therefore, let the brothers develop their hearts and minds in such a way that, in keeping with the intention of Saint Francis, they grow in their vocation. In fact, formation for any type of work is an integral part of our religious life.  
 

39

1In our apostolic Order, a pastoral concern shall so permeate the entire formation that all the brothers, according to each one's abilities, are able to proclaim by deed and word the Kingdom of God as disciples and prophets of our Lord Jesus Christ. The pastoral needs of the regions, as well as the missionary and ecumenical responsibility of the Church, shall be kept in mind.

OT 4,8; 16; 19-21; PC 2c; 6; 8; AG 26; PO 14; 19; UR 10; CIC 758; 783

  2The disciplines of philosophy and theology shall be taught side by side with Franciscan teaching so that they converge harmoniously, gradually opening minds and hearts to the mystery of Christ.

OT 14-16

  3This formation shall take place in the study centres of the Order, either provincial or interprovincial. When this is not possible because of the conditions in a region or a province or because of other particular requirements, the brothers may attend other study centres. When possible, collaboration with Franciscan institutes is preferred, and care shall be taken to ensure suitable Capuchin Franciscan formation.

OT 4; 7; ESa II, 36ff

  4The brothers who are called to sacred orders must be trained in accordance with the norms laid down by the Church, taking into account the character of our brotherhood. The consent of the Provincial Minister and his council is required for the reception of sacred orders.

OT intr.; 8ff; 13ff; DV 24; ESa II,33; 35; 37; CIC 250; 659 §3; 1027; 1032 §1-3; 1036; Ratio (?)

 

40

1Those engaged in the work of formation shall be aware that the brothers in training are the principal authors of their own formation, the responsibility for which rests primarily upon them, in trusting collaboration with the formation personnel.

OT 5;11; 15ff; PO 19; CIC 652 §3

  2The brothers charged with teaching shall, before anything else, present the witness of their lives and promote among themselves and with the students a profound communion of thought and action. In their teaching and in conversations with students they shall adopt an interactive method which enables the brothers in formation to acquire a culture that is dynamic and integrated.

OT 15; 17; CIC 252 §1; 254 §1

ER XIX 1-2

3Let them prepare and present their lectures carefully, guided by the Church's magisterium, taking care to keep up-to-date in their own disciplines and to adapt their lectures to new requirements.

OT 16

4Finally, it is recommended that they engage in scholarly research, writing and publication, especially in Franciscan subjects. For this purpose, Franciscan institutes promoted by the Order can offer assistance to these and other brothers.  

Article VII

On-going Formation

1C 103

41

1Mindful of Saint Francis and of his exhortation: “Brothers, let us begin to serve the Lord God, because until now we have done little or nothing”, let all of us be aware of the need for ongoing formation.

 

IV PCO 70ff; GUW 9-11

2Ongoing formation is a process of personal and community renewal and of harmonious adaptation of structures and activities, by which we are enabled to live our gospel vocation in actual everyday situations.

PC 2d-e; 3; 18; OT 22; GS 4; 35; 38; ESa I,7; CIC 661

GUW 14-14

3Ongoing formation involves the whole person in a holistic manner. It has, however, a twofold dimension: in the first place, spiritual conversion achieved through a continual return to the sources of Christian life and to the primitive spirit of the Order, carried out in forms adapted to times and cultures; secondly, cultural and professional renewal, achieved through educational and specialized adaptation to the conditions of the times. All of this promotes greater creative fidelity to our vocation.  

IV PCO 72; 74;

GUW 5-6

42

1Ongoing formation is intended for all the brothers, since it is nothing other than a continuous development of our vocation. Therefore, without a doubt and above all else, it is the duty and the right of each brother to apply himself to his own ongoing formation.

CIC 279 §1-3; 661

2All the ministers and guardians shall regard it as the primary ordinary duty of their pastoral service to promote the ongoing formation of the brothers entrusted to them. CIC 661
3In particular, the same ministers and the others responsible for formation shall take care to develop in those who are admitted to the Order the conviction that they must attend to their own formation for the whole of their lives, because no brother who has finished initial formation can claim to be fully equipped for the rest of his life.  

PGFP

GUW 19ff

43

1The Order shall have at its disposal formation resources that are compatible with our charism, and shall make them available to all the brothers.

 

IV PCO 72; 74ff; VI PCO 8

2Each circumscription shall enact norms for ongoing formation adapted to different places, conditions of persons, and times.  
3Let the programme be systematic, dynamic and integrated, embracing the whole religious life in the light of the Gospel and the spirit of our brotherhood.

CIC 279 §1-3; 661

4Daily living greatly assists ongoing formation. Indeed, the first school of formation is the daily experience of religious life, with its normal rhythm of prayer, reflection, life in brotherhood, and work.  
5Additionally, special means are also recommended, e.g., new or renewed ventures in ongoing formation, with the cooperation and help of either the local or provincial fraternity, within each province, region or Conference of major superiors.

  6The ministers shall take care that suitable brothers receive special training at institutes, schools and universities in the sacred sciences, as well as in the other sciences, the arts, and the professions, as seems appropriate for the service of the Church and the Order.

PC 18; CIC 819

  7Our International College in Rome is recommended for fostering the spirit of brotherhood in the whole Order, for the further pursuit of formation, and for promoting Franciscan culture.

CIC 819

2C 62; 180; 2MP 5; L3C 43

8It is further recommended that libraries and other cultural assets of the Order be protected and valued, recognizing their formative functions as a testimony to our identity, spirituality, and apostolic activity.  

44

1Let each brother enthusiastically commit himself to walk worthily in the Capuchin Franciscan vocation to which God has called him.

1Cor 7:24; LG 47

2All of us, therefore, shall strive to maintain and strengthen for ourselves and for others the gift of a religious vocation and perseverance by faithful cooperation with divine grace, prudent watchfulness, and constant prayer.

CIC 285 §1-2; 598 §2; 664; 672

3Let us also beware, brothers, of apostasy of the heart which occurs when, because of tepidity, someone hides a worldly heart beneath a religious exterior, abandons the spirit and love of his vocation, and yields to a worldly spirit of pride and sensuality. Remembering the apostle's admonition: “Do not be conformed to this world”, let us rather avoid whatever savours of sin and weakens religious life.

Rom 12:2

ER XVII 17-19; XXII 9-10; LR III 10-13; X 8; LtOrd 8-10;

V PCO 64; 82ff

4Therefore, “now that we have left the world, let us strive to desire nothing else, to wish for nothing else, to take pleasure in nothing else, than to follow the Spirit of the Lord and His holy activity” and to please Him always, so that we may truly be brothers, poor, meek, thirsting for holiness, merciful and clean of heart: brothers, in fact, through whom the world may know the peace and goodness of God.

Mt 5:3-9; LG 41


CHAPTER III

OUR LIFE OF PRAYER

III PCO 6ff; IV PCO 36a; 37-40; V PCO 1-14

45

1Prayer to God is the breathing of love stirred into life by the Holy Spirit through whom the inner man begins to listen to the voice of God speaking to his heart.

Hos 2:16; Rom 7:22; 8:26; Eph 3:16; LG 4

II PCO 8; 19

2In fact, God has been the first to love us and speaks to us in many ways: in all creatures, in the signs of the times, in the lives of people, in our hearts and, above all, through His Word in the history of salvation.

Heb 1:1-2; 1Jn 4:10; GS 11,34; 45; DV 3

II PCO 6ff

3As we respond in prayer to God Who speaks to us, we become fully ourselves by leaving self-love behind and, in communion with God and with people, we pass over into Christ who is both God and man.  
4For Christ Himself is our life, our prayer, and our activity.  

II PCO 7

5Therefore, we truly carry on a filial conversation with the Father when we live Christ and pray in His Spirit, Who cries out in our hearts: “Abba, Father!”

Phil 1:21; Rom 8:15; Gal 3:16

II PCO 2; 8; III PCO 38; IV PCO 37-40

6We are consecrated more intensely to the service of God through our profession of the gospel counsels. Therefore we strive in the freedom of the Spirit to grow faithfully and steadfastly in this life of prayer.

LG 44; PC 5; 6; CIC 607 §1

LR X 9; LtAnt 2; LMj IX 1; X 2; 2C 95

7This is why, with the strongest commitment, we cultivate “the Spirit of holy prayer and devotion to which all time-bound things must contribute.” We do this to become true followers of Saint Francis, who seemed not so much to pray as to have become the embodiment of prayer.

CIC 663 §1

LR X 8-9

8”Desiring above all things the Spirit of the Lord and His holy activity, and praying to God always with a pure heart,” we offer people the witness of genuine prayer, so that all may see on our faces and experience in the life of our fraternities the reflection of God’s goodness and kindness present in the world.

2Tm 2:22; Ti 3:4

II PCO 14; 19; 31ff; IV PCO 40; V PCO 7ff, 23

46

1May our prayer, then, be a distinctive manifestation of our calling as lesser brothers.

 

ER XXII 32-34

ER IX 1-3; XVII 17-19; LtOrd 9

2We truly pray as brothers when we gather together in the name of Christ in mutual love, so that the Lord is actually in our midst.

3We pray as lesser ones when we live with the poor and humble Christ, so that we offer the cry of the poor to the Father and effectively share their lot.

Mt 18: 20; PC 15

II PCO 9; 14; ER XXII 41; LtOrd 50

4Let us therefore remain faithful to what we have promised, fulfilling in our lives what the Lord wants and wanting what is pleasing to Him.  

II PCO 9

5In this way, prayer and activity, far from being in opposition, complement each other as they are inspired by one and the same Spirit of the Lord.

CIC 675 §2

ER XVII 17-19; XXIII; PrG 3; PrOF 2; PrG 11; LtOrd 9; 2LtF 62; CtC 1-14; AC 100; II PCO 17ff

6Franciscan prayer is affective, a prayer of the heart, which leads us to an intimate experience of God. When we contemplate “God, who is the supreme Good and all Good, from Whom all good proceeds,” our hearts should burst forth in adoration, thanksgiving, wonder, and praise.  

II PCO 16; 18; V PCO 28; 64; 82ff

7Beholding Christ in all creatures, let us go about in the world proclaiming peace and penance and inviting all to praise God as witnesses of His love.  

II PCO 36ff

47

1Being consecrated to the service of God by means of Baptism and more closely united to Him through religious profession, we hold in the greatest esteem the sacred liturgy, which is the exercise of the priestly office of Christ, the summit of all the Church’s activity and the source of all Christian life. May we nourish our individual and fraternal spiritual life from this same source and open up its treasures to the faithful.

LG 10; PC 6; 15; SC 2; 7; 10; 12; 19; 22; PO 5; 14; OT 16; CD 35,4; ESa I, 22ff; CIC 204 §1; 573 §1; 654;

834 §1; 849; 897

1C 45; 2C 96

2For this reason, we have the greatest veneration for the mystery of the Eucharist and for the Divine Office. This, as Francis wanted, moulds the entire life of the brotherhood.

PC 6

RSP 75; VII PCO 17

3Let us take part in the sacred liturgy with devotion and with dignified outward behaviour.

SC 99

II PCO 38

4We carefully cultivate fidelity to the liturgical norms, according to their genuine spirit, doing so with creativity, spontaneity, and respect for local cultures.  

II PCO 38; GIRM 23; 201; EP 17

5So that the word of God may penetrate our hearts, and renew our lives ever more profoundly through inward participation in the divine mysteries, we give appropriate space to silence in our celebrations as part of the liturgical action. GILH 23

LtOrd 41

6In imitation of Saint Francis, who frequently expressed his feelings in song and music, the liturgy is celebrated with singing as far as possible, particularly on feast days. However, let us pay attention not so much to the vocal melody as to our inward participation, so that our voices may be in harmony with our minds, and our minds with God.

SC 90; 99

II CPO 38 7As far as the rite is concerned, the brothers comply with the prescriptions issued by the competent ecclesiastical authorities of the region where they live.  

LtOrd 29; Adm I 16-22; II PCO 37; 39

48

1We participate fully, consciously, and actively in the Eucharist, the source of the Church’s life: the root, the focal point, and the very heart of our life as brothers. We celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ until He comes, holding back nothing of ourselves, so that “He who offered himself totally to us may receive us totally.”

1Cor 11:26; LG 3; 7; 11; 26; 28; SC 6; 11; 14; 17; 19; 21; 26ff; 30; 41; 48; 57; CD 15; GS 38; PC 6; PO 6; 7; 13; VC 95; UT 15; CIC 897

LtOrd 30-31; 2C 201; LMj IX 2; II PCO 37

2In the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread we are raised to communion with Christ and with one another, manifesting the unity of the sacrifice, the priesthood, and the brotherhood. To make this more evident, we celebrate a Mass daily in all our houses as a fraternity. Should this not be possible, the Eucharist with the participation of all the brothers is to be celebrated frequently. 1Cor 10:26; CIC 608; 663 §2; 897; 899 §1
3Let the Eucharist, in which our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is present to us under the consecrated species, be reserved in our oratories and churches in a most fitting place and manner.

CIC 608; 934 §1; 936; 938 §1

Adm I 16-21; LtOrd 26-33; 2LtCl 3; Test 10; 2C 201; AC 80; LMj IX 2

4After the example of Saint Francis, let us adore with faith, humble reverence, and devotion Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist. With Him, let us offer ourselves and our actions to God the Father through the Spirit, and frequently spend time in fervent prayer before Him, the spiritual centre of our brotherhood.

