General Statutes


Part I
The Life and Mission of the Order

Title I
Our Identity

Chapter 1:       The Charism of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis
Chapter 2:       Consecration to the Lord

Title II
Acceptance into this life

Chapter 1:       The Increase of vocations (1-4)
Chapter 2:       Formation in General (5-10)
Chapter 3:       Formation of the Man (11-12)
Chapter 4:       Formation in Religious Life
Chapter 5:       Formation in the Charism of the Order
Chapter 6:       Formation in Apostolic Life
Chapter 7:       Ongoing Formation and Education (13-15)
Chapter 8:       The Directors of Formation (16-17)
Chapter 9:       The Stages of Formation
Chapter 10:     Postulancy (18-22)
Chapter 11:     Novitiate (23-32)
Chapter 12:     Profession
§1. Temporary profession (33-37)
§2. Solemn profession (38-39)
Chapter 13:     The Religious Habit and Clothing of the Friars (40)

Title III
Spirit of Prayer

Chapter 1:       Union with God
Chapter 2:       The Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours (41-43)
Chapter 3:       Growth in Prayer (44-51)
Chapter 4:       The Life of Penance (52-55)

Title IV
The Life of Chastity for the Sake of the Kingdom

Title V
The Way to Serve and Work

Title VI
The life of Poverty

Title VII
Fraternal Love

Chapter 1:       Fraternal Living (56-59)
Chapter 2:       Charity to the Aged and Infirm Friars (60)
Chapter 3:       Responsibility for our Friars, Relatives and Benefactors (61-67)
Chapter 4:       Responsibility to Relatives, Benefactors and Employees (68)
Chapter 5:       Conduct outside the Fraternity and Journeys (69-74)
Chapter 6:       Hospitality (75-76)

Title VIII
The Obedience of Lov

Title IX
Apostolic Life

Chapter 1:       The Apostolic Life of the Friars (77-78)
Chapter 2:       Means of Evangelization
§1. Ministry of Witness
§2. Ministry of the Word (79-81)
§3. Ministry of Sacraments (82-84)
Chapter 3:       Organization of Evangelization
§1. Competency of the Ministers (85-87)
§2. Choice of Apostolates (88-90)
Chapter 4:       Concrete Forms of Evangelization
§1. Ministry in Parishes (91-93)
§2. Ministry to the Sick and Abandoned (94-95)
§3. Ministry of Peace and Justice (96)
§4. Ministry of Renewal and Reconciliation (97-98)
§5. Ministry of Education (99-102)
Chapter 5:       Missionary Evangelization (103-108)
Chapter 6:       The Secular Franciscan Order (109-114)


Part II
The Constitutions of the Fraternity
and the Service of its Government

Title I
The Constitutions of the Fraternity

Title II
The mission of the Minister

Title III
Office of the Order

Chapter 1:       Distinction and Conferral of Offices
Chapter 2:       Resignation and Removal from Offices and Positions (115-116)
Chapter 3:       Norms to be observed in Votations

Title IV
The General Chapter

Chapter 1:       Authority and Convocation of the General Chapter (117-120)
Chapter 2:       Vocals at the Chapter (121-122)
Chapter 3:       The Sessions of the Chapter
§1. Opening of the Chapter (123-127)
§2. Election of the President and Work of the Chapter (128-130)
§3. The Election of the Minister General and His Council (131-136)
§4. The Remaining Chapter Sessions and Its Conclusion (137-138)

Title V
The General Government

Chapter 1:       The Minister General (139-140)
Chapter 2:       The General Council or Definitory
Chapter 3:       The Vicar General (141-142)
Chapter 4:       The General Councilors (143-147)
Chapter 5:       The Secretary General (148)
Chapter 6:       The Offices of the Order
§1. The Procurator General (149-150)
§2. The Finance Council (151-152)</>
§3. The General Archivist (153-154)
§4. The Postulator General (155-157)
§5. The Director of Formation (158)
§6. The Secretary of the Missions (159)
§7. Other Offices (160)
Chapter 7:       The Plenary Council of the Order
Chapter 8:       The Inter Provincial Conference

Title VI
The Government of the Provinces

Chapter 1:       The Provincial Chapter (161-162)
§1. The timing of the Chapter and Elections (163-165)
§2. Chapter Procedures (166-169)
Chapter 2:       The election of the Minister Provincial and Council (170-171)
§1. Direct Election
§2. Election in Chapter
§3. Election by a system determined by the Province
Chapter 3:       The Provincial Congregation (172-173)
Chapter 4:       The Minister Provincial and his collaborators in Government
§1. Minister Provincial (174-175)
§2. Vicar Provincial
§3. Provincial Council (176-179)
§4. Provincial Secretary (180)
§5. Plenary Council (181-183)

Title VII
Provinces, Vice Provinces and Commissariates

Chapter 1:       Establishment and Suppression of Provinces
§1. Provinces (184-185)
§2. Vice Provinces (186-187)
§3. Commissariates (188-189)
Chapter 2:       Government of Vice Provinces and Commissariates
§1. Vice Provinces (190-191)
§2. Commissariates (192-195)

Title VIII
The Canonical Visitation (196-200)

Title IX
Government in Local Fraternities

Chapter 1:       Local ministers (201-205)
Chapter 2        Local Fraternity Council and Chapter
Chapter 3:       Libraries and Archives (206-210)

Title X
Administration of Goods (211-213)

Title XI
Fraternal Correction (214-216)

Title XII
Transfer from One Province to Another

Title XIII
Leaving the Fraternity and Dismissal of a Friar from the Order

Chapter 1:       Leaving the Fraternity (217-223)
Chapter 2:       Dismissal from the Fraternity (224-226)
Chapter 3:       Effects of Departure (227-228)

Title XIV
Observance of the Rule and Constitution (229-232)

Part I


Chapter 1: The Charism of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis

C: 1-6

Chapter 2: Consecration to the Lord

C: 7-10


Chapter 1: The Increase of Vocations

C: 11

1. The offices established to cultivate vocations are to provide candidates considering the religious life the means to lead a Christian life, adapted to their age, always providing suitable contact with their families and society.

2. There should be fraternities that offer young people the opportunity of taking part in our life in order that they may know our fraternity better.

3. 1) The Minister Provincial shall appoint a friar or a group of friars to promote vocations and give them the means to fulfill the task.

2) Those who have the task of admitting new candidates to the Order should be aware that it is through them that the Church examines the fitness of the candidates and admits them to the religious life even though the vocation to the religious life and the priesthood is a gift from God.

4. The vocation of those who are older is to be provided for in a fitting manner as personal and local situations demand so that candidates who are older can lead a life that is suited to their age and appropriate for their human, Christian and Franciscan development.

Chapter 2: Formation in General

C: 12

5. The directors, ministers and teachers who are responsible for the formation of the friars should wisely use the psychological and pedagogical aids which human experience and scientific research have provided.

6. Each Province must take special care that its candidates are placed in fraternities of formation which are equipped with necessary and appropriate means to provide them with a solid formation.

Each Province, through competent authority and expert friars, should formulate a program of formation to accommodate the general norms of the Constitutions to the particular circumstances of persons and places according to the spirit of the Rule and of the Church's documents.

7. All the friars are to consider the fraternities of formation as the heart of the Province. It is their duty to willingly give all possible help in accord with their position and capabilities.

8. The Provinces or Vice Provinces that establish an inter-province program of formation shall do so by written agreement and consent of the respective Ministers Provincial and their Councils.

9. The candidates are to engage in intellectual and manual work in which they can provide for the needs of their community. This program should allow them to work with their brothers and sisters, offer them service and associate themselves with the redemptive work of Jesus Christ who conferred an eminent dignity on labor by working with His own hands at Nazareth.

10. During the time of formation the directors should see that the friars engage in appropriate manual labor, physical exercise, artistic and recreational activity in accord with the talent and inclinations of each one.

Chapter 3: The Formation of the Man

C: 13-16

11. The friars who are not studying for Sacred Orders are to be introduced to other types of professional as well as technical work which are necessary for the good of the community.

By special courses they are to receive a theological and pastoral training adapted to contemporary needs that can permit them to cultivate more fruitfully the evangelical life in themselves and in others.

12. Taking into account the particular circumstances of the place and always observing the norms of the law, the Minister Provincial with the consultative vote of his Council can decide that a brother may be called to the office of the permanent diaconate.

