Quae Honorem Conditoris Omnium
Whatever Is For The Honor Of The Creator Of All
Pope Innocent IV
October 1, 1247
the prior and brother hermits of Mount Carmel.
for the glory of the Creator and the benefit of souls merits
support in every way; especially those things in which it is known
that the apostolic see has shown particular interest.
our beloved son Hugh, cardinal priest of St. Sabina, and our
venerable brother William, bishop of Antarados, we have your
request that certain dubious points of your rule be clarified and
corrected and that certain onerous obligations be compassionately
changed. All this is revealed in the letter which they (the
apostolic authority we comply with Carmel's pious desires,
confirming the said clarifications, corrections and mitigations.
These we support by this present letter.
we include in verbatim form the revisers' answer to you
Carmelites, to wit:
by mercy of God cardinal priest of St. Sabina, and William, by the
same mercy bishop of Antarados offer salutation in him who is the
welfare of all his beloved sons in Christ - the religious prior
general and definitions of the general chapter of the Order of
Brothers of Carmel.
of your Order, Reginald and Peter, approached the apostolic see
and humbly requested the pope to clarify and correct certain
points of doubt contained in your privilege and change certain
onerous elements contained in the rule bestowed upon you by the
late Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem.
response to your devout requests the pope entrusted to us the work
of making clarification, correction and mitigation in his name -
keeping in mind the best interests of your Order and the welfare
of your brothers. By the authority communicated to us we therefore
command your Order to receive devoutly and to observe dutifully
the rule as corrected, clarified and mitigated as it appeared to
us appropriate. Also (we command you) to correct other copies of
your rule in accord with this final draft which we forward to you
under our seals through your brothers.
Text of Carmel's Mitigated Rule
called by God's favor to be patriarch of the church of Jerusalem,
bids health in the Lord and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to his
beloved sons in Christ, and the other hermits under obedience to
him, who live near the spring on Mount Carmel.
and varied are the ways in which our saintly forefathers laid down
how everyone, whatever his station or the kind of religious
observance he has chosen, should live a life of allegiance to
Jesus Christ - how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must
be unswerving in the service of his Master.
is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in
keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast to
henceforward; and therefore:
first thing I require is for you to have a prior, one of
yourselves, who is to be chosen for the office by common consent,
or that of the greater and maturer part of you.
of the others must promise him obedience - of which, once
promised, he must try to make his deeds the true reflection - and
also chastity and the renunciation of ownership.
the prior and brothers see fit, you may have foundations in
solitary places, or where you are given a site that is suitable
and convenient for the observance proper to your Order.
each one of you is to have a separate cell, situated as the lay of
the land you propose to occupy may dictate, and allotted by
disposition of the prior with the agreement of the other brothers,
or the more mature among them.
you are to eat whatever may have been given you in a common
refectory, listening together meanwhile to a reading from Holy
Scripture where that can be done without difficulty.
of the brothers is to occupy a cell other than that allotted to
him or to exchange cells with another, without leave or whoever is
prior at the time.
prior's cell should stand near the entrance to your property, so
that he may be the first to meet those who approach, and whatever
has to be done in consequence may all be carried out as he may
decide and order.
one of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the
Lord's law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers unless
attending to some other duty.
who know how to say the canonical hours with those in orders
should do so, in the way those holy forefathers of ours laid down,
and according to the Church's approved custom. Those who do not
know the hours must say twenty-five Our Fathers for the night
office, except on Sundays and solemnities when that number is to
be doubled so that the Our Father is said fifty times; the same
prayer must be said seven times in the morning in place of Lauds,
and seven times too for each of the other hours, except for
Vespers when it must be said fifteen times.
of the brothers must lay claim to anything as his own, but you are
to possess everything in common; and each is to receive from the
prior - that is from the brother he appoints for the purpose -
whatever benefits his age and needs...
oratory should be built as conveniently as possible among the
cells, where, if it can be done without difficulty, you are to
gather each morning to hear Mass.
Sundays too, or other days if necessary, you should discuss
matters of discipline and your spiritual welfare; and on this
occasion the indiscretions and failings of the brothers, if any be
found at fault, should be lovingly corrected.
are to fast every day, except Sundays, from the feast of the
Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily
sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a
dispensation from the fast...
man's life on earth is a time of trial, and all who would live
devotedly in Christ must undergo persecution, [and the devil your
foe is searching about like a roaring lion...,] you must use every care to clothe yourselves in God's
armour so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy's ambush.
Your loins are to be girt with chastity, your breast fortified by
holy meditations, for, as Scripture has it, holy meditation will
save you. Put on holiness as your breastplate, and it will enable
you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and
strength, and your neighbour as yourself. Faith must be your
shield on all occasions, and with it you will be able to quench
all the flaming missiles of the wicked one: there can be no
pleasing God without faith; [and the victory lies in this - your
faith]. On your head set the helmet of
salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Saviour, who
sets his own free from their sins. The sword of the spirit, the
word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts. Let all you do
have the Lord's word for accompaniment.
must give yourselves to work of some kind, so that the devil may
always find you busy; no idleness on your part must give him a
chance to pierce the defenses of your souls. In this respect you
have both the teaching and the example of Saint Paul the Apostle,
into whose mouth Christ put his own words. God made him preacher
and teacher of faith and truth to the nations: with him as your
leader you cannot go astray. We lived among you, he said, laboring
and wary, toiling night and day so as not to be a burden to any of
you; not because we had no power to do otherwise but so as to give
you, in your own selves, an example you might imitate. For the
charge we gave you when we were with you was this: that whoever is
not willing to work should not be allowed to eat either. For we
have heard that there are certain restless idlers among you. We
charge people of this kind, and implore them in the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ, that they earn their own bread by silent toil.
This is the way of holiness and goodness: see that you follow it.
Apostle would have us keep silence, for in silence he tells us to
work. As the Prophet also makes known to us: Silence is the way to
foster holiness. Elsewhere he says: Your strength will lie in
silence and hope.
this reason I lay down that you are to keep silence from after
Compline until after Prime the next day.
other times, although you need not keep silence so strictly, be
careful not to indulge in a great deal of talk, for, as Scripture
has it - and experience teaches us no less - sin will not be
wanting where there is much talk, and he who is careless in speech
will come to harm; and elsewhere: The use of many words brings
harm to the speaker's soul. And our Lord says in the Gospel: Every
rash word uttered will have to be accounted for on judgement day.
Make a balance then, each of you, to weigh his words in; keep a
tight rein on your mouths, lest you should stumble and fall in
speech, and your fall be irreparable and prove mortal. Like the
Prophet, watch your step lest your tongue give offence, and employ
every care in keeping silent, which is the way to foster holiness.
brother B., and whoever may succeed you as prior, must always keep
in mind and put into practice what our Lord said in the Gospel:
Whoever has a mind to become a leader among you must make himself
servant to the rest, and whichever of you would be first must
become your bondsman.
other brothers too, hold your prior in humble reverence, your
minds not on him but on Christ who has placed him over you, and
who, to those who rule the Churches, addressed the words: Whoever
pays you heed pays heed to me, and whoever treats you with
dishonor dishonors me; if you remain so minded you will not be
found guilty of contempt, but will merit life eternal as fit
reward for your obedience.
then are the few points I have written down to provide you with a
standard of conduct to live up to; but our Lord, at his second
coming will reward anyone who does more than he is obliged to do.
See that the bounds of common sense are not exceeded, however, for
common sense is the guide of the virtues.
at Lyons, in the year of the Lord 1247, the first of October, the fifth year of our
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