From: St. Dominic and His Work, by Pierre Mandonnet, O.P.,
        Translated by Sister Mary Benedicta Larkin, O.P., B. Herder Book Co., St. Louis/London, 1948.


St. Dominic and the Pope in 1215

THE relations of St. Dominic and Innocent III in the institution of the Praedicatio among the Albigenses and of the Order of Preachers have been the object in recent years of widely divergent views.

A. Luchaire, finding in a bull of Innocent III to the missioners of Narbonne what he considered "the exact expression of the current of thought which produced St. Dominic and created the first mendicant order," was led to conjecture an accord between the Pope and the future Founder as early as 1206.(1)

Father Mandonnet was of the same opinion and added that in 1215 the project of Dominic in instituting an order of apostolic preachers not only won full papal approval but even directly realized the express desires of the Sovereign Pontiff.

H. C. Scheeben strongly opposed this thesis: "Such notions can be characterized as merely empty fantasies. They would be possible only through a more than superficial criticism of sources and a bent for combination ruinous in historical research."(2) Before the year 1215 the Founder was unknown to the Pope; in 1215 he was disregarded; "then began the tragedy in the life of St. Dominic."(3)

Quite recently H. Grundmann had the courage to criticize Scheeben and with new proofs to re-establish the general position of Luchaire.(4) Moreover, he drew almost exclusively on the events of the year 1206;(5) upon these we in turn have built new arguments which give a quasi-certitude to the conclusions of Luchaire, Mandonnet, and Grundmann.

But the problem concerning the relations of Dominic and Innocent in the proceedings of 1215 is an open one. Was Dominic expected when, accompanied by his Bishop, be proposed his idea of an Order of Preachers to the Sovereign Pontiff? Did his proposal meet approval or disapproval? There can be no doubt that the question is extremely significant; for in its traditional form the Order of Preachers was born of that meeting. It is highly desirable to know whether the Order was a creation which grew out of the perfect accord of the Pope and the Patriarch, or, on the contrary, out of a compromise.

Scholarship can contribute nothing directly toward the solution of this difficult problem. All that is known about the momentous interview is recorded in a brief sentence in Jordan of Saxony: "Having beard their petition, therefore, the Holy Father counseled Dominic to return to his brethren, and after deliberation with them to choose some approved rule with their unanimous consent; (the Bishop would then assign some church to them); finally, they would report again to the Pope to receive the confirmation of their work."(6)

Surely there can be no question about the historical accuracy of the Pope's counsel to choose a rule and of the promise of a future confirmation; but evidently these facts call for an interpretation.

We still hold that this evidence of Jordan, repeatedly carried over in Dominican legends, annals, and histories, stands alone: no other record adds comment on it. The mid-thirteenth century anecdote built around the hesitant concern of Innocent III as miraculously settled by a vision, was purely legendary, and borrowed, moreover, from the cycle of St. Francis; though the legend wove itself into subsequent literature, historians rightly reject it. Nevertheless, failing the support of direct witnesses, we look to other evidence: the general background and historical circumstances, the causes and the results of this decisive hour in the institution of the Preachers, combine to furnish a sound and eloquent commentary on the facts related by Jordan. To view them in correct perspective and to understand their significance, we think it sufficient to center attention on the leading personalities and the reverberations of their climactic conference: the designs of St. Dominic, the dispositions of Innocent, the historical consequences of the decision of 1215.


Jordan, and again he is the sole witness, has thrown light on the designs which led Dominic. to Rome on the occasion of the Lateran Council. He came with his Bishop "to petition the Pope to grant to him and to his companions confirmation of an order which would be called and would be an Order of Preachers and, in addition, to seek the Pope's approbation of revenues assigned them by the Count and the Bishop."(7)

Dominic's application met with success in the following year, when two papal bulls were issued, December 22, 1216. The first was a classical privilege of foundation for the community of St. Romanus at Toulouse, granting protection of its property.(8) The second was entirely original, a confirmation of the Order of St. Dominic.(9) Jordan's text has probably been retouched as regards these two documents; therein lies its worth as well as its weakness; it is beyond us to ascertain whether we are dealing with a conclusion or with direct information. Yet the general value of the evidence cannot be doubted. Our business is simply to avoid a wrong interpretation.


First of all, the order which St. Dominic proposed to Rome as a new project must not be identified with the Praedicatio which he had just taken charge of in Toulouse a few weeks before.(10) That was but an instrument for a diocesan apostolate, its direct antecedent being the Praedicatio of the Province of Narbonne. To erect the Praedicatio into an order, into a perpetual society with a regular common life, meant a voluntary and complete change in its status. The move to effect it had its prelude in the journey to Rome.