Chapter 4: Formation in Religious Life

C: 17- 23

Chapter 5: Formation in the Charism of the Order

C: 24, 25

Chapter 6: Formation in Apostolic Life

C: 26, 27

Chapter 7: Ongoing Formation and Education

C: 29

13. The Minister Provincial is to provide the necessary means for the friars to develop and keep up-to-date with the new demands of the times through ongoing formation needed to carry out their obligations.

Friars shall strive to fulfill this objective through attendance at periodic conventions, the use of sabbatical leaves devoted to self-improvement and by consulting with Directors of Ongoing Formation.

14. It is the responsibility of the Minister Provincial and the Provincial Council to study which means are most suitable for promoting ongoing formation and to incorporate these means in Provincial Statutes.

15. The Minister Provincial, with the consent of his Council, shall decide which friars are permitted to go to universities to obtain degrees after having considered the quality of the friar's lives, their capabilities, the needs of the Province and their faithfulness to the Order.

Chapter 8: The Directors and Educators

C: 30- 35

16. At the end of each school year, the Director is to send to the Minister Provincial a report on the fitness of each candidate in formation. This report should include the opinions of the members of the local fraternity. The Minister Provincial shall present this report to the Council.

17. In each Province of the Order there is to be appointed a Prefect of Education who is in charge of the study program of the Province.

It is his duty to see that in fraternities of formation the directions given by the Church and the Order in regard to studies are faithfully observed.

Where it is necessary, local prefects of education shall be appointed.

Chapter 9: The Stages of Formation

C: 36

Chapter 10: Postulancy

C: 37, 38

18. During the postulancy the candidates shall be under the care of a Director appointed by the Minister Provincial after consultation with his Council.

19. It is desirable that the postulancy not be made in the novitiate. It can also be arranged that the postulancy be made, totally or in part, in the various fraternities of the Province.

20. The requisites for admission to the postulancy are the following:

1) a right intention, free will, as well as spiritual, moral, intellectual and social fitness;

2) average physical and mental health;

3) sufficient emotional maturity;

4) appropriate intellectual and professional training.

Let each Province establish other norms for admission.

21. The candidate to be admitted must declare in writing:

1) that he is not affected by a fatal or contagious disease or other serious recurrent illness, and that he is aware that his reception in our Order and subsequent religious profession are null if he has deceptively concealed such illness.

2) that by reason of his admission to a religious institute, he is prepared to fulfill without reservation any duty assigned to him by his ministers and that he cannot claim any recompense from the Order if, at any time, he wishes to leave the Order or is dismissed.

22. Particular provisions on admission to the postulancy, its length and organization shall be stated in the Provincial Statutes.

Chapter 11: Novitiate

C: 39-47

23. 1) Before they start the novitiate, the postulants shall make a retreat of at least five days.

2) Besides the certificates of Baptism and Confirmation, everything else that common law requires for licitly and validity must be fulfilled. (cf cn 645)

24. The novitiate starts with the handing over of the candidates to the Director of Novices and his acceptance of the novices for the purpose of beginning and completing the novitiate.

25. The Director of Novices is to be at least thirty years old and solemnly professed five years.

When there is need, the Director of Novices may be assisted by another friar who has the same qualifications. (cf cn 651,1-2)

26. All the duties and work which are entrusted to the novices are carried out under the guidance and watchfulness of the Director of Novices who can enlist the support of other qualified and suitable persons.

27. There should be a unity of mind and purpose among the Local Minister, the Director of Novices, the novices and the local fraternity. This accord, which is the fruit of an authentic dialogue and communion, is necessary for the formation of the novices.

28. Although the special nature and aim of the novitiate and the close bonds which should be found among the novices can be enhanced by a certain separation of the novices from other members of the Order, the novices may have contact with professed friars and other fraternities in accord with the judgment of the Director of Novices. (cf cn 650) It is up to the Director of Novices to determine what interaction the novices may have with professed religious and other friars.

29. A novice shall not be assigned to these formative activities unless he has completed at least three months in the novitiate. It must be arranged that the novice spends six continuous months in the novitiate as a minimum and returns to the novitiate at least one month before he makes his first profession of vows.

30. During the course of the novitiate, the Director shall be convinced that each novice, once he has made his profession of vows, will continually strengthen his formation and place himself totally at the service of the Church and the Order.

31. In the fourth, eighth and tenth months of the novitiate the Director is to present to the Fraternity Chapter a report on the conduct of each novice.

After opportune discussion, the friars who are solemnly professed, shall cast their secret vote. The Local Minister of the fraternity will send this consultative vote to the Minister Provincial, together with the written report of the Director of Novices.

If periods of apostolic formation mentioned in General Statute 29 are in effect, the previously mentioned reports with the respective votation are to take place at three different times determined by the Provincial Statutes.

32. Novices enjoy all the spiritual benefits of our Order.

Chapter 12: Profession

C: 48, 49

§1. Temporary Profession

C: 50- 55

33. The novice, before making his temporary profession, must make a retreat of at least five days.

34. The religious habit, as a sign of consecration, is given in the ceremony of first profession.

The Provincial Statutes shall determine whether the candidate shall receive the habit of initiation at the beginning of the novitiate.

35. Each time a friar makes a renewal of his profession of temporary vows, he must prepare himself under the guidance of the Director in a way determined by the Provincial Statutes.

Before the Minister Provincial accepts the profession, he must consider the fitness of the candidate.

36. The Minister Provincial, if he judges it opportune, can prolong the time of temporary profession according to the norms of article 53 of the Constitutions. A friar must be solemnly professed before receiving Sacred Orders.

37. 1) The temporary profession is made for a period, determined by the Provincial Statutes, keeping in mind article 53 of the Constitutions and article 36 of these Statutes.

2) In some cases a friar can grow in maturity by remaining in temporary vows for a longer period of time. In other cases a longer period of temporary profession can be detrimental since such delay in making final profession can be a cause of continued indecision.

3) Therefore, ministers are to be aware of their responsibility in this matter and not put off until the last moment a decision to dismiss a friar from the Order when this decision could have taken place earlier.

§2. Solemn Profession

C: 56- 60

38. The length of the preparation for solemn profession is to be determined by the Provincial Statutes.

39. When solemn profession has taken place, the Minister Provincial promptly sends notice of this to the Minister General and to the pastor of the place of Baptism for the prescribed annotation. (cn 535,2)

Chapter 13: The Religious Habit and Clothing of the Friars

C: 61

40. The religious habit of our Order is one of standardized style and color with the traditional elements of tunic, capuce and cord.

The Provincial Statutes shall determine the use of the religious habit as well as legitimate adaptations in accord with local circumstances.


Chapter 1: Union With God

C: 62, 63

Chapter 2: The Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours

C: 64-70

41. The church or the fraternity chapel is a more suitable place for the common prayer of the friars.

42. In certain cases, other forms of prayer can be substituted for the Liturgy of the Hours when, for a serious reason, a friar is legitimately impeded.

43. For the Eucharistic celebration and the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, it is preferred that the friars follow the Franciscan calendar. For pastoral reasons, however, the friars are permitted to use the calendar and missal of the diocese.

Chapter 3: Growth in Prayer

C: 71- 73

44. The friars are held to make at least a half hour of mental prayer each day. They are to be instructed in the theory and practice of mental prayer taking into consideration diverse cultural and theological traditions. Each friar may select the method he finds most suitable.

45. The friars are not to absent themselves from daily religious exercises without a serious reason because such action is destructive of common life and prayer.

46. The details of the monthly day of recollection and the annual retreat are to be in Provincial Statutes. (cf cn 663,5)

47. Each Province is encouraged to formulate its own book of prayers based on local culture, Provincial customs and sound Franciscan tradition.

48. Devotions that are particularly rooted in our Franciscan tradition are encouraged, such as the Way of the Cross and the Franciscan Crown.

49. It is the responsibility of the Local Minister together with the local fraternity to establish the times, place and other circumstances for prayer.

50. The friars celebrate the solemnities of the Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception because she is patroness of the Order. We also venerate liturgically our blessed Father Saint Francis, Saint Clare, Saint Louis the King, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary as well as the titular feast of each Province.

