Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

FRANCISCANS

The numerous family of men and women religious who trace their spiritual ancestry to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). The Original Rule written by St. Francis in 1209 is now lost. It was recast in 1221 and brought into final form two years later, when it was approved by Pope Honorius III. Its distinctive feature is the obligation of poverty of disposition, not only for individual members but for each community. The friars (from frères, brothers) were to own no property and were to earn their livelihood by manual labor or begging.

This ideal became the focus of two divergent opinions of poverty in the order. Successive popes gave approval to the more moderate view and, when laxity crept in, favored reform along stricter lines. Eventually three major groups of Franciscans came into being: the Friars Minor, who developed from the Observants allowing no corporate property; the Conventuals, who allowed corporate ownership; and the Capuchins, who strongly emphasized poverty and austerity.

Franciscans have emphasized popular preaching and missionary activity. They have also promoted such popular devotions as the Angelus, the Way of the Cross, and the Crib. They were always strong defenders of the Immaculate Conception, long before the dogma was formally defined by the Church.

The Second Order of Franciscans is contemplative, known as the Poor Clares. There are Third Order Franciscans among men and women engaged in apostolic work and under simple vows. Third Order Secular, popularly called Tertiaries, are lay men and women in the world who follow the Rule of St. Francis according to their states of life. In 1978 Pope Paul VI approved a new Rule for the Franciscan Third Order, and changed the name to Franciscan Secular Order.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

May God Bless our Readers! July 18
What's Wrong with the Pope's latest interview? July 15
What was wrong with the Pope's latest interview? A lot. July 15
Fool me once... July 14
Crowdfunding can change lives July 11

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Vatican issues working document for Synod of Bishops on the family CWN - June 26
New management, new changes coming for reformed Vatican bank CWN - July 8
Sweeping reforms to Vatican's media, financial operations CWN - July 9
‘Even Genghis Khan didn’t do this’: Mosul emptied of Christians CWN - July 21