The Spiritual Franciscans
From Protest to Persecution in the Century After Saint Francis
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: Penn State University Press
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DURING THE LAST FEW DECADES, scholars have shown substantial interest in the spiritual Franciscans. The result has been a number of books and articles, most of them on specific problems or figures. A single volume covering the entire movement now seems desirable. ...
1 The Franciscan Dilemma
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IN THE SPRING OF 1317, the Franciscans at Narbonne received a letter from Pope John XXII. It was not the sort of message that they would have wanted to read. John ordered them to appear at the papal court in Avignon within ten days and explain why they had violently seized control of their house, ...
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IF FRANCISCAN LIFE WAS CHANGING, Franciscans had to decide how they should react to that change. Historians often paint the picture of an order torn between two alternatives. Most friars chose to embrace the changes and accept the inevitable compromise of Franciscan poverty necessitated by them, ...
3 The Birth of the Usus Pauper Controversy: 1274–1290
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HOWEVER UNCERTAIN THE SITUATION might appear up to this point, once we move beyond Bonaventure’s generalate, we seem to enter a new world. Suddenly we have some hope of identifying battles with definable issues and contestants. Our use of the plural is justified. ...
4 Opposition in High Places: 1290–1309
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IN 1290 THINGS SEEMED to be looking up for rigorists throughout the order. Raymond Geoffroi, sympathetic toward advocates of strict observance, was minister general; Angelo and his zealot companions, released from prison in Ancona, were off to Armenia; Olivi, after his rehabilitation and two-year stint in Florence, ...
5 The Council of Vienne: The Spiritual Franciscan Position
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WHAT EVIDENCE WE HAVE SUGGESTS that the first decade of the fourteenth century was a bad time for those in southern France who adhered to Olivi’s position on usus pauper, but their travail ended when Pope Clement V intervened in 1309. Why he did so is not entirely clear, but Angelo Clareno may provide part of the answer: ...
6 The Council of Vienne: The Community and the Pope
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The answer is that to a point they were, despite their occasional attempts to suggest that the controversy was limited to southern France and was merely a battle over terms, hence not worth arguing about at all.1 They were not disputing directly with Olivi, and thus one occasionally finds them discussing some issue he never raised. ...
7 The Collapse of the Clementine Settlement
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WE SAW IN THE LAST CHAPTER that Clement V’s settlement at Vienne conceded some points to the spirituals and denied others. Clement took their complaints seriously, acknowledged grave abuses, and told Franciscan leaders to reform. Yet he refused to divide the order and let the spirituals go their own way. ...
8 John Acts
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JOHN DID NOT INHERIT A SINGLE spiritual Franciscan problem. Rather, he fell heir to a series of them: the Tuscan rebels, the Narbonne and Béziers rebels, Angelo’s associates, and miscellaneous others, such as Ubertino, who fit within none of these groups. The whole matter required thought. ...
9 Censure and Condemnation
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AROUND PENTECOST, SIXTY-FOUR BROTHERS from Narbonne and B�ziers arrived at Avignon.1 Instead of going to the Franciscan house, they went directly to the papal palace and stood outside the doors all night, eager to present themselves and state their case (or perhaps simply afraid to go to the local house). ...
10 Southern France: Four Case Histories
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BY THE END OF 1318, the spirituals’ situation had changed dramatically. The pope had decided, and he had done so in a way that made further resistance equivalent to heresy. Since this turn of events meant triumph for the community and defeat for the spirituals, one might consider it the end of our story. ...
11 Southern France: Some Generalizations
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WHILE IT WOULD BE AN OVERSTATEMENT to say that the four cases examined in the last chapter present spiritual and beguin life after 1318 in all its complexity, they at least give us a start in that direction. We are now in a position to make some generalizations. ...
12 Ubertino da Casale and the Controversy over Christ’s Poverty
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We last encountered Ubertino at Avignon in 1317, telling the pope that he would willingly speak for the spirituals if asked to do so. He was, we remember, informed that no such request would be forthcoming. If John wanted to keep Ubertino from testifying, it was obviously because the pope wanted to get on with the task ...
13 Angelo Clareno and Beyond
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WHILE UBERTINO DA CASALE was working out his destiny with the aid of John XXII and a hostile Franciscan leadership, Angelo Clareno was following a much different path. In 1317, the year in which the spirituals were flattened by a first wave of bulls from John’s chancery, ...
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WE HAVE FOLLOWED THE STORY of the spiritual Franciscans through a series of phases. Up to the 1270s, we can only point to isolated cases that seem to anticipate what we see emerging in that decade. From the 1270s to around 1290, we see a genuine movement begin, but in separate dramas whose diverse plots ...
Appendix: Spirituals and Mystics
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Page Count: 440
Publication Year: 2003