51. The Provincial Statutes shall establish norms for hermitages and places of retreat.

Chapter 4: The Life of Penance

C: 76- 80

52. In addition to the fast and abstinence established by the Church the friars are to observe fast and abstinence on the vigils of the Immaculate Conception and our Holy Father Francis. In each Province other days of fast and abstinence or other forms of penance may be established.

53. The celebration of a Penitential Chapter or some similar practice whereby the local fraternity can examine the vitality of its common life is recommended. Each Province is encouraged to develop both format and policies in this regard.

54. In accord with Church legislation, Local Ministers shall be solicitous to provide confessors for their friars most especially in houses of formation, large fraternities and in friaries which are devoted to the care of aged, infirm or handicapped friars.

55. Each friar is to have his own spiritual director to whom he can go with confidence. He can also be his ordinary confessor.


Chapter 1: Fraternal Living

56. A brief and appropriate spiritual reading may precede the principal meal. The customs of each Province are to be followed in this regard.

57. The times and circumstances for silence and recreation are to be determined by the local fraternity chapter.

58. All the friars and especially the ministers should readily share with one another all the news of major importance both within the Province and throughout the Order.

59. 1) The Minister Provincial with the consent of his Council can, for a just reason, permit a friar to live outside the fraternity for not more than one year, except for illness or for reasons of study or for reasons of the apostolate. (cf cn §1)

2) If a friar remains outside the fraternity unlawfully he does not enjoy active or passive voice. The Order or a Province is not responsible for the actions of a friar who is unlawfully absent from the fraternity.

Chapter 2: Charity to the Aged and Infirm Friars

C: 107-109

60. To provide for the sick and aged it is helpful to use medical insurance and programs of social assistance. Each Province should investigate these possibilities and make norms for such procedures.

Chapter 3: Responsibility to our Friars, Relatives, Friends and Benefactors

C: 110

61. On the death of a friar, the Local Minister sends notice to the Minister Provincial, who in turn informs the friars of the Province and the relatives of the deceased. The Minister Provincial notifies the Minister General and sends along with the notification a brief biography of the deceased friar so that all the friars of the Order can be informed. The Local Minister makes the necessary arrangements in order that the friars and relatives may attend the funeral.

62. Since it is good and beneficial to pray for the dead, the friars should make every effort to include in their prayers our friars, relatives, friends and benefactors who have left this world.

63. Every year we are to celebrate certain anniversaries to remember and honor our dead.

1) Three times a year, the friars are to remember all the deceased friars of the Order as well as all their deceased parents, relatives, friends and benefactors.

2) Once each year the friars remember all the deceased members of the entire Seraphic Order.

3) On these anniversary days Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours for the Dead are to be celebrated.

4) Once each year, in every Province, a day is to be set aside on which all the deceased of the Province are to be remembered. On this day in every fraternity of the Province, Mass is to be celebrated at which all the friars should attend.

64. 1) For the soul of every deceased friar, each priest of the Province to which the deceased belongs celebrates two Masses. In other Provinces, one Mass for the deceased is celebrated in each fraternity.

2) For the father and mother of a professed friar, even though the friar is deceased, one Mass is celebrated by every friar priest. The same is carried out in the novitiate for the parents of novices.

65. For a deceased Pope, a deceased Minister General and ex-Ministers General, every priest of the Order celebrates one Mass.

66. Besides the suffrages previously mentioned all the friars shall pray the Liturgy of the Hours as a suffrage on the indicated days.

67. The Order has its own Necrology. Each Province also has its own Necrology in which are recorded the names of all the deceased friars. When their anniversaries occur, mention is to be made in all the local fraternities. In addition to this list of the dead there shall be also included a short biography.

Chapter 4: Responsibility to Relatives, Benefactors and Employees

C: 111

68. Our employees must be persons of good character. A contract should be made with them in full conformity with the civil law of the land.

Chapter 5: Conduct outside the Fraternity and Journeys

C: 112

69. Aside from their regular assignments, the friars shall obtain permission from the Local Minister to be absent from the fraternity according to the norms of the Provincial Statutes. (cf cn 665)

70. The Local Minister can give his own friars permission to remain outside the fraternity for one month.

71. A friar in order to travel to a foster country must obtain permission from his Minister Provincial and if he wishes to stay in a local fraternity of the Order he must obtain previous permission of the Minister Provincial who is competent.

72. The competence of the Local Minister with regard to the journeys and vacations is to be established in the Provincial Statutes wherein the limits of time and distance are to be established.

73. Ministers are to give letters of permission to friars making a journey. All the friars should also be given some form of identification or credentials by which they can easily identify themselves as members of the Order and belonging to a particular Province.

74. When a friar arrives in a place where one of our fraternities is located he should visit the brothers when possible and live in one of our fraternities, thus strengthening the bond of fraternal unity.

Chapter 6: Hospitality

C: 113

75. Let it be a pleasure for the friars to visit their confreres and let it be a source of joy to have a confrere visit them. Before going to any fraternities all should, out of courtesy, send word ahead to the Local Minister.

76. In the spirit of Franciscan hospitality the Local Minister can invite other persons to the fraternity table so that the benefits of fraternal life can be shared.


Chapter 1: The Apostolic Life of the Friars

C: 118-122

77. The friars shall cultivate relationships with Christians who share with us "one Lord and one baptism" (Eph. 4:5) and cooperate with them in efforts which foster works of mercy and the welfare of humanity.

78. In imitation of Saint Francis, the friars should excel in sentiments of human solidarity by respecting the followers of other religions and by engaging in dialogue with them as a form of evangelization.

Chapter 2: Means of Evangelization

§1. Ministry of Witness

C: 123, 124

2. Ministry of the Word

C: 125-127

79. The Minister Provincial should identify those friars who have a special talent for the ministry of the word. They should be well trained and assigned to the exercise of this ministry in parish missions, retreats and catechetical work.

80. When the friars preach, they should adopt the style of Francis: natural, simple and popular. The friars should mirror in their lives the words that they speak, so that they "may teach what they believe and put into practice what they teach." (Ordin. Ritual)

81. The friars are to endeavor to identify specific human concerns to which the word of God can be addressed. They should treat the questions of our time in the light of Christ and apply the perennial truth of the Gospel to the concrete circumstances of life in such a way as to invite all to conversion and holiness of life.

§3. Ministry of the Sacraments

C: 128-131

82. The friars in celebrating the sacraments, should provide an adequate catechesis so that those who receive them will experience their transforming power.

83. The friars should celebrate the sacraments in such a way as to bring the people to a full, conscious and active participation.

84. In the celebration of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, the friars should realize the importance of the homily as an integral part of the celebration enabling the people to become aware of their mission to be apostles and witnesses.

Chapter 3: Organization of Evangelization

§1. Competency of the Ministers

C: 132-134

85. The ministers, especially the Minister Provincial, should take care to identify in the individual friar particular talents and interests for the apostolate and use that knowledge to train him for ministry.

Each Province should develop a process of dialogue to assist the Minister Provincial in assigning friars to the various works of evangelization, especially in the difficult and innovative ones.

86. In appropriate cases the Minister Provincial should permit the assignment of friars to another Province to aid in the apostolate and also the interchange of friars. This process can promote both mutual growth and fraternal friendship.

87. A friar who exercises an apostolic activity by reason of contract is responsible to the employer for the faithful performance of the contracted services. As a Franciscan, he is under obedience to his ministers.

§2. Choice of Apostolates

C: 135-138

88. The friars should not cling to those types of work practiced for a long time to such an extent that they reject new forms of the apostolate. They should have the generosity of heart to try new ministries especially among the poor and needy.

89. The Minister Provincial should promote gatherings of the friars to discern collectively as a fraternity the character of the current apostolates in light of our charism.

90. The ministers shall offer cooperation to bishops and diocesan clergy in the care of souls.

Chapter 4: Concrete Forms of Evangelization

§1. Ministry in the Parish

C: 139-141

91. It belongs to the office of the Minister Provincial, after consulting his Council, to propose a pastor to the Ordinary of the place or to remove him from office in accord with the norms of universal law. (cf cn 682)

The pastor of a parish and the parochial vicars are subject to the local Ordinary in accord with the norms of universal law. (cf Cn 678, 2-3, 681)

92. The Provincial Statutes determine the way the common life of the friars in parochial ministry can be adapted to the needs of the apostolate but in a manner that the spiritual life of the people suffers no detriment.