SC 7; PO 18; CIC 608; 663 §2; VC 95

II PCO 36; V PCO 28

49

1The Liturgy of the Hours, which extends the grace of the Eucharist to the different hours of each day, is the prayer of Christ, who unites the Church to Himself in praise and humble intercession which He forever presents to the Father on behalf of all humanity.

SC 7; 8; 83-85; 89a; 90; 98-101; GILH 12; PO 5; 13; CIC 1173

2Let us celebrate worthily the Liturgy of the Hours to which the Church binds us in virtue of our profession in order to share in the eternal hymn of praise brought into the world by the Incarnate Word, and to blend our voices with that of the Church speaking to Christ, her Bridegroom. This is a foretaste of the praise that unceasingly resounds before the throne of God and of the Lamb.

CIC 1174 §1; 1175; SC 84; GILH 15-16

ER III 3; LR III 1-4; Test 30; LtOrd 40-44; LMj VIII 9; L3C 41;

3The entire fraternity, therefore, gathers together each day in the name of Christ, to give thanks to the Father in the Holy Spirit by recalling the memory of the mysteries of salvation through the Liturgy of the Hours, by which the mystery of Christ permeates and transfigures time. When this cannot be done for all the Hours, at least Morning and Evening Prayer are to be celebrated in common. GILH 12
4We recommend, moreover, that the brothers do the same wherever they may live or may happen to be, and that the Liturgy of the Hours be celebrated with the faithful   according to the circumstances of the place.

CIC 1174 §2

RH 3-6; 2C 64; 11

5Let the local chapter, with the approval of the minister, arrange the schedule and work of the house in such a way that the course of the day and all our activities are sanctified by the praise of God. The circumstances of individuals, times, and cultures are to be taken into account.

SC 88; ESa II,26; CIC 1175

GILH 11

  6Whenever we cannot celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours in common, let us remember that, even when praying the office individually, we are united spiritually with the whole Church and especially with the brothers. Let those brothers who say the Office of the Lord’s Prayer according to the Rule pray it with the same profound intention.

SC 84ff; 98

50

1Let our prayer be inspired by the teaching of the prophets and psalmists and, above all, by the example of the Son of God who, in taking on the human condition, shares even in His prayer, in all that His brothers and sisters experience, and, offering himself, intercedes for them before His Father.

CCC 2602

V PCO 7; Test 1-3; LMj I 6; 1C 17; 2C 9; L3C 11

2Saint Francis, who discovered the divine plan in contemplation, wished to share fully in Christ’s love for humanity by embracing lepers and proclaiming to all the good news of hope and peace through conversion.  

V PCO 6-7; VII PCO 31

3Our first Capuchin brothers, while giving primacy to a life of contemplation and solitude, were also mindful of and concerned for people’s needs, and experienced the presence of God in everyday events and human situations.  
  4Following their example, we strive to discern signs of God’s love in the unfolding of history, in the religious sense of the people, and in the distinct cultures of various regions.

ET 44

  5Therefore, let our prayer be an expression of universal solidarity and compassion. Conforming ourselves closely to the prayer of Christ, we become the voice of every situation, taking on ourselves the joys and hopes, the grief and the anguish of every human person.

CCC 2634; MisPref IV; GS 1

ER III 4.10; LR III 3; 2C 101; 164; AC 103; 3LAg 2886

51

1Conscious that in prayer we work with God for the coming of His Kingdom and the building up of the Body of Christ, and recalling the catholic spirit of Saint Francis, we implore the Lord for holy Mother Church, the pope, those who govern us, all peoples, the salvation of the entire world, and, in particular, for the entire Franciscan family, and our benefactors.

1Tm 2:1-2; LG 44; 49ff; SC 53; GS 18

LR VI 2

2Faith in the risen Christ sustains our hope and keeps alive our communion with brothers and sisters who are resting in the peace of Christ. United with them in an exchange of spiritual gifts, in the celebration of the Eucharist and in our prayers, let us commend all the deceased to the merciful God. With gratitude and charity, let us offer the special suffrages prescribed by the Ordinances of the General Chapters.

LG 49-51

 

52

1Each Sunday, the Church keeps the memory of Christ’s resurrection and, during the liturgical year, with the Paschal Triduum at its very heart, she recalls the mysteries of redemption and dispenses them to all the faithful, so that they may be filled with the grace of salvation.

SC 102; MyP; GNLYC

  2We live Sunday as the weekly Easter, listening to the Word in the unity of the one bread broken to revitalize our life in brotherhood. Let us devote ourselves generously to pastoral service on the Lord’s day. By celebrating the gift of creation with joy and thanksgiving, we nourish in ourselves the ardent expectation of the everlasting Sunday which will usher us into God’s eternal rest.

SC 106; DD 1-2; 19-22.24-30ff

  3We wholeheartedly embrace the wealth of grace that flows to us from the celebration of the liturgical year and from the sacraments. This fountain of spirit and of life, an inexhaustible source of spiritual nourishment, is the sure guide of our formation. MyP 1
  4By celebrating the mysteries of salvation, as children of God we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in prayer so that we grow more and more in Christ, until we reach the fullness of communion with the Father and with our brothers and sisters.  

ER XXIII 3; Adm I 16; 2LtF 4ff; 1C 84; 2C 199; LMj X 7; II PCO 15

5In the spirit of the holy Gospel and following the course of the liturgical year, in a special way we reflect upon and preach to the faithful the mysteries of the humanity of Christ, in particular His nativity and His passion, in which Saint Francis marvelled at the Lord’s love and humility.

LG 46; 53; 58ff; 61ff; 66ff; OT 8; SC 19; 104-105ff; PC 25; PO 18

2LtF 5; ER IX 5; 1C 21; 2C 83; 85; 198; 200; LMj III 1; VII 1; IX 1; L3C 15

6On the feasts of the Virgin Mary also, and on the memorials of the saints, the Church proclaims the Passover of her Lord. With particular devotion therefore, especially through liturgical worship, the Angelus and the Rosary, we venerate “Mary, the Mother of God and the Virgin conceived without sin, daughter and handmaid of the Father, Mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit, the virgin made Church” according to the expression of Saint Francis, and we promote devotion to her among the people. She is, indeed, our mother and advocate, the patroness of our Order, the companion of her Son in His poverty and sufferings and, as experience shows, the way to the spirit of Christ poor and crucified.

SC 103-105; MCult 41; DPPL 195; Lk 1:38; CIC 246 §3; 276 §2; 663 §4

  7At the same time, in accordance with ancient tradition, we devoutly venerate Saint Joseph, the faithful spouse of the Virgin Mary, guardian of the Redeemer and humble worker.  

1C 115; 2C 221; LMj Pr; L3C 73

8Let us encourage and promote, according to local custom, devotion to our holy Father Francis, the model of lesser ones, to Saint Clare, and to the saints, especially our own, taking care that such veneration always conforms to the spirit of the sacred liturgy. LG 45; SC 13; 104; 108; 111; CIC 1186-1187

LR X 8-9; ER XX 27-31ff; LMn 4

53

1In the liturgy God Himself comes to meet us and speaks to us in His word. With hearts receptive and filled with trust, let us respond in prayer using His own words taken from Scripture.

SC 7.10-12.24.35

2It is God’s word that gives birth to and builds up our life of consecration. Following the example of Saint Francis, let us cultivate a profound familiarity with it in order to grow in the experience of God and give clear gospel witness to the Church and the world.

PC 6; DV 21; 26; CIC 276 §2; 652 §2; 663 §3; Syn12 (?); VD 83

3Let us dedicate sufficient time each day to the prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture and nourish true devotion by reading other spiritual books as well.

Syn12 22; 9; 32; 55; VD 71; 82; 86

4Moreover, we cultivate our gospel life in brotherhood by assigning times for sharing the word of God and allowing it to challenge us.

DV 25

Const 1536 I p. 3, 27; II PCO 12

5So that we may always keep before our mind’s eye the way and life that we have professed, let each circumscription issue norms both for the public reading of Sacred Scripture, the Rule, Testament, and Constitutions, and for the renewal of profession in common.

CIC 652 §2 663 §3; 276 §2; PC 6; DV 21; SC 51; Sp 76; Dt 6:6-9

 

54

1We preserve and promote the contemplative spirit that shines in the life of Saint Francis and of our first brothers. Therefore, we give greater importance to it by cultivating mental prayer.

 

Const 1536 III p. 9, 10

II PCO 12

2Mental prayer is the spiritual teacher of the brothers who, if they are true and spiritual lesser brothers, pray interiorly at all times. To pray, in fact, is nothing other than to speak to God with the heart; in truth, whoever speaks to God with his lips alone does not pray at all. For this reason each brother applies himself to mental prayer or contemplation and, according to the teaching of Christ, the best of teachers, endeavours to adore the eternal Father in spirit and truth, striving earnestly to enlighten the mind and enkindle the heart rather than to formulate words.

Is 29:13; Mt 15:8; Mk 7:6; Jn 4:23ff

ER XXII 26-31

3Genuine mental prayer leads us to the spirit of true worship, unites us profoundly with Christ, and continually intensifies the effects of the sacred liturgy in the spiritual life.

SC 12; 90; PO 5; 18; ESa II, 16,1; 21

II PCO 11

4Moreover, so that the spirit of prayer and prayer itself may never grow lukewarm within us, but may burn more intensely from day to day, we must apply ourselves each day to its practice.

CIC 276 §2; 663 §3

II PCO 11; 23ff; 27 5Let the ministers, the guardians, and others who are entrusted with the care of the spiritual life, do their best to ensure that all the brothers make progress in the knowledge and practice of mental prayer.

PC 13ff

ER V 2; II PCO 19

6Let the brothers draw from the genuine sources of Christian and Franciscan spirituality the spirit of prayer, and prayer itself, in order to acquire the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ.  

II PCO 10ff; 23; 26; 29; 31ff

55

1The fraternities and the individual brothers, wherever they may be, must make the primacy of the spirit and life of prayer a reality as required by the words and example of Saint Francis and by genuine Capuchin tradition.

CIC 578; 587 §1; 663 §1

2It is of the greatest importance to form one’s conscience about the vital necessity of personal prayer. Each brother, wherever he may be, is to make sufficient time each day for mental prayer, for example, one whole hour.  

StatAbr 2

3Let provincial and local chapters ensure that all brothers have the necessary time for mental prayer, both in common and in private.  

II PCO 6; 20; 23ff; 29; 34

4In local chapters let the fraternity raise the question of the communal and individual prayer of the brothers. The brothers and, first of all, the guardians because of their pastoral role, shall consider themselves mutually responsible for encouraging one another in the life of prayer.  
5As disciples of Christ, though poor and weak, we persevere in prayer, so that those who are sincerely seeking the Lord may feel drawn to pray with us.  
6May we also foster among the People of God the spirit and growth of prayer, above all interior prayer. This has been from the beginning the charism of our Capuchin brotherhood and, as history testifies, the seed of genuine renewal. Therefore, let us enthusiastically commit ourselves to become skilled in the art of prayer and to pass it on to others.  
7Education in prayer and in the experience of God, using a simple method, shall be a feature of our apostolic activity. The effort to make our fraternities genuine schools of prayer will bring great benefits.

NMI 32-34

II PCO 30

56

1For the continuous renewal of our religious life, all the brothers are to make an annual retreat and have other periods of recollection

 
2To this end, let the ministers and guardians arrange that each brother, even those who live outside a religious house, has the necessary time and opportunity to do so.  

I PCO 20

57

1Each fraternity must truly be a praying fraternity. The greatest care should be taken in all circumscriptions to form individual brothers and the fraternities themselves in the spirit and practice of prayer, using suitable means

1Pt 4:10

II PCO 25; V PCO 4,11; RH 1-10

2It would be beneficial to establish fraternities of recollection and of contemplation for one or several circumscriptions. The brothers who, in response to the variety of God’s grace, make up these fraternities shall, while living in communion with the provincial fraternity, keep in mind what Saint Francis wrote to those wishing to live in a religious way in hermitages.  

RH 1

3Let these fraternities of recollection be open to all other brothers who periodically wish to spend time there to devote themselves more intensely to the spirit and life of prayer, as God inspires them.  

RH 3; II PCO 28; 30

58

1Silence, the faithful guardian of the inner life required by charity in community, shall be highly esteemed in all our fraternities for the preservation of a life of prayer, study, and recollection.

 
2The local chapter is responsible for protecting the atmosphere of prayer and recollection in our fraternities, keeping out whatever might impede it.  

ER XXII 26

59

1”In the holy love which is God,” Saint Francis encourages all the brothers, “after they have overcome every obstacle and put aside all care and anxiety,” to resolve “to serve, love, honour, and adore the Lord God with a clean heart and a pure mind.”

 

LtOrd 233; PrOF 2-3.5

2Welcoming this appeal of our Father and Brother in an open and docile spirit, may we fix our eyes and hearts on God, so that, ”inwardly cleansed, interiorly enlightened, and burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit,” we may draw all people to the love of things invisible. In this way, a world athirst for God will be enlightened by the knowledge of the Lord and be filled with His heavenly bliss.

PVI Nc

ER XXII 27

3Guided by the Spirit, “let us make a home and an abiding dwelling place for Him who is the Lord God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”  

CHAPTER IV

OUR LIFE IN POVERTY

Article I

Our Commitment to Poverty

LtOrd 52

60

1God the Most High, perfect Trinity and simple Unity, is a mystery of humility. The pure relationship of love among the divine Persons, which overflows into creation and into salvation history, is the model of all human relationships and the foundation of our life in poverty and humility.