Under the circumstances, moreover, it would be a grave error if we imagined that upon his first visit Dominic laid before the Pope a developed and complete project, a plan for an order and a rule conceived in all its details, ready for immediate and definitive confirmation of the Church. Such naivete' can hardly be imagined in Dominic,(11) who, from the year 1206, had been engaged in a Praedicatio directed by the Pope and was perfectly aware of the independence of Innocent III in exercising his authority and keeping everything in control. The proposals of 1215 which led to the foundation and confirmation of the first convent of the Preachers were only preliminary. The saint submitted to the head of the Church certain original plans, which they considered together, proposing the little company of preachers in Toulouse as a possible nucleus in their realization.

Dominic's proposal, in this regard, had but a limited resemblance to those proposals which impelled religious founders in earlier centuries to journey to the See of Peter. When religious life was still restricted to the monastic and the canonical order, the problem of a foundation resolved itself into two points: monastic observance and temporal possessions. The petition, therefore, consisted in a request to the Pope to extend his protection or even to free from any other jurisdiction, temporal or spiritual, the goods and the ordo (rules and customs) of a religious house already established, at times, even long years before. If the foundation gave evidence of endurance and was canonical -- security about the rule was almost universally guaranteed by the use of the "authentic" regula of St. Benedict or St.

Augustine -- neither difficulty nor delay attended the confirmation. In St. Dominic's case history and tradition were repeated in only one circumstance: that was for Prouille, a feminine convent of the classical type already solidly established, for which upon his arrival he obtained a first privilege of protection.(12)

In his projects for the Order of Preachers, on the contrary, the canon of Osma abandoned the company of ancient monastic founders, and took his place in a modern line which had begun half a century earlier to file before the popes with the creators of new institutions or Christian associations. Peter Ferdinand, for example, sought the presence of Alexander III to propose and receive the approval of his Military Order of St. James of the Sword (1175). So it was that St. John of Matha submitted to Innocent III the Order of the Trinity for the Redemption of Captives (1198). The leaders of the converted Lombards were received for the Order of the Humiliati (1201). It was on Durandus of Huesca, Bernard Prim, and their companions that the Pope conferred the office of predicants (1208-10). Innocent authorized the evangelical life of St. Francis and his first friars (1210).(13)

There were immense differences, certainly, among these religious creations. The last three in this enumeration had not developed and at that time had no intention of developing into fully constituted orders, in the true sense of the term. It was simply a question of having the Pope agree to a propositum conversationis, a program of life, a special Christian activity.(14) Whatever the divergences, however, certain essential features are common in these negotiations which the head of the Church radically distinguished from classic petitions for confirmation.


The ancient preoccupations about possessions and a program of religious asceticism were now far from being the only, much less the most important concern. A question that did not suggest itself to the older orders, because it had been solved in advance, sprang to first rank: it determined the purpose, the social type, and the Christian juridical status of the new association. In the preceding ages, religious life, centered in the monastic order, had only one aim and only one milieu: personal salvation in the social organism of the abbey. But each of the modern groups proposed for itself some special end: to care for the sick and pilgrims, to ransom captives, to defend or advance the cause of Christendom, to make converts, or to preach. Their association in groups, or even their presence in society, created an unexpected problem: it was necessary as they appeared to introduce them into the pre-existing structure of the Church, wherein they formed a new type of body or at least a new class. This was not effected without difficulty. Imagine, for instance, the altogether unusual character of the Order of St. James, with some members continuing to live in the married state; or think of what suspicions weighed upon all the societies of "predicants." Nothing but the action of the Pope could stabilize the new institutions in the Catholic order, or correct and guarantee their juridical statutes.

Furthermore, such an organization was not the unique and personal work of a single founder; it was the fruit of collaboration on the part of the future religious and the authorities of the Church, and especially the Pope. The foundations of the orders previously enumerated were in a special sense the work of the Sovereign Pontiffs, notably Innocent III. The history of the Knights of St. James, of the Trinitarians, of the Humiliati, can be traced on the same lines: a small community, full of good will and spiritual ardor, makes an appeal to the Pope. The Pope, after several months or even several years, composes or has some cardinals compose a statute and a rule which are conferred on the new society in a solemn bull of foundation.(15) Whatever part was played by the initiative of the religious, it will be readily seen that the intervention of the head of the Church was instrumental in the orientation which placed the new Order directly at the service of some general Deed of Christendom: military defense, the ransom of captives, struggle against heresy, or preaching. The role of initiator, in this case, consisted principally in sponsoring and encouraging souls of good will caught up in a powerful spiritual aspiration and carried on by the attraction of an idea partially conceived, by ultimately introducing the group into Christian society in the person of its leader.