93. Whatever comes to the pastor from the faithful for the parish or for the works of mercy belongs to the parish. Any other funds that are given to the pastor or the other friars belong to the fraternity. The pastor must render an account of his administration in both areas in accord with the norms of universal law and the proper law of the Province.

§2. Ministry to the Sick and Abandoned

C: 142, 143

94. The friars should willingly serve as pastoral ministers to the physically and mentally ill in hospitals, prisons and homes for the aged.

The friars, in celebrating the Anointing of the Sick, should keep in mind its potential to transform suffering and infuse it with redemptive qualities.

95. The friars should be encouraged to care for the spiritual and bodily needs of the outcasts of society as a true work of mercy.

The friars who volunteer for this ministry should be prepared to show great respect for the human dignity of these persons and to unite themselves to their suffering.

§3. Ministry of Peace and Justice

C: 144-147

96. Each Province shall establish a Justice and Peace Commission which shall collaborate with the commissions of the other Provinces and with local churches for the purpose of developing general, regional and local programs.

In consultation with these commissions each Province shall develop appropriate programs to promote awareness of Justice and Peace issues with guidelines for the various levels of formation in the Order.

§4. Ministry of Renewal and Reconciliation

C: 148, 149

97. The friars should be in the forefront in promoting efforts to renew the Church through innovative programs.

They should willingly make themselves available for individual and communal celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They should also reach out to those people who are in need of reconciliation, especially those who have ceased to practice the Catholic religion.

98. The Ministers Provincial should encourage all the friars to develop those talents which are essential and vital to the ministry of renewal and reconciliation.

They should also identify those friars who have a talent for the press, the radio and television and provide for their training in the means of social communication.

§5. Ministry of Education

C: 150, 151

99. Each Province which engages in the ministry of education should develop statutes to ensure the quality of both Christian and human education.

100. The Minister Provincial should assign to the ministry of education only those friars who are adequately prepared and are exemplary Franciscans. The friars who teach should remember that their example speaks more powerfully than their words.

101. The friars in educational institutions should make a concerted effort to create a sense of community so that the students have a real feeling of belonging. In such an atmosphere of trust and confidence, the friars can more easily help the students discern their vocation in life and develop in them a responsible sense of Christian freedom.

102. The friars in education should see their apostolate as extending beyond the walls of their schools. They should offer to the people of the surrounding community programs of Christian formation for adults and innovative programs to reach the youth of today with their special needs.

Chapter 5: Missionary Evangelization

C: 153-156

103. The Minister General shall promote a missionary spirit of the Order. He shall appoint a General Secretary of the Missions to assist him in coordinating the Order's missionary efforts.

The Minister Provincial shall cultivate this missionary spirit in the Province especially in the fraternities of formation. He can be assisted by a Provincial Secretary of the Missions whose duties will be determined in the Provincial Statutes.

104. Friars who freely desire to evangelize people outside their native country should seek the permission of the Minister Provincial whose competency it is to judge the friar's fitness for the mission under consideration. If the friar does not receive the approval of the Minister Provincial he may have recourse directly to the Minister General. Friars who are approved for a specific mission shall receive special training in the language and culture of the people and especially in mission studies.

105. The Province shall determine in the Provincial Statutes the role of the Vice Provincial, his relationship to the friars in the mission and all other matters which concern the welfare of the mission and the friars.

106. At the beginning of each year, the Vice Provincial shall send to the Minister Provincial an accurate report concerning the state of the mission and any noteworthy events which have occurred during the past year. A copy shall be sent to the General Secretary of the Missions.

107. The friars in the Province should support their confreres who are laboring for the reign of God outside their native land by frequent prayer, by fraternal communication and by encouraging the people to support the friars in their needs.

108. A Province which has no mission of its own shall make a special effort to send friars to one of the missions entrusted to the Order. It may collect funds in its own territory and send them to the mission of its choice or to the General Secretary of the Missions for distribution.

Chapter 6: The Secular Franciscan Order

C: 157-160

109. The Minister General shall nominate a friar as the General Assistant to the Secular Franciscan Order to animate and coordinate the Spiritual Assistants of our Order.

110. The General Assistant is to collaborate with the General Assistants of the other Franciscan families. He is also to exercise a pastoral ministry toward the Secular Franciscan fraternities which are united to the Order.

111. The Minister Provincial shall nominate a Provincial Assistant to animate and coordinate the Spiritual Assistants of the Province.

112. The Provincial Assistant shall visit the fraternities of the Secular Franciscans periodically to encourage them in their efforts of living the Gospel values of peace, justice, fellowship and service.

He should unite the Spiritual Assistants and offer them and the other friars opportunities to prepare themselves for pastoral ministry among Secular Franciscans.

113. It is the competency of the Minister Provincial to appoint Provincial Assistants at the request of the Minister of the particular fraternity.

114. The friars shall explain to people the dignity and value of the Secular Franciscan Order and should promote groups which orient young people toward membership in the Secular Franciscan Order.

Fraternities are more complete with the presence of the Secular Franciscan Order which participates in our charism of conversion.

Part II


Chapter 1: Distinction and Conferral of Offices

C: 169-172

Chapter 2: Resignation and Removal from Offices and Positions

C: 173-175

115. §1. In addition to those provisions included in universal law, the removal from offices conferred through election, either by written ballot or by simple votation can be effected by the Minister General or Provincial with the consent of the respective Council expressed by secret ballot for the following reasons:

  • irresponsible or gravely inadequate performance of the office holder in the office entrusted to him;
  • reasonable demands of the common good to address or repair scandal to the Order or a Province of the Order;
  • abuse of ecclesiastical power or function of office;
  • an external public act against Catholic sexual morality, including sexual harassment, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other communication (oral or written, including electronic mail) or physical behavior of a sexual nature;
  • the failure to respond appropriately to complains of sexual abuse of a minor;
  • the possession of and/ or distribution of child pornography;
  • or financial mismanagement or actions undertaken with grave disregard for the provisions of universal law, proper law or the vow of poverty.

An office holder may also be removed from office for other causes, such as those identified in canon 696, provided that they are grave, external, imputable, and juridically proven.

§2. The Minister Provincial shall immediately inform the Minister General when the action, as set forth in Article 115§1, of an office holder is under consideration by the Minister Provincial and his Council and could lead to removal of the person from his office. If the action of the Minister Provincial himself could lead to his removal, the Vicar Provincial shall immediately inform the Minister General, who with the consent of his Council, may remove the Minister Provincial from office.

116. The Minister Provincial shall immediately inform the Minister General when a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, a dependent adult or child pornography has been made against a friar. The reporting of this information to the Minister General is in addition to any other reporting requirements that the Minister Provincial may have to pursuant to the laws of the universal Church and civil law of the applicable jurisdiction, which may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Each friar shall immediately report to his Minister Provincial any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, a dependent adult or child pornography that has been made against a friar.

If the action of the Minister Provincial himself is the subject of the credible allegation, the Vicar Provincial shall immediately inform the Minister General.

Chapter 3: Norms to be Observed in Votations

C: 176-179


Chapter 1: Authority and Convocation

C: 180-183

117. In the letter of convocation, the Minister General recommends among other things that the Ministers Provincial send to the General Council, in sufficient time a written report, in consultation with their Councilors, on the important questions which are considered appropriate for discussion in the General Chapter.

The Minister General, in consultation with his Council and in sufficient time, then sends a summary outline of the proposed questions to be discussed to the Ministers Provincial and through them to all the friars of the Provinces. The Minister General shall appoint a preparatory commission with the consultation of his Council. The commission should be appointed two years before the opening of the General Chapter.

118. Through their respective Ministers Provincial, all the friars may then send their responses to the Minister General and his Council, whether related to the questions already proposed or to new questions pertaining to the good of the Order. (Cn 631§3)

From the various questions submitted, the General Council selects and prepares an agenda for the Chapter. However, before any new proposals may be discussed, the consent of the General Chapter is required.

119. The Minister General with the consultation of his Council shall appoint a secretary and assistant secretaries who are not vocals.

120. Prior to the General Chapter, the Minister General should send to each of the Provinces and Vice Provinces a list of the elected and appointed offices of the Order. The Ministers Provincial may then indicate the names of those friars capable of fulfilling a particular office.

Chapter 2: Vocals at the Chapter

C: 184

121. 1.a.) The Minister Provincial from every Province or Vice Province participate in the General Chapter.