VC 21; CV 54

I PCO III,1ff; IV PCO 36b; 42-46; V PCO 29-40; VI PCO 1; 4

2The greatest manifestation of the humility of God is Jesus Christ the Son, who receives everything from the Father and with the Father shares all things in the Spirit. He was sent to bring the Good News to the poor. Though rich, He made Himself poor for our sakes, being born in human likeness, so that we might be enriched by His poverty.

Is 61:1; Mt 11:27; Lk 4:18; 10:22; Phil 2:7; 2Cor 8:9; LG 8; 39; 42; 46; PC 1; 13; PO 6; 17; GS 72; 88; AG 3; 5; SC 5; CD 13; CIC 600

3From His being placed at birth in the manger until His death on the cross He loved the poor and, as an example for His disciples, bore witness to the love of the Father who goes in search of them.

SC 19-21

4The Church recognises voluntary poverty, especially in religious, as a sign of the following of Christ, and proposes Saint Francis as a prophetic image of gospel poverty.

PC 1; 13; CIC 222 §2; 600; 640; 662

PrG; 1C 22; 94; 1C 84; L3C 25; 29; LMj II,4; VII 2; XIV 3, 4; L3C 19; AP 8; 2C 214; 217; 2C 194; VI PCO 11

5Awestruck by the beauty of God, who is humility, patience, and meekness, Saint Francis was led to choose poverty, which he experienced in the humility of the Incarnation and the charity of the Passion, so that he could follow naked the naked crucified Lord.

Phil 2:6; Ps 44,3; Jer 11:19; 2Cor 10:1; VC 24

6The gospel ideal of poverty led Francis to humility of heart, to radical dispossession of self, to compassion for the poor and the weak, and to sharing their life.  

VI PCO 5

61

1Holding fast to the gospel insights of Saint Francis and to the tradition of the Order, we undertake as our specific responsibility to follow the poverty of our Lord Jesus Christ in simplicity of life and joyful austerity, in hard work, trust in Providence, and in charity towards all.

 

ER IX 1-5; LtOrd 5

2Poverty, chosen in order to follow Christ, qualifies us to share in His relationship to the Father as a son, as a brother, and as a servant in the midst of people. In doing so, poverty leads us to live in solidarity with the little ones of this world. Phil 2:7; Mt 19:12; Jn 1:1

ER VII 13; IX 1-3; LR VI 4; VI PCO 1-6

3Commitment to the gospel ideal of poverty calls us to be available in love and to conform ourselves with Christ poor and crucified Who came into the world to serve.

Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45; Lk 22:27; LG 44; PC 13; CIC 222 §2; 600; 640; 662

ER VII 13; XVII 17-18; XXIII 1-5; LR VI 1; Adm II 3

4We do not claim the gifts of nature and grace as our own as if they were given only for ourselves, but strive to place them entirely at the service of the People of God.  

2C 73; 120; LMj VII 7; L3C 45

5We use temporal things gratefully and share them with those in need and, at the same time, give an example of the right use of things to people who are greedy for them.

CIC 222 §2; 600; 640; 662

ER IX 1-3;

6We will be genuinely proclaiming to the poor that God is with them to the degree that we are available to them and truly share in their condition.  

I PCO 3,2ff; 8; VI PCO 12

62

1For our individual and communal poverty to be authentic, it must be the expression of an interior poverty that needs no explanation.

PC 13; PO 17; ESa II,23; CIC 282 §1-2; 578; 586 §1; 587 §1; 600; 631 §1; 635 §2; 640

VII PCO 26

2Poverty demands a frugal and simple lifestyle. Let us, therefore, strive to reduce our material needs to a minimum in order to live only on what is necessary, decisively rejecting consumerism in our attitude and practice.  

VII PCO 26;

CCFW 24; 6.2; VII PCO 4.

3Austerity makes us more amenable to spiritual values, preserves us from anything that weakens our relationship with God and our brothers and sisters, and opens us to solidarity.  

VI PCO 18; ER 5,12-15

4Minority demands that we do not seek for ourselves any form of prestige, power or dominion, whether in society, in politics, or in the Church. Rather, let us choose to be servants and subjects of every human creature, accepting the precariousness and vulnerability of our condition as lesser brothers.

Rom 15:27; 12:1; Mt 20:25; Mt 25:31-46; Mk 9:33-37; 10:42-45; Lk 22:24-27; 1Pt 5:3

VI PCO 3

5May we, therefore, embrace all the demands of living without anything of our own, conscious that, without minority, poverty is meaningless and becomes pride, just as minority without poverty is a sham.  

I PCO 1,4; V PCO 28-40; 45; 55; 63-102; VI PCO 21-26

63

1We live in conscious solidarity with the countless poor of the world and, through our apostolic activity encourage people, especially Christians, to undertake works of justice and charity to promote the common good.

CIC 222 §1-2; 528 §1; 672; 747 §2; 768 §2

VI PCO 9-10

2Worthy of praise are those brothers who, in particular local situations, live with the poor and share in their conditions and aspirations, thereby encouraging them to work for better social and cultural conditions and to hope for the good things that never end.  

VI PCO 9

3Nevertheless, let it be clear that by preferring to choose the poor we are challenged as a brotherhood and required to make joint decisions leading to concrete action.  

VI PCO 4

64

1We practise common life and gladly share with one another whatever is given to individuals.

CIC 602; 607 §2; 619

2In virtue of our religious profession we are bound to hand over to the fraternity all assets that come to us in any way, including salaries, pensions, grants, insurance policies, etc.

CIC 619; 668 §3, §5; 670

VI PCO 44;

VII PCO 9

3The fraternity provides each brother with food, clothing and whatever is necessary for the exercise of his office. Out of respect for the same dignity enjoyed by all the brothers, we avoid all forms of privilege and seek equity rather than equality. In addition, may we always be mindful that our lifestyle must be a witness of gospel poverty, minority, and brotherhood in the diverse social and cultural contexts.  

2C 185

4Let the ministers and guardians give to the brothers an example of minority in safeguarding poverty and promoting its observance.

CIC 619

I PCO 3,2ff; 8; VI PCO 12; LR IV 2

65

1Since commitment to gospel poverty is essential to our form of life, in our general, provincial, and local chapters we make decisions about how to observe it ever more faithfully in ways that are adapted to the changing times and the diversity of places. For this reason, these ways are always in need of reform.

PC 13; PO 17; ESa II,23; CIC 282 §1-2; 578; 586 §1; 587 §1; 600; 631 §1; 635 §2; 640

  2With mutual charity and docility to the Spirit of the Lord, may we frequently evaluate our way of observing poverty; our personal and communal style of shall always be simple and austere, the witness of our fraternities prophetic and credible, and our mission to the poor generous and authentic.  

Article II

Poverty in Property and Money

LR VI 1; 2C56; LMj VII 2; AC 13; I PCO III,9

66

1Let us observe the poverty we have promised, remembering the intentions and words of Saint Francis: “The brothers shall appropriate nothing to themselves, neither house, nor place, nor anything at all.”

 

1C 76; 2C 83; LMj VIII 5

2May we use temporal resources for the necessities of life, the apostolate, and works of charity, especially toward the poor.

LG 8; PO 17; CIC 1254 §1; 1285

ER VI 2; Test 24; LMj VII 9; 2C 165; 217

3Therefore “as pilgrims and strangers in this world, while on our way to the land of the living, let us serve the Lord in poverty and humility.”

1Pt 2:11

ER XXII 9; XXIII 8-11, 25-26; 1C 29; 2C 16-17; LMj III 7, 10; L3C 36; 50-51

67

1As children of the eternal Father, putting aside anxious care, may we rely on divine providence and entrust ourselves to God’s infinite goodness.

Mt 6:25-34; PC 13

2C 45; LMj VII 9; AC 32

2Therefore, we do not store up material things excessively, even those necessary for sustenance. CIC 634 §2

ER VII 3-6; LR V; Test 20; 2C 161; LMj V 6; VI PCO 14-16

3We acquire the means and resources for the necessities of life and the apostolate chiefly through our own work.  

ER VII 16; VIII 3; IX 1-9; Test 22; 2C 70-71; LMj VII 8; VI PCO 20

4Should these be lacking, “we may have recourse to the table of the Lord” with confidence, according to the laws of the universal and particular Church. While we seek alms from the people, we give them a witness of brotherhood, minority, poverty, and Franciscan joy.

CIC 1265 §1

ER VII 7; VIII 3-12; LR VI; VI PCO 3; 6

68

1Saint Francis, true to his own charism of poverty and minority in the Church, commanded his sons not to accept money in any way, since it was a sign of wealth, a temptation to greed, and an instrument of domination in the world.

Mt 10:9; Lk 9:3; CIC 586-587; 631 §1

VI PCO 29;

2However, because times have changed and the use of money has become necessary, the brothers, wanting to fulfil the will of our Seraphic Father, use money only as an ordinary means of exchange and social life, necessary even for the poor, and do so according to the prescriptions of our particular law.  

ER VIII 3,7,10; VI PCO 29

69

1The ministers and guardians, whose duty it is, in virtue of their office, to care for the needs of the brothers, may use money for the necessities of life and for works of the apostolate and charity.

CIC 619; 670

2All the brothers, in accordance with the norms of each circumscription, have an obligation to account for the money entrusted to them for the necessities of life.

CIC 600

3But for everyone, be they ministers or guardians or the other brothers, the use of money must always be such that it does not exceed what is truly compatible with being poor.  
4To remain faithful to poverty, the brothers shall not ask their friends or relatives for money or other things, nor receive gifts for their exclusive use without the permission of the guardian or minister.  

VI PCO 37

70

1The ministers, with the consent of their council, may make use of insurance policies and other forms of social security where these are prescribed by ecclesiastical or civil authority, either for everyone or for members of certain categories, or are commonly used by the poor of the area.

PO 21; CIC 668 §3; 1284 §1

2But let them diligently avoid all those forms of security which have the appearance of luxury or profit-making in the area in which they live.

CIC 634 §2; 640

3It is appropriate, however, that the ministers and guardians, like people of modest means, deposit whatever money is really necessary in banks or similar institutions, observing the precepts of our proper law.

CIC 1284 §2; 1294 §2

4But they may not accept foundations, perpetual legacies, or inheritances to which perpetual rights and obligations are attached.

CIC 1304, 1305

1C 39; LMj IV 7; L3C 45; I PCO III, 6ff; VI PCO 7

71

1Let the brothers show people by their life that voluntary poverty liberates them from greed, the root of all evil, and from anxious concern for the future.

Mt 6:19ff; 1Tm 6:10; PC 13; CIC 600

  2Therefore, the ministers and guardians shall carefully avoid any financial speculation or accumulation, except for a modest margin of financial security.

Mt 6:19ff; CIC 286; 634 §2; 672

VI PCO 12-13

3For every use of resources, including money, the circumscriptions, fraternities, and brothers shall apply a precise and practical principle: the minimum necessary, not the maximum allowed. It shall be applied in accordance with the different social conditions in which they live.  

I PCO II,2; III, 1ff; 10; V PCO 38; VI PCO 21-24

4So that the brothers do not become degenerate sons of Saint Francis by keeping things unjustly, let them hand over resources not needed for the fraternity to the ministers, for the needs of the circumscription and of the Order, or for distribution to the poor, or for social development, according to the norms established by the provincial chapter. Let the brothers frequently reflect on all of this in the local chapter.

PC 13; GS 69ff; ESa II,23; CIC 222 §2; 640

CCFW 6,2; VI PCO 31; VII PCO 26

5In the local chapter let the brothers, according to the spirit of the Constitutions, talk about the correct use of resources regarding food, clothing, gifts made to individuals and to the community, the use of the media and technology, travel and similar matters.

CIC 600; 634 §2; 635 §2

VI PCO 11-12

6Let us also reflect on what means we use to carry out our tasks and ministries, always choosing those that are suited to our state as lesser brothers.  

ER IX 10-11; LR VI 7-8;

VI PCO 22; CCFW (2.2

72

1Following the teaching of Saint Francis, in a spirit of minority, let us trustingly make known to one another our every need, recognizing our mutual dependence as an essential component of brotherly communion and a source of mutual support.

 

VI PCO 21; SRS 38;

SMD 3.1

2We practise solidarity, a preeminent expression of brotherly love, and resolutely commit ourselves to the good of each and every person, because we are all responsible for one another.

CV 38-39;

I PCO II,2

3In case of need, individual fraternities of the same area and even circumscriptions of the Order shall promptly and in a spirit of sacrifice share even their necessary resources.

PC 13

VI PCO 21-28; 36; 27

4We express our solidarity with all the brothers and sisters of the Franciscan Family, and, in collaboration with them, share with all people of good will the commitment to promote justice and a fair distribution of resources.  
  5We promote a culture of sharing, raising people’s awareness that resources are meant for everyone and must be used with a sense of responsibility for future generations. In this way we endorse genuine economic and social development based on ethical and religious principles, founded on a heightened sense of God, of the dignity of the human person, and of justice and peace among peoples.  

Article III

Poverty in Our Buildings

ER VII 13; LR VI 2; Test 24; 2C 56-57; LMj VII 2; VI PCO 38-40

73

1We must live in humble and poor houses, always residing there “as pilgrims and strangers.”