Dominic, in turn, came to offer his little group gathered in Toulouse. It was not yet the Order of Friars Preachers nor even the inception of the society that was to be, with its broad lines already drawn. As yet there was no profession; neither was there religious obedience or an organization of community life or an obligatory observance;(16) there was no rule. It was, as we have remarked, a simple Praedicatio, a renewal of the Cistercian Praedicatio in Narbonne. But it contained within itself the point of departure for the growth of a projected enterprise. It was in Dominic's mind to construct an ordo praedicatorum.


The term is carefully chosen: an ordo praedicatorum. Jordan of Saxony's statement, "which would be called and would be an Order of Preachers," need not be explained as a projection into the past of a name and a subsequent achievement. The expression was then a common one; it evoked an ideal, a work long dreamed of by the most enlightened guardians of the faith; theologians, monks, and clerics regular had anticipated, predicted, described, and prophesied its character. Among churchmen this idea had awakened the same kind of fervent desire as the idea of an evangelical preaching fraternity had aroused in the lay world, whether faithful or heterodox. The canon of the reformed chapter of Osma had been reared from his childhood in a clerical atmosphere. He had given nine years of his life to preaching in the land of the Albigenses, the scene of the most harrowing crisis for the apostolate. All the while he was in contact with the heads of the diocese, with the councils and the papal legates, and was therefore qualified as no one else was, to weigh the value of these projects and designs and, from the very first, to orientate his plans in a background of ecclesiastical and canonical tradition with a perspective extending far beyond the humble and hidden horizon of its original setting.

It was likewise significant, with import beyond our first penetration, that the Praedicatio in Toulouse was instituted at the time when the bishops were preparing to convene in Rome for the Lateran Council, and that Dominic set out almost at once for the Eternal City to confer with the Pope and attend the Ecumenical Assembly of the Church.(17)

The Praedicatio in Toulouse formed the foundation for the society of preachers projected by Dominic. All that the Order owed to the diocesan Praedicatio has been reviewed. The aim of the Order of Preachers was the same: instruction of the faithful and refutation of error, along with the bishop or in place of him; ecclesiastical status, an official mission from the Church confided to clerics; the spirit, imitation of the apostles; formation of the workers, regular observance of the common life; economy, an establishment supported both by revenues and by mendicant poverty; internal organization, direction by a head, the Master of the Preachers. Here was an institutional program already well defined. Considering this, we note what a difference there was between Dominic and the religious founders with whom the epoch has associated his name. From the converted barons of St. James of the Sword and on even to St. Francis, through the reconciled Waldenses, the instigators of the new religious movements seem not to have possessed actuating ideas for the creation of an institution. Everything shows that, if the papacy had not intervened, they would probably not have developed into what we call orders, solidly established and shaped to fit into the framework of Christendom. On one point only did these founders seem to have precise decision, and it led them to Rome: they did not want to be forced into the classical mold of pre-existing foundations.(18) We can easily account for this difference in the founding projects: these initiators rose either out of lay circles, from among unlettered men who had little concern for legal forms, or from forces set in opposition to the clergy and the hierarchy. But Dominic was an educated man, and in every inclination of his soul a priest.

For erection as a regular foundation, the Praedicatio at Toulouse lacked only a few features indispensable to a life of observance. It was necessary to provide for growth in the membership, for the formation and spiritual training as well as for the common life of these religious clerics; their austerities, their theological studies,(19) and their canonical prayers(20) would have to be directed according to a rule.


On this point no step had yet been taken, but Dominic's fidelity to his heritage as a reformed canon(21) was again shown in his steps toward the foundation in Toulouse. First of all, he began by procuring in the city substantial and even beautiful buildings (22) which evidently be had not sought. At the same time he arranged with the Bishop for the security of the temporal interests through a share in the tithes of the diocese.(23) Such moves, at that stage, would have been inconceivable in the program of St. Francis or the Poor Catholics, but they were necessary for the beginnings of a regular foundation of any stability. The rare documents extant mention a house as already established and arrangements for a life of observance under the authority of Dominic.(24) From that time on, Jordan tells us, the friars lived in Toulouse in these buildings, and "all those who were with him (Dominic) began to descend the degrees of humility and to conform to the observances of religious."(25) As regular clerics, the friars of Dominic could hardly be distinguished in the matter of observance from the canons of St. Stephen of Toulouse, whose revenues they shared.