1b.) A delegation is to be represented only by their Minister of the Delegation at the General Chapter as a non-voting observer.

2a.) A Province or Vice Province that has less than or equal to thirty-nine solemnly professed friars is entitled to be represented by their Provincial and one delegate at the General Chapter.

2b.) A Province or Vice Province that has forty to one hundred solemnly professed friars is entitled to be represented by their Provincial and two delegates at the General Chapter.

2c.) Provinces with over one hundred solemnly professed friars will elect three delegates.

3.) It is the duty of each elector to give conscientious consideration to the selection of those who are most suited to represent the Province at the General Chapter.

4.) In order to achieve a more just and complete representation of all segments of the Order at the General Chapter, the Minister General, with the consent of his Council, may appoint up to five friars to attend the General Chapter without active voice.

5.) The capitulars should be elected or appointed at least one year prior to the opening of the Chapter. Their election shall be published immediately.

122. The elected delegates to the General Chapter should be elected by written ballot.

At the appointed time the ballots are to be sent to the Minister Provincial. The Minister Provincial, with the assistance of two tellers, counts the ballots.

The friars who have the most votes are considered elected. The friars who have the next greater number of votes, after the elected friars, are considered alternate delegates.

If the Ministers Provincial and the Vice Provincials are legitimately impeded from being present at the General Chapter, they are represented by their Vicars.

Chapter 3: The Sessions of the Chapter

§1. The Opening of the Chapter

C: 185

123. The Chapter begins with the call of the vocals. Each one then takes his place in the following order:

1) the Minister General with his Council;

2) the ex-Minister General;

3) the Ministers Provincial and the delegates of the Provinces, according to the date of origin of the Province;

4) the Vice Provincials;

5) the appointed delegates.

124. In the first session of the Chapter, after the address of the Minister General, the officers of the Chapter are to be elected:

1) two tellers, whose duty it is to see that the votes are cast by each voter secretly, diligently and one by one. (cn. 173§1)

2) three judges skilled in canon law who are to consider the controversial cases.

3) two examiners who are to review the financial state of the General Council.

4) in the same session the Secretary and Under-Secretaries of the Chapter previously designated by the General Council are presented.

5) The Secretary has the duty to record faithfully and diligently the acts of the Chapter. At the beginning of each session he publicly reads all that occurred in the previous session.

125. The Minister General presents two written reports to the Chapter.

The first describes the moral state of the Order and explains what was accomplished and attempted for growth during his term. This report previously examined and approved by his own Council is accompanied by appropriate comments and suggestions which he and his Council deem opportune.

The second report, prepared by the General Econome and approved by the Minister General and his Council, presents the financial state of the General Council with an account of the income and expenses for the six year period of the administration together with any liabilities or debts still outstanding.

All the other offices of the Order present a report of their activities.

126. The Ministers Provincial present to the Chapter an accurate written report on the moral and economic state of their respective Provinces previously read and approved by their respective Councils.

The report includes the number of friars as well as the friars received, deceased or separated from the Order since the last General Chapter. It should also contain other important matters and propose recommendations that promote the growth of the Province or the Order.

Likewise Vice Provincials of Vice Provinces will give their reports.

127. Copies of the reports of the Minister General, the offices of the Order, the Ministers Provincial and Vice Provincials are to be distributed ahead of time to all the capitular members so that they can be informed of their contents and properly discuss them.

The secretaries are responsible for providing the proper translations.

§2. Election of the President and Work of the Chapter

C: 186

128. At the conclusion of the reports, the president of the Chapter is elected in one votation by a written ballot. The Minister General declares as elected the one who has carried a relative majority. In the event of a tie, the elder in solemn profession or age is elected (cf. can. 119).

129. With the election of a president, whose task it is to immediately take up the work of the Chapter, all authority passes automatically to the Chapter.

130. During the following session of the Chapter, the reports submitted by the Minister General, the Ministers Provincial and the Vice Provincials, and the other officials are to be carefully considered. Questions concerned with the ordinary government of the Order are also considered.

§3. The Election of the Minister General and His Council

131. Before the election of a new Minister General and his Council, a day is set aside for reflection and prayerful recollection. The Mass of the Holy Spirit is celebrated.

132. According to our tradition, the election of the Minister General takes place in the presence of a delegate from the Apostolic See if it chooses to send one.

133. For the election of the Minister General and his Council, the Inter-Provincial Conferences or other similar groups with representatives from various Provinces may present to the president and through him to the Chapter a number of names for each office.

Before the election of the Minister General, the president may propose a consultation regarding possible candidates for each office.

134. If a friar not present at the Chapter should be elected Minister General, he is to be summoned immediately and no business is to be transacted until his arrival.

If a friar not present at the Chapter is elected as Vicar or as Councilor, he is quickly summoned but the Chapter is not suspended.

135. Announcement of the election of a new Minister General is to be sent as soon as possible to the Apostolic See and to each Province of the Order.

The prescriptions found in the ceremonial of our Order concerning the installation of the new Minister General, the transfer of the seal of the Order and the act of obedience made by all the friars are to be faithfully fulfilled.

136. At the first session the following day, under the presidency of the newly-elected Minister General, the election of the other members of the Council shall take place beginning with the Vicar Minister General and then the four General Councilors.

In the election of the Vicar and the Councilors, particular consideration is to be given to their skills. Also consideration shall be given to the presence on the General Council of the various geographic-linguistic areas as well as the proper representation of the diverse Provinces.

The Vicar Minister General and each of the General Councilors is elected in a separate ballot. An absolute majority is needed for election. In the third votation a relative majority is sufficient.

Finally, after the proposal of the Minister General, the election of the Secretary General takes place.

§4. The Remaining Chapter Sessions and Its Conclusion

C: 190

137. In these final sessions, presided over by the newly-elected Minister General and his Council, the greatest possible attention is to be given to the continual growth of the religious and the apostolic life of the Order.

138. The Secretary of the Chapter is to record faithfully and accurately the capitular acts in the book of the General Chapter.

In the last session of the Chapter, the acts are to be signed by the Secretary, the Minister General and the tellers and placed with great care in the archives of the Order.

A summary accompanied by a message from the Minister General is to be sent as soon as possible to each of the Ministers Provincial who in turn quickly share it with all the friars of their respective Provinces.


Chapter 1: The Minister General

C: 191, 192

139. The Minister General may entrust a responsibility to a friar of his choice anywhere in the Order.

He first consults with the respective Minister Provincial as well as with the friar concerned.

He shall observe the same procedure in all other matters which affect individual friars or Provinces.

140. For actions that require consent or counsel at least two-thirds of the Council should be present in order for the action to be valid. (cf cn. 119 )

Chapter 2: The General Council or Definitory

C: 193-196

Chapter 3: The Vicar General

141. If the Minister General ceases from office for any reason before the end of his term, he is to be succeeded by the Vicar, with all rights and duties, until the end of his six year term.

142. When the Vicar General is absent or temporarily impeded, his office is to be filled by the first Councilor.

Chapter 4: The General Councilors

C: 198, 199

143. 1) The Councilors are not to assume other offices which prevent them from fulfilling their regular duties in the Order.

2) When a friar who holds an office in his province or vice province is elected to the General Council, he immediately cedes his prior office.   However, the General Council will provide for an appropriate transition period for new councilors, normally not to exceed six months.

144. 1) When it is prescribed that something is to be done with the consent of the Council it is intended that it is to be accomplished with the Councilors assembled together in Council. However, in appropriate cases consent may be given without the Council being assembled. This should be done in accord with special Statutes prepared by the General Council and approved by the General Chapter.

2) If there is a question of entrusting a position or an office to a Councilor, after the proposal is made by the Minister General, the candidate is to leave the room and then the election is decided by secret vote.

145. At the first meeting of the General Council, the Vicar General and all the Councilors together with the Secretary General, take an oath before the Minister General to faithfully fulfill their office and to observe secrecy in all matters discussed at their meetings or confided to them by reason of their office.

146. §1. During the six year mandate, the members of the General Council cannot be elected or nominated for another position in the Province or Vice Province. If by some reason a General Councilor is unable to continue, the Minister General with the consent of his Council, elects by secret vote and relative majority, a new General Councilor.