 

ER VII 13; 2C 61; AC 32; LMj VII 9; V PCO 28; VI PCO 12-13; VII PCO 27b; 49

2When choosing the site of a new house, let us not lose sight of our life of poverty, the living conditions of the poor of the region, the spiritual good of the brothers, and the requirements of the various ministries that are to be exercised. The houses should be constructed in such a way that they are accessible to all, especially to ordinary people.

PO 17; CIC 610 §1; 640

I PCO II 12 3Houses should be suited to the real needs of the fraternity and its ministries, and be conducive to prayer, work, and fraternal life.

CIC 610 §1; 640

VI PCO 38;

I PCO 53;

VI PCO 38; 40

4In our chapters, let us frequently assess how far our houses correspond to a life that is truly poor and lowly. Let us also discuss the social use of resources entrusted to the fraternities, whether money, houses, or lands. We shall gladly use these in the service of people, taking care not to accumulate either money or real estate.

FLC 50, 67; VC 63

Test 4-5; 11; 1LtCus; 2LtCus;

LtOrd 14-17

74

1Churches shall be simple, dignified and clean. Great care is to be taken to see that they foster a life of prayer and brotherhood, are appropriate for liturgical celebrations, and for the active participation of the faithful.

PO 5; SC 124; CIC 1216

  2Sacristies, too, shall be suitable and sufficiently equipped for the liturgical functions. Everything used for divine worship is to be dignified and in conformity with liturgical norms without offending poverty and simplicity.  

Article IV

The Administration of Resources

VI PCO 7

75

1In order to safeguard the observance of poverty and minority, which is our choice as the family of Saint Francis, let us also administer the resources entrusted to our care in a responsible, correct, and prudent manner.

 

VI PCO 30

2Transparency distinguishes our individual and fraternal life, and makes trust, sincerity, and communion grow among us. It should also characterise our administration of resources at every level, and commit us to account for everything we receive and use.  

V PCO 29; 45; GrW 7.3

3Since we share responsibility for the life of the brotherhood, we foster the active participation of all the brothers, so that decision-making, even in the area of administration, may be the fruit of joint reflection and shared as widely as possible, while respecting the roles and competence proper to each.  

VI PCO 29; 37

4Let us always remember that the living witness of our life must prevail over efficiency and productivity.  

VI PCO 8;

VII PCO 6; 40; 51;

CCFW 6,1

5During formation, beginning with the time of initiation, due care shall be taken to ensure that the brothers acquire a correct understanding of the spirit, the principles and the practices of a fraternal economy as our life in poverty and minority requires.  

76

1In the general and provincial curias there shall be bursars appointed by the respective minister with the consent of his council for the administration of money and other resources.

CIC 636 §1

2Each house shall also have a local bursar, appointed by the minister with the consent of his council.  

VI PCO 41

3Bursars shall be well qualified and discharge their office in a manner consistent with our way of life under the direction and supervision of their respective superior, following the norms of universal and proper law.  

VII PCO 51

4Because of the importance and risks involved in the duties entrusted to them, administrators and bursars shall not ordinarily remain in the same office for too many years.  

I PCO II 16, 25, 34, 37

5When it is appropriate, we may use the services of competent lay people in the administration of resources and their work shall be supervised. In the case of social or charitable works, we may entrust the administration to lay people, defining their responsibilities, and ensuring that the nature and aims of the work are respected, while leaving the pastoral management in our hands.  

VI PCO 25, 37

6We must scrupulously observe the norms of canon and civil law governing the administration of resources, as well as in contracts, and the alienation of property, following strict ethical principles in conformity with the social teaching of the Church.

CIC 635 §1; 638 §3; 639 §5; 1292 §3; 1295; CV 45

  7The Order shall periodically review the principles and practical guidelines it follows for sound and just administration and in the management of financial resources. Where appropriate, it may issue relevant directives in the form of special statutes. The same shall be done in each circumscription.  

LBL 3; 1C 15; 2C 12; 14; 61; 64; LMj II 3; VII 1; L3C 19

77

1Called to the gospel way of poverty, let us accustom ourselves to endure privations, after the example of Christ and mindful of Saint Francis, who wished to be so poor that, stripped of everything and free of sentimental attachments, he could entrust himself to the Father who cares for us.

Mt 6:23; Lk 12: 30; Phil 4:12; LG 42

2Neither do we wish to be numbered among those who are not truly poor, those who love to be poor as long as they lack nothing.  
3Let us remember that gospel poverty and its perfection consist principally in being totally available for God and for people.  

ER XVII 17; PrG 5

4Therefore, we are not to be inordinately attached to earthly goods, but to use this world as though not using it. With praise and thanksgiving let us give back all that is good to the Lord our God, Most High and All-Powerful, Who is “all our wealth and sufficiency.”

1Cor 7:31


CHAPTER V

OUR MANNER OF WORKING

IV PCO 49-51; VI PCO 14

78

1God the Father, who has made all things with wisdom and love, calls everyone through work to share in the enterprise of creation. Through work, men and women conform to the original plan of God, grow in personal maturity, help their neighbour, and cooperate in the betterment of society.

MisPref IV; LG 41; 46; GS 9; 32; 34-35; 37ff; 43; 67; Gn 1:28; LE 25

2Jesus Christ, the Word of God, by assuming the human condition, also experienced the toil involved in work. He endowed work with a new dignity, raising it to be an instrument of salvation for all, both by working with His own hands and alleviating human misery, and by proclaiming the Kingdom of God.

Jn 1:14; Heb 2:17; Phil 2:7; LE 26

3The Holy Spirit, who is creator and sanctifier, inspires the Church to proclaim the Gospel of work, casting the light of revelation on the efforts of those who strive to affirm the genuine value of work and protect the dignity of the human person.

GS 26; 33; LE 6; 7; 25; 26

ER VII 3-7; 10ff; LR V; Test 20-21; 1C 39; 2C 161; LMj V 6

4Saint Francis, by following Jesus Christ, worked with his own hands. He declared his own wish to work, considering work in a unique way a grace to be welcomed and lived with gratitude. Therefore he strongly encouraged his brothers “to flee idleness, the enemy of the soul, and work faithfully and devotedly.”

CIC 578; 586 §1; 587 §1; 631 §1

LR V; LR V 1; CtExh 10-12; Test 20 5As his faithful followers and in keeping with Capuchin tradition, we value “the grace of working.” Each day we accept its toil responsibly and gladly as a way of praising God and serving His people. We commit ourselves to work diligently, as true lesser ones, sharing the lot of those who must work for their living.

LG 31; 34; GS 30; PC 13; ET 20

  6Let us live a genuine spirituality of work and promote it among the people. Work receives its clearest light from the Paschal Mystery of Christ and is a means to grow in holiness. By enduring the toil of each day, we play our part with the Son of God in the redemption of humanity and the fulfilment of God’s Kingdom.

LE 27; GS 39; 67; CSDC 263-266;

7We give witness to the human meaning of work done in freedom of spirit and restored to its true nature as a means of support and service. By living this essential dimension of evangelical poverty, we counter the challenges of individualism and the tendency to reduce work to a tool of mere economic profit.

VC 89; 82; 90; ET 20

VII PCO 33

8Schooled in the social doctrine of the Church, we work to safeguard the dignity of workers and of work itself, showing particular concern for those unable to find employment.  

ER VII 4-6,10; VIII 3; VI PCO 14

79

1Work is the fundamental means by which we support ourselves and exercise charity.

CIC 600

IV PCO 18-21; V PCO 23; VI PCO 15

2Therefore, let each of us make his God-given talents bear fruit. According to our age and state of health, let us expend our energies fully and joyfully for the good of the brotherhood and in the interest of solidarity with the poor, with whom we willingly share the fruits of our work.

Mt 18:24; 25:15, 16, 20, 22, 28

VI PCO 14; 21-22.24; 15

3May the work of each brother be an expression of the entire brotherhood and manifest communion in pursuit of its goals. Therefore, let the brothers take on and carry out their activities after suitable communal discernment and with the blessing of obedience, so that the work is always done as a mandate from the fraternity.  

VI PCO 15

4Let the brothers not be possessive of their work. Rather, let them be committed and open to the needs of the local fraternity, the circumscription, and the Order, and always ready to move on.  

LR V 2;

VI PCO 17; LtAnt 2

80

1Let us take care not to make work itself our final goal, nor to become inordinately attached to it, so as “not to extinguish in ourselves the spirit of holy prayer and devotion, to which all time-bound things must contribute.”

CIC 661; 663 §1; 673; 675 §1

Adm XXVII 4; IV PCO 70;

VI PCO 17

2Therefore, we avoid excessive activity, which compromises union with God, leads to loss of our sense of purpose, and is an obstacle to fraternal life.  

Ts 21; ER VII 5; 2C 75; VI PCO 17

3Similarly, like Saint Francis, we pay careful attention to the apostle’s warning: “Whoever does not work, let him not eat.” Let us, therefore, avoid laziness, which lives off the work of others, leads to mediocrity in the spiritual life, and makes us idle in God’s field.  

Const 1536 III, pp 7-8;

4Let us, therefore, lovingly direct all our intentions and all our energies to God and, in the celebration of the Eucharist, as we unite ourselves to the sacrifice of Christ, offer to the Father the toil and the fruits of our daily work. LG 31; 34

VI PCO 14-15

81

1There is a variety of kinds of work which suit people differently, according to each one’s capacity and the special gifts of God.

CIC 677 §1

IV PCO 18-21

2We undertake various forms of ministry and service in so far as they are compatible with our fraternal life and as the needs of the Church and society require.  

ER VII 1-2; Test 20-21

3Works that more clearly manifest poverty, humility, and brotherhood are especially fitting for us; but in fact, we do not consider any type of work of lesser dignity or value than another.  

LR V 2;

VI PCO 15

4So that “the grace of working” may be more fruitful for ourselves and others, let us take care to maintain a community character in the various things we do, and be ready to help one another by working together. In this way, we also grow in conversion of heart.  
  5Furthermore, may we always keep in mind our apostolic calling, so that in everything we do, we give witness to Christ before the people.

CIC 607 §3; 673; 758

VI PCO 15

82

1Whatever their responsibility or office, let the brothers strive throughout their lives to further their spiritual, doctrinal, and professional education, and to develop their own talents, so that our Order may be continually equipped to respond to its calling in the Church. Therefore, let intellectual endeavour be respected in the same way as any other kind of work.

CIC 661

VI PCO 15-16

2According to the Order’s tradition, let the brothers appreciate manual work. With due regard for the tasks entrusted to each, let them willingly apply themselves to it, both for their own growth and for the common good, especially when fraternal charity or obedience requires it.

CIC 578

  3Let the ministers and guardians, discerning the gifts and talents of each brother and the needs of the brotherhood and of the Church, offer them as far as possible the opportunity of acquiring expertise in particular fields, and willingly provide time and assistance for this purpose.

CIC 661

VI PCO 19; LR VI 2; Test 24

4In addition, when assigning offices and duties, the ministers and guardians, for the good of the Church, of the Order, and of the brothers themselves, shall carefully take into account their individual aptitudes and skills and not easily remove them from activities in which they are experts, so long as fraternal life is safeguarded and obedience is respected by all.  

VII PCO 6; 9; VI PCO 16

83

1Our life of poverty and minority calls for everyone to take part, as far as possible, in domestic chores in a spirit of brotherly communion. Such participation fosters mutual dependence and support, distinguishes our brotherhood, and confers credibility upon our life.

 
2No brother’s work dispenses him from caring for the house and the daily services of the brotherhood. We accept them as an integral part of our ordinary life.  
3Let the ministers and fraternities pay particular attention to this dimension of domestic simplicity and everyday service.  

VI PCO 16

4Only when it is really necessary, do we have recourse to outsider helpers for domestic work. The fraternity, as far as possible, takes part in their selection, guided by prudent principles. Let them be treated with respect, courtesy, fairness, and in accordance with the law.  

I PCO I,4; VI PCO 18

84

1Depending on the differing situations in the circumscriptions, and in conformity with the norms issued by the minister with the consent of the council, or by the Conference of major superiors, and by the local ordinary, brothers may also work for people outside the order, when apostolic zeal and the urgency to alleviate our own needs or others’ call for it.

LG 31; PO 8

ER VII 1-2

2But let the brothers remember the exhortation of Saint Francis to accept only those occupations which better exemplify our vocation to serve and our condition as men “who are simple and subject to all,” avoiding the pursuit of prestige and power.  
3In addition, let it always be the case that the brothers engaged in outside employment live in communion with the brotherhood.  

ER VII 1-2; VI PCO 25

4They are to give gospel witness to everyone, make the charity of Christ visible, and give aid to those in need while never involving themselves imprudently in matters unbecoming our state.

CIC 285; 287; 289; 1392

VI PCO 15

85

1What the brothers receive as payment for their work must always be handed over in full to the fraternity. Let the work of the brothers, however, not be valued merely on the basis of the payment received for it.

CIC 668 §3, §5

Test 21

2Let us not engage in activities that arouse a craving for profit or vainglory contrary to the spirit of poverty and humility.  

ER VII 7; Test 22

3Let us guard against transforming work into a means of accumulating goods and money. Indeed, let us always be ready to work without payment whenever charity requires it.

VC 89-90

2C 125-129; 178; 211

86

1We recognise the importance of rest. It too helps us to live “the grace of work.” Each day let the brothers enjoy appropriate recreation in common to foster life as brothers and renew their energies. Let everyone have a period of time for himself.

