Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe: Documents in Translation

By Edward Peters | Go to book overview

emphasizing the role of apostolic poverty in it. The text is printed in F. Ehrle, "Zur Vorgeschichte des Concils von Vienne," Archiv für Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters 3 ( 1887): 1-195. The selection given here is from pp. 104-7.


THE RULE (FROM THE DECRETAL SOLET ANNUERE OF HONOBIUS III)

I firmly ordain to all friars that in no manner may they receive money for themselves or through the mediation of another person.


UBERTINO'S EXPLICATION

Concerning this article let it be noted that our fathers and masters from the beginning, and chapters general agree that it has been decreed that the term denarios is to be understood literally as money, and the term pecuniam as any kind of goods which are received so that they may be sold and in place of the price converted into other objects of value. There have been many offenses against this article [of the Rule], and so great is the indifference to it that as many as are able have their own accounts and agents and spend as they like on books, food, drink, delicate clothing, and other amenities of life in the manner of prelates. Note that they do so indifferently, those who have possessions, having always with them bursars as their personal servants, who spend the property of the brothers in such a way that these brothers appear by all signs to be the lords, not only of their goods, but of the expenditures of their servants. And the brothers carry with them wallets in which money is contained, and if perchance some boys carry the friars' wallets, they are often ignorant of what they contain, since the brothers themselves carry the keys on their own persons. And although these sometimes [technically] have the name of agents, in that they purport to be the agents of those people who give goods to the friars, they are in fact neither servants nor agents, for that money has no other master than the friars themselves.

Note that in the church of St. Francis in Assisi and in St. Mary of the Portiuncula, where the order was born, money is continually received in the name of offerings, and has been received for many years, even before this privilege. Under the protection of a privilege given by Pope Nicholas [IV], both of these convents live by means of money against the Rule. And even though this privilege is in some ways destroying the Rule, not only ought it not to have been asked for, but its privileges

-244-

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