§2. Should the office of Vicar Minister General become vacant, after the election of another General Councilor who takes the last place on the General Council, a Vicar Minister General is to elected by the Minister General and his General Council by secret ballot from among the General Councilors.

147. 1) The seat of the General Council is in Rome in the fraternity of Saints Cosmas and Damian.

2) The Minister General, the Vicar, and the Secretary General shall permanently reside there. The other members of the General Curia, at the discretion of the Minister General and his Council, may also reside there.

3) The fraternity of Saints Cosmas and Damian and the friars and the fraternities directly subject to the General Council are governed by their proper statutes provided by the General Council.

Chapter 5: The Secretary General

C: 200

148. 1) It is the duty of the Secretary General to record the acts of the Council and of the Minister General, to diligently collect all the documents and acts of the Order and to conserve them for the archives.

2) He shall send correspondence and documents to the Order the Provinces, and individual friars at the direction and in the name of the Minister General.

3) By power of his office, the Secretary General is the notary of the ecclesiastical affairs of the Order.

4) For better communication and coordination, the Secretary General maintains close contact and collaboration with the Provincial Secretaries.

5) The Secretary General may express his opinion in the Council, but he does not vote.

Chapter 6: The Offices of the Order

§1. The Procurator General

149. 1) The office of Procurator General is to be entrusted to a qualified friar.

2) It is the duty of the Procurator General to take care of all the affairs of the Order with the Holy See except those that pertain specifically to another office.

3) Therefore, no friar, whether the matter concerns himself or another, is permitted to conduct affairs directly with the Apostolic See without first informing and working through the Procurator General.

150. 1) In matters pertaining to the whole Order or a certain Province, the Procurator General must first consult the Minister General and follow his wishes.

2) In matters concerning individual friars the Procurator General does not deal with them without having first consulted the respective Minister Provincial.

3) The Procurator is to keep a register of all his business with the Apostolic See, recording clearly and exactly each petition and reply.

§2. The Finance Council

151. 1) For the accountability and administration of the goods of the General Council and of the friars and fraternities directly dependent on it, the General Council has its proper Finance Council, under the presidency of the General Econome. (cn 1280)

2) The General Council approves statutes for the work of the Finance Council which should determine the number of its members, including experts.

3) The Ministers Provincial are kept up to date on the economic situation of the General Council with an annual financial report prepared by the General Econome and signed by the Minister General.

152. To support the General Council and its activities every Province and Vice Province is to pay an equitable assessment. The actual sum is to be determined beforehand by the General Council after consultation with the respective Council of each Province or Vice Province.

§3. The General Archivist

153. It is the duty of the General Archivist to order, take care of and catalogue the original or at least a copy of all the documents of the Order. These may be found either in various fraternities of the Order, in the archives of the Apostolic See, in civil or private archives and in various libraries.

154. Particular attention should be given to the collection of historical documents, titles, deeds, documents of purchase, contracts and the rare works of value compiled by the earlier writers of the Order.

§4. The Postulator General

155. The Postulator General has the duty to promote the cause of canonization of the servants of God of our Order in collaboration with the local Ordinaries and the Congregation for the Cause of Saints. All information concerning friars, sisters and Secular Franciscans who have passed from this life and are greatly noted for their holiness is to be sent to him.

156. The Postulator is not to be removed from his office without first advising the Congregation for the Cause of Saints.

157. 1) The Postulator is to administer the donations of the faithful offered for the causes, in accord with the instructions of the Congregation and to which he is to give an account each year in a formal report. The report together with the progress report of the causes, is to be presented first to the General Council.

2) The Province that is promoting a cause of canonization appoints a local postulator who is to collaborate with the Postulator General.

§5. The Director of Formation

158. The Director of Formation is the coordinator of the spiritual and intellectual development for the Order. In collaboration with the Province Directors of Formation he shall promote courses of study for on-going formation which are proper to our charism.

The General Director of Formation shall convoke an assembly for all of the formators of the Order during his term of office. The method and place to hold this assembly will be decided by the General Director of Formation after consultation with the Province Directors of Formation of the Order.

§6. The Secretary of the Missions

159. The Secretary General of the Missions has the duty to promote the work of evangelization in the Order.

He is the spokesman on the General Council for the needs of our missions and provides for their material needs and personnel.

He is the animator of the missionary spirit in the Provinces of our Order.

§7. Other Offices

160. The duties and structure of all other offices are defined by the statutes of the General Council.

Chapter 7: The Plenary Council of the Order

C: 202

Chapter 8: The Inter Provincial Conference

C: 203

Title VI: The Government of the Provinces (C: 204)

Chapter 1: The Provincial Chapter

C: 205, 206

161. The Visitation, Chapter and election shall begin on the dates announced by the Minister General with the consultation of the Minister Provincial and his Council. The date of the Visitation shall be announced at least two months beforehand by the Minister General.

The Minister General having consulted with his Council can, for serious reasons, anticipate or delay the Chapter for three months.

The Minister General or his delegate shall conduct the Visitation.

162. The Chapter members are divided into two classes: elected and ex-officio. The elected members shall be elected by all the eligible voters and shall be a majority of the total membership of the Chapter. The ex-officio members shall include but not be limited to the present Minister Provincial and Council and the newly elected Minister Provincial and Council.

§1. The timing of the Chapter and Elections

C: 207, 208

163. If the election is held according to Method 1 (Direct Election), the Chapter is held immediately after the election under the presidency of the Visitator General.

164. If the election is held in accord with Method 2 (in Chapter), the time of the election will be determined by the Chapter. The election will be preceded at least by the reports of the Visitator General and a period of recollection. Also, the Province may determine the time of election within the Chapter through its Provincial Statutes.

165. If the election is held in accord with Method 3 (determined by the Province), the time of the election will be determined by the Provincial Statutes.

§2. Chapter Procedures

166. The Visitator presents to the capitulars his report on the religious observance noted during his canonical Visitation of the fraternities and friars.

The report of the outgoing Minister Provincial drawn up by him and his Council is examined. This report is to include the moral and economic state of the entire Province and the important events which occurred during his four year term.

Two examiners are to be nominated to review the economic administration of the Provincial Council during the past quadrennium.

167. After the report of the outgoing Minister Provincial has been examined and discussed, the Chapter is to make whatever decisions are necessary and useful to eliminate abuses that may have arisen and to promote the progress of the Province, principally in the spiritual life, the works of the apostolate and life in fraternity.

168. A copy of the Acts of the Chapter, officially signed by the President and Secretary of the Chapter and stamped with the seal of the Province, is to be kept in the Provincial Archives.

A summary, signed by the Provincial and his Secretary, is to be sent as soon as possible to the Minister General and to each religious fraternity in the Province.

169. It is the competence of the Provincial Chapter to establish or transfer the official residence of the Minister Provincial.

This decision must be promptly communicated to the Minister General.

Chapter 2: The Election of a Minister Provincial and Council

C: 209-211

170. The Provinces may use one of the following systems of election:

§1. Direct Election

The friars who have the right to vote shall receive ballots approved by the Visitator General and shall send them to the address (or person) decided by him. The counting of the ballots shall be done in the Province in the presence of the Visitator General.

The election of the Minister Provincial takes place first. If anyone in the first votation obtains an absolute majority, he is to be declared elected.

If a friar refuses election or if no one obtains an absolute majority, another votation is held between the two friars obtaining a relative majority and accepting nomination. The friar obtaining a relative majority in this votation is elected as Minister Provincial.

Finally, another votation takes place to elect a Vicar and Provincial Councilors. A relative majority is sufficient for election. In this case the votes received for superior office are to be counted for the assignment of lower offices.

§2. Election in Chapter

The election of the Minister Provincial and a Provincial Council may be done by the Provincial Chapter.

Other matters may be specified in the proper law of the Province.

§3. Election by a System determined by the Province

The Province may adopt a system of election and submit it to the General Council for approval. The system must conform to the norms of canon law, the Constitutions and the General Statutes.

171. For the transfer of authority from the outgoing to the incoming Minister Provincial and for the installation of the newly-elected officers, the Ceremonial of the Order is to be followed.

Chapter 3: The Provincial Congregation

C: 212

172. §1. At the beginning of the first meeting the Provincial Minister proposes a candidate for the position of secretary provincial, who is to be approved by the Provincial Council.