LE 25; 61; 67; PO 8; ESa II,26

2According to regional customs and possibilities, time for vacation should be provided and spent in a way consistent with our state as lesser brothers.  

87

1The Apostle Paul warns: “While we have the time, let us do good to all.”

Gal 6:10

2Conscious of the precious gift of time, of the uniqueness of each moment, and of the auspicious opportunities, let us, therefore, live each day of our lives to the full.  
3To avoid wasting these opportunities, let us frequently ascertain whether our work and occupations meet the needs of the present moment, and be open to the future through wise foresight and planning.

GS 5; PC 2d; CIC 677 §1; VC 11

4Let us scrutinise the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel, since the Lord comes to meet us in time and makes us grow towards the fullness of salvation. Let us respond to God’s gifts each day with vigilance and patience.

Mt 16:2-3; Lk 12:35, 56-57; GS 4; 11; 44,2; CIC 600


CHAPTER VI

OUR LIFE IN BROTHERHOOD

V PCO 15-28

88

1Life in brotherhood has its foundation in the mystery of love of the perfect Trinity and the holy unity of Father, Son, and Spirit.

VC 41

2In the fullness of time, the Father sent His Son, the firstborn among many brothers, so that through His death and resurrection, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit, He might form humanity into a brotherhood.

Rom 8:29; Col 1:18; LG 9; 28; GS 24; 32; PC 1; 15

3The Church, flowing from the side of Christ as the sacrament of unity, is essentially a mystery of communion, whose richness and depth are reflected in our living as brothers, a human space in which the Trinity dwells.

VC 41-42

4That same life of brotherhood, the leaven of ecclesial communion, foreshadows the definitive unity of the People of God and provides testimony essential for the Church’s apostolic mission.

FLC 10 2b, 3d

5For this reason, the Church encourages institutes whose members, rooted in and built on love, live a life as brothers in community, assisting one another to be faithful to their vocation, and in this way promoting the human dignity of the children of God in freedom.

CIC 574-575; 602; 607 §2; ESa II, V, 25; LG 43; 46; PC 15

ER I 1; VI 3; LR I 1; II 1,7; VI 7-9; XII 1; Test 14; I PCO II, 11; IV PCO 14; 31; 6Saint Francis, “by divine inspiration,” initiated a form of gospel life which he called a brotherhood, and chose to model it on the life of Christ and His disciples.  
7Therefore, we who profess this form of life truly constitute an Order of brothers.  
8For this reason, united by faith in God our Father and nourished at the table of the divine word and the Eucharist, we love one another, so that the world may know that we are disciples of Christ.

Jn 3:13-23; 4:11; 13:34-35; Rom 13:8; 2Jn 5; PC 15; PO 8; GS 24

Article I

Our Commitment to Life in Brotherhood

 

89

1As brothers given to each other by the Lord and endowed with different gifts, let us accept one another with a grateful heart.

Mt 18:20; Jn 13:34

Const 1536 XII; ER XVIII 1; Test 14; 2LtF 43; LMin 17; 1C 24; 27-28;

IV PCO 15ff; 22; 33;

V PCO 23,25ff

2For this reason, wherever we are gathered together in the name of Jesus, let us be of one heart and one mind, always striving to advance to greater perfection. To be true disciples of Christ, let us love one another from the heart, bearing one another’s burdens and faults, applying ourselves without interruption to the love of God and charity toward our brothers, striving to give an example of virtue to one another and to everyone, and mastering our own passions and evil inclinations.

Rom 12:6,10; 13:8; Gal 6:2; Eph 4:2; Heb 4:32; 1Pt 1:22; 1Jn 3:13,23; 2Jn 5; Mt 18:20; Act 4:32; 2Cor 13:11; PC 15; ESa II,25; FLC 9

SalV 12; ER 4,4; 6,2; 10,1; 11,6.9; 14,6; Adm XII; XIV; LMin 17; 1C 30; 39; 2C 180 ;

3In order to learn how to be brothers, we walk in humility always imbued with a spirit of mutual understanding and sincere esteem. Let us cultivate dialogue among ourselves, trustfully sharing experiences, and manifesting our needs to one another.

PVI Nm; FLC 11ff

LMj III 7; ER IX 10; RSC 8, 15; Adm III 5-6

4We are to be particularly committed to the local chapter as a primary means of expressing the nature of our fraternal communion and promoting its growth. In it, the loving obedience, a distinctive characteristic of our brotherhood, is well expressed. Through it, the brothers are at the service of one another, the creativity of everyone is fostered, and the personal gifts of each one contribute to the good of all.  

ER VI 3; XXII 33; Test 14ff; I PCO II,1; V PCO 20; 99

90

1By reason of the same vocation, the brothers are equal. Therefore, according to the Rule, the Testament and the earliest custom of the Capuchins, all of us are called brothers without distinction.

CIC 208; 578

ER IV; VI 3-4

2The precedence necessary for the service of the brotherhood flows from the responsibilities and offices actually held.  

LR VII 2; V PCO 99

3Moreover, within the Order, the province and the local fraternity, all offices and responsibilities must be open to all brothers, bearing in mind, however, that certain acts require sacred orders.

CIC 129 §1; 274 §1

I PCO II,2; V PCO 23; VI PCO 16

4Let all the brothers help one another according to the gifts each one has received, even with daily household chores.

1Pt 4:10

I PCO II,6

91

1Let us take care that age differences in our fraternities contribute to a spirit of harmony and complementarily.

 
2Let us show loving care and gratitude to the brothers of advanced age.  
3Let the younger brothers show the respect due to brothers of greater age and willingly profit from their experience. For their part, let the elder brothers welcome new and sound forms of life and activity. May bothyoung and old—in this way enrich one another through their mutual sharing.  

ER VIII; X; LR VI 9; Adm XXIV; 2C 175; MPer 42; 90; VI PCO 29

92

1When a brother falls sick, let the guardian, following the example and teaching of Saint Francis, immediately provide for all his bodily and spiritual needs with fraternal charity. Let him entrust the sick brother to the care of a competent brother, and to a doctor or to other competent persons, if the case requires it.

ER IX 11; LR VI 8

2Let each brother, reflecting that the person of the suffering Christ is present in the sick, consider what he would wish to be done for him in case of sickness. Let him recall what Saint Francis wrote in the Rule: “no mother is as tender and caring toward her son, as each one of us should be toward our spiritual brother.”

Mt 7:12, 25:45; Lk 6:31

ER X 1ff; LR VI 8-9

3Therefore, let each one commit himself to take care of a sick brother, to visit him willingly, and to comfort him as a brother.  
4Let the minister and guardian frequently and fraternally visit the sick brothers and not neglect to provide for their spiritual care, either personally or through another. If they see that the brother is seriously ill, let them prudently inform him of his condition and prepare him to receive the sacraments.

CIC 619; 1004 §1

ER X; 2C 185; AC 43. ER 10,3-4

93

1Let the sick brothers remember our state as lesser brothers.

LG 11; 41; AG 38; AA 16

ER 10,3-4

2They shall leave their care to their doctor and to those who take care of them so that they do not violate holy poverty with injury to their souls but give thanks to the Creator for everything.

Eph 5:20; 1Thes 5:18

ER 10,3; 23,7; Adm V 8; MP 42; 91; 2C 213

3. Let them remember that, by freely accepting the burdens of sickness and infirmity, they are invited to conform themselves more closely to the suffering Christ, as their vocation demands. With the heart of a son let them seek to experience in themselves some small part of what He suffered. Let them imitate Francis, who praised the Lord for those who patiently endure trials and infirmity according to His most holy will. Let them also remember that, by completing in their own body what is lacking in the suffering of Christ the Redeemer, they can contribute to the salvation of the People of God, to the evangelisation of the world and to the strengthening of our life as brothers.

Rom 8:29; Phil 3:10; Col 1:24

 

94

1When forming fraternities, the personalities of the brothers and the needs of life and the apostolate shall be taken into account.

 

EBr 2,3

2Let the ministers and guardians, who are the first to inspire and safeguard our form of life, constantly nurture life together as brothers.

FLC 50; PC 15; PO 17; CIC 607 §2; 619

PGFP IV, 17.2.2

3As members of the same family, let all the brothers take an active part in the shared activities of the fraternity, above all in community prayer. Let them willingly give time to their brothers, arrange duties by common agreement and promote working together.

ET 32-34; FLC 18-22; PI 27

GBCW 20

4In this way, by supporting one another on our common journey toward holiness, we shall turn our fraternities into homes and schools of communion.

FLC 25; VC 41-42; 45; EA 43-47; SAFC 2-29

 

95

1In order to cultivate the silence required for prayer and study and to preserve the privacy of our brotherly life together, the entrance of outsiders shall be regulated with prudence and discretion.

CIC 667 §1

RH 2

2To safeguard religious life, an enclosure or area reserved for the brothers alone, shall be maintained in our houses.  
3Those who come to our houses shall ordinarily be received in visiting rooms prepared in keeping with norms of simplicity, prudence, and hospitality.  
4In accordance with the norms enacted by the provincial chapter, laymen who wish to share more closely in our life, whether for prayer, fraternal life or the apostolate, may be admitted to the fraternity.

VC 54-56

ER VII 13ff

I PCO II,15

5Let our fraternities not confine their charity within their own four walls, but, with gospel concern, be open to peoples’ needs, depending upon the purpose of the particular house.

CIC 222 §2

96

1The media contribute to personal growth and to the spread of the Kingdom of God. Let the brothers select and employ them with mature discernment and moderation, avoiding anything that is against faith, morality, and the consecrated life.

IM 9; 14; 16; CIC 666

2The entire fraternity, under the guidance of the guardian, shall engage in careful discernment about the media, so that poverty, prayer and silence, fraternal communion and work are safeguarded and, at the same time, media’s contribution to the well-being and the work of all is ensured.  
3The brothers, especially the ministers and guardians, shall take care to communicate by appropriate means the more important events in the fraternities, circumscriptions, and the entire Order.  

97

1Before leaving the house, the brothers are to ask permission of the guardian according to the custom of the circumscription.

CIC 665 §1

2With regard to travel, let each brother, before asking permission, conscientiously weigh the reasons for his request in light of our state of poverty, of spiritual and fraternal life, and of the witness we are called to give to people.  
3Ministers and guardians shall be prudent when giving permission to travel.  

ER XV 2; LR III 10-14

4The brothers shall be mindful of our state of poverty and humility in the means of transportation.  

98

1All the brothers who visit us are to be received with brotherly charity and a warm welcome.

 
  2Wherever possible, brothers who are travelling shall be willing to stay in houses of the Order, at least to spend the night, and share in the life of the fraternity, complying with local customs.  
  3Brothers who are sent to another province for formation or other reasons shall be received by the ministers and guardians and by the local fraternities as their members. They shall take full part in the life of the fraternity, keeping in mind the prescriptions of n. 121, 5 of the Constitutions.  

I PCO II,7ff; II PCO 35

99

1Brothers who, with the blessing of obedience, have to live outside the house because of special circumstances, shall enjoy the benefits of that fraternity to which they have been assigned, since they are members of it.

CIC 103; 665 §1

2Let them always feel part of the brotherhood and, in turn, not neglect to contribute to the spiritual growth and economic support of the Order.  
3As true brothers in Saint Francis, let them visit our houses and love to stay there for a while, especially for reasons of spiritual recollection.  

LR VI 7

4Let them be received with charity and offered whatever spiritual and material help they need.  

ER IV 2;LR X 1

5Let the ministers and guardians care for them with fraternal concern, and visit and encourage them as often as possible.  

VII PCO 13

100

1As members of an Order of brothers, we nourish in ourselves a sense of belonging to the entire Capuchin family.

 

I PCO 63

2We gladly engage in and develop collaboration among our circumscriptions, supporting the vitality of our charism and the good of the Order over the survival of structures.  

VII PCO 13

3In a spirit of brotherhood, mutual dependence, and minority, individual circumscriptions shall respond to the needs of the others and serve one another.  
4Inspired by the mobility and itinerancy which are features of our tradition, let the brothers, in the obedience of love, be ready to go outside their circumscription.  

GBCW 4.2, 7.3

5Conscious that Baptism and profession establish bonds among us that are stronger than natural ties, we welcome the manifold riches of diverse cultures, even among ourselves, and promote their coming together in dialogue.  
  6When the good of the Order and the Church or the needs of circumscriptions require, forming fraternities of brothers from different circumscriptions, countries, and nations shall be encouraged. Such fraternities provide favourable opportunities for mutual enrichment, the exchange of spiritual wealth, and effective witness to universal communion.

FLC 32

IV PCO 17; 33

101

1By God’s design, a rich diversity of religious institutes has developed for the good of the Church; this same variety also flourishes in one and the same Franciscan spiritual family. In this family so many brothers and sisters, through the interchange of a life-giving communion, make the charism of our common Seraphic Father present in the life and mission of the Church.

LG 43; PC 1

2Let us, therefore, live the communion of a shared spirit with all the brothers of the Franciscan First Order, gladly working together to promote studies and joint ventures of Franciscan life and activity.

Eph 4:3; CIC 580; 614; 677 §2; 680

FV 1-2; TestSC 29

3Remembering the promise of Saint Francis to Clare and to the Poor Sisters of San Damiano, we must always show loving care and special concern for our sisters of the Second Order. In the contemplative life, they offer each day the sacrifice of praise, seek union with God in solitude and silence, and spread the Church far and wide with a hidden apostolic fruitfulness.  
4In the same way, we are united in brotherly affection with those religious institutes which are spiritually linked with our Order.  