A permanent episcopal Praedicatio, a regular common life -- such were the elements of the ordo praedicatorum that Dominic submitted to the Pope. The first part of the program with its note of perpetuity evidently supposed a legal innovation in an unusually restricted sphere. Since Innocent III alone could pass judgment on it and sanction it, Dominic accompanied his Bishop to Rome. The conception was a bold one, yet thoroughly adaptable and capable of immediate execution. Perhaps it was nearer to Innocent's dream than anyone would surmise; at any rate, the work was rich in promise, and its organizer was an experienced leader. In an hour of crisis it proposed a skillfully planned program for the spread of the gospel. How would Innocent receive it?


How could Innocent do otherwise than welcome it? The plight of preaching had been a matter of continual and distressing solicitude for this Pontiff, who, more than any other, carried in his soul a ceaseless "care of all the Churches." The more he had learned during the course of his pontificate to know the true sources of heresy, their Christian forces in aberration, their revolts induced by insatiable and legitimate longings, the more ardently he desired a full recourse to a true and positive remedy, the preaching of the faith:.,a dispensing of the food of the word of God."(26)


In 1215 this task seemed more urgent and more necessary than ever. He endeavored to bring to an end the bloody crusade which, after many years of a peaceful apostolate, urged by men and by circumstances, his word had set sweeping through southern France. At his command all had "vowed" peace.(27) The hour had come for the mobilization of all spiritual forces in the work of reconciliation.(28) But what obstacles there were! The Pope knew only too well the weakness of the forces at command for the apostolate. There was no stir where it could most rightly be expected, namely, from the clergy as a whole. In his earlier attempts to recruit a band of preachers, he found it necessary to ransack the monasteries and even to draw again and again from the Order of Cîteaux, upon which St. Bernard in his time had rigorously imposed silence. Innocent changed unworthy prelates, the "dumb dogs," who no longer knew how to bark. But did the newly-chosen incumbents understand their role? And what good would be effected by a change of shepherds if the flocks were not also renewed, if the whole clerical body were not touched by a movement, by some spirit reanimating them with zeal for the conquest of souls?

An appeal launched by Innocent in 1215 would have called forth from the clergy, as the traditional preaching body, scarcely any true apostles. Yet "preachers" of good will were at work in Languedoc, Lombardy, France, and the Rhine country. But who were they! Ignorant and even anticlerical laymen, vagabond clerics, heretics and women: all without the pale of the clerical order to which by a traditional mission, constituting one of the offices of the Church, was confided the exclusive right of ordinary preaching and teaching of the faith. Was it not fitting that the consecrators of the Word of God be also the authentic mouthpieces of His message? When bishops and priests obstinately refused the services of ardent lay proselytizers, their attitude may have displayed rancor and intolerance; but their reaction was prompted also by a profound Catholic sense, which the deviations into heresies and schisms as well as the extreme and anarchical spirit of the lay preachers only too often justified. Innocent, nevertheless, appreciated the efficacy of the spiritual arms wielded by these evangelical men; in their imitation of the apostles, their purity of life, and their asceticism he recognized strictly Catholic practices. His esteem for their value is evident in his own attempts to recommend them to those engaged in the orthodox apostolate, and particularly in the institution of the Poor Catholics.(29) But here, too, the hopes of the Pontiff were in great part frustrated. In 1215 his voice had already been silent for two years with regard to "his sons the Poor Catholics,"(30) though he never relinquished his desire to see the Church rely on the evangelical spirit in her warfare. He encouraged and protected St. Francis, to whom, though a layman, he even granted the privilege of preaching penance.(31)

The position of the Pope, at that date, presented a dual character. He would guard the prerogative of preaching for the clergy, but the clergy were apathetic. He would marshal all the powers of the "apostolic life" in the service of the Church, but these forces, as cultivated by the Cathari and Waldenses, had often worked against Catholicity.

Then it was that Dominic offered to the Church his band of Preachers and his project for preaching "in the poverty of the Gospel." To the Pope, in his concern for souls, it was at one and the same time a response from the clergy and a movement in "imitation of the apostles." That the Pope should not have recognized this is inconceivable. Indeed, it would even seem that the Pope at that date had already in advance partially accepted the proposal and that perhaps he had himself called it forth.


