Apocalyptic Spirituality: Treatises and Letters of Lactantius, Adso of Montier-En-Der, Joachim of Fiore, the Franciscan Spirituals, Savonarola

By Bernard McGinn | Go to book overview

ANGELO OF CLARENO A Letter of Defense to the Pope concerning the False Accusations and Calumnies Made by the Franciscans 1

Most Reverend and Holy Father. Your Apostolic Holiness and the Sacred College of Cardinals should know that the sentence of apostasy, heresy, and excommunication against me and my companions contained in the letters of Pope Boniface of happy memory and of the well-remembered Peter, Patriarch of Constantinople, was unexpectedly read out to me for the first time in the presence of Your Holiness and the College of Cardinals. 2 This condemnation is now fixed in your mind and has become completely believable to the extent that you seem to think that wild beasts have devoured us and that we are apostates from religion and faith and excommunicates from the law and the Church. Because unchangeable truth overcomes all things, it should be clear to Your Holiness and the Sacred College of Your Brethren that in God's truth we without doubt have a very different view of ourselves. We know that we are not and never have been apostates, heretics, or excommunicates, unless perhaps it be a heresy worthy of excommunication humbly and without regard to the opinion of those who think otherwise to believe, confess, love, and work for what Saint Francis believed and confessed about the observance of his Rule. 3 He taught this while alive and loved it as he was dying. He worked for it and commanded it to be kept. I confess that I have always held that heresy and that I hold it now. I stand ready for your judgment and I am ready to receive it with obedience.

In sound mind and good conscience we declare that the other things directed against me and my companions at the request of the Franciscans and contained in these letters are all lies coming from evil hearts and bad consciences. What was re-

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