Proposed Revision of Chapter II
THE VOCATION TO OUR LIFE
AND THE FORMATION OF THE BROTHERS
Rome — General Curia — 2009
General Curia of the Capuchin Friars Minor
Via Piemonte, 70 00187 ROME, Italy +39 06 4620121 +39 06 4828267 www.ofmcap.org
Rome, 1 May 2009
Prot. N. 00355/09
I present you with some short considerations on the “Proposals for the Revision of Chapter
Two of the Constitutions”. In fact the Introduction prepared by the Commission and the Explana-
tory Notes on the changes to the present text adequately explain the reasons for the choices and
proposed additions to the text.
With the proposed changes the text of the Constitutions is certainly enriched in one most chal-
lenging aspect which is especially close to our heart: admission to our life and the formation of the
brothers. However, the text also expresses a new emphasis on some points regarding how to renew
formation in line with our tradition and with recent reflection in the Order .
Initial and ongoing formation are a constant concern for the brothers who are called to be
guides and pastors in each circumscription. Today we live in a globalised world, subject to continual
changes that are viewed differently in each culture and which obviously generate different reactions
and responses. We Capuchin brothers are also constantly called to update our formation processes
carefully. How can we keep pace with such different times and contexts without compromising our
Capuchin Franciscan charism? I am convinced that we want to be true disciples of Jesus Christ fol-
lowing the example of Saint Francis and so we should be aware that the concrete ways of following
Christ must be subject to continual renewal.
I am pleased to note that the text pays special attention to highlighting the interaction between
the individual circumscriptions and the General Minister and his definitory. This should always be
present in the area of formation. The new emphases given in the text are a response to the needs of
the Order in the present historical context, and are based on experiences of collaboration that have
developed over recent decades and will need further thought and consolidation. Therefore the sug-
gested “Proposals for Renewal” are presented to all the brothers so that they may discuss them
among themselves, study them in depth and make any further proposals. In this way we will eventu-
ally have a shared text to present to the General Chapter when the time comes. I am sure that the
Order has the capacity to dialogue in an active and constructive manner. The more detailed specifica-
tion of the role of the General Minister and his definitory in the field of formation does not ignore,
much less nullifies, the pivotal role of the circumscriptions in this same specific area. Rather, its value
lies in incorporating into the legislative text those instruments that allow the general governing body
of the Order to assume and carry out its own specific responsibility for the unity and growth of the
entire international fraternity in this fundamental task of our life.
The process of initiation to which I referred in my last circular letter on initial formation, “Let
us fan the flame of our charism” is based on the present Constitutions and is given adequate detailed
emphasis in the text which is now being proposed. Initiation to our life, indeed, should be the con-
necting thread throughout our formative journey.
In addition, you will notice that the text of “Proposals for the Revision of Chapter Two” does
not talk of “specific formation”. The Commission decided to speak of “ministerial and professional
training” instead. It did so in order to stress two things simultaneously and forcefully: first, the one
vocation to the Capuchin Franciscan life, and secondly the fact that the ordained ministry and a spe-
cific profession, expressed in many equal forms, implement the one charism in its apostolic dimen-
sion, which concerns all of us by the fact that we profess this way of life. The text rightly stresses the
need to provide accompaniment in formation for candidates who have made either choice. The time
that a brother spends in preparing for a specific job is, in fact, part of his initial journey even if the
brother has made perpetual profession. During the period of study it is important to assist the candi-
dates to forge a unity between what they are learning and their choice of the Capuchin life.
It is clear from the “Proposal for Revision” presented by the Commission that they were
somewhat undecided regarding the (non-fundamental) norms that should be transferred to the com-
plementary code. This is an aspect on which we all have to reflect and make suitable proposals, be-
cause this was one of the explicit purposes the General Chapter of 2006 envisaged for the present
work on the Constitutions.
I dare to hope that by studying the text of chapter two the Order will ask questions about what
is being proposed and will not shy away from the effort of reflecting, seeking and making proposals,
so that together we can arrive at a clearer vision of our life. To achieve this we must always be sus-
tained by a desire to revitalise our charism with a dynamic fidelity in the specific time and social con-
text in which we are called to live.
Br. Mauro Jöhri
General Minister OFMCap
Points for Fraternal Reflection
Articles I-II: The Vocation to our life — Admission to our life
The witness of a joyful and authentic Capuchin way of life is essential for the promotion of vocations to
our way of life and its growth.
To what degree is this awareness present in our life?
Is this statement true in your life, in the life of your fraternity, in the life of your province?
What is the responsibility of the brothers in their own daily lives for assisting and guiding candidates
who are considering our way of life? Do you feel that you are personally involved in promoting voca-
Article III: Formation in general
The future of our Order depends to a great extent on the capacity for renewal in the sphere of formation.
The rapid social changes, the epoch-making transformations that are changing our way of thinking, the proc-
ess of globalisation – all these make it necessary for us to a review the models of formation. Today it is espe-
cially necessary to think of formation in more global terms, in the awareness that the important factors are
the Holy Spirit, the Church and the Order as such.
Are you aware of the decisive importance of formation in the process of renewing our Franciscan and
Thinking about your initial formation, which do you think are the most important factors to take into
account in formation for our Franciscan and Capuchin way of life?
How precisely are you and your province ready to accept the guidance and animation of the General
Minister, his definitory and the General Secretariat of the Order?
Article IV: Initiation into our life — Article V: Profession of our life
In recent years within the Church and the Order there has grown an awareness of the special character
that initial formation should have with respect to consecrated life as a journey of conformity to Christ and
Gospel life in fraternity. Today we are also aware that the processes of growth towards mature and definitive
choices are more complex than in the past. Because of this the formative journey must be equal to present
How can initial formation promote a generous and complete conviction regarding our life?
What can and must be done during every stage of formation, especially the post-novitiate period, to
give priority to our fraternal Gospel life?
Profession involves the public character of our way of life. What is the value of wearing the habit as a
sign of your profession?
Article VI: Ministerial and Professional Preparation
Our life of consecration to God develops in practice by means of specific work, which may be an ecclesi-
astical ministry or a profession. It is decisively important today that each one lives the apostolate and his spe-
cific work in a manner that is integrated with fraternal life.
What are your suggestions for promoting ministerial and professional formation which is integrated
into the values of our fraternal Gospel way of life?
Article VII: Ongoing Formation
An awareness of ongoing formation as a crucial tool by which to maintain the freshness of our vocation
is becoming ever clearer within institutes of consecrated life.
Are you aware of its importance? How valuable has it been to you? What was not useful?
The “Proposal for Revision” of Chapter 2 of the Constitutions was developed by the Commission on
1. In November 2008 the text was revised by a subcommittee made up of four brothers, who
worked on the proposals sent in by the Order. These were taken from Project 2006 and included
other proposals put forward by members of the Commission.
2. During its plenary meeting held between 19-20 December 2008 the Commission evaluated and
analysed all the numbers and paragraphs of the text.
3. During the months of January and February of 2009 the sub-committee revised the text once
again on the basis of what had emerged from the plenary meeting in December 2008 and the ob-
servations of the members of the Commission.
4. During the plenary meeting from 2-14 March 2009 the Commission improved the text twice, ex-
panding in various ways questions and particular aspects, and what emerged was the publication
of the “Proposals for Revision” now sent to the Order.
I. Enrichment of the text
In its work of revision the Commission kept in mind the mandate of the General Chapter of 2006, the
successive clarifications contained in the letters of the General Minister and other preliminary documents. In
particular the Commission was mindful of the circular letter of the General Minister on initial formation “Let
us the flame of our charism” (8 December, 2008) and the letter which he addressed to the members of the Com-
mission for the Constitutions on 25 November, 2008 (Prot. N. 00879/08) in which, among other things, he
stated that the work of “enrichment of the Constitutions” desired by the General Chapter of 2006 involved
also taking into account the development of the Order over the last ten years and the new circumstances in
which the Order finds itself today.
As a general criterion for the “enrichment of the Constitutions” the Commission maintains that the
present Constitutions should be neither replaced nor contradicted. Thus, as far as content is concerned, our work
tends towards the completion of the current Constitutions and, in a few instances, towards the clarification or
addition of details to the present text.
In the light of the above the Commission intended to respect the structure of chapter two which is set
out in seven articles:
1. Vocation to our life
2. Admission to our life
3. Formation in general
4. Initiation into our life
5. Profession of our life
6. Ministerial and Professional Preparation
7. Ongoing formation
The text was enriched using the documents of the Church. The most obvious (but not the only) indi-
cations of such enrichment can be seen in numbers 14, 3; 15, 1; 19, 4; 12, 1-2; 23, 1; 31, 3-4; 41,1. Specifically
the text was enriched in respect of:
the Trinitarian dimension of vocation (16,3)
vocations promotion (17,1)
the concept of formation (23, 1-2)
the Order’s work for formation (23,4)
the relationship between consecrated life and the mystery of Christ and of the Church (33,2)
the eschatological dimension of consecrated life (31,2)
The Commission has tried to pay special attention to the example and teaching of Saint Francis. Thus,
some new references to Franciscan sources appear in the “Proposal for Revision” (see for example in num-
bers 35, 3; 43, 1).
In drafting the text the Commission remained faithful to the document issued by the Fourth PCO
(Rome 1981), but it also had in mind the documents on formation coming from the Church and the Order
II. The nature of formation within the Order
In this “Introductory note” we do not intend to dwell on the first two articles of chapter two (The Voca-
tion to out life and Admission to our life). Details will be found in the “Explanatory notes”.
Instead we shall briefly outline some aspects of formation.
1) Article 3 (Formation in general)
Presents a new description of formation from a Christological perspective (cf. n. 23, 1-2), which completes
the description given in the present text (cf. n. 23,3). In fact, “all religious formation is directed
towards the following of Christ, to the intense sharing of his mysteries made present in the liturgy
and lived in the Church, and to the progressive gift of ourselves to our brothers, according to the
sensitivity of our specific vocation, through the gradual sharing of the charism of our founder”.2
Completes the present text with regard to the principal agents of formation: the Holy Spirit, the
Church, the poor (cf. n. 24, 1-3). In this way two basic aspects of our consecrated life are dis-
played in the context of formation: the ecclesial dimension and our life as Lesser Brothers, called
by vocation to live with the poor and to establish a relationship of reciprocal enrichment with
Affirms, on the basis of the documents of the Church,4 the duties and rights of the Order with respect
to the formation of the brothers (cf. n. 24, 4).
Demonstrates the need for the training of formators (cf. n. 25, 5).
Outlines the role of the General Secretariat of Formation in more detail (cf. n. 25, 8) and proposes the
suitability of a Ratio formationis, which is a need felt by the Order5 (n. 25, 10) and a requirement ex-
pressed in Church documents.6
2) In article 6 (Initiation into our way of life), the “Proposal for Revision” attempts to define as much as
possible the nature of formation in its various phases, seeking greater clarity with regard to initiation into our
way of life, especially by giving greater emphasis to the aspect of initiation during postulancy (cf. n. 30), novitiate
(cf. n. 31) and post-novitiate (cf. n 32) by setting their objectives more specifically.
3) With regard to specific formation (article 6: De formatione speciali) the intention was to make it clear that
its objective is the preparation of the brothers for apostolic activity (cf. n. 25, 2; 38, 1. 5-6; 39, 3), which is carried out
in the exercise of the ordained ministry or by engaging in some profession. In this respect it is well to re-
member that part of the matter now contained in chapter 2 (article 6) was traditionally dealt with in chapter 9
on apostolic activity. The first article in chapter nine of the Constitutions of 1968, 1970 and 1975 was also
about formation for the apostolate (De preparatione et formatione ad apostolatum). Accepting suggestions that had
already been proposed in 1968, the General Chapter of 1982 thought that it was fitting that everything con-
1 Note the following documents of the Order: 1. Piano generale di formazione permanente dei frati Minori Cappuccini in Analecta OFMCap
107 (1991) 441-462: 2. La Pastorale vocazionale dei frati minori Cappuccini “Essere per fare”; 3. Il Postulato dei Frati minori Cappuccini “Scegliere
per essere” in Analecta OFMCap 109 (1993) 447-482 with the title Pastorale vocazionale e Postulato; 4. Formation alla vita francescana
cappuccina nel Postnoviziato in Analecta OFMCap 120 (2004) 1041-1053.
2 Cf. John Paul II, Message to the participants of the XIV General Assembly of the Conference of Religious of Brazil (11 July 1986) n. 5.
3 The topic was developed in a special way during the Sixth PCO and is reflected in the final Proposals (cf. n, 9-10-11; 21) and in
those of the Seventh PCO (cf. n 29-30). Cf C. Bazarra, Fratelli dei poveri tra i poveri in Analecta OFMCap 114 (1998) 608-629; Br.
JOHN CORRIVEAU, The Poor, our Teachers. Circular Letter n. 16 (2nd December 1999).
4 Cf can. 646-653 and 659-661; CICLSAL, Inter-Institute Collaboration in Formation. Instruction (8th December 2008 n. 7).
5Cf. Formazione alla vita francescana cappuccina nel Postnoviziato in Analecta OFM 120 (2004) 1052, n. 6, 1; Fr. MAURO JÖHRI,
Ravviviamo la fiamma del carisma. Lettera circolare a tutti i frati dell’Ordine sulla formazione iniziale (8th December 2008); “One notes the
need to give the Order a ratio formationis or “Formation Plan” in which the objectives, programmes and concrete courses of the
whole formation process of the brothers are outlined. Before beginning such a work, and as a prerequisite for it, it is necessary to
define or describe at least in general the specific course of initiation into our way of life in the three stages of postulancy, noviciate
and post-noviciate. Initiation into our way of life, which is considered in the Constitutions to be analogous to Christian initiation,
implies the concrete outline of a “catechumenal” journey that leads to perpetual profession in our Order (n. 38).
6 Cf, Vita consecrata, n. 68.
cerning the formation of the brothers should be dealt with in chapter two of the Constitutions. In this way
the idea of a unilateral concept of the apostolate of the Capuchin Friars Minor that was narrowly ministerial
(ordained ministry) was overcome. Thus the Constitutions intend to affirm the equal dignity of the brothers,
based on the common fundamental vocation that commits us to provide preparation for all and by all, in
whatever activity is in accord with our charism, in which and by means of which, always and everywhere, the
apostolic aspect of Franciscan life is expressed. For this reason the title of article 4 in the “Proposal for Revi-
sion” (Special Formation) was replaced by a new title: Ministerial and Professional Preparation).
III. The vital context of the formation of the brothers
Formation is carried out in the province because this is the natural setting of the life of the brothers (cf.
n. 24, 8). Following PCO Seven (cf. Proposal n. 13), the “Proposal for Revision” states that the province is
the conduit by means of which we establish our belonging to the Order. In effect according to canon law
(can. 65, 4) and our Constitutions themselves (cf. n. 113, 1) the brothers, on the basis of their profession, are
incorporated into the Order and simply attached to the province. If the province is defined as the “main frater-
nity, the Order is the prime fraternity, from which the provincial and local fraternities derive and take their inspira-
tion. The Order is not a federation of provinces, but a “network” of provincial fraternities and circumscrip-
In the last ten years many forms of collaboration in initial formation have been developed. This has
come about either through necessity or out of conviction of the value of collaboration as an expression of life
in fraternity and of the requirement of mutual dependence, passed down to us by Saint Francis, and one of
the main ways of implementing them7. Consequently following the suggestions received from the General
Minister,8 the “Proposal for Revision” took into account the present situation within the Order. At this level
we find ourselves in agreement with the goal set by the General Chapter for the enrichment of the Constitu-
tions in the light of the PCO’s, especially the last two, but not only of these, with the documents and sugges-
tions of the Church as well.9
7 Cf. PCO VII, n. 13.
8 Cf. Br. Mauro Jöhri, Letter to the Brothers of the Commission for the Constitutions, (25 November 2008): “The concept of col-
laboration, as the privileged expression and implementation of life in fraternity in its various aspects and dimensions, is almost en-
tirely absent from the present text of the Constitutions. However, it is a topic that should pervade the whole of the Constitutions,
running through them and characterising them intrinsically. It should certainly be particularly evident in certain chapters, such as,
for example, the second chapter in formation, the fourth on the life of poverty, the sixth on fraternity, the eighth on the govern-
ment of the Order, the ninth and tenth on the apostolic and missionary life of the Order”. Let us fan the flame of our charism. Cir-
cular letter to all the Brothers of the Order on Formation (8 December 2008): “Whatever happens, the Constitutions can always be
further enriched and refined. In fact, with reference to some aspects of formation, the Constitutions should be expanded to pro-
mote in our fraternity a greater sense of communion and working together not just among the jurisdictions themselves but also
with the central authorities of the Order, so that the latter may offer every possible contribution to the entire fraternity for the ini-
tiation of the candidates and the initial and ongoing formation of the brothers. The delicate area of formation constitutes a chal-
lenge for us all. On the one hand, it is true that the Ministers of the circumscriptions are the ones directly responsible. On the other
hand, equally directly, the General Minister is also challenged, since he, together with his definitory, has a particular function of
animation and governance which he cannot abdicate, given the fact that every Institute has the inalienable right and duty to provide
for the formation of its members” (n. 37). “Some circumscriptions have only a few candidates and have begun to collaborate with
other jurisdictions to ensure the best conditions for formation. This is a correct and wise option, because in this way each candidate
is able to join others on the formation journey and to benefit from the presence of one or more formators who are “free from all
duties which could interfere with the care and direction of the candidates” (Const. 26,4). It is certainly not appropriate to interrupt a
relationship of co-operation just because, in a particular year, there may be a larger number of one’s “own” candidates. Our Order
still has a way to go before it can see collaboration at all levels, and not just in formation, as a value that must be pursued and
9 The PCO’s constantly spoke about collaboration between the Circumscriptions of the Order, beginning with the First at Quito in
1971 (cf. n. 63 ). Following that the General Chapter in 1974 sent out an urgent appeal to the Order, which today has become
part of the Ordinances: “The General Chapter fraternally invites all the circumscriptions of the Order to undertake a sincere reflec-
tion on our identity, spiritual vigour and vitality. Should such reflection disclose that it is necessary or very useful to seek a new ju-
ridical structure, for example amalgamation or collaboration with another Province, Vice-province or Mission, the Chapter ear-
nestly requests the brothers to think of the future, leaving the past behind”. (Ordinances 8/1). We find analogous statements in the
Third PCO of Mattli (1978) regarding Missionary Activity in the Order (cf. n. 41), in the Fifth PCO of Garibaldi (1986) on Our Prophetic
Presence in the World (cf. n. 27), in Proposal 21 of the Sixth PCO (Assisi 1998) and in Proposal 13 of the Seventh PCO (Assisi 2004).
Among other things Proposal 21 of the Sixth PCO reminded us that “Sollicitudo rei socialis defined the moral virtue of solidarity as ‘a
firm and constant determination to commit to the common good, that is to the good of each and every individual, since we are all
responsible for everyone’ (SRS 38)”. The Sixth PCO continues: “Saint Francis strengthens this definition of solidarity by proclaim-
Therefore the “Proposal for Revision”, taking into account that “the efficient structuring of collabora-
tion in formation is an area that needs attention and deserves serious and creative study”10, was inspired by
what has been the practice of the Order for some years regarding “solidarity in personnel”, whereby the cir-
cumscriptions entering into collaboration must draw up a contract, which has to be approved by the General
Minister and his definitory. Thus, by analogy, the “Proposal for Revision” in n. 25, 3 states that “The formation
structures for groups of circumscriptions must be approved by the General Minister with the consent of his definitory”, and that
“interprovincial collaboration is to be regulated by special conventions and statutes, approved by the General Minister and his de-
In this way, using the legal instruments of the Constitutions and the complementary code, and recog-
nising that “the main responsibility for ensuring the authenticity of the formation of the brothers” (cf. n. 24, 9) rests with
the General Minister and his definitory, we intend to underline the significance of collaboration and to safe-
guard it, so as to achieve our aim in the best possible way, namely the initiation of candidates and the forma-
tion of the brothers. In fact “Initial formation that lacks clear structures of authority is often weak and unsta-
IV Pluriformity in unity
The principle modi aptiores, etiam pluriformes (better ways, including different forms) sanctioned in chapter one of
the Constitutions (cf. n. 5, 4-5), is applied in chapter two of the present Constitutions and continues to per-
vade the Commission’s “Proposal for Revision” (cf for example nn. 23, 3; 40, 1; 43, 3-4; 45, 2; the provisional
text of the complementary code (ex Const. n. 14, 4). In this light the principle stated in the present Constitu-
tions (n. 24, 7), which is repeated literally in the “Proposal for Revision” concerning the Ratio formationis for
both individual circumscriptions and groups of circumscriptions, retains its full value: “The individual cir-
cumscriptions or groups of circumscriptions, according to the situation in the regions, shall have a formation
plan [Latin: rationem formationis] in which the objectives, programmes and specific courses of the whole forma-
tive process of the brothers are set out” (n. 25, 11). This is to ensure that formation is carried out and devel-
oped coherently and consistently in the different geographical and cultural contexts.
