Much as in past centuries, the Franciscan ideal of life even in our times continually draws many men and women desirous of evangelical perfection and thirsting for the kingdom of God. Inspired by the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, the members of the Third Order Regular set forth to follow Jesus Christ by living in fraternal communion, professing the observance of the evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty and chastity in public vows, and by giving themselves to innumerable expressions of apostolic activity. To actualize in the best way possible their chosen way of life, they dedicate themselves unreservedly to prayer, strive to grow in fraternal love, live true penance and cultivate Christian self-denial.
Since these very elements and motives for living the Franciscan ideal are clearly present in "The Rule and Life of the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis", and since they are clearly in accord with the genuine Franciscan spirit, We, in the fullness of Our apostolic authority, determine, declare and order that the present Rule have the force and importance to illustrate to the Brothers and Sisters this authentic meaning of the Franciscan life, while bearing in mind what Our Predecessors Leo X and Pius X, with the Apostolic Constitutions Inter cetera and Rerum condicio presented on this matter in their own times.
Since We know how diligently and assiduously this "Rule and Life" has traveled its path of "aggiornamento" and how fortuitously it arrived at the desired convergence of different points of view through collegial discussion and consultation, proposals and studied amendments, for this very reason with well-founded hope We trust that the longed for fruits of renewal will be brought to full realization.
We decide, moreover, that this Our decision have force from this moment on and be effectively binding both in the present and the future, everything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's under the ring of the Fisherman, on the 8th day of December, 1982, the fifth year of Our Pontificate.
Augustinus Card. Casaroli,
Prefect for Public Affairs of the Church