Church that when, in 1219, St. Francis made the first dispersion and sent his disciples to evangelize Europe, those who went to Germany and Hungary were regarded as heretics, and were roughly handled and expelled. In France they were taken for Cathari, to whose wandering perfected missionaries their austerity doubtless gave them close resemblance. They were asked if they were Albigenses, and, not knowing the meaning of the term, knew not what to say, and it was only after the authorities had consulted Honorius III. that they were relieved from suspicion. In Spain five of them endured martyrdom. Innocent had only given a verbal approbation of the Rule; he was dead, and something more formal was requisite to protect the brethren from persecution. Francis accordingly drew up a second Rule, more concise and less rigid than the first, which he submitted to Honorius. The pope approved it, though not without objecting to some of the clauses ; but Francis refused to modify them, saying that it was not his but Christ's, and that he could not change the words of Christ. From this his followers assumed that the Rule had been divinely revealed to him. This belief passed into the traditions of the Order, and the Rule has been maintained unaltered in letter, though, as we shall see, its spirit has been more than once explained away by ingenious papal casuists.
It is simple enough, amounting hardly to more than a gloss on the entrance-oath required of each friar, to live according to the gospel, in obedience, chastity, and without possessing property. The applicant for admission was required to sell all he had and give it to the poor, and if this were impossible the will so to do sufficed. Each one was permitted to have two gowns, but they must be vile in texture, and were to be patched and repaired as long as they could be made to hang together. Shoes were allowed to those who found it impossible to forego them. All were to go on foot, except in case of sickness or necessity. No one was to receive money, either directly or through a third party, except
- Frat. Jordani Chron. (Analccta Franciscana I. 3). — S. Francisci CoUoq. ix. — Liber Conformitatum, Lib. i. Fruct. 9 (Ed. 1513, fol. 77a). — Potthast Regesta No. 7108.
The dates and details of the successive Rules drawn up by Francis are involved in considerable obscurity. The subject has been discussed with much acuteness by Karl Miiller, op. cit.