Since “the vera pluriformis ratio” is what maintains unity in the one genuine spirit [= pluriformity in unity] and is
founded on fraternal communion and obedience to superiors (Const. n. 5, 5), the “Proposal for Revision”,
recognises the role of the General Minister: “[he] is appointed for the service and unity of the entire frater-
nity, as the successor of the saintly founder and the living link which unites us to the authority of the Church
and to one another” (Const. n. 10, 1). It provides that the Formation Plan or Ratio formationis of the individual
circumscriptions or groups of circumscriptions is approved by the General Minister and his definitory (cf. n.
25, 11 – text for the complementary code). At this level, since each Ratio formationis must guarantee fidelity to
the charism,12 and be an application of principles and guidelines sanctioned in the Constitutions, there is no
departure from what is said in number 184, 5 of the same Constitutions: “Provincial chapters or conferences
ing a fraternity in which there is no shame in one being dependent on the other (cf. LR 9, 6-7). In fact Francis clearly stated that
dependence is one of the consequences of creation and redemption, and thus is a right (cf. LR 9, 8). Furthermore, interdependence
requires the theological gift of love which at the same time enriches the one who gives and the one who receives (cf. LR 9, 9). See
also Formation for the Capuchin Franciscan life in the Post-novitiate in Analecta OFMCap, 120 (2004) 1053: “We wish to acknowledge the
reality of co-operation between the circumscriptions and conferences of the Order as a value in itself and not only as a choice out
of necessity. It is important to overcome provincialism in formation in favour of exchange at various stages” (n. 6, 4).
In his Message of 23 October 2003 on the occasion of the Chapter of Mats of the Italian Capuchins, Pope John Paul II said: “As
brothers and members of a fraternity you constitute an “Order of brothers”. This special brotherly lifestyle should reflect and nour-
ish in each one a sense of belonging to a large family without borders. A continual and total conversion to “fraternity” by each in-
dividual and by local and provincial fraternities could lead you to a kind of globalisation of charity lived out as brothers at the level
of the Order, with the real and completely normal possibility of giving your individual and communal resources, fraternal and lowly
services to the pressing and general needs of the entire Capuchin Order”. Cf. M. STEFFAN (ed.), Fraternità minoritica ed ecclesiale in
un mondo che cambia. Atti del Capitolo delle stuoie dei Cappuccini italiani (Assisi 27-31 October 2003). Roma, Edizioni Italia Frances-
cana, 2003; 360, n. 2.
10 Br JOHN CORRIVEAU, Report to the General Chapter of 2006 in Analecta OFMCap 122 (2006) 286, n. 12. 7. 2.
12 Cf. CICLSAL, Instruction: inter-Institute collaboration in Formation (8th December 1998) 7. 1; Fr FLAVIO ROBERTO CARRARO,
Relatio de statu Ordinis in sexennio 1982-1988 ... coram Capitulo Generali LXXX in Anelecta OFMCap 104 (1988) 192.
of Major Superiors may enact particular statutes so that the regulations of the Constitutions may be properly
applied to the situations of provinces and regions”.
V. Constitutions and Complementary Code
The “Proposal for Revision” intends to respect the traditional characteristics of our Constitutions, in
which doctrinal, spiritual and juridical elements have always been intrinsically integrated and wisely harmo-
nised with each other. On the other hand, when looking at the Ordinances it is clear that, in contrast to the
Constitutions, they contain only strictly juridical elements.
Therefore it seems fitting that we maintain the characteristics of our legislation.
Further, at the present stage of work, the Commission regards it as appropriate to transfer to a com-
plementary code only those things which could easily be changed over time. In line with can. 587, § 1, we
think, for example, what concerns admission of candidates and “incorporation into the Order”, and the
norms relating to “separation from the Order” are better left in the Constitutions.
With regard to the question of “detaching” certain non-fundamental norms, the Commission is of the
opinion that in order to make wise decisions based on valid criteria, it is first necessary to go ahead with the
analysis and revision of all the chapters of the Constitutions.
Rome, 24th April 2009.
On behalf of the Commission:
Br. Felice Cangelosi
Vicar General OFMCap
President of the Commission
Br. José María Sanz, OFMCap
Secretary of the Commission
The Commission invites the brothers to keep in mind the suggestions already set out in the Introductory
Notes to Chapter One.
With regard to Chapter two be especially aware that:
1) To facilitate the understanding and study of the proposals, the nine texts are presented in “synoptic”
form, with this difference from what was presented for Chapter one: in the first column there is the
text of the present Constitutions in one’s own language; in the second column the text of the “Proposal
for Revision” in one’s own language; in the third column, when necessary, some norms which it is pro-
posed to place in the Complementary Code in one’s own language.
2) In the second column, the text of each paragraph is preceded by a directive: current text (when the text
presently in force has not been changed); current text with addition/s (when the present text is retained
with the addition of new elements); current text with changes (when there are changes to the present
text); new text (when the text is completely new).
3) Each proposal is accompanied by explanatory notes, which are presented after the summary of each
individual number in the text. In the explanatory notes only what in the opinion of the Commission is
regarded as necessary for the understanding of changes or additions or the introduction of a new text
is provided. References to documents of the Church or the Order are restricted to what is necessary.
4) In another “synoptic presentation” you will find the following: in the first column the text of the pre-
sent Constitutions in Latin; in the second column the text of the “Proposal for Revision” in Latin; in
the third column, when necessary, the text of the norms which it is proposed to place in the Com-
plementary Code in Latin.
5) The Order is invited to consider the proposed text, evaluating in particular the changes put forward,
the new additions and in some cases the new arrangement of the content presented with some trans-
fer of text.
6) While respecting the freedom of each brother to express his own opinion individually, the work
would be greatly assisted if the observations were shared by groups of brothers or collected and sent
in by the Ministers themselves, using the sheets provided following the attached models.
7) The evaluation of each number or paragraph is to be made using the sheets provided following the
model prepared by the Commission Secretariat.
All parts of each sheet must be filled in, keeping in mind that anonymous sheets are not acceptable,
nor those sent in by “a group of brothers…” without any signature.
Whether you agree with the proposed text or not, it is sufficient to “briefly” express your own opin-
If instead you propose an alternative text this should be presented clearly and concisely. You must
provide the reason for the alternative text which is being proposed.
The evaluation sheets for chapter 2 and the proposals for the same should reach the Commission by 31st December
Rome, 24th April 2009.
Br. José María Sanz, OFMCap
Secretary of the Commission
Model form to be sent to the Secretary of the Commission
(PLEASE SEND BY E-MAIL NO LATER THAN 31 DECEMBER 2009)
of each no. or § of the “Proposed revision of Chapter II”.
Indicate as clearly and concisely as possible whether you agree with the proposed text or not. You
may propose an alternative text, giving your reasons.
Name of the Circumscription:
THE EVALUATION refers to n. ( ) of the “Proposed revision of Chapter II”.
Proposed alternative text (if you think it is necessary):
Reasons for the alternative text:
THE VOCATION TO OUR LIFE
AND THE FORMATION OF THE BROTHERS
The Vocation to our life
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
14,1. God, in His goodness, calls all Christian faithful Current text (n. 14,1) with changes
in the Church to the perfection of love through dif- 1. God in his goodness calls all the Christian faithful,
ferent states of life in order to promote the holiness each in his or her own state of life(1), to the perfection of
of each one and the salvation of the world. charity(2). Growth in personal holiness promotes the salva-
tion of the world(3).
14,2. Each one must give a response of love to this Current text (n. 14,2)
call with the greatest freedom, so that the dignity of 2. Each one must respond lovingly to this call with
the human person may be in harmony with the will the greatest freedom, so that the dignity of the hu-
of God. man person may be in harmony with the will of God.
14,3. All of us should gratefully rejoice over the spe- Current text (n. 14,3) with additions
cial divine grace of the religious calling given to us. 3. In his great love, the Father has called us to give ourselves to
Him, keeping nothing of our own for ourselves, and to follow in the
footsteps of His beloved Son, so that we may be transformed into His
image by the power of the Holy Spirit(4). All of us(5) should grate-
fully rejoice that God has given us the special grace of a
14,4. By responding to our Capuchin Franciscan call- Current text (n. 14,4) modified and with inser-
ing, we offer a public and social witness to the abid- tions
ing and eternal presence of Christ's life; we follow the 4. In responding to our calling as Capuchin lesser brothers(6),
poor and humble Christ, and spread His message to we give public and social witness to the eternal life of
[all] people, especially to the poor, wherever they may Christ now present in time. We follow the poor and hum-
be. ble Christ, and spread His message to people everywhere,
especially to the poor and to those who are searching for God(7).
14,5. In this way, in a brotherhood of pilgrims, of Current text (n. 14,5)
penitents in heart and deed, we devote ourselves to 5. In this way, as a pilgrim brotherhood, penitent in
all in a spirit of minority and joy for the saving mis- heart and deed, we devote ourselves to the Church’s
sion of the Church. mission of salvation, serving all people in a spirit of
minority and joy.
(1) In the judgement of a majority of the Commission it is not necessary to specify that the call to holiness
comes about in the Church; since the text is universal in scope, “in the Church” could restrict the
meaning, limiting it to the Catholic Church.
(2) We preferred to change through different states of life to each in his or her own state of life to give the text a more
personal tone. The Commission also found that the current text seems to make a distinction between
the perfection of charity and holiness: the former is seen as a means to promote personal holiness, whereas in
fact perfection of charity and holiness are equivalents (cf. especially Lumen Gentium 40). Consequently we
propose to modify the text.
(3) In the second sentence the equivalence between perfection of charity and personal holiness emerges more
clearly. At the same time it states that a progressive journey is involved, and stresses that it is precisely
by growing in personal holiness that we become instruments for the salvation of the world.
(4) The current text has been expanded in order to place the call to religious life within the Trinitarian dy-
namic by explicitly mentioning the three Divine Persons. The first part “In His great love, the Father” is
a reference to Eph 2,4 (“God, rich in mercy, through the great loved with which He has loved us”) and
to 1Jn 3,1 (“Think of the love the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called children of God, and
that is exactly what we are!”). The sentence goes on to repeat the Trinitarian dynamic proper to the
consecrated life (from the Father, through Christ, in the Spirit), so clearly highlighted in nos. 17-19 of the
Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata. Textually it is inspired by the same Apostolic Exhortation and by
the Letter of St Francis to the entire Order (v. 29).
(5) The second part coincides with the current text, with a slight variation in the opening words: “All of
us”. The thanksgiving it speaks of refers back to what was said earlier about the call we receive from
(6) We agree with the intention of Project 2006. The change from “Capuchin Franciscan vocation” to “vo-
cation as Capuchin lesser brothers” makes the current text more concrete, and brings out the two funda-
mental co-ordinates of our vocation, brotherhood and minority, as specified by Capuchin spiritual tradition.
(7) This is an expansion of the text suggested by the feedback from the first consultation of the Order,
which is more faithful to the biblical meaning and to our present historical context.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
We should strive to promote the various
forms of Christian life, so that all the
faithful, by developing the grace of bap-
tism, may work together in building up
the one Body of Christ, each according to
his or her own vocation and the gift re-
ceived from the Spirit. Obedient to the
Lord’s command, we should ask the
Lord of the harvest to send workers to
His Church. In particular we should
promote vocations to the ordained minis-
try and to the consecrated life(1).
15,1. Concern for vocations arises Current text (n. 15,1) with
above all from the brothers' changes and additions
awareness that they themselves are 2. Concern for vocations to our life
living and offering to others a pro- arises above all from our awareness
gram of life that is extremely rich that we ourselves are living and of-
in human and gospel values. By fering to others a way of life that is
embracing this life candidates de- very rich in human and gospel val-
velop their own humanity and of- ues(2). This way of life enables us to
fer genuine service to God and offer genuine service to God and
people (…). people and at the same time greatly
benefits our personal growth(3).
15,1 (…) If we are to present con- Current text (n. 15,1) with
vincing witness to this way of life, changes and additions
we ourselves must be continually 3. If we are to present clear and joy-
renewed. ful(4) witness to the life we have em-
braced(5) we must be constantly re-
15,2. All brothers should work to- Current text (n. 15,2-3) with
gether earnestly to foster vocations changes and an addition
out of a desire to carry out God's de- 4. We should(6)actively work together to
sign according to our charism. foster vocations out of a desire to
3. Mindful of Saint Francis' concern carry out God's plan according to our
when he saw the growth of the primi- charism(7). Therefore all of us, especially
tive brotherhood, let all the brothers, the ministers and individual fraterni-
especially the ministers and the indi- ties, should assiduously discern and
vidual fraternities, exert indefatigable cultivate genuine vocations, chiefly by
care in recognizing and cultivating the example of our life, our prayer
genuine vocations especially by the and our words, and also by explicitly pro-
example of their life, prayer and posing a vocation(8).
16,1. Various kinds of pastoral care Current text (n. 16,1-2) with
for vocations should be diligently changes
promoted, especially in circles closer 5. We should zealously promote vari-
to the spirit of our Order. 2. Greater ous forms of the pastoral apostolate
results are obtained where there are for vocations especially in circles
brothers specifically assigned for closer to the spirit of our Order, bear-
promoting and coordinating voca- ing in mind that(9) better results are ob-
tions. Let all the brothers, however, tained where brothers are specially
contribute to the effort as a sign of assigned to promote and coordinate
the fruitfulness of Franciscan life. the vocations apostolate. However all
the brothers should contribute to the
work as a sign of the fruitfulness of
15, 4. In this way we work together Current text (n. 15,4)
with God Who calls and chooses 6. In this way we co-operate with God
whomever He wishes, and we con- who calls and chooses those he
tribute to the good of the Church. wishes and we contribute to the good
of the Church.
16,3. To foster vocations, it is very Current text (n. 16,3)(10)
helpfu1 to offer young people an op- To foster vocations, it is very useful to
portunity of participating in some way offer young men an opportunity of par-
in our fraternal life. This is best done in ticipating in our fraternal life in some
houses that, at the same time, are suit- way. This is best done in suitable
able for offering help in personal reflec- houses where help with personal reflec-
tion. tion may be offered at the same time.
16,4. That vocations to religious life Current text (n. 16,4)
may be properly cultivated and more In order that vocations to religious life
suitably prepared, the provincial minis- may be properly cultivated and more
ters, with the consent of the definitory suitably prepared, the Provincial Minis-
and, if it seems opportune, the advice ters, with the consent of the definitory
of the provincial Chapter, may establish and the advice of the Provincial Chap-
special institutes according to the needs ter if this seems appropriate, may estab-
of regions and times. lish special institutes according to the
needs of regions and times.
16,5. They should be organized accord- Current text (n. 16,5)
ing to the norms of sound pedagogy in These should be organized in accor-
such a way that, in addition to science dance with sound educational principles
and the humanities, the students, in a in such a way that, in addition to sci-
manner consistent with their age, social ence and the humanities, the students
and family backgrounds, may lead a may lead a Christian life suited to their
Christian life suited to their age, spirit, age, spirit and stage of development,
and growth. [In these conditions] a vo- while maintaining contact with society
cation to religious life may be discerned and their families. In this way a voca-
and encouraged. tion to the religious life may be dis-
cerned and fostered.
16,6. Studies undertaken by a student Current text (n. 16,6)
should be so arranged that they can The studies undertaken by the stu-
be easily continued elsewhere. dents should be so arranged that they
can be easily continued elsewhere.
(1) This is a new text, based on the reference of Project 2006 to the Gospel passage where Christ calls for prayers to
the Lord of the harvest (cf. Mt 9,38) and to Vita Consecrata 64: “We must persevere in prayer to the Lord of the
harvest to send workers into his Church to meet the needs of the new evangelisation”. The formulation owes
much to Vita consecrata 31.
(2) The insertion of the previous § makes it necessary to specify that it is a question of a vocation to «our life».
(3) A careful reading of the current text led the Commission to make it more logical and slightly simpler, by deleting
particularly and transferring the final part to the next number, where the content fits better. The proposed text
says more clearly that we embrace this life in order to render true service to God and to people, and while doing so we
also achieve personal fulfilment (cf. Lumen Gentium 46). Also, we wanted to avoid the impression given in the cur-
rent text that personal fulfilment automatically follows upon entering the Order. We prefer the more realistic ap-
proach of PCO IV (cf. n. 59), which states the possibility.
(4) Witness is credible if given joyfully, as the experience of St Francis shows.
(5) The text coincides with the current one, with the final slight alteration. The intention is to underline the impor-
tance of continuous renewal and of the personal choice we make on a daily basis, as the foundation of any kind
of vocations apostolate.
(6) The current wording “All the brothers should co-operate …” is changed to “We should co-operate…” out of fidelity to
the principle adopted at the General Chapter of 1968: whenever possible, the first person plural is preferred, ei-
ther as an exhortation or as a command. This makes it clear that the Constitutions originate from the Brother-
hood of the Order, rather than being imposed by an external authority (cf. Acta 1968 I, 127.129-130). We are
more involved in the process, which expresses the commitment freely undertaken by each of us. Later, the ex-
pression “they should zealously promote...” becomes “all of us should zealously promote...” for the same reason.
(7) Project 2006 dropped the reference to the example of St Francis with which the current text begins: “Mindful of
Saint Francis' concern when he saw the growth of the primitive brotherhood”. Our Commission agrees with that
choice, on which some observations are appropriate. The text formulated by C.C.L. (Commission for Capitular
Legislation), presented and approved at the 1968 Chapter, was different: “Memores ardoris quo seraphicus Pater
desiderabat, ut nuper condita Fraternitas per orbem universum diffunderetur” [Mindful of the zeal with which
the Seraphic Father wanted the newly-founded fraternity to spread throughout the world”] (Schema Constitutionum
nostrarum… 1968;10; Acta 1968, II, 419, n.14). It had been compiled with reference to 1Cel 27. The observations
on the text of 1968, consulted in the revision made in the General Chapter of 1982, show that “the Franciscan
premise, of a proselytising nature, is very dubious”; and it underlined that “from the point of view of content,
one has to ask whether Francis wanted the Order to spread … Francis was somehow upset by the way the Order
had developed; it caused him anguish” (Osservazioni sulle Constituzioni 1975; 26-27).The text was therefore changed
to what we have today: “Memores sollicitudinis sancti Francisci videntis incrementum primitivae fraternitatis”,
(“Mindful of Saint Francis' concern when he saw the growth of the primitive brotherhood”), the source of which
is 1Cel 24.27. The same text thus formulated is very close to n. 17,1: “Sanctus Franciscus, de vitae puritate sollici-
tus, Fraternitatem suam in magnam multitudinem auctum iri praevidens, simul ineptorum fratrum numerum me-
tuebat” (Saint 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). The reference
to Franciscan hagiography, which is the inspiration behind this second text, is 2Cel 70, but one must note: while it
is true that, at the literal level, there are similarities between the text of the Constitutions and that of Celano, it is
also true that in the Constitutions the expression has a general character, whereas in 2Cel 70 the statement …the
man of God was fearful of the great number of brothers is placed in the particular context of poverty: “The man of God
feared a multitude in his solicitude for poverty, for a multitude has the appearance of wealth, if indeed it is not in
fact wealth. Hence he used to say: “Oh, if it were possible, my wish would be that the world would see the Friars
Minor but rarely, and be filled with wonder at the smallness of their number!” The attitude of the first Capuchins
was exactly the same. (cf. Const 1536: I Frati Cappuccini I, 162; Cronache maggiori: I Frati Cappuccini II, 2647, 2692,
2698-2699, 2700, 2707, 2843). Between the two texts of Celano (1Cel 24.27 e 2Cel 70) one might notice a kind of
contradiction, and this could be reflected in the Constitutions, despite the watered-down formulation of the cur-
rent n. 15,3. It should also be noted that there is no intrinsic link between the reference to St Francis and what
the text goes on to say about the friars’ commitment to promote vocations. The text can therefore be contracted
without any detriment to its content and message.