§2. Immediately later the Minister Provincial, the Provincial Vicar, the Provincial Councilors and the Provincial Secretary will take an oath of maintaining in secret everything that will be discussed in the meetings or will be entrusted to them by reason of their position.

§3. The Provincial Secretary in the meetings of the Council does not have active voice.

173. 1) In the Provincial Congregation, the elections and appointments to the various offices and positions are to be made at the proposal of the President, according to article 212 of the Constitutions.

2) When the President proposes someone present, let the nominee leave the room to allow greater freedom for discussion.

3) The Director of Professed, Director of Novices, Econome, Local Ministers and others are selected in accord with the qualifications for each office.

4) Councilors for each local fraternity shall be chosen and the number of Councilors is to be determined by the number of friars in the fraternity.

5) In appropriate cases the Local Minister, Councilors and Econome may be chosen in some other way.

Chapter 4: The Minister Provincial and His Collaborators in Government

§1. The Minister Provincial

174. The Minister Provincial considers the Councilors as his closest collaborators maintaining a close fraternal union with them and sharing with them the government of the Province. However, the Minister Provincial has a necessary and proper autonomy in those matters that pertain to his authority especially those which demand an effective and rapid response.

175. In his annual report to the Minister General, the Minister Provincial shall give an account of matters of importance which have occurred in the Province during .the course of the year, and in addition shall send the following information:

1) a record of those who enter the novitiate, with the name, status, and the day of entrance of each.

2) a record of those admitted to temporary and solemn profession, with the name, status and day of profession of each.

3) a record of those who received Sacred Orders, with the name, and the date of ordination of each.

4) a record of academic degrees received by the friars or anything else of note.

§2. The Vicar Minister Provincial

C: 216

§3. The Provincial Council

C: 217-219

176. The Provincial Council is to meet at least every four months or as often as the Minister Provincial considers it necessary for the importance of current business demands. At these meetings, only the Minister Provincial, the Vicar and the Councilors have the right to vote.

The friars are to be prudently notified of important matters which have been decided at the meeting of the Council.

177. At these meetings of the Council, the members are to especially discuss whatever concerns the spiritual and temporal good of the Province.

Moreover, the Councilors, at these meetings, can propose whatever they believe is for the welfare of the Province as long as they have previously advised the Minister Provincial.

178. The Provincial Council is to determine a suitable assessment to be paid by each fraternity.

179. At the beginning of each year, the Minister Provincial gives a report to his Council on the spiritual, fraternal, apostolic, and financial state of the Province. This meeting also considers the annual reports sent by the Local Minister.

§4. The Provincial Secretary

C: 220

180. The Provincial Secretary is to be present at all meetings of the Council and the Plenary Council of the Province. It is the duty of the Provincial Secretary to record the acts of these meetings and to send them, according to the nature of the matter, to the General Council and to the friars of the Province.

He is to gather all information and documents which pertain to the life in the Order and to convey that information to the friars of the Province in a suitable way. Moreover he shall establish regular contact with the Secretary General and the fraternities of the Province.

§5. The Plenary Council

C: 221

181. The Plenary Council of the Province, which is to have a large representation of friars may be called by the Minister Provincial to discuss, together with the Council the problems that are of importance to the life of the Province at least once every four years.

182. The proper law of the Province shall determine the number of friars to be elected, the method of their election and the procedures of the Council.

183. The members of the Plenary Council itself have only consultative voice, but the deliberations of the Council must be communicated to the Province.


Chapter 1: Establishment and Suppression of Provinces

C: 222

§1. Provinces

184. 1) A new Province may be formed by dividing a Province or uniting parts of various Provinces. In such cases the interested Provinces must be consulted.

2) To establish a Vice Province as a Province it must have at least forty solemnly professed friars.

3) A merge, union or reorganization of Provinces or Vice Provinces is governed by the following:

  1. The Councils of the Provinces or Vice Provinces approve the proposed merger, union or reorganization.
  2. Preparation including consultation in ministry, fraternal life, finances and other important areas of life precede the merger, union or reorganization.
  3. The friars of each Province or Vice Province approve the merger, union or reorganization by a vote of no less than 80%.
  4. The General Council approve the petitions of the Provinces or Vice-Provinces.

185. When a Province continues to have less than forty solemn professed friars, it must consult the General Curia concerning the more opportune decisions to be made. In particular, let the following be studied:

1) the conditions enumerated above on the spiritual, fraternal, and apostolic vitality of the Province. (cf art 222 Constitutions)

2) a plan of development for the Province with the help of the Order.

3) the financial situation of the Province for the care and the life of the friars.

4) the eventual reduction of the numbers of the Provincial Councilors.

5) the representation at the General Chapter.

6) the will expressed by the two-thirds majority of the Province with regard to its juridical title.

§2. Vice Provinces

186. If a Vice Province is to be established with friars and fraternities belonging to more than one Province, each Province shares in a fair way in the establishment of the new Vice Province working with each other in regard to the friars, fraternities, temporal goods and future planning.

187. To establish a Vice Province, there must be at least twenty solemnly professed friars, unless the General Council determines otherwise in a particular case.

§3. Commissariates

188. The Provincial Chapter can establish a Commissariate with the approval of the Minister General and the consent of his Council. A Commissariate can be suppressed in the same way.

189. A Commissariate may be established for local fraternities which have a certain affinity among themselves but because of distance, language, or other valid reasons, cannot be taken care of by the Minister Provincial and Council. The number of friars who are to constitute a Commissariate shall be determined by the Provincial Statutes.

Chapter 2: Government of Vice Provinces and Commissariates

§1. Vice Provinces

190. The Council of a Vice Province is composed of a Minister Provincial, Vicar and three Councilors. The members are elected in the same way as the Provincial Council. The Vicar takes the place of the Provincial when he is absent or impeded.

191. The Vice Provincial and his Councilors are equivalent to a Minister Provincial and his Council. The Vice Province is governed by the same norms as those which apply to a Province.

§2. Commissariates

192. The Commissariat Minister and his Council, which must be at least two in number, shall be elected according to the Provincial Statutes.

193. The Commissary is delegated by the Minister Provincial of the Commissariate with specific faculties detailed in the Provincial Statutes. He has the right to participate in the Provincial Chapter. The Provincial Council can invite him to participate in the meetings which treat important problems that refer to the Commissariate.

194. The Commissary should not initiate affairs of major importance without approbation of the Minister Provincial, as determined by the Provincial Statutes.

195. All other matters shall be determined by the Provincial Statutes.


196. Canonical Visitations shall be announced at least two months beforehand by letters to each fraternity of the Province. In this letter the Minister General or the Provincial shall ask the friars to recite the prescribed prayers, to have in readiness the books to be examined by the Visitator and that all members be present in their respective fraternities at the time of Visitation.

197. The particular books presented to the Visitator are: the books of visitations, reception and celebration of Masses, suffrages for the deceased, administration and acts of the fraternity.

198. The Visitation of persons, places and things is conducted in accord with the Ceremonial of the Order.

199. The Visitator shall speak personally with the friars and endeavor to understand the living conditions and the apostolates of the friars and the fraternities. He is to keep a record of replies and observations that pertain to the purpose of the Visitation.

200. When possible the Minister General and the Minister Provincial shall visit the friars informally for the purpose of promoting greater spiritual unity.


Chapter 1: Local Ministers

C: 229, 230

201. The term of office for a Local Minister is four years. A Local Minister may have a second consecutive term in the same fraternity but not a third unless there is a grave reason. After the third term he cannot be elected to the same office either in this fraternity or another unless there has been a suitable interval.

202. Local Ministers are to watch over the administration of the goods of the fraternity without assuming the role of econome or interfering with his duties.

203. Without permission from the Minister Provincial, the Local Minister is not to undertake anything new that is of great importance.

204. The Local Minister must inform the Minister Provincial when he is to be away from his fraternity for more than ten days. (Latin text omits "ten")

205. Each year, during the month of January, the Local Minister must send the Minister Provincial a report on the moral and economic condition of the fraternity, including any noteworthy happening during the past year. Before the report is sent to the Minister Provincial, it is to be reviewed by the Fraternity Council.

Chapter 2: Local Fraternity Council and Chapter

C: 231, 232

Chapter 3: Libraries and Archives

C: 233

206. In each fraternity a convenient place is to be set aside for a library where the books of the fraternity are to be kept.