IV PCO 17; 33; V PCO 28; 59

102

1The Secular Franciscan Fraternity or Order occupies a special place within the Franciscan family, whose authentic spirit it both shares in and promotes. It is necessary for the fullness of the Franciscan charism.

CIC 303; 311; 677 §2

ROFS 2

2In this Order, the brothers and sisters, urged on by the Holy Spirit to reach the perfection of love in their secular state, commit themselves by profession to live the Gospel after the manner of Saint Francis and by means of their own Rule.  

COFS 86,1

3In virtue of our shared charism and communion of life in the Franciscan family, the Church commits the Secular Franciscan Order to the spiritual and pastoral care of the Franciscan First Order and of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis.  

COFS 86,1; StatSA 5,2; ROFS 26

4Our ministers have the faculty to establish fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order in all our houses and also elsewhere. In addition, it is their duty to conduct the pastoral visitation and to ensure that the fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order at the different levels receive continual and zealous spiritual and pastoral assistance, especially through the appointment of suitable, trained brothers. They must carry out their office in accordance with the norms of universal law and of proper law, both of our Order and of the Secular Franciscan Order. They shall be vigilant to ensure that a true, life giving interchange is promoted between the fraternities of our Order and those of the Franciscan Secular Order.

CIC 312 §2

COFS 99,1; 98-103; 51-75; 85-91; 92-95; 98-103; ROFS 26

5All the brothers shall take to heart the need to show a truly brotherly attitude toward the members of the Secular Order. By their own example let them nourish fidelity to the gospel life and effectively promote the Order itself among the secular clergy and the laity. The brothers shall willingly provide spiritual assistance to this Order. Always mindful of its secular status, let them respect its lawful autonomy and not interfere in its government, except in cases mentioned in the law.  

ER I 1; 2LtF 13; LBL 3; LtOrd 51

6Likewise, all associations cultivating the spirit of Saint Francis, especially those of young people, shall be promoted and assisted spiritually. Let our houses become fraternal centres for meetings and spiritual renewal open to all clergy and laity who wish to follow the footsteps of Christ under the guidance of Saint Francis.

1Pt 2:21

2C 91,3; 180,2

103

1Following the example of Saint Francis who called the mother of any brother his mother and the mother of all the brothers, let us fulfil our religious and familial responsibilities towards our parents, relatives, benefactors, those who work with us, and others who belong to our spiritual family. Let us also commend them to God in prayer, including our community prayers.

 
2Any spiritual or material needs of a brother’s family of origin shall be discussed with the fraternity, charitably and discreetly.  
3Let us have fraternal respect also for brothers who leave religious life. Let the ministers treat them with equity and gospel charity.  

ER IX 5

104

1Christ, himself a pilgrim on earth, will say to those on His right hand at the Last Judgment: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Mt 25:35; PO 8

  2Saint Francis desired that anyone coming to our houses be received with kindness. Therefore, let us welcome everyone with the greatest charity, especially the afflicted and those suffering hardship, and help them in their needs.  
  3Let those whom we are able to receive into our own houses according to circumstances, especially priests and religious, be treated by the fraternity with every courtesy.  

Article II

The Life of the Brothers in the World

CtC 1-9; 2C 265; LMj I; V 9; V PCO 28; 48ff; 63; 65; 74; 81; 85ff; 97ff; 100; 102; VI PCO 3-4

105

1Greatly rejoicing in the created and redeemed world, Saint Francis felt united not only with people, but also with all creatures by a covenant of brotherhood, as he himself proclaims magnificently in the Canticle of Brother Sun.

GS 2; 45; 57; 62; PO 17

ExhP 5; 6; PrG 5; 7; CtC 1-9; VI PCO 26

2Contemplating them in this light, we admire the works of creation of which Christ is the beginning and the end. Let us protect them in their integrity and use the resources of Mother Earth with respect and moderation.

Rv 1:8; 22:13; Gen 2:15

3Thanks to scientific research, we see the works of creation becoming ever more magnificent, amazing and mysterious. They lead us to worship the Father in His wisdom and power. Therefore we should highly esteem everything that human genius has drawn from created things, especially in works of culture and art in which God’s gifts are revealed to us.  

ER XXII 1-7; 2LtF 1-15

4Let us also view the human world in the mystery of Christ, the world which God so loved that He gave His only-begotten Son.

Jn 3:16

5Though wounded by many sins yet endowed with great potential, the world, in fact, provides the living stones that are built up together to form the dwelling place of God, which is the Church.

Eph 2:22; 1Pt 2:5

ER IX 1; XVI 7-9; LR II 1; FV 1; LtOrd 9; 1C 89; 103; LMj Pr 2; IV PCO 8

106

1By “divine inspiration” Saint Francis recognised that he had been sent to refashion humanity in newness of life.

Rom 6 :4

ER XXII 41-55; 1LtF 14-19; 2LtF 56-60

2Consequently, inaugurating a new form of gospel life, he himself, though no longer of the world, remained in the world and wanted his brotherhood also to live and work among people, to witness in deed and word to the good news of gospel conversion.

Jn 17:14; LG 31; GS 72; AA 4

Adm XIII-XVI; XVIII

3Therefore, we too, since we share in his mission, live in the midst of the world as a gospel leaven so that people, seeing our fraternal life lived in the spirit of the Beatitudes, may realize that the Kingdom of God has already begun in their midst.

Lk 17:21; LG 31; CIC 602; 607 §1

LR XII 4; 1C 41; V PCO 64; 82ff

4In this way we will be present in the world to serve the living God and in Franciscan love, humility, and joy spreading peace and goodness for the benefit of the world and of the Church.

Is 52:7; Rom 8:14; Heb 9:14

ER XIV 2; LR III 13; Test 23; LtRPrp 1; BlL 2; 1C 26; 29; 36; I PCO I,9; 17; V PCO 28; 45; 55; 63-102

107

1In accordance with the spirit of Saint Francis, we proclaim peace and salvation, not only in words but also by deeds inspired by the love of brothers.

GS 82; PC 2c

  2Moved by this spirit, let us strive, in the manner taught by the Gospel, to bring into peaceful and lasting harmony those who are divided by hatred, envy, conflicting ideologies, or differences of class, race, religion, and nationality.

CIC 222 §2; 287 §1; 672; 768 §2

  3Let us promote respect for human rights and dignity, above all those of the poor and the marginalized.  

VI PCO 26; V PCO 49

4Let us therefore be eager to co-operate with initiatives and institutions, both national and international, that work appropriately for the unity of the human race, for universal justice, and for peace.  

ER VII 15ff; XIV; XVI 6; LR III 10-14; TPJ; I PCO I,9,17

108

1Trusting above all in the providence of the Father, let us walk in the world with such hope and Franciscan joy that we strengthen the confidence of our contemporaries.

LG 36; GS 1; 27; 32; 93

ER VII 10-12; XXII15ff; ER VIII 1-2; LR X 7

2Freed from the empty cares of the present age, and cooperating with divine providence, let us regard it as our duty to relieve the needs of the poor by our action and, especially in times of public disaster, to make available the goods and services of the brotherhood to all who are in need.

Mt 13:22; Lk 8:14; CIC 222 §2; 600; 640

V PCO 29;

VI PCO 9

3After the example of Saint Francis, who had great compassion for the poor, and the founders of our Capuchin brotherhood, who helped those suffering from the plague, let us live alongside our brothers and sisters in need, especially the sick, eager to offer them wholehearted service as brothers.  
  4Knowing that divine providence is revealed not only through events and actions, but also through new ideas and life experiences, may we appraise all things in a spirit of openness and confidence, holding on to what is good.

1Thes 5:21; GS 4; 11

ER XVII 6,11, 17-18; XXIII 1; LtOrd 1,15; FV 1; PrG 11;PrCr 1

5In this way we will be better able to cooperate with God present and active in the history of the world. Likewise, living the truth in charity, we will be witnesses of hope in the Lord God and help people of good will to recognise the highest Good Who is God the almighty Father.

Eph 4:15


CHAPTER VII

OUR LIFE OF PENANCE

IV PCO 36b; 41ff

109

1Jesus Christ, while proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, called people to repentance, that is, to a total transformation of themselves, through which they begin to think, judge, and conform their lives to the holiness and love of God manifested in the Son

Mt 4:17; Mk 1:14-15; VC 10; 15; 16; 17; 18ff; 65b

ER I 3

2This conversion into a new creature, begun with faith and Baptism, calls for a constant effort to deny ourselves daily.

Mt 16:24; Mk 8:34; Lk 9:23

3In this way, living for the Lord alone, through penance we forge new relationships with people, especially with the poor, and are gradually strengthened to build gospel brotherhood.  

Test 1-3; 2C 9; LMj I 6; L3C 11

4Saint Francis, by the Lord’s grace, began a life of penance and conversion by showing mercy to lepers, and making his exodus from the world.

Rom 6:4; Gal 6:15; 2Cor 5:17

ER XII 3-4; XIII 2; XXI 3; XXIII 7; Adm XIII-XXVIII; 1LtCus 6; 1C 23-35

5With great fervour of spirit and joy of heart, he based his life on the beatitudes, preached penance unceasingly, inspiring everyone by deed and word to carry Christ’s cross, and wished that his brothers to be men of penance.

LG 31; GS 72; AA 4

LMj V;

PVI   1968

6A spirit of penance in an austere life is a particular characteristic of our Order; for, following the example of Christ and Saint Francis, we have chosen in fact the narrow way of the Gospel.

Mt 7:14; CIC 578; 586 §1; 631 §1;

LMj Pr 2; XIII 2ff; 1C 103 7Moved by the same spirit and recognizing sin in ourselves and in human society, let us work unceasingly at our own conversion and that of others, so that we may be moulded into the likeness of the crucified and risen Christ.

Rom 8:29; Gal 2:19; LG 8s.; 35; CD 33; AG 3; UR 6

8By working in this way, completing in ourselves what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, we take part in the work of the Church, which is holy and, at the same time, always in need of purification, and we promote the coming of God’s Kingdom by gathering into one the human family in the perfection of love.

Col 1:24; LG 8; Paen;

1LtF 1; Adm XVI

110

1Penance, being an exodus and a conversion, is a propensity of the heart that demands in everyday life exterior manifestations matched by a true interior transformation.

 

VI PCO 5

2Franciscan penitents should always be noted for their gentle, affectionate love and joy, like our saints: strict with themselves but full of goodness and respect toward others.

CIC 1249

  3So that the Paschal Mystery of Christ may ever more be at work within us, let us devote ourselves to works of penance at all times, moved by the spirit of conversion and renewal, according to the Rule and Constitutions and as God inspires us.  
  4In the first place, let us remember that our life of consecration to God is in itself an excellent form of penance.

LG 10; 34; 41; PC 5; PO 12ff; SC 48; AA 16; CIC 607 §§1-2; 662; 673

  5Therefore, we offer for our own salvation and for that of others: our poverty and humility, the hardships of life, the faithful performance of our daily work, our availability to serve God and neighbour and our efforts to cultivate fraternal life, the burden of sickness and old age, and even persecution for the Kingdom of God. In this way, suffering with those who suffer, may we always rejoice in our conformity to Christ.  
  6Let us follow the same path of conversion as Saint Francis, by reaching out especially to those who, in our own times, are abandoned and destitute.  
 

111

1Christ the Lord, having been sent by His Father and led by the Holy Spirit, fasted in the desert for forty days and forty nights.

Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:12-13; Lk 4:1-13

  2His disciple, Saint Francis, burning with the desire to imitate the Lord, also spent His life in fasting and prayer.  
  3We, too, therefore, practise fasting, prayer and works of mercy, which lead us to inner freedom and open us to love for God and neighbour.

VC 38

ER III 11ff; LR III 4ff

4The season of Advent and, above all, the Lent before Easter, as well as every Friday, are for us times of more intense private and communal penance.

SC 109ff

LR III 6

5In addition, the “Lent of Benediction”, as it is called, which begins at the Epiphany, and the vigils of the solemnities of Saint Francis and of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary are recommended.  

Test 22

6On these days, let us apply ourselves more eagerly to those works which foster conversion: prayer, recollection, listening to the word of God, bodily mortification and communal fasting. In a brotherly spirit, let us share with other poor people that which comes to us from the table of the Lord because of our greater frugality. Let us also perform works of mercy more fervently in keeping with our traditional custom.

SC 110; AA 8; CIC 1249

7As regards the laws of abstinence and fast, the brothers are to observe the prescriptions of the Church, both universal and local.

CIC 1250-1253

LMj V 7; 2C 160; AC 32

112

1Our life conforms to the gospel command to do penance and is, therefore, simple and frugal in all things, as befits poor people.

PC 12; P6 2/74 Ic; CIC 600; 607 §3; 634 §2; 640; 664; 666; 673; 1249

2C 60-61

2Mindful of the passion of Christ, after the example of Saint Francis and of our saints, let us practise mortification, even voluntarily, willingly restricting ourselves in food, drink and entertainments, so that everything testifies to our condition as pilgrims and strangers.  

ER X; LR VI 9; 2C 175

3However, the ministers and guardians, since they have to provide what is necessary, especially for the sick, shall keep in mind the commandment of love and the example of Saint Francis.