(8) This number stresses the commitment of the whole fraternity to promote vocations, incorporating the
last sentence of § 3 of the current text. The last sentence incorporates the proposal of Project 2006, in
conformity with the recommendation of Vita consecrata which says: “Besides promoting prayer for voca-
tions, it is essential to act, by means of explicit presentation and appropriate catechesis, with a view to
encouraging in those called to the consecrated life that free, willing and generous response which carries
into effect the grace of vocation” (n. 64).
(9) Here §§ 1-2 of number 16 of the current text are merged.
(10) The Commission accepts the suggestion of Project 2006 and proposes to transfer to the complementary
Code n° 16, 3-6, because these are not fundamental guidelines, and therefore it is not necessary that
they remain in the Constitutions.
This is the first proposal we make to transfer a text to the complementary code, and it is appropriate to re-
state the Commission’s initial objective, which flows from the decisions of the General Chapter of 2006: to
transfer (non-fundamental) juridical norms, either as a whole or in part, from the Constitutions to a complementary
code. For this purpose the necessary contribution of the brothers must be taken into account. In the Informa-
tion Preamble, (subsequently: Preamble) we read: “Excluding, therefore, the fundamental norms that cannot be
transferred, the friars must identify which other elements they want kept in the Constitutions and those
which in their judgement can or should be transferred to the Ordinances or to the General Statutes” (n. 26).
This is exactly the level of consultation we are engaged in now. It is useful to remember “the need to avoid
the opposite extremes of saying “no Ordinances” and “put everything in the complementary code”, leaving in
the Constitutions all that the law of the Church requires, and only that” (Preamble, 28). As the Preamble says:
“Wisely, the Order has passed the obstacle of “no Ordinances.”
As far as the second hypothesis is concerned (‘put everything in the complementary code’…), it seems more
appropriate to consult the brothers of the Order and, consistently respecting the principles adopted by the
2006 General Chapter, to verify from time to time when it is opportune to make a transfer. One reason for
this is, as the General Minister points out in his Circular Letter of May 27, 2007, our Constitutions ‘favour a
style where the spiritual content and the proposal for its practical realisation are strictly bound together. In
carrying out such a task careful attention will be needed to maintain the particular character of our Constitu-
tions and avoid the risk of having a text that speaks only on the level of spiritual suggestions with a supple-
mentary text of Ordinances or General Statutes – that is, a collection of precepts detached from their deeper
values and motives’ (Circular Letter n. 4.1; cf. Preamble, 28).
Therefore every brother should realise that it is not necessarily required that all norms considered to be non-
fundamental should be transferred from the Constitutions to another Code. Each brother should assess the
suggestions and give reasons for his preference. “The introduction of new norms may also be suggested, that
is, norms not yet present in our current legislation. In each case, it is of the utmost importance that for each
proposal (for relocation or addition) a clear and precise reason be given.” (Preamble, 26).
Admission to our life
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
17,1. Saint Francis was concerned about the purity of Current text (n. 17,1) with addition
our life. Discerning beforehand that his Brotherhood 1. Saint Francis, being concerned about the purity and
would grow into a large multitude, he was, at the authenticity(1) of our life, foresaw that his Brotherhood
same time, fearful of a number of unsuitable broth- would grow into a large multitude, and at the same
ers. time was afraid of having a number of unsuitable
17,2. Since the Brotherhood should, therefore, in- Current text (n. 17,2) with changes and additions
crease continually in virtue, in the perfection of char- 2. Therefore, since the Brotherhood should con-
ity, and in spirit rather than in number, let those who stantly grow in virtue, in the perfection of charity and
wish to embrace our life be seriously screened and in the spirit of the gospel(2), rather than in number, those
selected. who wish to embrace our life must be diligently(3) ex-
amined and carefully accompanied in the discernment of their
17,3. The provincial ministers shall diligently inquire Current text (n. 17,3) with changes and additions
whether those who are admitted to our life meet the 3. The Provincial Ministers must carefully enquire
requirements of the universal law as well as our own whether those who are asking to be admitted(5)to our life
for their valid and lawful admission. The following meet the requirements of universal law as well as our
must especially be observed: own for their valid and lawful admission. In particu-
a. candidates should be suited by disposition for the lar, the following must be observed(6):
communal living of our gospel fraternal life; a. candidates must be temperamentally suited for the
b. it should be evident that they enjoy the physical fraternal living of our gospel life;
and mental health necessary to lead our life; b. it must be evident that they enjoy the physical and
c. candidates should show by their lives that they mental health necessary to lead our life;
firmly believe what holy mother Church believes and c. candidates should show by their lives that they
holds and are endowed with a Catholic sense; firmly believe what holy mother Church believes and
d. it should be established that they enjoy a good teaches and that they are endowed with a Catholic
reputation especially among those who know them spirit;
well; d. it should be established that they enjoy a good
e. they should be endowed with the required maturity reputation especially among those who know them
and a fervent will, and certainty should be had that well;
they have entered the Order to serve with sincerity e. they should be endowed with appropriate human matur-
God alone and the salvation of people, according to ity, particularly affective and relational(7), and with a gener-
the Rule and way of the life of Saint Francis and our ous will. In addition, it must be certain that they enter the
Constitutions; Order with the sole purpose of sincerely serving God
f. they should be taught according to the standards of and for the salvation of people, according to the Rule
each one's region and there should be hope that in and life of Saint Francis and our Constitutions;
the future they will be able to carry out their respec- f. they should be educated according to the standards
tive duties with fruitfulness; of their own region and should show promise of be-
g. especially if there is question of older candidates or ing able to carry out their future duties successfully;
of those who have already had some experience of g. all useful information should be collected about
religious life, all useful information concerning their their previous life, especially in the case of older can-
earlier life should be obtained; didates or of those who have already had some ex-
h. if it be a matter of admitting secular clergy or of perience of religious life;
those who have been admitted into another institute h. for the admission of diocesan clergy, or of those
of consecrated life or seminary, or of the re- who had been admitted into another institute of con-
admission of some candidates, the prescriptions of secrated life, a society of apostolic life or a seminary,
the universal law should be observed. or the re-admission of a candidate, the prescriptions
of universal law must be observed.
(1) Project 2006 replaces purity by authenticity. Others suggest purity and authenticity. The Commission judges
that it is right to accept this proposal, thereby adding an explanatory note to the term ‘purity’.
(2) The specific addition of “in the spirit of the gospel” was highlighted in Project 2006, which simply sug-
gested: “...to grow day by day in the gospel life”. The Commission did not think it right to spoil the cur-
(3) The verb examine in the current text is a clear reference to Rb 2,2: “And the Ministers shall diligently examine them
concerning the Catholic faith and the sacraments of the Church”. For this reason the Commission proposes to
reinstate the adverb diligently, which indicates that in the examination or discernment of candidates to the Order
one has to begin with love and charity (diligenter is an adverb derived from diligere = to love). From the beginning,
the Minister’s relationship with the candidates, in order to verify their suitability for our life and the other re-
quirements for admission, must be developed in the context of love. From the very first meeting with the candi-
dates, the golden rule Francis gives to his brothers must be applied: “If a mother loves (diligit) her son according
to the flesh, how much more diligently(diligentius) ought one to love (diligere) and cherish his brother according to
the spirit?” (Rb 6,8). The words of Rnb are even more significant in this regard: “ If anyone, wishing by divine in-
spiration to accept this life, comes to our brothers, let him be received by them with kindness … On his part, let the
Minister receive him with kindness, encourage him and diligently explain the tenor of our life to him” (Rnb II,3).
(4) We accept the recommendation of Project 2006, which is in some way already present in the current text of the
Constitutions (“let them be seriously examined and selected”). The adverb carefully reinforces, but does not replace,
the meaning of diligenter, and adds to it the extra sense of “competence”. The text is further enriched by the pros-
pect of vocational accompaniment.
(5) “Those who are asking to be admitted” is closer to the original Latin: qui ad vitam nostram admittendi sunt. The most re-
cent Italian edition of the Constitutions has translated this expression by aspiranti alla nostra vita (aspirants to our life)
and has always translated candidati by aspiranti. Project 2006 also adopted this practice, but it is inexact and incor-
rect, because the Code of Canon Law reserves the term aspirant to those preparing for the diaconate or the
priesthood. Cf. for example Can. 1027: “Aspirants to the diaconate and the priesthood are to be formed by care-
ful preparation in accordance with the law”. Referring to the religious life, the CCL and the documents of the
Church always use only the term candidate. The Commission has therefore avoided the use of aspirant(s), and used
instead the noun candidate(s) out of fidelity to the documents of the Magisterium of the Church, the CCL and the
current official and typical Latin text of the Constitutions of the Order and, in the final analysis, out of fidelity to
the Order’s identity.
(6) The Commission unanimously proposes to keep these particulars in the Constitutions, given their universal and
permanent importance. Other, more specific elements can be introduced into the complementary code or the Ra-
(7) The required maturity in the current text is expanded by the addition of particularly affective and relational. Many of the
proposals received from the Order underlined the need to pay attention to these aspects. The Ministers and vo-
cations directors must discern whether the candidates have the affective and relational capacity to live our life of
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
18,1. Christ, our most wise teacher, when responding Current text (n. 18,1) with addition
to the young man who manifested a desire to achieve 1. Christ, our most wise teacher, responding to the
eternal salvation, said that whoever wanted to be per- young man who expressed the desire to attain eternal
fect should first sell all that he had and give to the salvation, said that whoever wanted to be perfect
poor. should first sell all he had and give to the poor and
then follow Him(1).
18,2. His imitator Francis not only fulfilled this in Current text (n. 18,2) with changes and additions
deed and taught it to the others whom he received, 2. Francis, the imitator of Christ(2), not only fulfilled the
but also decreed in the Rule that it should be ob- counsel of the Master in his own life(3), but taught it to oth-
served. ers whom he received and placed it in the Rule as a
norm(4) to be observed.
18,3. Let the provincial ministers, therefore, take care Current text (n. 18,3) with changes
that these words revealed in the Holy Gospel be Therefore the ministers(5) should make sure that these
made known and explained to the candidates who, words of the Holy Gospel are made known and ex-
invited by an interior love of Christ, come to our Or- plained to the candidates who are moved by an inte-
der. In this way, at the proper time before their per- rior love of Christ to come to our Order so that, at
petual profession, they may renounce their goods the proper time before perpetual profession, they
above all in favor of the poor. may renounce their property, above all in favour of
18,4. Candidates should prepare themselves interiorly Current text (n. 18,4) with changes
for the future renunciation of goods and condition 4. The candidates should prepare themselves inte-
themselves for the service of all peoples, especially riorly for the future renunciation of goods and dis-
the poor. pose themselves for the service of their neighbour(6), es-
pecially of the poor.
18,5. Let the brothers, however, avoid involving Current text (n. 18,5)
themselves in any way in these arrangements, accord- 5. However, as the Rule directs, the brothers are to
ing to the Rule. avoid becoming involved in this matter in any way.
18,6. Moreover, let the candidates be ready to con- Current text (n. 18,6) with changes
tribute to the entire fraternity their strengths of intel- 6. Moreover, the candidates should be ready to make
lect and will as well as their gifts of nature and grace their strengths of intellect and will and their other gifts
in fulfilling the duties which they accept in the service of nature and of grace available to the entire brother-
of the people of God. hood(7) in fulfilling the duties which they will receive
in the service of the people of God.
(1) Project 2006 proposed to complete the text by adding at the end in order to follow Him. The addition corre-
sponds to Mt 19,21 and to its use in Rnb 1; the Constitutions of 1536, 1552 and 1909 also explicitly
mentioned the following of Christ at this point. Those who drafted Project 2006 point out that “leaving
everything is only the first step to following Christ”. The Commission accepts the point, but with
greater fidelity to the words of the Gospel, by adding and then follow Him.
(2) The structure of the sentence, connected to the previous §, suggests that one should say imitator of
Christ, which makes the Latin imitator eius (=his imitator) more explicit.
(3) The inversion of the parts of the sentence was rightly proposed by Project 2006, because Francis, too,
coepit facere et docere (= began to do and to teach). But what was it that Francis put into practice and what did
he teach to others? The initial Quod in the Latin text, while it introduces the new statement, at the same
time links it to the previous one. This link does not always remain clear in modern languages with the
use of the pronoun “it”. It needs more explanation. The Commission proposes to say: he fulfilled the coun-
sel of the Master in his own life (opere complevit).
(4) Francis “placed it in the Rule”: by this is meant not a mere proposal but a rule of conduct prescribed
with authority, hence a norm.
(5) Not just the Provincial Ministers, because other ministers have to fulfil the task mentioned by the Consti-
(6) Better than all people. The proposed formulation is more realistic. No-one can serve everyone.
(7) The Constitutions are talking about an aptitude for poverty on the part of the candidates, intending to
refer not only to material poverty which requires them, among other things, to renounce their goods,
but to a much more profound and radical poverty – interior poverty - moving in the direction of Fran-
cis’ ideal: vivere sine proprio (living without anything of one’s own) or expropriation. The intention of the Constitu-
tions is to point out and highlight this ideal effectively, by giving an abundance of detailed explanation
of the inner, effective disposition to “live without anything of one’s own” and the horizons it should
help a person to aim for. The expression “and their other gifts of nature and of grace” completes the
meaning of the phrase.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
19,1. In addition to the General Minister, it is the re- Current text (n. 19,1)
sponsibility of the provincial minister in each prov- 1. Besides the General Minister, it pertains to the
ince, to receive candidates to the postulancy, novitiate Provincial Minister in each province to admit candi-
and profession. He can delegate this faculty to the dates to the postulancy, novitiate and profession. He
provincial vicar, vice provincial and superior regular. can delegate this faculty to the Provincial Vicar, Vice-
Provincial and Regular Superior.
19,2. Before they admit candidates to the novitiate, Current text (n. 19,2) with one change
superiors should consult their own council or three 2. Before these ministers admit candidates to the novi-
or four brothers named by that council. Before they tiate, let the superiors consult their own council or
can admit them to first profession and to perpetual three or four brothers appointed by the council. Be-
profession, they need the consent of their council. fore they admit a candidate to first profession and to
perpetual profession, they must have the consent of
19,3. If need be, they should also consult those who Current text (n. 19,3)
have special competence in the matter. 3. If necessary, they should also consult those who
have special competence in the matter.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
20,1. The master of novices is responsible for con- Current text (n. 20,1) with deletion
ducting the rite of receiving novices by which the no- 1. It pertains to the master of novices to conduct the
vitiate begins, unless the provincial minister decrees rite of receiving novices unless the Provincial Minis-
otherwise. ter decrees otherwise.
20,2. The provincial minister himself, however, re- Current text (n. 20,2) with additions
ceives, in the name of the Church, the vows of the 2. The Provincial Minister himself, however, in the
professed. He can, nevertheless, delegate another name of the Church and the Order, receives the vows
brother of the Order for this. of those making profession, but he may delegate an-
other perpetually-professed brother of the Order to do
20,3. Let the prescribed liturgical rites be observed in Current text (n. 20,3) with changes and additions
the reception to the novitiate and the making of pro- 3. At the beginning of the novitiate and for the pro-
fession. fession of our life, the celebrations should be conducted in a
simple and sober form, observing the liturgical norms(2).
20,4. Religious profession is made ordinarily within Current text (n. 20,4) with one change
the solemnity of the Mass, using the following for- 4. Religious profession is ordinarily made during
mula approved by the Holy See for the Franciscan Mass, using the following formula approved by the
families: Holy See for the Franciscan First Order and for the Regu-
"To the praise and glory of the Most Holy Trinity. lar Third Order of Saint Francis(3):
Since the Lord has given me this grace to follow "To the praise and glory of the Most Holy Trinity.
more closely the Gospel and the footsteps of our Since the Lord has given me this grace to follow
Lord Jesus Christ, before the brothers here present, more closely the Gospel and the footsteps of our
into your hands, brother, N.N., with a firm faith and Lord Jesus Christ, before the brothers here present,
will I, brother N.N., vow to God the Father, holy and into your hands, brother, N.N., with a firm faith and
All-powerful, to live for the whole of my life (or for will I, brother N.N., vow to God the Father, holy and
... years ...) in obedience, without property and in All-powerful, to live for the whole of my life (or for
chastity; and, at the same time, I profess to observe ... years ...) in obedience, without property and in
faithfully the life and Rule of the Friars Minor, con- chastity; and, at the same time, I profess to observe
firmed by Pope Honorius, according to the Constitu- faithfully the life and Rule of the Friars Minor, con-
tions of the Order of the Capuchin Friars Minor firmed by Pope Honorius, according to the Constitu-
Capuchins. Thus I commit myself to this fraternity tions of the Order of the Capuchin Friars Minor
with my whole heart, so that by the working of the Capuchins. Thus I commit myself to this fraternity
Holy Spirit, after the example of Mary Immaculate with my whole heart, so that by the working of the
and with the intercession of our Father Saint Francis Holy Spirit, after the example of Mary Immaculate
and all the Saints, and with the help of the brothers, I and with the intercession of our Father Saint Francis
may pursue perfect charity in the service of God, the and all the Saints, and with the help of the brothers, I
Church and men". may pursue perfect charity in the service of God, the
Church and men".
(1) The current text says that the Provincial Minister receives the vows of those making profession in the
name of the Church. The Commission proposes to add: of the Order, i.e. of the entire universal fraternity,
bearing in mind that by religious profession we are incorporated into the Order and simply assigned to a cir-
cumscription (cf. can. 654; Const 113,1).
(2) It seems opportune to the Commission to propose an addition concerning the “restraint” and “simplic-
ity” of the rite, in line with what is said in the Roman-Seraphic Rite of Religious Profession (n. 30) about the
rite of investiture: “The rite of initiation, which may not take place during Mass, is presided over by the
Provincial Minister or his delegate and is reserved to the religious fraternity; in addition, it should be
very simple and sober in form”.
(3) It is not appropriate to speak of Franciscan Families in the plural. There is only one Franciscan Family,
comprising the First Order, the Second Order of the Poor Sisters and the Secular Franciscan Order. In
its turn the Franciscan First Order is made up of three religious Institutes, each of which enjoys full ju-
ridical autonomy in relation to the others, and is legitimately called an “Order”. The Commission there-
fore proposes that the Constitutions should speak of a profession formula, approved by the Holy See
for the Franciscan First Order and for the Third Order Regular of St Francis.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
21,1. The nature and goal of the three gospel coun- Current text (n. 21,1) with changes
sels, promised by vow at profession, is that, with a 1. The nature and goal of the three gospel counsels,
heart liberated by grace, we may be united with Christ which we promise(1) by vow at profession, is to unite us
in a chaste, poor and obedient life for the sake of the to Christ, our hearts freed by grace, in a life that is obe-
Kingdom of heaven following the footprints of Saint dient, has nothing of its own and is chaste(2), for the sake of
Francis. the Kingdom of heaven, after the example(3) of Saint
21,4. The gospel counsel of obedience, promised in a Current text (n. 21,4)
spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ who 2. The gospel counsel of obedience, promised in a
was obedient even to death, requires, for God's sake, spirit of faith and love in order to follow Christ, who
a submission of the will to legitimate superiors when- was obedient even to death, obliges us to submit our
ever they command according to our Constitutions will, for God's sake, to legitimate superiors whenever
"in everything that is not contrary to our conscience they command according to our Constitutions “in
and the Rule." anything that is not contrary to conscience and the
21,3. The gospel counsel of poverty in imitation of Current text (n. 21,3)
Christ, Who though he was rich was made poor, en- 3. The gospel counsel of poverty in imitation of
tails, in addition to a life poor in fact and in spirit, a Christ, who though he was rich became poor, in ad-
dependence upon superiors, a limitation in the use dition to a life which is poor in fact and in spirit, en-
and disposition of goods and also a voluntary renun- tails a dependence upon the ministers and a limitation
ciation, before perpetual profession, of the capacity in the use and disposition of goods and, before per-
of acquiring and possessing goods. Let [this renuncia- petual profession, also a voluntary renunciation of
tion be made] in a form which, as far as possible, is the capacity of acquiring and possessing goods, made
also valid in civil law. in a form which, as far as possible, is also valid in
21,2. The gospel counsel of chastity for the Kingdom Current text (n. 21,2)
of heaven, a sign of the world to come and a fountain 4. The gospel counsel of chastity for the Kingdom of
of a more abundant fruitfulness in an undivided heaven, a sign of the world to come and a source of
heart, entails the obligation of perfect continence in greater fruitfulness in an undivided heart, entails the
celibacy. obligation of perfect continence in celibacy.