207. The Local Minister together with his Council is to determine the annual allotment to be set aside for the purchase of books.

208. A capable friar is to be placed in charge of the library. He is to keep an inventory of all books and to catalogue them so that they can easily be found. He takes care that the books removed for private use are returned and that the library is always in good order. With the consent of the Local Minister he purchases those books which can aid the cultural, spiritual, theological and scientific development of the friars.

209. In fraternities of formation there is to be a separate library for the use of the friars. It is to contain those books which are useful for the studies and cultural development of the friars in formation.

Books of this nature are to be bought at the expense of the Provincial fund. Therefore, in accord with the mind of the Minister Provincial, these books can be transferred from one fraternity to another.

210. In the offices of the Provincial Council and in each fraternity, a place is to be set aside for the archives, where the archivist can carefully keep the documents and writings in good order.

Title X: Administration of Goods (C 234-238)

211. 1) Each year the Minister General, the General Council and the offices of the General Council shall submit a budget to be approved by the Minister General with his Council.

2) The Minister General may authorize expenditures up to $25,000 and needs the consent of the Council for amounts in excess of $25,000.

3) The Minister General and Council by a collegial vote shall establish other regulations for the administration of goods for its own use.

212. Each juridical person of the Order shall establish a Finance Council in accord with the universal law. ( 1280)

213. At the end of his term in office, the Local Minister must provide the new Minister with an inventory of the more valuable and venerable goods of the fraternity and Church and also the books of administration signed by the Fraternity Council (cf. GS 197)


If anyone gravely neglects the form of life he has professed, he shall be admonished by the minister or by others who know his fault. (TOR Rule, 24)

214. The following offenses are set forth as requiring punishment as a means of correction:

1) grave injury to the reputation of another friar by spoken or written word.

2) stubborn disobedience and public contempt for or serious conspiracy against legitimate authority.

3) serious misuse of funds or other resources which belong to the fraternity.

215. Punishments for external violations of the law of the fraternity are ferendae sententiae and can be imposed by the major superiors with the consent of their Councils. In the latter case, observing the private and universal norms of right, the following process should be followed:

1) The friar shall be given written notice of the offense by the Minister Provincial and called to appear before a meeting of the Minister Provincial and his Council and be given a hearing

2) The Minister Provincial and his Council shall give their judgment by secret vote. If the friar is found guilty, he shall be punished with a penalty, not excluding deprivation of any office or position he may hold and of active and passive voice from one to three years according to the gravity of the offense.

216. In imposing any penalty, the norms of canon law and the particular law are to be observed.


Chapter 1: Leaving the Fraternity

C: 246, 247

217. 1) A novice or friar who has completed his time of temporary profession can freely leave the fraternity. (cf cn 688,1)

2) A friar in temporary profession who has serious reason to leave the fraternity may obtain a dispensation from the Minister General with the consent of his Council. (cf cn 688,2)

218. If, after the novitiate or profession, a friar has legitimately left the fraternity, he can be readmitted by the Minister General with the consent of his Council, without need of repeating the novitiate. However, it is up to the Minister General to determine a suitable probationary period before the profession of temporary vows or solemn vows in accord with article 53 of the Constitutions. (cf cn 690,1)

219. With the consent of his Council, the Minister General can give a solemnly professed friar an indult of exclaustration for a serious reason but not beyond three years. If he is a cleric he must have obtained the prior consent of the Ordinary of the place in which he is to live. It is his duty to obtain this permission from the Bishop. The extension of this indult beyond three years is reserved to the Holy See. (cf cn 686,1)

220. A solemnly professed friar should not ask for a dispensation to leave the fraternity, except for the most serious reasons which he has weighed before God. The friar shall take his request to the Minister Provincial who will forward it to the Minister General. The Minister General with his recommendation and that of his Council will sent it to the Apostolic See to whom the indult is reserved. (cf cn 691,1,2)

221. A solemnly professed friar may leave our fraternity to affiliate himself with another religious institute or diocese only with the permission of the Ministers General of both institutes and the consent of their respective Councils. (cf cn 684,1-2; 685; 693).

222. 1) A friar who has completed the time of temporary profession can, if there are just reasons, be excluded from a subsequent profession by the Minister Provincial, after hearing his Council. (cf cn 689 § 1)

2) If physical or psychological illness is contracted, even after profession, and in the judgment of experts it renders the friar unsuitable to lead the life of the Order, this constitutes a reason for not admitting him to the renewal of vows or the profession of solemn vows, unless the illness was caused by the negligence of the Order or by work performed in the fraternity. (cf cn 689,2)

3) If a friar in temporary vows becomes insane, he cannot be dismissed from the fraternity even though he cannot make a new profession. (cf cn 689,3)

223. For serious reasons the Minister General with the consent of his Council can ask the Apostolic See to impose exclaustration on a friar. The Minister Provincial concerned should provide for the friar in an equitable and charitable manner.

Chapter 2: Dismissal from the Fraternity

224. §1. A friar is automatically dismissed from the fraternity:

1) if he abandons the Catholic faith in a notorious manner.

2) if he contracts marriage, or attempts to marry even civilly. (cf cn 694,1)

§2. In these cases the Minister Provincial with his Council, once the proofs have been collected, makes official declaration of the fact so that the dismissal is juridically established. (cf cn 694,2)

§3. In case of grave external scandal or threat of serious injury to the Order, a friar may be dismissed immediately from a local fraternity, observing the requirements of Law.(cf cn 703)

225. A friar must be dismissed from the fraternity if he has violated canons 1395, 1397 or 1398, except for crimes listed in canon 1392, §2 where different provisions may apply. (cf cn 695,1). The provisions of Canon 695 are to be observed in the process of dismissal.

226. §1. If the dismissal from the fraternity is not imposed by law, the Minister Provincial should first of all seek out the friar and warn him in a kindly manner and try to help him so that he may be brought to change his ways and persevere in his vocation.

§2. Before dismissing the friar from the fraternity, the Minister Provincial should fraternally encourage him to leave. In all this, he should help him as much as possible.

§3. If the fraternal warnings which he has given repeatedly and in writing as specified by law have been in vain, the Minister Provincial can proceed in accord with universal law. (cf cn 697, 698, 699, 700).

Chapter 3: Effects of Departure

C: 249

227. An exclaustrated friar is excused from those obligations which cannot be reconciled with the new condition of his life. He remains under the jurisdiction and care of his Minister Provincial and also under the jurisdiction of the Ordinary, if he is an ordained friar. He may use the habit of the fraternity unless otherwise stated in the indult. He does not enjoy active or passive voice.(cf cn 687)

228. By lawful dismissal the vows cease automatically as well as the rights and obligations ensuing from profession. If the dismissed friar is a cleric, he may not exercise Sacred Orders unless he finds a Bishop who will receive him after a suitable period of probation in the diocese, according to the norm of cn 693, or at least will permit him to exercise Sacred Orders. (cf cn 701).


229. A copy of the Rule, the Constitutions and the General Statutes is to be given to each friar in his own language so that he can better conform his life and behavior to the poor and humble man of Nazareth.

230. Recognizing that it requires a life-long process of conversion to achieve the purpose of the vows, a chapter of the Rule or the Constitutions is to be read publicly each Friday, except on the solemnities, to encourage the friars to achieve that goal through the duties of life in fraternity.

231. For a just cause the following are able to dispense from the laws and disciplinary precepts of the fraternity, unless expressly stated otherwise:

1) The Minister General can dispense each and every friar in the entire Order.

2) The Minister Provincial can dispense the friars of his own Province, unless the dispensation is reserved to the Minister General.

3) The Local Minister can dispense the friars of his fraternity and any guests, unless the dispensation is reserved to the major superiors.

232. A habitual dispensation for the benefit of the entire Province belongs to the authority of the Minister General. A habitual dispensation for the benefit an entire fraternity belongs to the authority of the Minister Provincial.

I, Brother Francis,
your little servant,
ask and implore you in the love which is God (cf Jn 4:16)
and with the desire to kiss your feet,
to receive these words and others
of our Lord Jesus Christ
with humility and love,
and observe [them] and put [them] into practice.
And to all men and women
who will receive them kindly
[and] understand their meaning and pass them
on to others by their example:
If they have persevered in them to the end (Mt 24:13),
may the Father and the Son
and the Holy Spirit bless them. Amen.

(Ep Fid II, 87,88)