CIC 619

113

1With sorrow in our hearts for our own sins and for those of others, and desiring to walk in newness of life, let us practise works of penance, adapted, of course, to the differing sensitivities of time and place.

Rom 6:4; LG 7; PO 12ff; SC 12; ESa II,22; CIC 664; 839 §1

2We seek to practise fraternal correction charitably and honestly, as Jesus taught us.

Mt 18:15; Lk 17:3; ES 85

3In the light of the Gospel, let us question ourselves, both individually and as a brotherhood, particularly in the local chapter, about our way of life and our options; let them always be the expression of a communal journey of conversion.  

ER XX 5

114

1By means of the sacrament of penance or reconciliation through the working of the Holy Spiritwho is the remission of sinswe experience the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection, and share more deeply in the Eucharist and in the mystery of the Church.

LG 7; 11; PO 18; PC 14; SC 5; RomM PoG Pent Sat

2In this sacrament the brothers not only individually but also communally, are purified, healed, restored to union with the Saviour and, at the same time, reconciled with the Church.  
3Being purified and renewed by the Sacraments of the Church, we are also strengthened in our commitment to be faithful to our form of life.  
4Therefore, holding the Sacrament of Reconciliation in high esteem, let us frequently take advantage of it. Having been reconciled with God, let us be committed to spreading His love among us through mutual forgiveness and to promoting fraternal reconciliation.

CIC 246 §4; 276 §2; 630 §1-5; 664; 985; VC 95; Lk 6:36; Mt 5:48; FLC 26

5Let us also highly esteem spiritual direction and daily examination of conscience, so that we may respond generously to the promptings of the Spirit and be resolute in our aim for holiness.

VC 95; PC 14; EE 11; PI 63

6Conscious of the social dimensions of conversion, let us try to hold communal celebrations of penance, both in our fraternities and with the People of God.  
7Let the ministers and guardians take every care to ensure that the brothers are faithful to the sacramental life and that they benefit from spiritual direction.  
 

115

1The faculty to hear the sacramental confessions of the brothers is granted by the proper ordinary as well as by the local ordinary. The guardian may do the same in individual cases and in that particular instance.

CIC 967 §§2-3; 968-969

  2Any priest of the order who has received faculties from his own ordinary may hear the confessions of the brothers anywhere in the world.  
  3The brothers are free to confess their sins to any priest who has received faculties from any ordinary.

PC 14; CIC 991

ER V 7; LR VII 3; Adm IX 3; 2LtF 44

4Let confessors keep in mind the encouragement of Saint Francis that “they do not become angry or disturbed by the sin of another” but treat the penitent with all kindness in the Lord.

CIC 978 §1

2C 133-134; I PCO II,9ff

116

1Loving one another with the same love with which Christ loved us, let us not avoid a brother who finds himself in difficulty, but rather be eager to help him. If he falls, let us remember that each one of us would fall into a worse situation if God in His goodness did not preserve us. Therefore, let us not be his judges, but as true brothers, love him even more.

Jn 13:34; CIC 220

  2Let the ministers and guardians, with fatherly compassion, be close to brothers who sin or who are in danger, and offer them appropriate and effective help as God Himself would do.

CIC 619; 665 §2

  3Let the ministers and guardians act with the same solicitude, as far as it lies within their power and competence, when dealing with persons and communities who may have been harmed by the sins of the brothers.  
  4They shall not impose penalties, particularly canonical ones, unless compelled by manifest necessity, and then with all prudence and charity, maintaining nonetheless the prescriptions of universal law. However, in the same spirit, ministers may also take other necessary initiatives for the good of the community and of society, as well as for the good of the brother.

CIC 1321 §1

LMin 9-11

5Let them always remember the words of Saint Francis in his Letter to a Minister: “I would like you to prove that you love the Lord and me, His servant and yours, in the following way: there should be no brother in the world who has sinnedhowever greatly he may have sinnedwho, after he has looked into your eyes, would ever depart without your mercy, if he is looking for mercy. If he is not looking for mercy, you should ask him if he wants it. And if he sins a thousand times before your eyes, you should love him more than you love me, so that you may draw him to the Lord.”  


CHAPTER VIII

THE GOVERNANCE OF THE ORDER

2C 191ff

117

1Our Brotherhood, led by the Holy Spirit, is an integral part of the Mystical Body of Christ. It is a communion of consecrated persons who, following the Master, seek to accomplish together the Father’s will, and contribute to building up the Church in love through various offices and ministries.

1Cor 12:1-31; 14:12; Eph 4:12; LG 30,44; PC 1; CIC 602; 618-619; 631 §1; 662; FLC 1

Rel06

2Let us, therefore, see it as our specific duty to foster the good of the Church and the Brotherhood according to the grace we have received and our Capuchin vocation.

1Pt 4:10; LG 44; PC 2b; CIC 602; 618-619; 631 §1; 662

  3Chapters and superiors, as expressions of the spiritual and visible unity of the Order, nourish the bond of communion among the brothers. In a spirit of service and with pastoral solicitude they exercise authority received from God through the ministry of the Church in accordance with universal law and these Constitutions.

CIC 602; 618-619; 631 §1; 662; PC 14; FLC 9, 11

Article I

The Structure of the Order

 

118

1Our Order or Brotherhood is made up of brothers, each of whom is incorporated into a circumscription and assigned to a local brotherhood. Every circumscription and every local fraternity, taken individually, is a true brotherhood.

CIC 581; 585; 609 §1; 621; 634 §1

  2The circumscriptions are ordinarily provinces and custodies, united together in a life-giving relationship under the authority of the General Minister.  
  3Every circumscriptions is made up of a group of brothers gathered in local fraternities or houses and has its own exclusive territory, which must be determined in the decree of establishment.

CIC 621; 608

  4In particular circumstances, the General Minister, with the consent of his council and after consultation with the interested parties, may make provision for other forms of circumscriptions or groupings of houses, in accordance with these Constitutions and with the Ordinances of the General Chapters.  
  5Every circumscription that is canonically established by a formal decree of the General Minister acquires juridical personality.  
  6A province is the primary and immediate unit of the order, governed by the Provincial Minister. It has its own consistent structures, enabling it to express and develop the vitality of our charism, so that it can give effective apostolic witness and benefit the life of the order.

CIC 621

III PCO 45ff

7A custody is a part of the order in which the brothers, placed at the service of the churches and of their pastors in the work of evangelisation, gradually develop the presence of the consecrated life through their efforts to implant the order. It is governed by the Custos, who has ordinary vicarious power.  
8A local fraternity is a group made up of at least three professed brothers who live in a legitimately established house governed by a local superior or guardian.  
9The General Minister, with the consent of his council, can decide that a particular local brotherhood is directly dependent on himself. If the situation warrants it, it may have its own statutes. Similarly, he may decide that a local brotherhood will depend directly on a Conference of major superiors and have its own statutes.  
10Whatever is said of a province in these Constitutions also applies to custodies, unless the contrary is evident from the nature of the case or from the text or context.  

I PCO IV, 1ff

119

1It is the responsibility of the General Minister with the consent of his council, after consulting the Conference of major superiors and the ministers and respective councils concerned, to decide on the establishment, union, division, alteration, or suppression of circumscriptions, observing the requirements of law.

CD 22ff; CIC 581; 585

2Once it has been decided to establish a new circumscription the General Minister, with the consent of his council, after consulting the perpetually-professed brothers concerned, appoints its minister and councillors and determines the composition of the first chapter. This chapter, which is not elective, must be held within one year of the establishment of the new circumscription.  
3The General Minister with his council shall be particularly attentive to those circumscriptions that are numerically in steep decline, making use of the means available in our legislation to preserve a fraternal presence in a given territory.  

120

1It is the responsibility of the Provincial Minister, with the consent of his council, after obtaining the favourable vote of the chapter, to establish houses canonically, observing the prescriptions of law. However, if the case is urgent and the vote of the chapter is lacking, the consent of the General Minister and his council is required.

CIC 609-612; 616

2However, it pertains to the General Minister, with the consent of his council, to suppress houses, either at the request of the interested party, or for some other cause, observing the norms of law.  

121

1Each brother, incorporated into the order by profession, becomes a member of the circumscription to which the minister admitted him to profession.

CIC 654

2The date of temporary profession also determines seniority in the brotherhood.  

III PCO 41

3It pertains to the General Minister, with the consent of his council and having consulted the respective major superiors and their councils, to assign brothers to another circumscription, taking into account the good of the whole order and the needs of the circumscriptions or individual brothers.  
4Let the Provincial Ministers, in a spirit of fraternal collaboration, be willing to meet such needs by sending brothers temporarily to another province.  
5When sending brothers to serve in another circumscription, the prescriptions of the Ordinances of the General Chapters are to be observed.  
6 Each brother exercises the right to vote in only one circumscription of the order, unless he is also able to vote elsewhere because of his office or for other reasons. Those who are invited to another circumscription to offer their services have the right to vote in that circumscription according to the norms in the Ordinances of the General Chapters, not in their own. On the other hand, brothers who live in another circumscription for other reasons exercise this right only in their own circumscription.  

Article II

Superiors and Offices in General

ER Pr 3; LR I 2

122

1Under the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff, these are the superiors of the Order with ordinary power in their own right: the General Minister in the whole Order, the Provincial Minister in his province, and the local superior or guardian in his fraternity.

CIC 131 §1; 590 §2; 596 §1-3

2 Superiors with ordinary vicarious power are: the General Vicar, the Provincial Vicar, the Custos and the local vicar.  
3All the above, with the exception of the guardian and his vicar, are major superiors.

CIC 620

  4Whatever is said in these Constitutions and in the Ordinances of the General Chapters concerning the Provincial Ministers applies equally to the Custodes, unless the contrary is evident from the delegations received, from the nature of the case or from the text and context.  
  5Ordinary vicarious power does not extend to those matters which proper law recognises as belonging exclusively to the superior who holds that office, unless an explicit delegation has been given for those matters. If the Provincial Minister is prevented from exercising his office, or if it is vacant, a Custos shall have recourse to the provincial vicar.  
 

123

1Offices in the order are conferred either by election or by appointment.

CIC 119 §1; 625 §1,3

  2In conferring offices the brothers are to proceed with a right intention, simply and according to the norms of law. CIC 626
  3For the good of the order, consultation may be made beforehand concerning those to be elected, but consultation is obligatory when persons are to be appointed.  
  4If an election requires confirmation, it must be requested within eight days of canonical time.

CIC 177 §1

ER VII 4; Adm IV; XIX 3

5 The brothers, as true lesser ones, are not be ambitious for office; but if they are called to it by the confidence of the brothers, they should not obstinately refuse to serve as a superior or in some other office.  

ER I 1; IV; VI 3ff; LR I 1; VII 2

I PCO II, 1,3; IV PCO 22; V PCO 99

6Since we are an Order of brothers, according to the will of Saint Francis and the genuine Capuchin tradition, any brother in perpetual vows may assume any office or position excepting those that flow from sacred orders. But the office of superior may be validly conferred only on brothers who have been perpetually professed for at least three years.

PC 15; ESa II,27; CIC 129 §1; 623

  7When offices are conferred by election, postulation is admissible in our order. Acceptance of the postulation and dispensation from the impediment are within the competence of the authority having the faculty to confirm the election, namely, the General Minister or the Provincial Minister. Authority to accept the postulation of the General Minister rests with the Holy See.

CIC 180-183

  8It pertains to the General Minister to accept the act of resignation from the offices of Provincial Minister, provincial vicar, provincial councillor, general Custos and their respective councillors. It pertains to the Provincial Minister to accept the resignation of the Custos and the respective councillors. CIC 184   §1
  9For removal from offices which brothers exercise within or outside the order, the law of the Church and the Ordinances of the General Chapters are to be observed. Removal from office, even when it has no penal character, does not entail the granting of a new office. CIC 192-195

Article III

The General Governance of the Order

2C 191ff; LFl 18

124

1The General Chapter, which is an outstanding sign and instrument of the union and solidarity of the entire brotherhood gathered together in its representatives, enjoys supreme authority in the order.

PC 1; CIC 631 §1

2C 184-186

2The ordinary chapter is announced and convoked by the General Minister, and is to be held every six years in the manner indicated in the Ordinances of the General Chapters and the Procedures for Conducting a General Chapter.

CIC 631 §1

3In addition to the Ordinary chapter, the General Minister, with the consent of his Council, may convoke an extraordinary chapter when particular needs require it.  

4 In a general chapter, whether ordinary or extraordinary, the following have active voice: the General Minister, the General Vicar, the general councillors, the last General Minister immediately following the expiry of his term of office, until the next ordinary General Chapter inclusive, Provincial Ministers, the Custodes, the general secretary, the general procurator, the delegates of the provinces and other perpetually professed brothers in accordance with the norms of the Ordinances of the General Chapters.

CIC 631 §2

5If the Provincial Minister is prevented by a serious reason known to the General Minister, or if his office is vacant, the Provincial Vicar goes to the chapter If, however, the Custos is prevented or his office is vacant, the first councillor attends the chapter.  

125

1The General Chapter, whether ordinary or extraordinary, shall deal with all matters relating to fidelity to our sound traditions, to the renewal of our form of life, the development of apostolic activity, and other matters of great importance for the Order, about which the brothers are to be consulted in advance.

ESa II,2; 19; CIC 631§1

2As prescribed by the Procedures for Conducting a General Chapter, in an ordinary General Chapter the first to be elected is the General Minister, who acquires full authority over the entire Order and all the brothers.