(1) The Latin text uses the verb promittere in conformity with the writings of Saint Francis. We prefer to say:
“We promise”, out of fidelity to the principle we have adopted: whenever possible, we prefer the first
person plural, both as an exhortation and as a command.
(2) Accepting the proposal of several brothers, the sequence of the evangelical counsels is changed in line
with Rb 1,1 and with the formula of religious profession (cf. Const n. 20,4). The present draft follows
the sequence of the vows found in the documents of Vatican II, in the Code, in the Catechism of the
Catholic Church etc. But the Council never intended to make that sequence of religious vows binding.
So much is this the case that the Ordo Professionis Religiosae promulgated after Vatican II (in 1970) gives
each religious Institute wide freedom to compose their own formula of religious profession, as long as
it is approved by the CICLSAL. The documents of the Magisterium place particular stress on the vow
of chastity, seeing in virginity and celibacy the highest expression of an undivided heart, and hence the
most essential element in religious consecration. But even the tradition of the Church and of the conse-
crated life place the choice of virginity-celibacy within the form of Christian discipleship or following of
Christ, and hence of obedience. Besides, for Saint Francis obedience was theologically fundamental, in-
asmuch as it is the element that encompasses all the other elements of religious life, and is much more
than a vow.
(3) The change is necessary, precisely in order to respect the intention of Saint Francis, who reserved the ex-
pression sequi vestigia (to follow in the footsteps) for the following of Christ alone, in other words, following
in the footsteps of Christ. We are not called to follow in the footsteps of Francis, but those of Christ in
imitation of Saint Francis, and in him – according to the teaching of our first Capuchin brothers – we
Formation in general
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
1. Formation for the consecrated life is a journey of discipleship
guided by the Holy Spirit who gradually leads one 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(1).
22,1. (…) Formation must be continuous, extending Current text (n. 22,1-2) with changes and addi-
throughout our entire life as regards not only human tions
values but also those of our gospel and religious life. 2. Since formation tends towards the transformation in
22,2. Our integral formation looks to the entire per- Christ(2) of the whole person, it must be life-long, as
son, especially in its psychological, religious, cultural regards both human values and the evangelical and
and even professional or technical aspects. But it em- consecrated life(3). Therefore formation must involve the
braces two phases: initial and ongoing formation. whole person in its various dimensions: physical, psycho-
logical, social, moral, religious, cultural and also profes-
sional or technical, taking every care to foster the harmoni-
ous integration of the various aspects(4).
22,1. Formation is the development of the brothers Current text (n. 22,1) with changes and additions
and fraternities in such a way that our life may daily 3. The purpose of formation is to make the life of the
become more conformable to the holy Gospel and to brothers and fraternities become ever more conform-
the franciscan spirit according to the requirements of able to Christ, according to the Capuchin- Franciscan
places and times (…). spirit, taking into account the diversity of places and
4. As regards the religious life, formation in our Order is imple-
mented in two phases: initial formation or initiation into consecration
according to our form of life, and ongoing formation(6). In addition,
the Order has the duty to provide for the ministerial or professional
training of the brothers, so that each one, according to the gift received
from God, may engage in work that is both suitable and integrated
into our form of life(7).
(1) Project 2006 and other later contributions make proposals to enrich this number, which was introduced
into the Constitutions by the General Chapter of 1982. Specifically, it highlights the fact that formation
is a “path of gradual identification with the attitude of Christ towards the Father” and “The purpose of
consecrated life is conformity to the Lord Jesus in his total self-giving” (Vita consecrata 65). Hence the
Commission proposes to highlight 1) the Christocentric dimension of formation, 2) the dynamic and
integral character of formation and 3) the function of the Holy Spirit.
The Christocentric dimension: the proposed text includes the idea of formation as assimilation of the sen-
timents of Christ, but (again with reference to Vita consecrata) completes it by also highlighting the adoption of
the form of life assumed by the Word made flesh (cf. VC 14), because the specific nature of the consecrated
life lies in this second aspect (VC 18), although it must not be misunderstood. It is necessary, therefore, to
grasp the difference between the following of Christ understood as imitation of the way Jesus lived, and follow-
ing Him as an act of faith in Him, as a choice to make Him the source of one’s life. In this latter sense the follow-
ing of Christ applies to every disciple, whereas the first sense refers not only to the life, but also to the form in
which the life was embodied and unfolded in history. What is proper to religious life is precisely this: to repre-
sent the virginal, poor and obedient Christ. In this “sacramental” way the consecrated life guarantees that
Christ’s form of life will be present in the Church, which by the fact that it exists proclaims its unconditional
dedication to God and to people.
Therefore, the reference to the form of life lived by Christ – obedient, poor and chaste – in this precise posi-
tion in the Constitutions, acquires its full value, since it is the source of our specific way of following-
imitating Christ; we are assimilated to Christ by way of the evangelical counsels.
Finally the proposed text already tells us that, for us, formation is in itself, essentially, growing in conformity to
Christ. On this level the text adheres completely to the vision of Saint Francis and his personal experience,
and is faithful both to the letter and the spirit of the Apostolic Exhortation Vita consacrata. These facts alone
ought to lead us to speak more of conformity than of formation, and in any case they require that the “devel-
opment” aspect, which first appeared in the 1982 text, should be replaced, or at least preceded, by the fun-
damental requirement of discipleship and conformity.
The dynamic and all-encompassing character: the Commission considers it necessary to complete the
current text by expressing the Christocentric dimension and making even the structure of the text depend
upon it. Formation involves a progressive journey of Christian discipleship (following of Christ) in growing
conformity to Him with a view to transformation in Him. This is why it must be continuous and all-
encompassing. This is precisely what is intended by the definition of formation as “a journey of discipleship”,
in other words, a journey among many others that depends on a specific vocation. Indeed, all those who be-
lieve in Christ and follow Him are disciples. Discipleship, therefore, is taken as synonymous with “following”,
with particular reference to the biblical term akolouthéō, frequently used in the Gospels. From this point of
view, the formulation of n. 23,1 must be taken together with the statement in the Apostolic Exhortation: “In
the consecrated life, then, it is not only a matter of following Christ with one's whole heart, of loving Him
"more than father or mother, more than son or daughter" (cf. Mt 10:37) — for this is required of every disci-
ple — but of living and expressing this by conforming one's whole existence to Christ in an all-encompassing com-
mitment which foreshadows the eschatological perfection, to the extent that this is possible in time and in ac-
cordance with the different charisms” (VC n. 16).
The function of the Spirit: Vita Consecrata explains the many actions of the Spirit in the life of consecrated
persons: “It is the Spirit who shapes and moulds the hearts of those who are called, configuring them to
Christ, the chaste, poor and obedient One, and prompting them to make his mission their own”(VC n. 19).
The verbs shapes and moulds evoke the creative action of God, who moulded man in His image and likeness;
‘to shape’ can be seen as synonymous with ‘to educate’, ‘modify’, etc.
(2) The aim of formation is the “christification” of the person, and later, his transformation in Christ, ac-
cording to the ideal proposed in n. 109 of Vita Consecrata (“Do not forget that you, in a very special
way, not only belong to Christ but that "you have become Christ!”) and the example we find in the
spiritual journey of Saint Francis.
(3) In this case the proposed term is more precise, because we are talking about formation for the conse-
(4) The text speaks of integral formation, and lists various aspects of the person. Project 2006 inserted physi-
cal and social. The Commission also thinks it appropriate to add moral. It is completely appropriate for
the text to conclude with a harmonious summary of the various aspects listed. We have therefore in-
cluded in the text a sometimes literal reference to n. 65 of Vita consecrata.
(5) Since the term “advancement” is ambiguous, the Commission has avoided it. The particular focus of
this § 3 is on formation in our specific spirit, according to the principle of “dynamic fidelity”.
(6) Here, we wish to affirm the centrality of formation in our form of life, which is not to be confused swith prepa-
ration for the priesthood or for professional activity. The proposed text repeats what is said in the current Con-
stitutions: “Formation is carried out in two phases: initial formation and ongoing formation”.
(n. 22,2). Since formation involves the whole person, even initiation into our life ha san apostolic di-
mension. Similarly, ongoing formation concerns both the continuation of formation in and for our life,
as well as apostolic activity and continuing education. Integration is essential. Quite another thing is
preparation for ministry or for a profession, in which one acquires a particular competence. Such pro-
fessionalism may already have been acquired prior to coming to the Order, or is perhaps completed af-
ter profession and ordination. However, one should keep in mind the points raised later in n. 38,5 (ex-
planatory note 4); 40,4 (explanatory note 5); 42,1(explanatory notes 2-3); 44,1 (explanatory note 1); 45,1
(explanatory note 1).
(7) The text, in this formulation, identifies the objective and purpose of ministerial or professional preparation of
the brothers, namely, to engage in work that is suitable and integrated into our form of life, at the same time distin-
guishing it from initiation into our life.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
23,1. All formation is primarily the work of the Holy Current text (n. 23,1)
Spirit That gives life from within to those forming 1. All formation is first of all the work of the Holy
and those being formed. Spirit, who energises from within both formators and
those being formed.
2. Since the Spirit is unceasingly at work in the Church, the
Church is for us, in its universal and particular dimensions,
the context in which we live and the essential point of reference
for any formation journey, just as it was for Saint Francis(1).
3. The same Spirit, as ‘Father of the Poor’, leads us to recog-
nise the poor as our teachers, thus keeping alive our tradition
as brothers of the people, ready to share our lives with ordinary
4. Our fraternity, called to cultivate its own identity in the
Church in creative fidelity, has the duty and the right to ensure
the formation of the brothers in conformity with our charism.
Therefore formation is a priority commitment of the Order and
of all its circumscriptions(3).
23,2. Active formation demands the cooperation of Current text (n. 23,2)
those being formed, who are the principal authors of 5. Active formation demands the cooperation of
and the ones responsible for their own growth. those being formed, who are the principal authors of
their own growth and the ones primarily responsible
23,3. Throughout his life, every brother is at the same Current text (n. 23,3)
time the person needing to be formed and the one 6. Throughout his life, every brother is at the same
forming because everyone always has something to time in need of formation and imparting formation,
learn and to impart. This principle should be laid because everyone always has something to learn and
down as the program for formation and should be something to teach. This principle should be laid
put into practice in our life. down as the program for formation and should be
put into practice in our life.
23,4. To live together as lesser brothers is a principal Current text (n. 23,4) with addition
part of our Franciscan vocation. Therefore fraternal 7. To live together as lesser brothers is a principal
life should always and everywhere be a basic re- part of our Franciscan vocation. Therefore fraternal
quirement of the formation process. life according to the genuine properties of Capuchin tradition(4)
is always and everywhere a basic requirement of the
23,5. In order that individual fraternities, especially Current text (n. 23,5) with changes and addition
those specifically formational, be capable of carrying 8. In order that individual fraternities, especially those
out this primary function, it is necessary that they specifically devoted to formation, are able to carry
draw inspiration and encouragement from the pri- out this primary function, it is necessary that they
mary fraternity, the provincial fraternity. draw support and encouragement from the principal
fraternity, which is the province, the natural place where the
friars live. Through it our belonging to the whole Order is es-
tablished. Therefore, from the beginning, candidates should be
made aware that the Order constitutes a single family, to the
good of which we are bound to contribute with a sense of re-
23,6. Although all of the brothers are the ones form- Current text (n. 23,6) with changes and additions
ing, some brothers are required to be charged with 9. Although all the brothers have a formative role, it
greater responsibility for this duty. Foremost among is necessary that some brothers have greater respon-
these are the provincial minister and the guardians, sibility and be appointed to the ministry of formation(6). It
who are the ordinary animators and coordinators of is the primary task of the General Minister and his definitory
the formation process of the brothers. Then there are to guarantee the authenticity of the formation of the brothers(7).
qualified formators who assume this particular duty In each circumscription this responsibility falls to the minis-
in the name of the fraternity. ters(8) and the guardians, who are the ordinary anima-
tors and coordinators of the formation process of the
brothers. Then there are qualified formation person-
nel who undertake this particular duty in the name of
(1) Speaking of the agents of formation, it seemed opportune to add a new paragraph to fill a gap in
the current Constitutions, by making it clear that the Church is the subject of our formation: we are
formed in the Church and by the Church. A statement to this effect, as well as enriching the text,
corresponds to the particular ecclesial sensibilities of Saint Francis. The beginning of the sentence
(Since the Spirit is unceasingly at work in the Church) connects it to the previous §, intending to affirm
that the Church is an agent of formation since it is the place of the Spirit and is inspired and guided
by the Spirit of the Lord.
(2) The same Spirit, invoked in the ancient Pentecost hymn (ca. 1200) as “Father of the Poor”, teaches
us to learn also from the poor and the little ones to whom the Father has revealed His knowledge
(cf. Lk 10,21). Francis said: “The Holy Spirit, the General Minister of the Order, rests equally on
the poor and simple”. (2 Cel 193). The proposed text arises from the findings of PCO VI and PCO
VII , from Circular Letter no. 16 of Br John Corriveau, The Poor, our Teachers (2 December 1999),
and from many suggestions found in Project 2006.
(3) The new § makes explicit another subject of the brothers’ formation, which is the Order itself. It
has to live, guard and develop in the Church the spiritual heritage received from the Founder. At
the same time, it states that the formation of the brothers is a duty and an inalienable right of our frater-
nity. The proposed formulation is based on n. 7-7.1 of the Instruction of CICLSAL, Inter-Institute
Collaboration in Formation (8 December 1998).
(4) After recalling that living together as lesser brothers is the fundamental element of our Franciscan
vocation, we specify that our fraternal life is regulated in accordance with genuine Capuchin tradi-
tion in its many distinguishing marks, which constitute the proper charism of our Order.
(5) The most recent Italian edition wrongly translates the Latin praecipua by primigenia. Our primary frater-
nity is the Order, not the Province. The Province is rightly defined as the principal fraternity, and the
Commission proposes to explain the reason for this by adding that it is the natural place where the fri-
ars live. The formation fraternities are in relation to the Province, from which they receive spiritual,
moral and material support, but they must educate the brothers to appreciate the universality of the
Order, because by virtue of profession we are incorporated into the Order, whereas we are simply
assigned to a Province (cf. can. 654; Const. 113,1). The Province is relative to the Order. The pro-
posed text draws on PCO VII (n. 13), the Code of Canon Law, on the General Minister’s letter to
the Commission (25 November 2008 ) and on his Letter on Formation of December 8, 2008.
(6) The translation of munus by ministry is undoubtedly more appropriate, because formation is indeed a
ministry and a service. It is a task, a moral obligation (munus formationis).
(7) This phrase fills a serious gap in the current Constitutions, which attribute no prerogative at all to
the General and his Definitory in the formative journey of the brothers. In fact, in virtue of his
unique role in the Order, the General Minister is called upon to exercise the function of animating
and forming the brothers. Even The General Plan for the Ongoing Formation of the Capuchin Friars Minor
speaks of the formation of the friars as “the principal task of the General Minister and his defini-
tory” (n. 34).
(8) For obvious reasons, arising from the present situation of the Order, we prefer to replace the word
“provinces” by “circumscriptions”, to cover the different juridical entities: provinces, vice-
provinces etc. Furthermore, by saying that this responsibility falls to these brothers, the idea behind
the present text is strengthened. On the whole of this §, cf. the General Minister’s Letter (Decem-
ber 8, 2008).
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
24,1. The Order shall have at its Current text (n. 24,1)
disposal the means of formation 1. The Order must have at its dis-
that respond to the requirements posal the means of formation that
of its own charism. meet the requirements of its own
24,2. Since particular attention Current text (n. 24,2) with
must be given to brothers in the changes and additions
initial stages of formation, each ju- 2. Since special attention must be
risdiction should provide adequate given to the candidates during the pe-
educational programs. riod of initiation into our form of life,
and to the brothers who during the time
of special formation are preparing for the
ordained ministry or for other profes-
sions, adequate educational struc-
tures must be provided for each circum-
scription or groups of circumscriptions(1).
New text New text
3. The educational structures for groups Forms of inter-provincial collaboration
of circumscriptions must be approved by should be regulated by special agreements
the General Minister with the consent of and statutes, approved by the General
his definitory(2). Minister and his definitory(3).
24,3. The process of education re- Current text (n. 24,3)
quires above all a team of respon- 4. The process of education re-
sible brothers who work according quires above all a team of brothers
to consistent norms throughout in charge who follow consistent
the entire journey of formation norms throughout the entire for-
(…). mation journey.
24,3. (…) Let such a group have Current text (n. 24,3) expanded
the appropriate assistance of the 5. Let the Ministers therefore take every
entire fraternity. care to provide qualified training for a
sufficient number of formators, who as-
sume and exercise their specific ministry
in the name of the Order(4). They must
therefore have the appropriate assis-
tance of the entire fraternity.
6. The formators must be aware that the
task assigned to them is of the greatest
importance for the life of the Order and
the Church, and they should devote
themselves to it generously, placing any
other duty in second place(5).
24,4. Since the Secretariate and Current text (n. 24,4) with
centers of formation are of great changes and addition
importance, care should be taken 7. Formation secretariats are of great
that they be provided for and importance, both at the general level
made effective. and in each circumscription, and also at
the level of Conferences and where areas
24,5. Let the General Secretariat Current text (n. 24,5) with
for Formation be at the disposal changes and additions
of the general superiors and the 8. The General Secretariat for
superiors of the different jurisdic- Formation is the first structure of direct
tions, providing them assistance collaboration with the General Minister
and information that they may and his definitory in everything concern-
promote all that pertains to forma- ing the initiation of candidates into our
tion. life, the formation of the brothers and the
study centers of the Order. It carries out
its task in accordance with special norms
approved by the General Chapter and
with the instructions given by the Gen-
eral Minister and his definitory. It is
available to the different circum-
scriptions, to various areas that col-
laborate at inter-provincial level, and to
the Conferences(7), offering them assis-
tance and information so that they
may promote all that pertains to
24,6. Likewise, let each province Current text (n. 24,6) with
have a Council of Formation and, changes and additions
in centers of formation, let there 9. Likewise, each province or group
be a brother with the particular re- of provinces approved by the General
sponsibility of promoting what- Minister and his definitory should
ever pertains to formation. have a Formation Council or Se-
10. It is very beneficial for the Order to
have a Ratio formationis or Formation
Plan, which lays down the fixed princi-
ples that are valid everywhere to ensure
that formation has the characteristics
that are proper to our Order(9).
24,7. Let individual provinces or Current text (n. 24,7) with one New text
groups of provinces, according to change The Formation Plan (Ratio formationis)
local circumstances, have their 11. Let individual circumscriptions or of individual circumscriptions or groups
own program of formation in groups of circumscriptions(10), accord- of circumscriptions must conform to the
which the goals, plans and specific ing to regional circumstances, also Constitutions and to the Formation Plan
guidelines of the entire formation have their own formation plan of the Order, and must be approved by
process are expressed. outlining the goals, plans and spe- the General Minister with his defini-
cific courses of the entire forma- tory(11).
