Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Collection of Franciscan Bulls of Pope Honorius III (Part I)

In researching for my recently begun project, The Church Documents Index, I came across The Franciscan Archive, which includes links to a great many papal bulls and other documents regarding the Franciscan Orders. While are large number of these are translated into English or linked to English translations, not all of them are: some are only in Latin, or Spanish, or other languages. Though I do not know Latin, I do know Spanish, so I decided to translate some of these bulls into English in order for those studying the history of Franciscanism to have this resource available. To start with, here are the Bulls Cum Dilecti, Pio Dilectis, and Cum Secundum of Pope Honorius III translated into English: these are some of the earliest papal documents written regarding Franciscanism (they were all written while St. Francis was still alive). Even though these translations will not be perfect (they're translations of translations, after all), I hope they are helpful to you.

Pope Honorius III
Bull Cum Dilecti
A Letter of Pope Honorius III to the Bishops of the World, recommending St. Francis and the Brothers of Penance

Bishop Honorius, servant of the servants of God, to the venerable brother archbishops and bishops and to the beloved sons, abbots, deans, archdeacons, and the other prelates of the Church, health and apostolic blessing.

Since the beloved sons, Brother Francis and his companions, members of the life and religion of the Friars Minor, after having abandoned the vanities of the world, have chosen a path of life meritoriously approbated by the Roman Church, and have expanded to the many parts of the world, following the example of the apostles, sowing the seed of the Divine Word; through these apostolic letters we communicate to them our request and exhortation.

Namely, when the carriers of these present letters, those of the community of the said brothers, consider that they ought to go to where you are, accept them as catholic and faithful men and in every moment show yourselves favorable and benign with them, for reverence of the Lord and Us.

Given in the Lateran, the 11th day of June of 1218, in the second year of Our Pontificate.

Pope Honorius III
Pio Dilectis

The Letter of Pope Honorius III to the Bishops and Nobles of France, recommending Order of Friars Minor

Bishop Honorius, servant of the servants of God, to the venerable archbishops and bishops, and to the beloved sons, abbots, priors, and the other prelates to the churches, constituted in the Kingdom of France, health and apostolic blessing.

We remember having sent you Our letters in favor of the beloved sons, the brothers of the Order of Friars Minor, to the end that you consider them as recommended, in the light of Divine Love.

But, as has been related to Us, some of you, as if you had a doubtful conscience with respect to the Order, not finding, however, in them reason for suspicion, as We have heard from others to whom We can give full faith, do not permit them to remain in your dioceses, although, being the only deed for which We had sent you Our letters, it should not be thought as nothing inconvenient with respect to them.

For such a motive We want all of you to be notified that we consider their Order among the approbated and We admit the brothers of that Order as Catholics and supporters [of the Roman Church].

Consequently, We have considered reprimanding and exhorting you by sending you notification through apostolic letters, by which We order: namely, that you admit them in your dioceses as men truly faithful and religious, and that you take them as recommended very particularly, for reverence of the Lord and Us.

Given in Viterbo, the 29th of May of 1220, the fourth year of Our Pontificate.

Pope Honorius III
Cum Secundum
The Bull of Pope Honorius III to the Priors and Custodes of the OFM, establishing the requirement of the observance of the Novitiate

Honorius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to the beloved sons Priors and custodians of the Friars Minor, health and apostolic blessing.

1. Following the advice of the Wise One, nothing should be done without reflection (cf. Prov 13:16), to the end that nothing would took place after which we ought to repent. From there it is opportune for anyone that has the intention of effecting a proposition for a more perfect life, that his eyes precede his steps, that is to say that he measure his own strengths with the criterion of prudence, in order that it does not happen, God not permit it, that wanting higher things, his path turns unsteady (Ps 65:9) and returns to look back, destined to be transformed into an insipid statue of salt (Gen 19:26), because it is not the capacity to season the sacrifice of the same, that he wished to offer to God, with the salt of wisdom. In effect, as the wise man arrived at being insipid if he did not have fervor, in the same way, he who is fervent is covers himself in confusion if he does not have flavor.
2. For this reason, in almost all the forms of religious life it is prudently established that as many as have the intention of embracing the regular observances, would try them out for some time before and be tested in them, so that afterwards they do not have motives for remorse, so that it would not be possible to excuse them from the accusation of laziness.
3. Consequently, with the authority of the present letters We prohibit you to permit anyone to the profession of your Order, if before he has not had a year of probation. And once his profession is made, no brother should dare to leave your Order, and no one is licit in accepting those that have left the Order.

We prohibit also that any of you be able to leave the obedience of the habit of your religion and corrupt the pureness of poverty. If one of you, then, presumes to do this, it is licit to you to impose on such brothers ecclesiastical censures until they have repented.

To no one is it licit, as such, to violate in any form this writing of our prohibition and concession, or to go recklessly against it. If, then, any one has the presumption to do this, know that he will incur the indignation of God Almighty and the holy apostles Peter and Paul.

Given in Viterbo, the 22nd of September of 1220, in the fifth year of Our Pontificate.

Again, I hope you found these translations helpful.
God Bless!

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!

Nota Bene: The Spanish translations of these bulls were found here.

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