CIC 622; 624-625; 631

  3The outgoing General Minister may be re-elected immediately only once, for the six years immediately following, without prejudice to the provisions of n. 123,7 of the Constitutions.  
  4In the election of the general councillors, the outgoing General Minister has only active voice.  
  5Next, as decreed in the Procedures for Conducting a General Chapter, the general councillors are elected, according to the number determined in the Ordinances of the General Chapters. Of these, no more than half can be from those elected in the previous chapter.

CIC 119 §1; 627 §1

  6The General Vicar is elected from among the councillors. In virtue of his election he becomes the first councillor.  
  7As prescribed in the Constitutions and according to the Statutes of the General Curia approved by the General Chapter, the responsibility of the councillors is to assist the General Minister in the governance of the whole Order.

PC 14

  8The General Minister and his councillors are to reside in Rome. CIC 629
  9During their term of office, the general councillors do not have passive voice in the election of the ministers of the circumscriptions.  
 

126

1The General Vicar is the first collaborator of the General Minister, and if the minister is absent, takes his place. However, if the General Minister can be contacted in any way, the General Vicar is to consult him before making any important decisions and is to abide by his instructions.

 
  2However, the confirmation of Provincial Ministers, the appointment of general visitators and other matters that he may have reserved to himself are reserved to the General Minister.  
  3Should the General Minister be impeded from exercising his office, the General Vicar takes his place in all matters relating to the governance of the Order. At an appropriate time he should report important matters to the General Minister, and refrain from acting against the intention and will of the General Minister. If the impediment is serious and lasts for more than two months, the general vicar must have recourse to the Holy See for appropriate instructions and to be able to deal with matters reserved to the General Minister.  
  4If the General Vicar is also impeded, the councillor who is senior by profession among those elected at the General Chapter takes the place of the General Minister. By that very fact, that councillor is delegated for all acts of governance, and for the faculties proper to the General Minister. However, within a maximum time limit of two months, he is bound to have recourse to the Apostolic See.  
 

127

1If the office of the General Minister becomes vacant, the General Vicar succeeds him and notifies the Apostolic See of the vacancy as soon as possible.

 
  2If the office of the General Minister becomes vacant within three years of the normal date of the next general chapter, the general vicar assumes full governance of the order until the end of the sexennium and, at the time appointed, announces the celebration of the General Chapter.  
  3If the office of the General Minister becomes vacant between three and two years before the normal date of the next General Chapter, the General Vicar and the councillors elect a new councillor chosen from the General Vicar’s Conference, as established in n. 127,6 of the Constitutions.  
  4If the office of the General Minister becomes vacant more than three years before the normal date of the next General Chapter, the General Vicar convokes the electoral assembly within three months to elect a General Minister, who will assume the administration of the order until the natural end of the sexennium. At the same time, the assembly elects a new councillor and the General Vicar. The composition of the electoral assembly is determined by n. 8/14 of the Ordinances of the General Chapters.  
  5Should the office of the General Vicar become vacant more than a year before the chapter, the General Minister and his council, collegially, are to elect by secret ballot a new General Vicar from among the councillors. They then elect another councillor. But if the office becomes vacant less than one year before the General Chapter, the new General Vicar is elected in the prescribed manner, but without the election of a new councillor.  
  6Should the office of a general councillor become vacant more than a year before the chapter, the General Minister and his council, acting collegially, elect another, after consulting the Conference of major superiors of the capitular group to which the councillor belonged.  
 

128

1The General Minister and his council receive particular assistance from the General Curia to enable them to give proper and efficient service to the Order. All the brothers who are part of it, coming from the various circumscriptions, form a local fraternity which is directly dependent on the General Minister and is of fundamental importance to express and promote the unity of the order.

 
  2For this purpose suitable brothers are to be selected, who also possess the necessary competence in the service they render. They are appointed by the General Minister with the consent of his council, and fulfil their office in accordance with the Statute of the General Curia and any instructions given by the General Minister.  
  3The Statute of the General Curia, approved by the General Chapter, outlines the specific nature of this local fraternity and stipulates the job descriptions of the different offices and sections.  

Article IV

The Governance of the Provinces

 

129

1The first authority in a province is the Provincial Chapter.

PC 14; CIC 632

  2The ordinary Provincial Chapter is announced and convoked by the Provincial Minister, having received the consent of the General Minister, who has consulted his council. It is held with the frequency indicated in the Ordinances of the General Chapter.  
  3For particular needs, in addition to the ordinary chapter, the Provincial Minister, with the consent of his council and having informed the General Minister, may convoke an extraordinary chapter, which may not conduct elections.  
  4In a Provincial Chapter, whether ordinary or extraordinary, matters relating to the life and activity of the province and of the custody are discussed, concerning which all the brothers are to be consulted beforehand.  
 

130

1The following have active voice in ordinary and extraordinary chapters: the General Minister, if he presides, the Provincial Minister and the provincial councillors, the Custodes, the perpetually professed brothers of the province and delegates of the custodies, according to the criteria laid down in the Ordinances of the General Chapters and in the Procedures for Conducting a Provincial Chapter.

CIC 632

  2A Provincial Chapter may be held with direct suffrage, that is, with all the perpetually professed brothers taking part, or with delegates, in accordance with the Ordinances of the General Chapters. In a chapter of delegates the members, gathered in fraternal communion, represent the whole province.  
  3All the brothers in perpetual vows who have the right to vote are bound to attend the chapter. Anyone prevented from attending must report the impediment to the Provincial Minister whose responsibility it is to judge the matter. Only the brothers who are actually present in the chapter have the right to vote.  
  4Should the superior of a custody be unable to attend the chapter for a serious reason known to the Provincial Minister, or if his office is vacant, the first or second councillor participates in the chapter, depending on what is possible.  
 

131

1After the announcement of a Provincial Chapter with delegates, all the brothers of the province and those of other provinces as indicated in n. 121,6 who have been perpetually professed by that date, except those belonging to the custodies and those deprived of active and passive voice, shall elect delegates and alternates.

CIC 632

  2The brothers of the custodies shall elect their own delegates and their alternates.  
  3The Provincial Chapter determines which brothers participate by right, the number of delegates of the province and of the custody and the manner of electing them.  
 

132

1In an ordinary chapter, the Provincial Minister is elected according to the Procedures for Conducting a Provincial Chapter approved by the Provincial Chapter itself.

 
  2The Provincial Minister may be elected only for only two consecutive terms, save for the prescription of n. 123, 7, and the Ordinances of the General Chapter.

CIC 624 §1

  3According to the Procedures mentioned previously, four provincial councillors are elected, unless the General Minister with the consent of his council decides that a larger number is more suitable; half of these may be from those elected in the previous chapter.

CIC 627 §1

  4Then the Provincial Vicar is elected from among the councillors, and becomes the first councillor by virtue of his election.  
  5The elected Provincial Minister exercises his office as a delegate of the General Minister until his election is confirmed. If the General Minister does not confirm the election another election is to be held. In this election the one who was not confirmed does not have passive voice.

CIC 625 §3

  6After the election or appointment of the Provincial Minister and councillors the brothers continue to exercise their respective offices until other provisions are made. This norm, with the necessary modifications, also applies to custodies.  
 

133

1The General Minister, with the consent of the council, may, for serious reasons, appoint a Provincial Minister and councillors after obtaining in writing the consultative vote of all the perpetually professed brothers of the province in perpetual vows, but this cannot be done on two consecutive occasions.

CIC 625 §3

  2After this appointment, a chapter is to be held at an appropriate time to deal with provincial affairs.  
 

134

1It is the responsibility of the Provincial Vicar to help the Provincial Minister in whatever has been entrusted to him and, when the Provincial Minister is absent or impeded, to manage the affairs of the province, excepting those which the Provincial Minister has reserved to himself.

CIC 625 §3

  2If the office of Provincial Minister becomes vacant, the Provincial Vicar is bound to have immediate recourse to the General Minister and governs the province until he receives further instructions.  
  3Should the vacancy occur more than eighteen months before the natural expiry of the term of office, the General Minister, with the consent of his council, after a consultative vote of all the brothers in perpetual vows, shall appoint a new minister who governs the province until the chapter is held.  
  4If the Provincial Vicar is impeded, the next councillor in order of election exercises his office temporarily as a delegate of the Provincial Minister.  
  5When the office of a provincial councillor becomes vacant more than a year before the provincial chapter, the General Minister, with the consent of his council, after hearing the Provincial Minister and his council, shall appoint another councillor, who then becomes the last councillor. But if the office of the Provincial Vicar becomes vacant, the number of councillors is first restored, after which the Provincial Minister and his council elect collegially by secret ballot another Provincial Vicar from the members of the council. The General Minister is informed of this matter.  
 

135

1The Provincial Minister, with the consent of his council, shall appoint a provincial secretary from among the brothers in perpetual vows, as well as other officials needed to transact the business of the provincial curia and, if necessary, to take charge of other special offices.

 
  2The provincial secretary is accountable only to the Provincial Minister. It is the responsibility of the provincial chapter, however, to decide whether other officials shall be accountable to the Provincial Minister alone.  
  3It is recommended that commissions be established in each province by the Provincial Minister, with the consent of the council, to deal with special matters.

CIC 633 §1

Article V

The Governance of the Custodies

III PCO 45ff

136

1A custody, among whose principal purposes is the implantation of the Order in a particular Church, is a circumscription of the Order entrusted to a province or, because of special circumstances, directly dependent upon the General Minister. Custodies that depend upon the General Minister have their own statutes approved by the same minister with the consent of his council. The same norms governing custodies dependent on a province are applied to them by analogy.

 
  2Each custody is governed by a Custos with his council. It is for the Provincial Minister, having consulted the members of the custody and with the consent of his council, to determine the number of councillors, which can vary according to need, but cannot be fewer than two. The General Minister must be informed of any change in the number of councillors.

CIC 627 §1

  3It pertains to the Custos, having first obtained the consent of the Provincial Minister, to announce and convoke the chapter of the custody, in which all the perpetually professed brothers, as well as the Provincial Minister if he presides, have active voice. With regard to brothers who are unable to attend the chapter, the same arrangements apply as for the provincial chapter.

CIC 632

  4The Custos and the councillors are elected by the chapter with universal suffrage, in accordance with the procedures determined by the chapter of the custody, and they may be re-elected. However, the Custos may be immediately re-elected only for a second term, save for what is laid down in art. 123,7. The length of the term is determined in the Ordinances of the General Chapters.

CIC 624 §1

  5 The elected Custos must be confirmed by the Provincial Minister. Until this confirmation, he exercises his office as the delegate of the Provincial Minister, who is responsible for informing the General Minister of the election. If the Provincial Minister does not confirm the election, another election is to be held. In this election the one who was not confirmed has no passive voice.

CIC 131-132; 625 §3

  6From the moment his election is confirmed, the Custos acquires ordinary vicarious power to exercise his office. The Provincial Minister must grant to the Custos, in writing, the faculties that are delegated to him, and indicate those which he reserves to himself.  
  7 With the previous consent of the Provincial Minister, the Custos may convoke an extraordinary chapter. It is appropriate that the Provincial Minister should also preside at this chapter, in which he has active voice.  
  8The chapter of the custody shall prepare its own procedures and the statute of the custody, both of which must be approved by the Provincial Minister with the consent of his council. The subjects to be dealt with in the chapter of the custody are to be agreed by the Provincial Minister and the Custos, after consultation with their respective councils.  
  9Should the Custos be absent or impeded, the first councillor, or after him the next councillor in order of election, takes his place. The Provincial Minister must confer the appropriate delegations on the councillor who temporarily assumes the office of Custos, or, if he can, the Custos does so if he has the faculty to sub-delegate.

CIC 632

  10If the office of councillor is vacant for whatever reason, the matter is be referred to the Provincial Minister, who shall proceed by analogy with what is prescribed in n. 134,5.  
  11With permission from the General Minister, the Provincial Minister with the consent of his council may, for serious reasons, appoint a Custos and his councillors, after having obtained a written consultative vote of the brothers of the custody. However, this cannot be done on two consecutive occasions.  
 

137

1The Custos is to convene his councillors several times a year. He needs their advice or consent in the same cases where, according to the Constitutions, the Provincial Minister needs the advice or consent of his council.

 
  2He shall present to the Provincial Minister any initiatives that involve considerable burdens for the custody or for the province.  
  3To open new houses, change the use of existing houses or to transfer formation houses, he shall request authorisation from the Provincial Minister with the consent of his council.  
 

138

1All those brothers belong to the custody who were incorporated into it, or who were sent there for a specified time by the competent authority, and the brothers who made profession in it, even if they live elsewhere for the purpose of formation or some other reason.

CIC 127 §1.3; 627 §2

  2In exercising the apostolate the custody should pay careful attention to vocations. For this purpose, together with the testimony of a coherent lifestyle, it should develop pastoral activities that are attentive to the real requirements of the people and the various local needs.  
  3The province, according to its possibilities, should send to a custody assigned to it as many religious as the needs of the custody require. It should also foster expressions of effective mutual collaboration and service among the brothers of different circumscriptions.  
  4In selecting the religious to be sent or recalled, the Provincial Minister, after consulting the Custos and his council, should take into account the specific qualifications of the brothers in relation to local conditions, the formation of the young and the apostolate to be exercised in the custody. Similarly, the Custos should also act in harmony with the Provincial Minister.