(1) The current text is considerably expanded, so as to distinguish adequately, at least at the level of princi-
ple, between initiation into our life and specific formation (ministerial and/or professional). Both of
these areas – initiation into our life and specific formation – need efficient educational structures. The
proposed text, in the light of experience, expressly provides that in our Order such structures can exist
either for individual circumscriptions or for several circumscriptions.
(2) § 3 is a new introduction, also arising out of the Order’s experience (cf. Introduction) and from the
ever more pressing need to ensure that collaboration between the different circumscriptions in the
field of formation is better co-ordinated and given greater stability and continuity (cf. the General
Minister’s Letter on Formation). The text, as formulated here, leaves it to each circumscription to
decide whether to embark on a journey of collaboration, but the General Minister, as part of his
ministry of animation, can encourage and prompt the circumscriptions to co-operate among them-
selves in order to better guarantee the formation of the brothers.
(3) The norm we envisage for the complementary code follows the same logic we have just described.
It responds to a need felt by many brothers in a globalised world. It requires that every instance of
collaboration in formation should be regulated by a special agreement and that this be ratified by
the General Minister with his definitory. All it does is to apply the practice already followed in the
Order with regard to solidarity of personnel.
(4) The current text is expanded, bearing in mind the ever-present need for the training of formators,
and for our Constitutions to be brought into line, in this respect, with the explicit requests of the
Church (cf. Vita Consecrata 66).
(5) This recommendation seems opportune, since the responsibility for formation is sometimes in dan-
ger of being subordinated to other more gratifying activities.
(6) This draft maintains part of the current text, which also talks about formation centers, which were
already mentioned previously, and specifies the different levels where functioning formation secre-
tariats are needed. Here too, the Order’s experience, matured in recent decades, is taken into ac-
(7) Including all the elements present in the current text, the new version describes in greater detail the
importance of the General Formation Secretariat and its functions.
(8) The current text is expanded in response to repeated requests, and taking particular account of the
many instances of collaboration between circumscriptions. The last line of the current text has been
deleted: in the formation centers one brother should have special responsibility for promoting all that pertains to for-
mation. This is the instruction already contained in the Constitutions of 1968: “in every house of
study there shall be a Prefect of studies, whose task is to look after its organisation and functioning
(n. 128). With the transfer of the material (from chapter IX to chapter II) ordered by the Chapter of
1982, the 1968 norm was fittingly changed into the current text. However, in the judgement of the
Commission, it is unnecessary to keep this norm in the Constitutions. It can be inserted into the
(9) The Constitutions of 1968 envisaged a Ratio generalis institutionis (General Formation Plan) for the
Order (cf. n.128), but the current Constitutions do not talk about a Ratio at Order level. However,
on more than one occasion in recent years, it has been felt to be an urgent need. (cf. Document on
the Post-novitiate, Assisi 2004; n. 6.1; Letter of the General Minister: December 8, 2008). Vita Con-
secrata, too (nn. 68-69) states the urgency of such a programme at the level of the Institute as a
whole, covering both initial and ongoing formation. In formulating the proposed text, which adapts
that of 1968, the Commission intended to encourage (It is very beneficial) the adoption of such a
document, while leaving the way open for reflection by the Order about the type of document in-
volved: a Ratio or a Formation Plan? The question also remains open of whether the Ratio formationis
or the Formation Plan will need to be approved by the General Chapter or not.
(10) The current text is maintained, linked to the previous § by the addition of also. But the generic term
is used (circumscriptions) in order to include all the larger entities present in the Order.
(11) The clause envisaged for the complementary Code is opportune. In fact, there must be in the Order
a higher authority which assesses how far the formation plans are in harmony with the Constitu-
tions, the Ratio formationis and our charism. The General Minister and his definitory, since they ap-
prove the provincial statutes (cf. Const n. 184,5), also approve the formation plans, as these are an
application of the Constitutions.
Initiation into our life
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
25,1. Initial formation into our life requires that can- New text with elements of the current (25,1)
didates, under the guidance of formation personnel, 1. Those who are admitted to the Order must be initiated and
gain the necessary experience and knowledge and progressively introduced to the gospel life. The candidates’
gradually enter into the Franciscan Gospel way of journey of initiation, under the guidance of their forma-
life. tors, must unfold through the necessary experience and
25,2. During the period of initiation the formation of Current text (n. 25,2)
the candidates, which harmoniously unites the human 2. During the time of initiation the formation of the
dimension with the spiritual, should be thoroughly candidates, harmoniously blending the human ele-
sound, integrated and adapted to the needs of places ment with the spiritual, should be sound, all-
and times. embracing and adapted to the needs of places and
25,3. Suitable means of education should be em- Current text (n. 25,3)
ployed. Above all, let the candidate perform tasks and 3. Suitable methods of active education should be
duties that gradually lead them to acquire self-control used. Above all, candidates should perform tasks and
as well as psychological and emotional maturity. duties that gradually lead them to acquire self-control
as well as psychological and emotional maturity.
25,4. Taking into consideration their individual per- Current text (n. 25,4) with one change
sonalities and gifts of grace they should be intro- 4. With consideration for individual personalities and
duced into a spiritual life that is nourished by the gifts of grace the candidates should be introduced into a
reading of God's word, by active participation in the spiritual life that is nourished by the reading of God's
liturgy, and by personal reflection and prayer. In this word, by active participation in the liturgy, and by
way they may be drawn more and more to Christ, the personal reflection and prayer, so that they may be
Way, the Truth and the Life. drawn more and more to Christ, who is the Way, the
Truth and the Life.
25,5. The brothers in formation should acquire a Current text (n. 25,5) modified and with one ad-
thorough knowledge of the Capuchin Franciscan dition
spirit and its practice not only by studying the life of 5. During the time of initiation and in all the other stages of for-
Saint Francis, his mind concerning the observance of mation(2) the brothers should acquire a thorough knowl-
the Rule, the history and sound traditions of our Or- edge of the Capuchin Franciscan spirit and its practice
der, but, most of all, by assimilating internally and by studying the life of Saint Francis, his mind concern-
practically the life to which they are called. ing 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
25,6. Let them especially cultivate fraternal living Current text (n. 25,6) with changes and additions
both in a community and with other people whose 6. They should particularly cultivate fraternal living both
needs they are ready to meet, so that they may learn in community and with other people whose needs they
to live each day more perfectly in active partnership should be ready to meet, so that they may learn to live
with the Church. more and more perfectly in active participation in the life
and mission of the Church in the world(3).
7. The candidates must therefore be taught to give of themselves,
and be introduced to the missionary dimension of our form of life.
They should develop a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural sensitivity
and foster contacts with our missionaries(4).
(1) The current text is maintained as to its essential content. However we propose a new formulation so
that the aspect of a progressive initiation into religious consecration and to our form of life is better
highlighted. Some changes in the text are merely stylistic.
(2) The first sentence of the § is changed, with a more appropriate use of the term initiation. The addition of
and in all the other stages of formation seems somehow required by the content of the text, which applies not
only to the time of initiation but must be continued throughout life; therefore the intention is to under-
score the need for life-long formation.
(3) The proposed additions are to expand the concept of active participation.
(4) A new § is added in order to bring out the fact that initiation into our life includes the missionary di-
mension, which is also a constitutive element of our vocation. The text as drafted is based on the Minis-
ter General’s letter of December 8, 2008.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
25,8. All periods of formation Current text (n. 25,8) changed
must be spent in fraternities that and with addition
are specifically suited for living our 1. Candidates to the Order must spend(2)
life and for imparting formation all the stages of formation in fra-
(…). ternities that are particularly suited
for living our life and for impart-
ing their formation.
25,8. (…) and that have been des- Current text (n. 25,8) changed New text
ignated [i.e. these fraternities] for and with addition For the initiation and formation of can-
this purpose by the provincial 2. For all stages of initiation the choice didates from several circumscriptions, the
minister with the consent of the of houses and the designation of the choice of houses and the designation and
definitory (…). formation fraternities are made by composition of the formation fraternities
the competent minister with the are jointly agreed by the ministers con-
consent of his Council(3). cerned after consultation with their re-
spective Councils. The interested parties
are to draw up regulations for the run-
ning of these fraternities, which must be
approved by the General Minister and
It is the responsibility of the Provincial
Minister, or of the group of ministers of
circumscriptions which collaborate in the
initiation of the candidates and in the
specific initial formation of the brothers,
to report to the General Minister each
year about the running of the formation
houses, following the instructions received
from the General Minister or from the
General Secretary for Formation(4).
25,9. The establishment, transfer Current text (n. 25,9)
and suppression of a novitiate 3. The establishment, transfer and
house pertains to the General suppression of the novitiate house
Minister with the consent of the pertains to the General Minister
definitory and must be done in with the consent of the definitory
writing. In particular cases and byand must be done with a written
way of exception, the same au- decree. In particular cases and by
thority may allow a candidate to way of exception, the same au-
make his novitiate in another thority may allow a candidate to
house of the Order under the make his novitiate in another
guidance of some approved reli- house of the Order under the
gious who takes the place of the guidance of an experienced reli-
master of novices. gious who takes the place of the
master of novices.
25,10. A major superior can permit Current text (n. 25,10)
a group of novices to live for a 4. A major superior can permit the
certain period of time in another group of novices to live for certain
house of the Order designated by periods of time in another house
him. of the Order designated by him.
(1) Given the importance and clarity of the subject, the Commission proposes to divide the current n. 25, mak-
ing nos. 25,8-10 into a separate number, now n. 27.
(2) The first line of the text is slightly changed, making the candidates the subject, instead of all stages of initiation.
The current text of § 8 can be divided into two parts. The first states a general principle: the candidates, dur-
ing all stages of initiation, must live in suitable fraternities of the Order. The second part allows for an ex-
ception: the postulancy, in particular cases, can be spent outside fraternities of the Order. We prefer to
transfer this second part to n. 30,which is entirely devoted to the postulancy. Again in § 8, the current text
also speaks of the juridical competence to establish fraternities intended for the initiation of the candidates.
We prefer to assign a special § to this aspect, which comes immediately afterwards.
(3) According to the current text, juridical competence to compose the fraternities intended for the initiation of
candidates is reserved to the Provincial Minister alone with the consent of his definitory, but Project 2006
simply speaks of Minister, in fact proposing an extension of the competence to all ministers (Vice-Provincials
and Custodies). The Commission thought it right to say “competent minister”, both to avoid reserving eve-
rything to the Provincial and so as not to entrust such faculties indiscriminately to all Custodes or Vice-
(4) The two new texts proposed for the complementary code reflect the new realities in the Order, already out-
lined both in the Introduction and in previous notes.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
26,1. Every brother, given to the fraternity by God, Current text (n. 26,1)
brings joy to it and, at the same time, is an incentive 1. Every brother, given to the brotherhood by God,
to renew ourselves in the spirit of our vocation. brings it joy and, at the same time, is an incentive to
renew ourselves in the spirit of our vocation.
26,2. Indeed, the work of initiation rests with the en- Current text (n. 26,2) with change
tire fraternity since the candidates belong to it. 2. The work of initiation into our life rests with the en-
tire fraternity, since the candidates belong to it(1).
26,3. However, let the provincial minister, with the Current text (n. 26,3)
consent of the definitory, determine the manner and 3. However, the Provincial Minister, with the consent
limits within which the initiation is to take place and of the definitory, in the manner and within the limits
entrust its direction to brothers who are experienced he determines, shall entrust its direction to brothers
in the spiritual, fraternal and pastoral life and are en- who are experienced in the spiritual, fraternal and
dowed with learning, prudence, discernment of spirits pastoral life and are endowed with learning, pru-
and knowledge of souls. dence, discernment of spirits and knowledge of souls.
26,4. The directors of postulants, novices and pro- Current text (n. 26,4)
fessed must be free from all duties that could inter- 4. The directors of postulants, novices and professed
fere with the care and direction of the candidates. must be free from all duties that could interfere with
the care and direction of the candidates.
26,5. Whenever circumstances suggest, associates Current text (n. 26,5) modified
may be given them especially in those matters con- 5. The directors should be assisted(2) by associates, espe-
cerning the care of the spiritual life and the internal cially in matters concerning the care of the spiritual
forum. life and the internal forum.
(1) Apart from the addition of into our life, the current text has not been modified, but we have tried to
make the translation closer to the Latin original. Specifically, attention is drawn to the verb incumbere ,
which has a fairly strong meaning (incumbent upon, to weigh on, etc). More than on the task itself, the
stress should be on the duty and the responsibility. This idea is also in line with the use of the noun
work. (“The work of initiation…)
(2) The current text simply offers the possibility (may be given); the new formulation is stronger.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
27,1. The period of initial forma- Current text (n. 27,1 and 3) with
tion (…) is carried out according changes
to the norms of universal law and 1. Initiation into our form of consecrated
our own (…). 3. Initial formation, life unfolds through the stages of(1) pos-
as the integration into our frater- tulancy, novitiate and post-
nity, embraces the postulancy, no- novitiate, and is conducted accord-
vitiate and postnovitiate. ing to universal law and our own
27,1. The period of initial forma- Current text (n. 27,1-2) with New text
tion begins on the day when, after changes The Ratio formationis will provide the
being accepted by the provincial 2. The time of initiation(2) begins on ways and means for the gradual incorpo-
minister, one enters the fraternity the day when the candidate is admit- ration of the candidate into the fraternity.
and continues until perpetual pro- ted to the postulancy by the Provin-
fession. It is carried out according cial Minister and continues until
to the norms of universal law and perpetual profession. From the mo-
our own (…). 2. From that day the ment of admission, the candidate, as
candidate must be gradually con- far as formation, life and work are
sidered a member of the fraternity concerned, is gradually incorporated
in regard to his formation, life and into the fraternity(3).
work, in a manner to be deter-
mined by the provincial minister
with the consent of the definitory.
(1) n. 27 of the current text speaks of the time of initial formation, but, given its position in the context of art. IV on
Initiation into our life, it is appropriate to harmonise the language and to use the term initiation, which is also applied
to the postulancy, in so far as it is the first stage of initiation itself. The Commission has also found that the per-
spective throughout chapter II is somewhat deficient, in that it places more stress on the introduction into the
fraternity than on the aspect of consecration. But consecration is precisely the first purpose of initiation. For this
reason the proposed text begins with initiation into our form of consecrated life. The § then merges elements that at
present are found in § 1 and in § 3 of n. 27. In this way, first comes a list of the stages of initiation into our life,
then the legal norms are mentioned..
(2) § 2 establishes when initiation begins (admission to the postulancy) and when it ends (perpetual profession). The
beginning of postulancy also marks the entry into the fraternity. The Commission modified the text in order to
clarify things as much as possible, as in the wording of proposed n. 27,2.
(3) The text rightly speaks of a gradual insertion into the fraternity (a postulant is not yet a member of the Order),
but leaves it to the Ratio formationis to specify the ways and means of how this is to be done.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
28,1. The postulancy is a period of Current text (n. 28,1) with
initial formation and of the choice changes
of accepting our life (…). 1. The postulancy is the first period
of initiation(1) when one makes the
choice to adopt our life.
27,1. (…) A document should be Current text (n. 27,1), modified
drawn up concerning this. A document attesting to admission
to postulancy(2) must be drawn up.
28,1. (…) The time and different Current text (n. 28,1) with Current text (n. 28,1) with
ways of this first period are deter- changes and additions changes and additions
mined by the provincial minister 2. During this period, which lasts at least In cases of proven necessity, other possible
with the consent of his definitory. a year, the candidate comes to know our ways of living this first period may
During this period the candidate life and makes a further and more careful be determined by the respective minis-
comes to know our life, while the discernment of his vocation(3). The frater- ter with the consent of his council(4).
fraternity, on its part, comes to nity, on its part, comes to know the
postulant better and ascertains the growth
know the candidate better and is of his human maturity, especially affective
able to discern his calling. maturity, and his ability to discern the signs
of the times according to the Gospel(5).
25,8. (…) The provincial minister, Current text (n. 25.8) with
however, with the consent of the changes
definitory, may permit the period The competent minister, with the con-
of the postulancy to be spent out- sent of his council(7), has the faculty
side our fraternities. to allow the period of postulancy
to be spent outside our fraternities.
28,2. The formation of postulants Current text (n. 28,2) with
aims primarily at completing their changes and additions
catechesis in the faith and includes 3. The candidate, therefore, must be helped
an introduction to liturgy, methods in particular to deepen his faith life(6). To
of prayer, Franciscan instruction this end, the formation of the postu-
and an initial experience of apos- lants is chiefly aimed at completing
tolic work. It must also reinforce their catechesis in the faith, introduc-
and promote human maturity, es- ing them to the liturgical life, to the
pecially emotional maturity, and an methods and experience of prayer, the
ability to discern the signs of the study of Franciscanism and to an
times in light of the Gospel. initial experience of apostolic work.
(1) The current text is respected as far as its content is concerned, but we have tried to improve the lan-
guage by using a more exact terminology more in line with n. 62 of PCO IV: “Postulancy, as the first
period of initiation, is a time of discernment and choice of the Franciscan life.”
(2) At present the text does not provide for a document attesting to admission to the postulancy, but in n.
27 it prescribes: “A document should be drawn up concerning this entrance into the fraternity” (27,2).
Since, as noted above, in our proposed revision(n. 29,2), the entry into the fraternity coincides with ad-
mission to postulancy, it seems appropriate to provide a document that attests to both (entry into the
fraternity and admission to postulancy). The Commission believes it is sufficient that this norm be in-
serted into the complementary code. The proposed formulation is more concrete than the previous
one: “entry into the fraternity”.
(3) After long reflection the Commission, following PCO IV 63 and the recommendation of the Order’s
Document on Postulancy (1993, n. 10), thought it appropriate to indicate the minimum duration of the pos-
tulancy: at least a year. Furthermore, while maintaining the content of the present text, (n. 28,1-2), we
have tried to organise it more logically and to arrange the parts accordingly. Thus, in § 2 of our pro-
posed draft, we first specify the aim of the postulancy. From the candidate’s point of view the aim is
two-fold: 1) to get to know our life; 2) continued and more careful discernment of his vocation. At this
second level the text is connected to § 1 and is inspired by the Document of the Order on Postulancy (Scegliere
per essere), which says: “By postulancy is normally understood the period of verification and choice prior
to the novitiate. It begins when the candidate is inwardly convinced that the Lord is calling him to fol-
low Him in the Franciscan life according to the style which is proper to our family” (n. 1). Therefore
postulancy, the first period of initiation, is a verification of the choice previously made by the candidate.
No-one can be admitted to the postulancy unless he already has a clear inclination to our life, con-
sciously understood as a calling to follow Christ in accordance with our form of life.
(4) The current text envisages that “The length of time and the different ways of conducting this first pe-
riod are determined by the Provincial Minister with the consent of his definitory”(n.28,1). We have al-
ready mentioned the duration of the postulancy in the previous note. As far as its form is concerned, or
the ways and means for its conduct, it seemed right to the Commission to confirm that these are de-
termined by the Ministers (Provincials, Vice-Provincials and Custodes) with the consent of their respec-
tive councils. To this end, the norm proposed for the complementary code allows for flexibility and the
provision of different possibilities.
(5) The second part of n. 30,2 brings nothing new, but merges elements of §§ 1 and 2 of the current n. 28.
In this way the aim of the postulancy is stated once more, but this time considered from the point of
view of the fraternity, whose task is to get to know the candidate, discern his vocation, ascertain his ma-
turity and aptitude to discern the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel.
(6) The current text (n. 28,2) is substantially kept, but some details are introduced. First of all, a new state-
ment is proposed (The candidate, therefore, must be helped in particular to deepen his faith life), the purpose of
which is to link the text with the previous §, in view of the fact that it is impossible to discern the signs
of the times according to the Gospel without mature faith, which in any case is necessarily required for
the choice of any kind of religious life (an aspect that should never be thought obvious or taken for
granted). Secondly, we thought it right to expand the text by including as part of the postulancy pro-
gramme an introduction to the liturgical “life” (more than to liturgy) and to the “experience” of prayer
(not just how to pray). Thus, by bringing out the experiential nature of initiation, we hope to avoid the
danger of producing a type of formation aimed entirely at the acquisition of intellectual knowledge.
