The Franciscan Order; a Victim of Its Own Success Essay

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The Franciscan movement was a religious order that arose out of one man's ideologies and beliefs. St. Francis of Assisi's ideals of absolute poverty, obedience, humility, and simplicity were uncomplicated and basic, but during his life and even shortly after his death these ideologies were gradually shifting and causing a great amount of debate. The immense size of the Franciscan Order combined with the mass amount of popularity that the Order gained made changes in the ideology and objectives of Francis' messages and teaching almost an inevitable necessity. Some could argue that in many ways the Franciscan Order's original ideologies were a victim of the movement's success. This is evident in the main rules of the Order, what the…show more content…
Francis did not want any kind of class distinction in his Order. However, as the priests became more in number, so did their demands for books and altars. And lastly was the matter of study, Francis was against any kind of studying, he felt that it interfered with the notion of absolute poverty and humility, but none of the priest-friars were open to the idea of being entirely cut-off from any form of intellectual pursuit. They argued that education was required in order to preach, convert and prevent heresy. The sheer size of the Order, accompanied by the feelings of many of the new members with no direct loyalty to Francis made it nearly impossible for his followers to maintain Francis' ideals and objectives while he was still alive. New members in distance provinces had no real or physical connection with the saint except for the popular piety that his order had evoked. Many wanted rules within the Order changed, and with the large number of reformers, it became more difficult for Francis to maintain the direction of the Order he had founded. These were just the initial problems that the Franciscan Order faced, after the death of Francis in 1226 many of the rules dealing with main ideologies began to shift from austere to lax, and as a result there was a splitting and shifting in the faction.
Another problem with the Order was the ideal to live a life like Christ, to be a lowly person and

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