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Bonaventure as Minister General

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Chapter Summary

When Francis of Assisi and his first companions approached Pope Innocent III for approval of their way of life in 1209, they were a band of laymen from various social strata, who had been motivated to "do penance" by rejecting the quest for status, wealth, and power that increasingly dominated the life of the rising communes of central Italy. It is evident that Bonaventure considered the striking transformation the order had undergone since the death of St.Francis, not as a betrayal of its roots, but as a providential flowering. Armed with papally-granted exemptions, the Dominicans and Franciscans were competing with the canonically established structures of pastoral care and so undermining the authority, and incomes, of the legitimate pastors. A good deal of Bonaventure's efforts as minister general was external, representing his brotherhood to the wider church.

Keywords: Bonaventure; Dominicans; Franciscans; St.Francis



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