(7) The text we propose for the complementary code is made up of part of the present n. 25,8, which states
that “The Provincial Minister, with the consent of the definitory, may permit the period of postulancy
to be spent outside our fraternities”. The new formulation, for the reasons already explained, changes
Provincial Minister to competent Minister, and definitory is replaced by Council.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
29,1. The novitiate is the period of Current text (n. 29,1) with inser-
a more intense initiation and a tion
more profound experience of the 1. The novitiate is a period of
Capuchin Franciscan life of the more intense initiation and more
Gospel according to its basic de- profound experience of the -
mands and presupposes a free and Capuchin-Franciscan evangelical
mature choice of religious life. life in its fundamental demands; it
requires a firm and free decision to
embrace and try out our form of the re-
29,7. A document is to be drawn Current text (n. 29,7) with inser-
up attesting to the beginning of tion
the novitiate by which life in the 2. On the day that marks the beginning
Order begins. of the novitiate a rite should be celebrated
asking for the help of God so that the
aims of this period may be achieved. It is
fitting that the novices should receive the
“clothes of probation”. This rite should
be carried out in the religious fraternity(2).
A document is to be drawn up as a
record of the beginning of the no-
vitiate, which is the beginning of
life in the Order.
29,3. The formation of the novice Current text (n. 29,3) with
should be based on the values of changes
our consecrated life as known and 3. Il process of initiation during the novi-
lived in light of the example of tiate(3) is based on the values of our
Christ, the Gospel insights of Saint consecrated life as known and
Francis, and the sound traditions lived in the light of the example of
of the Order. Christ, the Gospel insights of Saint
Francis, and the sound traditions
of the Order.
29,4. Let the rhythm of the noviti- Current text (n. 29,4)
ate respond to the primary aspects 4. The rhythm of the novitiate
of our religious life, particularly should correspond to the primary
through a special experience of aspects of our religious life, par-
faith, contemplative prayer, frater- ticularly through a special experi-
nal life, contact with the poor, and ence of faith, contemplative
work. prayer, fraternal life, contact with
the poor, and work.
29,2. The direction of the novices, Current text (n. 29,2), with
under the authority of the major change
superiors, is reserved to one direc- 5. The direction of the novices,
tor, a brother of the Order who under the authority of the major
has professed perpetual vows. superiors, is reserved to the direc-
tor alone, who must be a brother of
the Order who has already taken(4)
29,5. In order to be valid, the no- Current text (n. 29,5)
vitiate must comprise twelve 6. In order to be valid, the noviti-
months spent in the novitiate ate must comprise twelve months
community itself (…). spent in the novitiate community
itself. Its inception and form are
determined by the Provincial Min-
ister with the consent of the defi-
29,5. (…) Its inception and form Current text (n. 29,5) modified
are determined by the provincial and with insertion
minister with the consent of the The Provincial Minister with the
definitory. consent of the definitory deter-
mines the start and the form of the
novitiate, on the basis of the general and
the particular Formation Plan(5).
29,6. An absence from the noviti- Current text (n. 29,6)
ate house that exceeds three 7. An absence from the novitiate
months, either continuously or in- house that exceeds three months,
termittently, renders the novitiate either continuously or intermit-
invalid. An absence that exceeds tently, renders the novitiate inva-
fifteen days must be made up. lid. An absence that exceeds fif-
Everything else required by uni- teen days must be made up. All
versal law must be diligently ob- the other requirements of univer-
served. sal law in respect of the novitiate
must be diligently observed
(1) The changes introduced at the end of this § are intended to strengthen the current text, and to suggest
that one enters the novitiate not simply because the time of postulancy is over, but because the objec-
tives of the first stage of initiation have been achieved. A “firm and free decision” is required of the nov-
ice, and it is not enough to “take it for granted”. The addition of try out our form of life reflects the inten-
tion of St Francis, who introduced “a probationary year, during which the novice is given the “clothes
of probation” (Rnb 2,8; Rb 2,9.11: FF 7; 79). Cfr. PCO IV.
(2) This § anticipates what is put at the end of n. 29 of the current text (§ 7): “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”. But the
Proposal for Revision prefaces this prescription with another concerning the rite by which the novitiate
begins. In fact, more important than the document is the Rite of Initiation into the Religious Life, here de-
scribed according to the Roman-Seraphic Rite of profession nn. 28-31 (Milano 2001, p. 23). A majority
of the Commission considered it appropriate to insert this text into the Constitutions, because it repeats
norms that are envisaged at least in part by the Code in can. 669,1 and are important for the unity of the
Order, at least at Conference level.
(3) The opening words of the current text (n. 29,3) are replaced by a formulation that brings out the dy-
namic character of initiation, and is a reminder that the novitiate is part of a much longer process of ini-
tiation. The values of the consecrated life, already known in an initial way, must be deepened and lived.
(4) It is superfluous to explain that the brother must be a “member” of the Order; but it is necessary that the
brother should have made profession of perpetual vows.
(5) This instruction can go to the complementary code; it refers to a hoped-for Ratio formationis.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
30,1. The post-novitiate is the pe- Current text (n. 30,1) modified
riod in which the brothers, pro- 1. The post-novitiate is the third
gressing further in maturity, pre- stage of initiation into the consecrated life
pare themselves for the definitive of our Order(1), during which the
choice of our gospel life that is brothers, progressing further in
undertaken through perpetual pro- maturity, prepare themselves to
fession. make a definitive choice of our
gospel life through perpetual pro-
2. The post-novitiate period begins with
temporary profession and concludes with
30,2. Since the fraternal gospel life Current text (n. 30,2) with
holds the principal place in our changes and insertion
calling, priority should also be 3. The specific nature of the post-
given to it during the time of the novitiate derives from its essential refer-
post-novitiate. Therefore let the ence to religious consecration and to the
same religious formation be pro- definitive profession of our life(3). For this
vided for all brothers for the pe- reason this post-novitiate formation jour-
riod of time and in the manner de- ney must be the same for all brothers.
termined by the provincial minis- Since the fraternal gospel life holds
ter with the consent of the defini- the first place in our vocation, it
tory. must also be given priority during
30,3. Let the brothers, according Current text (n. 30,3) with New text
to each one's gift and grace, apply changes and additions The Ratio Formationis of the Order out-
themselves to a more profound 4. The brothers are to be guided towards lines the method and the principles of
study of sacred scripture, spiritual a living contact with Christ through con- post-novitiate formation. In application
theology, liturgy and the history stantly listening to the word of God and of these, individual provinces or groups of
and spirituality of the Order; let actively sharing in the liturgy, so that circumscriptions should draw up a struc-
them also exercise various forms they may be more and more conformed to tured programme, which must be ap-
of the apostolate as well as domes- Him and find their identity in Him(4). proved by the General Minister and his
tic work. But such formation Therefore, according to each one's definitory, for the guidance and initiation
should always be made in view of gifts of nature and grace, they will be of the brothers(6).
the life and careful maturation of introduced to a more profound study
the individual. of sacred scripture, spiritual theol-
ogy, liturgy and the history and
spirituality of the Order, and initi-
ated into the exercise various forms
of the apostolate and of work, in-
cluding domestic work. The initia-
tion process should always be continu-
ous(5), and be adapted to the life
and constant maturation of the in-
(1) The text preserves all the elements of the current one (n. 30,1), but the opening is modified to
make it clear that the post-novitiate is one of the stages of initiation – the third - and is focussed
on the choice of our form of life. In addition, the change is made to bridge the gap in the pre-
sent text which, when it speaks of initial formation or of initiation, stresses the introduction
into our life but leaves out the aspect of consecration. The purpose of initiation is to lead to
consecration; our form of life is one specific form of consecrated life, which is the primordial
element in the religious life and takes priority over any specific form.
(2) In line with what we said previously about the length of the postulancy and the novitiate, the
text also determines the length of the post-novitiate which, according to the mind of the
Church, coincides with the time of temporary vows.
(3) The nature of the post-novitiate is expressed with greater rigour. As one of the stages of initia-
tion, it is intrinsically and uniquely geared towards religious consecration in our form of life.
The fact that during the post-novitiate all the brothers are to be given the same formation is not
only based on the fraternal gospel life, but also, and primarily, on the common religious conse-
cration which comes about in the profession of the three vows.
(4) The new addition prefaced to the current text (n. 30,3) insists on the Christ-centred character of
post-novitiate formation, in line with the most recent teaching of the Magisterium: Christian
and religious formation are essentially a growth in conformity, or rather conformity to Christ, and
“Christ is the axis of formation” (cf. John Paul II, Message to the Conference of Religious of Brazil,
1986). Therefore, if formation tends towards transformation in Christ, this process will lead to
the acquisition of a new identity. The Christological aspect of formation is particularly evident
in the post-novitiate, since at first profession a religious “begins” to implement a particular way
of being configured to Christ. So the new formulation of the text is focused on the true quality
of formation during the post-novitiate, which must take on a mystagogical character, precisely be-
cause the “mystery” (a patristic category) of religious profession has been celebrated. The text
also speaks of the interiorisation of the Word of God and of study of Sacred Scripture. This is
not a repetition: we must keep in mind the Analogia Verbi Dei (cf. Synod, Proposition III).
(5) The current expression has been changed in favour of initiation in order to underline its dynamic
and gradual character.
(6) The norm we propose for the complementary code, of great importance to the Order’s identity
and unity, replaces the current rule (n. 30,2) by which the Provincial Minister with his definitory
establishes the length and form of the post-novitiate. We have already said that the length of
the post-novitiate spans the entire time (not part of the time) of temporary vows. As regards its
form, it is appropriate to say simply that the ways of conducting the post-novitiate should be
outlined in more detail in the Order’s Ratio formationis or Formation Plan, and then applied in
the formation plans of each circumscription or group of circumscriptions, in accordance with
the principle of pluriformity, but always respecting the proper character of the post-novitiate.
The norm provides that these particular formation plans must be approved by the General
Minister with his definitory, for the reason we explained before: they are an application of the
Constitutions, similar to the particular Statutes mentioned in n. 184,5 of the Constitutions.
Profession of our life
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
31,1. Let us frequently consider how great is the grace Current text (n. 31,1-2) with changes and addi-
of religious profession. 2. For through it we embrace, tions
under a new and special title, a life dedicated to the 1. Let us often consider how great is the grace of reli-
honor and service of God that impels us to the per- gious profession. By it we embrace, under a new and
fection of charity. Firmly and more intimately conse- special title, in praise of the glory of the most Holy Trinity(1),
crated to the service of God, we represent Christ a life which impels us to the perfection of charity.
united by an indissoluble bond to his spouse the Firmly and more intimately consecrated to the service
Church. of God, we worship Him in spirit and in truth(2).
31,2. (…) Firmly and more intimately consecrated to Current text (n. 31,2) with changes and additions
the service of God, we represent Christ united by an 2. In religious consecration the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ
indissoluble bond to his spouse the Church. by a special covenant, makes us sharers in the reality of the
mystery of Christ, who is united by an indissoluble
bond to His spouse the Church, and places us in a state
of life that foretells the future resurrection and the glory of the
31,3. In order that through this consecration we may Current text (n. 31,3) with an addition
gather more abundant fruit from the grace of baptism 3. So that through this consecration we may gather
we bind ourselves to live out the gospel counsels ac- more abundant fruit from the grace of baptism, we
cording to the Rule and Constitutions. bind ourselves to live out the gospel counsels in ac-
cordance with the Rule and Constitutions and the other
prescriptions of our particular law(4).
31,4. In this way we intend to free ourselves from the Current text (n. 31,4)
impediments that can draw us away from perfect 4. In this way we aim to free ourselves from the im-
charity, spiritual freedom, and the perfection of di- pediments that could draw us away from perfect
vine worship. charity, spiritual freedom, and the perfection of di-
31,5. By means of profession, finally, while we enjoy Current text (n. 31,5) modified and with insertion
a special divine gift within the life of the Church, we 5. Finally, since, through profession, we enjoy a spe-
help its salvific mission by our witness. cial divine gift within the life of the Church, we co-
operate through our witness in its saving mission and in
the sanctification of the people of God(5).
31,6. We, therefore, exhort the brothers to prepare Current text (n. 31,6) with literal translation
themselves for profession with great care, by spiritual 6. We therefore exhort the brothers to prepare them-
exercises, by an intense sacramental life, especially selves for profession with great care, by means of(6) an
one that is Eucharistic, and by fervent prayer. Let this intense sacramental life centred above all on the
be done more intensely and in a special way before Eucharist, by fervent prayer and by a spiritual retreat.
perpetual profession. This should be done more intensely and in a special
way before perpetual profession.
(1) The formula of profession (cf. n. 21,4) begins in a similar way. But here, instead of “For the praise and
glory”, the Commission preferred to say: “In praise of the glory”, in harmony with Eph 1,6.12.14. God’s
glory, in the bible, is the object of praise. Praise is a response to God’s glory, an immediate reaction to its
manifestation. The formula in praise of the glory of the most Holy Trinity replaces the current for the honour and ser-
vice of God to bring out the fact that the consecrated life is a Confessio Trinitatis and exists to give praise to the
Trinity. (cf. Vita consecrata, cap. I, I, nos. 17-22). Furthermore the Trinitarian dimension is a distinctive feature
of the spirituality of Francis and Clare and is strongly present in the Writings: in the writings of St Francis the
theme of “praise” in various forms occurs 52 times.
(2) The last sentence in the § (we worship Him in spirit and in truth) comes from a suggestion made in Project 2006,
which considered this terminology “more Franciscan and theologically more in tune with our times”. The
Commission believes that this final phrase completes the praise dimension of the religious life, which has
been underlined ever since 1968 up to the current Const 31,1-5.
(3) Project 2006 deleted the statement we represent Christ united by an indissoluble bond to His spouse the Church from n.
31,1, but used it again in a new paragraph which reads: “As consecrated men we represent in a special way
the loving response of the Church to Christ her Spouse” (n. 22,3). This insight from Project 2006 is legitimate
and is based on the teaching of Vita consecrata. The Commission, however, has developed a new formulation
which is not based on the “sign value” of the consecrated life, with the idea of consecrated persons “repre-
senting” Christ (current text based on Lumen gentium) or representing the Church (text of Project 2006 based
on Vita consecrata). In fact the truth is that consecrated persons are part of the reality (res) of the mystery unit-
ing Christ and the Church, unlike marriage, which is a sacrament of that mystery. In the revision we propose,
the text states a truth and at the same time steers clear of possible theological problems. In addition, in order
to enrich the text of the Constitutions, it seemed right to hint at the “special covenant” which the conse-
crated life is (cf Redemptionis donum 2; 8; Vita consecrata 93;) and at its eschatological dimension, which is so
much underlined in the documents of the Magisterium, from Lumen gentium to Vita consecrata. Thus the short
text of the new § 2 has its foundation and inspiration in liturgical and patristic tradition and in the current
(4) Added to take account of the complementary code and the Ratio formationis.
(5) “We co-operate” is theologically more fitting than “we help”. The final addition enriches the text according
to the suggestion of Project 2006.
(6) The preposition by means of seems more fitting. We have also changed the sequence, starting with the ordinary
means, and then the extraordinary means.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
32,1. When the novitiate has been completed and the Current text (n. 32,1)
fitness of the novice has been proven, temporary 1. When the novitiate has been completed and the
profession of vows may be made for a period deter- suitability of the novice has been ascertained, tempo-
mined by the provincial minister with the novice rary profession of vows is made for a period deter-
himself, [and] renewed freely until perpetual profes- mined by the Provincial Minister with the novice
sion. But if a doubt arises concerning suitability, the himself, to be renewed freely until perpetual profes-
time of probation can be prolonged by the provincial sion. But if his suitability is still in doubt the time of
minister although not beyond six months. If the nov- probation can be prolonged by the Provincial Minis-
ice is judged unsuited, let him be dismissed. ter, but not beyond six months. If the novice is
judged unsuited, he must be dismissed.
32,2. Of itself the time of this profession shall not be Current text (n. 32,2)
shorter than three years nor longer than six; if it 2. In principle the time of this profession shall not be
seems appropriate, however, it may be extended, but shorter than three years nor longer than six, though it
only in such a way that the entire period during may be extended, if it seems appropriate, but in such
which the brother is bound by temporary vows does a way that the entire period during which the brother
not exceed nine years. is bound by temporary vows does not exceed nine
32,3. If a brother is judged suitable and freely peti- Current text (n. 32,3) with insertion
3. If a brother is judged suitable and freely requests it,
tions for it, perpetual profession is made at a time de-
termined by the provincial minister after consultation perpetual profession is made at a time determined by
with the one making profession, safeguarding the in- the Provincial Minister after consultation with the
tegrity of the three years of temporary profession and one making profession, as long as the full three-year
never before the completion of his twenty-first year. period of temporary profession is observed and never
By means of this profession a candidate is definitivelybefore the completion of his twenty-first year. By
means of this profession a candidate is definitively
incorporated into the fraternity with all rights and ob-
ligations according to the norm of the Constitutions. incorporated into the fraternity of the Order(1) with all
the rights and obligations set out in the Constitutions.
32,4. When the time of temporary profession is com- Current text (n. 32,4) with changes and additions
pleted, a brother can depart and, if there are just 4. When the period for which profession was made is
causes, can be excluded from subsequent profession completed, a brother may leave and, for a just reason,
by the competent major superior after he has heard the competent major superior, after he has consulted
his council. his council, may exclude him from renewal of temporary
vows or decline to admit him to perpetual profession(2).
32,5. We should observe all other prescriptions of the Current text (n. 32,5)
universal law that concern profession, especially 5. All other prescriptions of the universal law pertain-
those concerned with the disposition of goods before ing to profession must be observed, especially those
temporary and perpetual profession. concerned with the disposal of the brother’s goods
before temporary and perpetual profession(3).
(1) It seems pertinent to add of the Order to avoid any misunderstanding about incorporation. One is incor-
porated, not to any fraternity in general (local or provincial), but to the fraternity of the Order. Cf. can
654; Const 113,1.
(2) The additions do not indicate any change of content, but make the text clearer and bring it more closely
into line with can. 657,§ 1.
(3) With regard to the disposal of a brother’s goods before profession, the actual possibilities vary greatly
from place to place. For the moment, no change is proposed to the current text.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
33,1. The religious habit is given Current text (n. 33,1) with Let us remember that the clothes
during the rite of religious profes- changes we wear must be a sign both of
sion, even though the clothes of 1. Our religious habit is given dur- our consecration to God and of
probation may have been previ- ing the celebration(1) of first profes- our lowliness and brotherhood.
ously received (…). sion, even though the novices may
have previously received the “clothes of
33,5. Our habit, according to the Current text (n. 33,5) with inser- New text
Rule and custom of the Order, tion The different circumscriptions of the Or-
consists of a tunic with a hood, 2. Our habit, according to the Rule der may, if necessary, make regulations
chestnut in color, a cord and san- and custom of the Order, consists concerning the religious habit(4).
dals, or, for a just cause, shoes. of a tunic with a hood, chestnut in
colour, a cord and sandals, or, for
a just cause, shoes. Where it is not
possible to wear our habit, simple cloth-
ing should be worn(3).
33,6. (…) The norm of pluri- Current text (n. 33,6) modified
formity applies to the custom of With regard to the custom of
wearing the beard. wearing the beard, the principle of
pluriformity should be applied(5).
33,1. (…) Let us remember the New text with elements of the
clothes we wear must be a sign current one (n. 33, 1 e 6)
both of our consecration to God 3. Let us remember that Saint Francis
and of our minority and fraternity. wore a penitential garment made in the
33,6. Let the brothers, as a sign of shape of a cross. We too should wear the
their consecration and a witness of habit as a reminder of conversion, and
poverty, wear the habit of the Or- as a sign of consecration to God
der (…). and of our belonging to the Order. In
this way we also express our condition as
lesser brothers, so that even the clothes we
wear are a witness to poverty(6).
33,2. Clothed as we are with the Current text (n. 33; joining §§ 2-
meek and humble Christ, let us 3) with changes
not be fraudulent minors but 4. Having clothed ourselves in the
those who are sincere in heart, meek and humble Christ, let us
word and deed. 3. The signs of not pretend to be minors, but be
humility that the brothers wear truly lowly in heart, word and
outwardly contribute little to the deed, since the signs of humility
salvation of souls unless they are that we present outwardly contribute
animated by a spirit of humility. little to the salvation of souls if we
ourselves are not animated by a spirit
33,4. Following the example of Current text (n. 33,4) with
Saint Francis, therefore, let us changes
make every effort to become good 5. Therefore, after the example of
and not merely to appear so, to be Saint Francis, let us make every ef-
the same in word and in life, fort to become good and not merely
within and without and, consider- to appear so, to be the same in word
ing ourselves less than all others, and deed, within and without and,
as the Rule admonishes us, let us as the Rule admonishes us, consid-
surpass others in showing respect. ering ourselves “lowly and subject to
all” let us show deference and respect to
34,1. At the times determined by the Current text (n. 34,1)(9)
provincial minister with the advice of At the times determined by the Pro-
his definitory, let the local fraternity, vincial Minister with the advice of his
after hearing the director's report, definitory, the local fraternity, after
conduct a communal reflection and hearing the director's report, shall dis-
discussion about the suitability of the cuss and reflect together about the
candidates and its own program for suitability of the candidates and its
dealing with them. own manner of acting towards them.
34,2. During the novitiate and before Current text (n. 34,2)
the time of perpetual profession, the During the novitiate and before per-
perpetually professed brothers who petual profession, the perpetually pro-
have lived for four months in the re- fessed brothers who have lived for
spective fraternity should also express four months in the fraternity con-
their opinion by a consultative vote in cerned shall also express their opinion
the manner determined by the pro- by a consultative vote in the manner
vincial minister. to be determined by the Provincial
34,3. Nor should the brothers in Current text (n. 34,3)
temporary vows be overlooked; The brothers in temporary vows
they may express their opinion should not be overlooked; they
even though they do not have a may express their opinion even
vote. though they do not have a vote.
34,4. A report is to be sent to the Current text (n. 34,4)
provincial minister concerning A report on every such meeting,
every such meeting and the results and the results of any votes taken,
of the votation. are to be sent to the Provincial
(1) A rite is one of the actions in a celebration, which is carried out “per ritus et preces” (through rites and pay-
ers). (Sacrosanctum Concilium n. 48). The conferring of the religious habit is one of the rites in the celebration
of religious profession. Hence the expression celebration is preferable, rather than rite.
(2) Our habit is specified here, which is not the same as the “clothes of probation” which the novices have pre-
viously worn. The current Latin text says vestes probationis (cfr. n. 33,1), wrongly translated in Italian as i vestiti
del noviziato. The Commission chose to keep the expression used by Francis in the Rule, while leaving it to
the superiors to decide what the “clothes of probation” should consist of.
(3) At the moment our habit is described in n. 33,5. It seemed appropriate to restructure the number concern-
ing the habit and to anticipate the description The final addition was suggested by current practice and by
the attempt to inculturate our practice in the different regions.
(4) The proposal reminds us of the need to safeguard a degree of unity in the Order. According to some pro-
posals for change, pluriformity takes place at the level of the circumscriptions, which are expected to express
the Capuchin image in their territories, e.g. wearing a light-coloured habit in hot countries. On the other
hand, Project 2006 and several other proposals we have received ask that the use or non-use of the habit
should not be left to chance or to individual choice, but should be regulated in some way.
(5) The current text (n. 33,6) remains unchanged but is transferred to the complementary code, since the wear-
ing of the beard is a custom, but is not binding.
(6) The formulation of § 3 is a compilation of several elements which in the current text are found in n. 33, §1
and §6. Other details are also added which in the Commission’s view have a certain relevance. Therefore the
new text begins with the reference to Saint Francis: for him, the change of clothing was an external sign of
his conversion. . The penitential habit in the form of a cross is mentioned in 3Cel 2. That reference is linked to the
current text: “Having clothed ourselves in the meek and humble Christ,…”. Basically, the Constitutions at-
tribute a symbolic value to the religious habit, but this symbolism should fittingly reflect our specific stress
on the centrality of the Cross and the following of the Christus patiens (the suffering Christ) in the experience
and teaching of Saint Francis. The Commission therefore wished first to describe the habit of the Order, (cf.
§ 2) and then to talk about its symbolic value in Christological and penitential terms. In addition, the text in-
dicates a further aspect of the value of the habit: as a sign of our belonging to the Order. The second sentence of §
3 repeats the elements already present in present in n. 33, 1 e 6, but with a new formulation.
(7) § 4 is a compilation of §§ 2 and 3 of the current n. 33, using the first person plural, according to the general
principle that in the Constitutions we speak of ourselves.
(8) The Italian text had wrongly translated the Latin omnibus minores aestimantes by ritenendoci inferiori a tutti (consider-
ing ourselves inferior to all), which had led Project 2006 to say “considering ourselves serenely inferior to all, ac-
cording to the admonition of the Rule”, “to avoid mistaking this attitude for an inferiority complex”. Also,
the phrase ceteros honore praeveniamus (let us be the first to show respect) in the current text, with its literal ref-
erence to Rom 12,10, as it appears in the Constitutions, is a real translators’ nightmare. The Commission
therefore decided to clarify the text by using the words of Saint Francis himself and, in the last expression
(let us show deference and respect to others) move closer to the French translation of this text.
(9) The whole of n.34 is moved to the complementary code because, while it deals with important matters,
these are more likely to be subject to revision.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
35,1. Moreover, a document of Current text (n. 35,1)
both temporary and perpetual pro- Moreover a document of both
fession is to be drawn up, together temporary and perpetual profes-
with a record of a brother's age sion shall be drawn up, indicating
and other necessary information. the brother's age and other neces-
This document should be signed sary information. This document
by the professed, the one who re- must be signed by the professed,
ceives his profession and two wit- by the one who receives his pro-
nesses. fession and by two witnesses.
35,2. This document, together Current text (n. 35,2)
with others prescribed by the This document, together with the
Church, should be carefully kept others prescribed by the Church,
in the provincial archives; let it must be carefully kept in the pro-
also be recorded by the provincial vincial archives. It should also be
minister in a book of professions recorded by the Provincial Minis-
to be kept in the archives. ter in a book of professions to be
kept in the archives.
35,3. In the case of perpetual pro- Current text (n. 35,3)
fession, the provincial minister In the case of perpetual profes-
should notify the pastor of the sion, the Provincial Minister must
place of the baptism of the pro- notify the pastor of the place
fessed brother. where the professed brother was
(1) The Commission feels uneasy about this number, at present consisting of a single paragraph. It could
be joined to the previous number or transferred to the complementary code. A decision will be taken
when the second draft is prepared, in the light of any proposals received from the Order.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
36,1. The faculty of dismissing a postulant or novice Current text (n. 36,1) modified
whom he judges unfit for our life belongs to the pro- The Provincial Minister, and by special mandate
vincial minister and also, by special mandate, to the those mentioned in no. 20(2), have the faculty to dis-
others mentioned in number 19. miss a postulant or novice whom they judge unfit for
36,2. The master of novices or postulants possesses Current text (n. 36,2)
the same faculty, but with the consent of the council 2. For a serious reason allowing of no delay, the Mas-
of the fraternity, when there is a grave reason that ter of novices or postulants has the same faculty, but
will not permit any delay. The provincial minister is with the consent of the local council. The Provincial
to be notified immediately of this action. Minister must be notified immediately of this action.
36,3. The General Minister, with the consent of the Current text (n. 36,3)
definitory, can grant an indult of departure to a pro- 3. The General Minister, with the consent of the de-
fessed brother in temporary vows who requests it for finitory, can grant an indult of departure to a brother
a grave reason. This indult, ipso jure, contains a dis- professed in temporary vows who requests it for a
pensation from the vows as well as from all obliga- grave reason. By the law itself, this indult includes a
tions arising from profession. dispensation from vows and from all obligations aris-
ing from profession.
36,4. The prescriptions of the universal law of the Current text (n. 36,4)
Church should be observed in those other cases con- 4. The prescriptions of the universal law of the
cerning the transfer to another institute of conse- Church are to be observed in other cases involving
crated life or to a society of apostolic life, leaving the transfer to another institute of consecrated life or to a
Order, and the dismissal of a brother after either society of apostolic life, leaving the Order, and the
temporal or perpetual profession. dismissal of a brother after either temporary or per-
(1) Project 2006 suggested transferring the whole number to the complementary Code, but the majority of
the Commission preferred to leave it in the Constitutions, since they considered it of a constitutional
nature. (cf. Code of Canon Law 587,1).
(2) According to the new numbering of our Proposed Revision.
Ministerial and Professional Preparation(1)
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
1. Called to the gospel life in the common religious vocation, all of
us, in imitation of Saint Francis and following our tradition, are
bound to express the apostolic nature of our vocation by the wit-
ness of our life, in all the tasks we undertake in obedience and
37,1. Saint Francis writes in the Testament: "Let Current text (n. 37,1) expanded
those who do not know how to work, learn." 2. Therefore, mindful of the admonition of Saint Francis in
his Testament: “Let those who do not know how to
work, learn”, we should strive to acquire the necessary
preparation in those fields where we are called to serve in the
apostolate, which may be ministerial or professional(3).
37,2. This admonition reveals a new and, in our day, Current text (n. 37,2) with deletion
more urgent meaning for us. Work can hardly be 3. Indeed, it is difficult to do any work properly
performed properly without special and adequate without special and suitable formation.
37,3. It is the responsibility of the Order to help Current text (n. 37,3)
every brother to develop his own grace of working. 4. It is the duty of the Order to help every brother to
Thus, while working, let the brothers mutually en- develop his own grace of working. Thus, while
courage one another in their calling and foster the working, the brothers mutually support one another
harmony of their fraternal life. in their vocation and foster the harmony of their fra-
37,4. Each brother according to his gifts should be Current text (n. 37,4) with changes and addi-
formed for the various tasks that must be per- tions (cf. n. 25,7 and 39,2)
formed. Therefore some may learn skills and techni- 5. Ministerial and professional formation should be planned in
cal trades, while others may engage in pastoral or such a way that the brothers, in accordance with their tal-
scientific studies, especially those of a sacred charac- ents, are sufficiently prepared(4) for the tasks and offices
ter. they will have to fulfil. Therefore some may learn skills
and technical trades, while others may engage in pas-
toral or scientific studies, especially those of a sacred
6. The greatest care should be taken to ensure that formation for
the ministry or for a profession is compatible with religious conse-
cration and in harmony with the journey of initiation, in such a
way as to promote the primacy of life in gospel brotherhood(5).
(1) In the Introduction we explained that the Commission thought it appropriate to change the title Special
formation, because it is ambiguous. Indeed, in art. VI of chapter II, the Constitutions deal with the train-
ing of the brothers for the apostolate in a broad sense. Even in the Const. of 1968, 1970 and 1974 the ti-
tle of this section, then placed in chapter IX, was Preparation and formation for the apostolate; and currently,
in the same art. VI of chapter II we find much of what was previously in chapter IX. The awareness of
the equal dignity of lay brothers and cleric brothers, based on their shared fundamental vocation, calls
for everyone to receive intellectual preparation for any type of activity that is compatible with our
charism. Through this activity the apostolic dimension of our gospel life is expressed. The Commission
discussed the choice of title: preparation or formation (training) or again preparation and formation (training).
For the moment we choose to say: ministerial and professional preparation.
(2) The new text serves as an introduction and is linked to the statements made in nn. 4,2 e 5,5 (chap. I) of
the Proposal for Revision: fraternity-minority and apostolicity are the elements that constitute our
Franciscan vocation. On the other hand, in several places in the current Constitutions our Order de-
fines itself as “an apostolic Order or apostolic Brotherhood” (cf. Const 39,4; 144,3). The text which we
now propose to introduce highlights the source of our apostolic life, in which all the brothers are in-
volved: our shared religious consecration and our life according to the Gospel. It then refers to the ex-
ample of St Francis and to Capuchin tradition to summarise the fields of our apostolic life and the con-
ditions for exercising it (obedience and fraternal communion).
(3) The text of § 2 re-proposes the current one (n. 37,1), but with a new introduction to suit the new inser-
tion (§ 1) and, at the same time, specifying that the apostolate can be an ecclesial ministry strictly so
called, or a profession.
(4) N. 25,7 of the current Constitutions has been deleted because it partly coincides with n. 37,4. The
Commission wanted to avoid the repetition, and therefore redrafted the text by drawing on the content
of n. 25,4 and of n. 37,4, but also expanding it to stress the need for proper preparation of the brothers
for whatever activity they are involved in. It should not be forgotten, however, that the present n. 25,7
of the Constitutions speak of the special initial formation of the brothers, which has to be “arranged with a
view to the different duties they are to perform and according to the particular circumstances and stat-
utes of the circumscriptions”. Although we have now chosen to say The ministerial and professional forma-
tion of the brothers, there is no doubt that the formation spoken of in n. 38,5 of the Proposal for Revision
is also to be understood as initial formation. In this connection, cf. what is said later in note 5 of n. 40,4.
(5) The last § refers to the relationship between training for the ministry or for a profession and initiation
into our form of life. The areas and the aims of the one and of the other, outlined in the Constitutions,
are distinct, although initiation to our life must in itself have an apostolic dimension, because such is
our vocation. “In this regard we must try to be very consistent, because there is a danger of wanting to
achieve different objectives at the same time, for example, preparation for perpetual profession and
formation with a view to sacred Orders. We do not realise, unfortunately, that by acting in this way we
encourage a lack of clarity, to the detriment of the primary objective we are aiming for, namely affective
maturity, an “adult” faith and the interiorisation of our values, all of which are fundamental pre-
requisites for admission to perpetual profession. But they are also, if you like, indispensible conditions
for the scientific study of philosophy and theology with their serious and absorbing demands”. (Letter
of the General Minister on Formation [ December 8, 2008]; n. 35; cf. also Br. JOHN CORRIVEAU, Circu-
lar Letter n. 9 [ February 2, 1996], n. 3.3; 3.6; Br. FLAVIO ROBERTO CARRARO, Relatio de statu Ordinis in
sexennio 1982-1988… in Analecta OFMCap 104  196-197; Br. PASQUALE RYWALSKI, Relatio… de
Ordinis statu annis 1976-1982 in Analecta OFMCap 98  216).
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
38,1. While serving the Lord in minority, however, let Current text (n. 38,1)
all the brothers be aware that they must desire above 1. However, let all the brothers remember that, while
all else to have the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy ac- serving the Lord in minority, they must desire above
tivity. all else to have the Spirit of the Lord and His power
working in them.
38,2. Let the brothers take care, therefore that, while Current text (n. 38,2)
becoming skillful with their hands and well equipped 2. The brothers should therefore take care that, while
intellectually, at the same time they be proficient in becoming skilful with their hands and well equipped
the special grace of working and be holy. intellectually, they also combine holiness with compe-
tence in the special grace of working.
38,3. Let them apply themselves according to their Current text (n. 38,3) with changes and additions
abilities to the work of special formation in a spirit of 3. Let the brothers prepare themselves for the apostolic life(1)
self-denial and discipline that, through the develop- according to their abilities in a spirit of self-denial and
ment of their personality and the cultivation of their discipline, conscious of the needs of the circumscription and
mind, they contribute to the good of the Order, the compliantly accepting the instruction of their ministers(2). In
Church and human society. this way, through personal formation(3)and the devel-
opment of their education, they contribute to the
good of the Order, the Church and society.
38,4. Let studies, enlightened and inspired by the Current text (n. 38,4)
charity of Christ, be entirely in keeping with our life. 4. Studies, enlightened and inspired by the charity of
Christ, must be entirely in keeping with our way of
38,5. When engaged in studies, therefore, let the Current text (n. 38,5)
brothers develop their minds and hearts in such a 5. When engaged in studies, therefore, let the broth-
way that, in keeping with the intention of Saint Fran- ers develop their hearts and minds in such a way that,
cis, they progress in their calling. In fact, formation in keeping with the intention of Saint Francis, they
for any type of work is an integral part of our reli- grow in their vocation. In fact, formation for any
gious life. type of work is an integral part of our religious life.
(1) In line with the new title and structure of art. VI, we speak of preparation for the apostolic life rather
than special formation.
(2) The purpose of the inserted elements is to prevent individualistic attitudes and choices : prepa-
ration for the ministry or learning a trade should not be merely a ratification of what someone
feels like doing, but should be taken on in response to a need of the Province and subject to
discernment by the superiors.
(3) We have chosen to replace development of their personality by personal formation, so as to avoid any
under- standing of formation as “promotion” or “self-fulfilment”. Ambiguities arise if the latter
are the only reasons for choosing special formation.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
39,4. In our apostolic Order, a Current text (n. 39,4) with dele-
pastoral concern should so perme- tion(1)
ate the entire formation that all the 1. A pastoral concern should so
brothers, according to each one's permeate the entire formation in
abilities, may be able to proclaim our apostolic Order that all the
by deed and word the Kingdom of brothers, according to each one's
God as disciples and prophets of abilities, are able to proclaim by
our Lord Jesus Christ. The pas- deed and word the Kingdom of
toral needs of the regions as well God as disciples and prophets of
as the missionary and ecumenical our Lord Jesus Christ. The pas-
responsibilities of the Church toral needs of the regions as well
should be kept in mind. as the Church’s missionary and
ecumenical task should be kept in
39,3. Formation in philosophy and Current text (n. 39,3) with
theology, especially according to changes
franciscan teaching, should har- 2.Formation in philosophy and
moniously and gradually reveal the theology, principally imparted ac-
mystery of Christ to the minds of cording to Franciscan doctrine,
the students. should harmoniously and gradually
work towards opening the minds of the
students to the mystery of Christ(2).
39,5. The provincial ministers, with Current text (n. 39,5-6) with New text
the consent of the definitory, may changes When collaborating with other Institutes
establish in their provinces appro- 3. This formation should take place in the Order’s primary duty and right to
priate centers for the brothers' spe- the study centers of the Order, either pro- form its brothers must always be safe-
cial formation. Let them provide for vincial or interprovincial(3). When this is guarded. An assessment must be made to
this in other ways, especially not possible because of the condi- see whether the right conditions exist for
through collaboration between tions of the region or province or such collaboration to arise, and whether
provinces or the Franciscan families other special needs, the brothers it should be continued(4).
in so far as local circumstances should attend other study centers. When
permit. 6. However, if the brothers possible, collaboration with other Fran-
in the period of initial formation at-
ciscan Institutes is preferred, and care
tend centers of instruction outside
should always be taken to ensure that
the Order according to the condi-
tions and needs of the region or their Capuchin-Franciscan reli-
province, their Capuchin Franciscan gious formation is complete.
religious formation must be meticu-
39,1. The brothers who are called Current text (n. 39,1) New text
to sacred orders must be taught 4. The brothers who are called to Consent to receive sacred orders is to be
according to the norms laid down sacred orders must be taught(5) ac- given to those aspirants who, as well as
by the Church taking into acount cording to the norms laid down by being endowed with due human and
the nature of our brotherhood. the Church, taking into account spiritual maturity, have competently
The consent of the provincial min- the nature of our brotherhood. completed the study of philosophy and
ister and his definitory is required The consent of the Provincial theology as required by the Church(6).
for the reception of sacred orders. Minister and his definitory is re-
quired for the reception of sacred
(1) The Commission, following the proposal of Project 2006, has reversed the order of the §§ according to logic:
moving from the general to the particular. The whole Order, as the principal subject concerned for the formation
of the brothers, must be imbued with apostolic solicitude; then it talks about the study of philosophy and theol-
ogy, in itself accessible to all the brothers, study centers, and finally, about brothers called to sacred Orders.
(2) The translations of this § vary greatly, both as regards the different Italian editions, including Project 2006, and the
various translations in other languages. The final part of the text originates in n. 14 of the Decree on priestly
formation Optatam totius, which is quoted literally in the original Latin. The conciliar Decree speaks of a harmony
between philosophy and theology, so that either should result in a gradual opening of the minds of the students
to the mystery of Christ. Therefore we propose a more literal translation of the conciliar text and, at the same
time, we intend to highlight the fact that true formation is above all the transmission of life.
(3) Both §§ 39,5-6 are merged into one, which reflects the current situation in the Order today, which has both pro-
vincial and inter-provincial study centers. The text is formulated in such a way that collaboration among the cir-
cumscriptions is favoured as the first option, when it is not possible for an individual province to have its own
centers. In the second instance, i.e. in cases where collaboration between our own circumscriptions is impossible,
students can attend other centers outside the Order, as long as the full Franciscan-Capuchin formation is always
(4) The new text proposed for the complementary code expresses a concern born of experience. Attendance at study
centers outside the Order and/or collaboration with other Institutes cannot be determined by a lack of collabora-
tion within the Order, nor can the Order, or any of its jurisdictions, ever abdicate or deny its own inalienable
right to provide formation for the brothers. One cannot disregard this fundamental right, nor adopt easy com-
promises that could affect the soundness of the formation. For this reason the text also speaks of whether the right
conditions exist for such collaboration to arise, and whether it should be continued.
(5) In the Latin text of the current Constitutions (n. 39,1) we read: Fratres qui ad Orders sacros vocantur, “institui” debent
secundum normas ab Ecclesia latas, ratione habita indolis fraternitatis nostrae. (“The brothers who are called to sacred or-
ders must be taught according to the norms laid down by the Church, taking into account the nature of our
brotherhood”). Attention is drawn to the verb instituere, used here intentionally and explicitly to indicate Institutio
sacerdotalis, which is nothing other than the formation (training) of the priest or for the priesthood. Since this Institu-
tio (formation) is destined for brothers called to sacred Orders, it too has the character of “first formation” or “ini-
tial formation”. This is the so-called “ministerial course”, which must be distinguished from ongoing formation
after priestly ordination. (cf. the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis promulgated by the Congregation for
Catholic Education on March 19, 1988). In this sense the Constitutions currently in force clearly show that there is
a special initial formation (cf. n. 26,7) and after speaking about formation in the philosophical and theological disci-
plines (cf. n. 39,3), they call for the Provincial Ministers to set up “centers in the provinces for the suitable special
formation of the brothers” (n. 39,5). Immediately afterwards they go on to say: “However, if the brothers in the pe-
riod of initial formation attend formation centers outside the Order on account of the conditions and needs of the
region or province, care must always be taken to complete their Capuchin-Franciscan religious formation.” (n.
39,6). The context of these statements is the formation of the brothers who are called to sacred Orders, and it
clearly tells us that here initial formation refers to so-called special formation and is not identical with the stages of
initiation into our life. In complete harmony with the Church, it has always been the Order’s conviction – ex-
pressed also in the Constitutions of 1968 and 1982, that brothers aiming for sacred Orders, even if they are per-
petually professed, are in initial formation. It is for this very reason that some formation plans of the circumscrip-
tions state: “Brothers who are called to sacred Orders begin a further period of formation”. With this understanding, n.
23,4 of our Proposal for Revision says: As regards the religious life, formation in our Order is implemented in two phases: ini-
tial formation or initiation into consecration according to our form of life, and ongoing formation. (Note the expression that in-
troduces the text: «As regards the religious life”: not only religious life in itself, but also in its apostolic implementa-
tion. With reference to this apostolic implementation of the religious life, which for us can be ministerial in the
strict sense or professional, specific formation or training is required, which is to be distinguished from both ini-
tial or basic formation, and ongoing formation. Therefore, what is said here applies not only to brothers called to
sacred Orders but for all the brothers, whether they take the ministerial course of philosophy-theology or
whether they undertake other kinds of study. In fact, in order to acquire the necessary professional competence
to engage in the specific service which each religious brother is called to exercise, there need to be suitable plans
and times of formation, both initial and ongoing. The criterion by which to judge when the time of initial forma-
tion is concluded is not only the goal of perpetual profession; nor can initial formation be considered completed
only when the brothers are inserted into our fraternity. It has a much broader scope extending beyond perpetual
(6) The Commission is minded to include this new text in the complementary code on the basis of certain not en-
tirely positive experiences in some circumscriptions.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT COMPLEMENTARY CODE
40,1. Let those responsible for Current text (n. 40,1)
formation be aware that the Formators(1) should be aware that
brothers in formation are the prin- the brothers in formation are the
cipal authors of their own forma- principal authors of their own
tion, the responsibility for which formation, the responsibility for
rests primarily upon them in trust- which rests primarily upon them,
ing collaboration with formation in trusting collaboration with for-
personnel. mation personnel.
40,2. In their method of teaching, Current text (n. 40,2) with
in conversations with students, changes and additions
and in conducting classes, forma- 2. The brothers charged with teaching
tion personnel should ensure that should before anything else present the wit-
the brothers in formation acquire a ness of their lives and promote among
living and consistent cultural de- themselves and with the students a pro-
velopment. found communion of thought and action.
In their teaching and in conversations
with students they should adopt an ac-
tive method which enables the brothers in
formation to acquire an education
that is alive and consistent(2).
40,3. Let them manifest diligence Current text (n. 40,3) with
in preparing and presenting their changes
lectures, under the guidance of the 3. They should prepare and pre-
Church's magisterium; let them sent their lectures carefully, guided
keep up with the progress of their by the Church's magisterium, tak-
own disciplines and adapt their ing care(3) to keep up-to-date in their
lectures to their demands. own disciplines and to adapt their
lectures to new requirements.
40,4. Finally, it is recommended Current text (n. 40,4)
that they exert their energies upon 4. Finally, it is recommended that
scholarly research, writing and they engage in scholarly research,
publication, especially in Francis- writing and publication, especially
can matters. To this end, Francis- in Franciscan subjects. For this
can Institutes promoted by the purpose, Franciscan Institutes
Order can offer assistance to these promoted by the Order can offer
and other brothers. assistance to these and other
40,5. In addition to a central or re- Current text (n. 40,5) New text
gional library, which is highly rec- 5. In addition to a central or re- As far as possible we should ensure that
ommended, there should be a gional library, which is highly rec- our libraries can benefit from the new
common library in all our houses ommended, there should be a information systems(4).
adequately supplied to meet the community library in all our houses,
needs of the particular fraternity. adequately supplied to meet the
Access to our libraries, where it is needs of the particular fraternity.
possible, should be provided for Where possible and with due pre-
outsiders, while taking the neces- cautions, our libraries should be ac-
sary precautions. cessible to non-members of the Or-
(1) N. 40 refers to brothers who have the task of teaching during initial formation, in other words, those
who were traditionally known as “lectors” in the Order. By maintaining the current text with the noun
formators, the Commission intends to affirm the principal objective of teaching, which is formation,
transmitted through teaching. In our tradition, the “lector” was a formator and not simply a teacher.
(2) The current text has been revised and expanded, first of all by making the subject explicit, namely the
brothers charged with teaching. Our intention is to respect the roles proper to each person, and then to state
the distinction between the teaching brothers and the other formators whose task is to guide the broth-
ers in formation through personalised accompaniment. The text is made up of two statements. The
first, with the exception of the subject, restates the text of 1968 with a single alteration: before anything
else, instead of above all. The alteration is logical because this is the beginning of a whole section dealing
with the teaching brothers, whereas the 1968 text was preceded by another which said:… they should be
endowed with sound doctrine, suitable pastoral experience and evident spiritual, pedagogical and psychological formation.
The second statement is a reformulation of the current text. We propose to speak both of teaching and
of conversations with the students, to suggest that the teacher-student relationship should not be con-
fined to school time or lessons. Teachers are advised to adopt an active teaching method, both in lec-
tures and in conversations. The reference to practical sessions has been deleted from the current text be-
cause we believe it is a detail that can be said to be covered by the term active method. We point out that
in 1968 the expression in exercitationibus active ducendis was introduced on the strength of one amendment…
in order to express more clearly the active method of working together between students and teachers (Acta 1968, II, 243-
244, nota 30). The Working Paper of the C.C.L. said: Sound educational principles should be followed in the teach-
ing method, in conversations with the students and in the private study of the students themselves, the first concern being
that the students should acquire a sound and consistent education (Schema, p. 126, n. 166).
(3) The exhortation has been changed slightly to make it more incisive. For the same reason, to encourage
teachers to keep up to date in their subjects, they should take care to.
(4) The suggested addition to the complementary code seems appropriate, because of its topicality and use-
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
39,7. The provincial ministers should take care that Current text (n. 39,7) with deletion
suitable brothers receive special training at institutes, 1. The ministers(1) should see to it that suitable broth-
schools and universities in the sacred sciences, as well ers receive special training(2) at institutes, schools and
as in the other sciences, and in the arts and technical universities in the sacred sciences and in other sub-
skills, as it seems appropriate for the service of the jects, skills and trades, as seems appropriate for the
Church and the Order. service of the Church and the Order.
43,5. Our International College established in Rome Current text (n. 43,5)
is recommended for fostering the spirit of brother- 2. Our International College established in Rome is
hood in the whole Order, for pursuing formation and recommended for fostering the spirit of brotherhood
for promoting franciscan learning. in the whole Order, for pursuing formation and for
promoting Franciscan culture(3).
(1) Deletion of provincial, in favour of the generic and broader term.
(2) In n. 42 the Proposal for Revision merges two texts which are currently found in two separate articles of the
Constitutions: the first (§ 1) coincides with 39,7 of the current text, placed in art. VI in Special formation; the
second (§ 2) anticipates the text of the current n. 43,5, placed in art. VII in Ongoing formation. It should be
noted, however, that in § 1 (= n. 39,7 of the current text) “(Provincial Ministers) should see to it that suit-
able brothers receive special training at institutes, schools and universities in the sacred sciences and in other
subjects, skills and professions…». The verb used is no longer instituere (used for priestly formation), but pra-
eparare, and also the context of § 1 (= n. 39,7 of the current text) is different from that of n. 40, 4 (= n. 39,1
of the current text). The use of two different verbs and the different context of the two texts has particular
significance, which should not be ignored; it is a question of who are the intended beneficiaries: in one case
(brothers in initial formation in n. 40,4 = n. 39,1 of the current text) and in the other (specialist preparation of
suitable friars, beyond initial formation in n. 42,1 = n. 39,7 of the current text).
(3) The Commission was unanimous in merging n. 39,7 and n. 4,5 of the current text, thus restoring the Consti-
tutions of 1968, which said: “The Provincial Ministers should see to it that suitable brothers receive special
training at institutes, schools and universities in the sacred sciences and also in others that are useful for the
service of the Church and the Order. We recommend our International College, established in Rome for the
purpose of promoting Franciscan culture and the spirit of brotherhood in the entire Order” (chap. IX, art I.
Preparation and formation for the apostolate, n. 130). We thought about the advisability of transferring the current
n. 39,7 to art. VII, but in the majority view of the Commission, we preferred to anticipate n. 43,5. It should
be borne in mind, however, that in the logic of the current Constitutions the International College has its
place in art. VII on Ongoing Formation, and is dealt with after the extraordinary means of ongoing forma-
tion(Const n. 43,4), because the Constitutions themselves consider the higher specialist studies engaged in by
suitable brothers to be part of ongoing formation, as “cultural and professional renewal, through technical
adaptation to the conditions of the times” (cf. Const 41,2; Proposal for Revision n. 43,3).
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
1. Saint Francis, untiring in his resolve to pursue holy renewal,
always wished to start afresh. Mindful of him and of his exhor-
tation: “Brothers, let us begin to serve the Lord God, because
until now we have done little or nothing!”, we should all be
conscious of the need for ongoing formation(1).
41,1. Ongoing formation is a process of personal and Current text (n. 41,1) with insertion
community renewal and of harmonious adaptation of 2. Ongoing formation is a process of personal and
structures by which we continue to be capable of liv- community renewal and of harmonious adaptation of
ing our vocation according to the gospel in the actual structures and activities(2), by which we are enabled to
circumstances of the time. live our gospel vocation in the actual circumstances
of the time.
41,2. Though it involves the person as a unified Current text (n. 41,2) with changes and additions
whole, ongoing formation has a two-fold dimension: 3. Though it involves the person as a unified whole,
spiritual conversion through a continual return to the ongoing formation has a two-fold dimension: that of
sources of Christian life and to the primitive spirit of spiritual conversion, through a continual return to the
the Order and their adaptation to the times; and, cul- sources of Christian life and to the primitive spirit of
tural and professional renewal by means of a quasi- the Order, which must be carried out in forms adapted to
technical adaptation to the conditions of the times. the times and to cultures(3); and cultural and profes-
All these contribute to greater fidelity to our voca- sional renewal, through technical adaptation to the
tion. conditions of the times. All these contribute to
greater creative(4) fidelity to our vocation.
(1) The Commission agrees with one explicit proposal to begin the text on ongoing formation with an in-
troductory paragraph authoritatively stating its foundation and justification. This is effectively missing
from article VII of the current text. It seemed right, therefore, to refer to the personal example of Saint
Francis and to his exhortation given in the sources. (cf. 1Cel 103).
(2) The addition is reasonable, since it is not enough to update structures, but also activities, discerning the
signs of the times (cf. Gaudium et Spes 4; 35; 38).
(3) The text has been slightly modified, with a more appropriate formulation and an addition requested by
several brothers, given the growing international character of the Order.
(4) The addition is intended to guard against a sterile, repetitive fidelity, and to encourage us to look for
new forms in which the original spirit of the Order can be embodied.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
42,1. A brother who has completed the period of ini- Current text (n. 42,1) modified and expanded
tial formation can hardly claim to be fully equipped 1. A brother who has finished initial formation(1) can
for all his life. Ongoing formation, therefore, is in- hardly claim to be prepared for the rest of his life.
tended for all brothers. Ongoing formation, therefore, is intended for all the
brothers. Care should be taken to instill in those who are
admitted to the Order the conviction that they must attend to
their own formation for the whole of their lives(2).
42,2. Without a doubt, it is primarily both the per- Current text (n. 42,2) with changes
sonal obligation as well as the right of each brother to 2. Therefore, without a doubt, it is primarily both the
apply himself to his own continuing formation, since personal obligation and right of each brother to apply
this is nothing other than a continuous development of himself to his own ongoing formation, since this is
our vocation. nothing other than a continuous development of our
42,3. At the same time, however, this formation must Current text (n. 42,3), modified
be regarded as the ordinary and pastoral duty of all 3. At the same time, however, this formation must be
superiors. regarded as the ordinary and pastoral duty of all the
ministers and guardians(4).
(1) The expression initial formation here refers both to initiation into our life and to the “first” preparation
for ministry or for a profession, and should therefore be understood in the light of clarifications made
in previous explanatory notes: i.e. notes 6-7 of n. 23,4; note 4 of n. 38,5; note 5 of n. 40,4; note 2 of n.
(2) Apart from stylistic changes in the previous sentence, the new sentence stresses a primary educational
principle. It makes no sense to affirm the priority of ongoing formation over initial formation if at the
same time one does not teach that the task of initial formation is to arouse awareness of the need for
ongoing formation and to place it on firm motivational foundations.
(3) The § makes no modifications to the Latin text, which is translated with its original structure intact,
thereby giving the statement greater force. At the same time it is more appropriate to translate the Latin
exsecutio by development instead of by implementation.
(4) This change was introduced to specify the responsibility of the superiors whose task it is. The proposal
comes from Project 2006.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
1. The Order should have at its disposal formation resources
compatible with our charism, and should make them available
to all the brothers. In particular, the Formation Plan should
also include a plan for ongoing formation, and the General Se-
cretariat for Formation should respond creatively to the forma-
tion needs of our circumscriptions.
43,1. Particular norms for ongoing formation should Current text (n. 43,1), modified
be developed in each province according to the dif- 2. Each circumscription, too(2), should have its own
ferent places and conditions of persons and times. norms for ongoing formation adapted to the differ-
ent circumstances of place, time and personnel.
43,2. The program should be organic, dynamic and Current text (n. 43,2)
integral, embracing the entire religious life in the light 3. The program should be systematic, dynamic and
of the gospel and in the spirit of brotherhood. integrated, embracing the whole religious life in the
light of the gospel and the spirit of brotherhood.
43,3. The manner in which our daily life is led greatly Current text (n. 43,3) with changes
assists ongoing formation. The first revered school of 4. Daily fraternal living(3) greatly assists ongoing forma-
formation is the daily experience of religious life, in a tion. Indeed, the first school of formation is the daily
normal rhythm of prayer, reflection, community life experience of religious life, with its normal rhythm of
and work. prayer, reflection, community life and work.
43,4. Moreover, extraordinary means or resources are Current text (n. 43,4)
also highly recommended, e.g., new or renewed ven- 5 In addition, extraordinary means or resources are
tures in ongoing formation, with the help of either also highly recommended, e.g., new or renewed ven-
the local or provincial fraternity, within each province tures in ongoing formation, with the help of either
or region, or with that of the Conference of Major the local or provincial fraternity, within each prov-
Superiors. ince, region or Conference of major superiors.
(1) Before speaking of formation plans at province level, it is well to mention the formation structures that
exist at the level of the whole Order. The Commission therefore saw fit to begin this n. by expressing
the hope for a Ratio formationis, which has long been the wish of many brothers in various places, most
recently, Br Mauro Jöhri in his letter of December 8, 2008 on formation. The text alludes to a General
Plan for Ongoing Formation, which the Order already has, promulgated on 29 November 1991 (cf. Analecta
OFMCap 107  443-462). It should therefore be clear from all that has been said that the Ratio for-
mationis of the Order should be structured as a Ratio initiationis, Ratio institutionis and Ratio formationis con-
tinuae. (Plan for Initiation; Plan for Formation and Plan for Ongoing Formation)
(2) The beginning of § 2 is modified to create a link with the previous §.
(3) The formulation intends to make clear that not every style of daily living promotes formation, as the cur-
rent text says. For us there is no other way of living except in brotherhood, and therefore «daily fraternal
life» is the privileged place where progress in gospel living is supported and verified.
CONSTITUTIONS (1990) PROPOSED REVISED TEXT
44,1. Let each brother take special care to walk wor- Current text (n. 44,1)
thily in the Capuchin Franciscan vocation to which 1. Let each brother seriously(1) commit himself to walk
he has been called by God. worthily in the Capuchin-Franciscan vocation to
which he has been called by God.
44,2. Therefore, all of us should strive to maintain Current text (n. 44,2) expanded, with changes
and strengthen for ourselves and for others the gift 2. All of us therefore should strive to preserve the
of a religious vocation and of perseverance by faithful gift of a religious vocation and perseverance, in our-
cooperation, prudent watchfulness and consistent selves and in others(2), and to strengthen them by
prayer. faithful cooperation with divine grace(3), prudent watch-
fulness and constant prayer.
44,3. Let us also beware, brothers, of apostasy of the Current text (n. 44,3)
heart which occurs when, because of tepidity, some- 3. Let us also beware, brothers, of apostasy of the
one hides a worldly heart beneath a religious exterior, heart, which occurs when, because of tepidity, some-
abandons the spirit and love of his vocation, and one hides a worldly heart beneath a religious exterior,
yields to a worldly spirit of pride and sensuality. Re- abandons the spirit and love of his vocation, and
membering the apostle's admonition: "Do not be yields to a worldly spirit of pride and sensuality. Re-
conformed to this world," let us, rather, avoid what- membering the apostle's admonition: Do not be con-
ever savours of sin and weakens religious life. formed to this world, let us, rather, avoid whatever
savours of sin and weakens religious life.
44,4. After we have left the world, therefore, let us Current text (n. 44,4)
desire nothing else, let us wish for nothing else, let 4. Therefore, now that we have left the world, let us
nothing else please us than to follow the Spirit of the strive to desire nothing else, to wish for nothing else,
Lord and Its holy activity and to please Him always to take pleasure in nothing else, than to follow the
that we may truly be brothers and men poor, meek, Spirit of the Lord and His holy power at work in us
thirsting for holiness, merciful, clean of heart, those, and to please Him always, so that we may truly be
in fact, through whom the world may know the peace brothers, poor, meek, thirsting for holiness, merciful
and goodness of God. and clean of heart, men, in fact, through whom the
world may know the peace and goodness of God.
(1) A faithful translation of the Latin sedulo.
(2) We are responsible not only for our own vocation, but also for that of others: this is our first fraternal
(3) The changes in the text reflect the original Latin, and the insertion “with divine grace” makes the text
more understandable and theology more correct.