Dominic was not a stranger to the Roman Curia. Innocent had met him first in 1206 in the company of his Bishop, Diego of Osma, who came to resign his see that he might preach the gospel to the pagans. We know the result: Diego and Dominic were enlisted in the papal Praedicatio in Narbonne, to which they introduced, as from Rome, the method of mendicant preaching "after the example of the Master."

From then on, Innocent, through the reports of his legates, kept in as close contact as possible with the little band of preachers. After Diego's death and the defection of most of the Cistercian abbots, Dominic had held the field almost alone. For nine years the Pope had kept his eyes on the little corner of Christendom which had caused him such grave anxiety, and he could not but regard with joy this Preacher, a man delegated, intent and persevering, who had found a way to reap a humble harvest where all others had become discouraged.

The Praedicatio of Narbonne had never been officially dissolved. Guy of Vaux-de-Cernai, the last of its "masters," had not returned to his abbey. In September, 1209, the Council of Avignon under the legate Milo had reminded the bishops of their duty to preach, and to procure helpers for the work in case of need.(32) In 1210, immediately after the reconciliation of Toulouse, Foulques and Arnold preached with zeal in the city and the surrounding country.(33) In 1211-12 the simultaneous promotion of Guy to the bishopric of Carcassonne and of Arnold Amaury, the other head of the Praedicatio and the papal legate, to the metropolitan see of Narbonne, constituted a fusion of the papal Praedicatio and the regular hierarchy. This measure was supported by an extraordinary change in the personnel of suffragan sees. With the exception of Toulouse, all the sees in the province of Narbonne had new appointees between 1211 and 1213; at least three of the changes involved forced resignations,(34) and the movement was carried into the neighboring provinces. It seems that at that date and again later on, Dominic was urged to accept the episcopal office, a step that would have completed the process of fusion and would have juridically resolved the problem of ordinary preaching in the most traditional way. Evidently Innocent was the promoter of this great movement.

But in the administration of a diocese Dominic saw more of an obstacle than an aid to his apostolate; he threatened to "take flight with his staff." Learning of his refusal, the Pope could recall how his attitude reflected that of Bishop Diego of Osma in 1206. Once again, the way would have to open toward another solution.

For Dominic was right. Between 1212 and 1215 there was no evidence of great apostolic work accomplished by the Archbishop of Narbonne, the new chief of the ecclesiastical province. Political intrigues and the aftermath of the crusades, along with his own troubles with Simon de Montfort, had been enough to stifle all the concern he might have had for preaching.(35) And how could he practice the poverty recommended all along by the Pope to his missioners when he had to maintain his station as Archbishop and Duke of Narbonne? Dominic, on the contrary, found his true sphere as a preacher in the office of spiritual vicar (vices gerens in spiritualibus) of the Bishop of Carcassonne, the duties of which he exercised, it seems in 1213 and in the early part of 1214.(36) In the following year his position was more firmly established and with the same orientation: for after the charter of 1215, he was the official vicar of Foulques, the Bishop of Toulouse, responsible with his fellow workers for the work of preaching.

And once again, the solution, we believe, came not without the controlling direction of Innocent III, and that only a few weeks before Dominic set out for the meeting with him in Rome. It is the central point in the history, where everything seems to converge, take shape, gain ground, and finally come to light.

Among the very few documents touching this period in the life of St. Dominic, no formal text, it is true, affirms the intervention of the Pope. And that is why it could be vehemently denied. But the argument from silence, often has very little value. It is possible also to point out a group of coincidences, that render the Pope's intervention highly probable.


The texts which have been cited elsewhere explicitly show how the Order of St. Dominic brought about a revival and development of the papal mission in Narbonne. Would not the renaissance of his first apostolic enterprise have been a work for Innocent himself? Moreover, the Pope's religious policy in the domain of preaching and the apostolic life was highly and unfailingly ingenious: it was an ever new creation which flowered each year in some unexpected and daring institution, and that in a period when the military and political operation of the crusades among the Albigenses might normally have been expected to absorb all his interest. But the signs of this fecundity came abruptly to a close beginning with 1213.(37) Yet, it was to be the time for its most fruitful expansion. In fact, in 1214, Innocent sent to southern France a new legate, Cardinal Peter of Benevento, with minute instructions for dealing with the spiritual and temporal concerns of the Midi.

In the letter of institution, the Pope recalled the past with sorrow. The cause of all the evil was easy to trace: pastors fed themselves; as watch dogs they barked no longer; a famine spread among souls; a flock was left to the wolves with no one to defend it. Into this misery he sent angels of faith and peace to unite the country, to win souls back to the truth by the teaching of doctrine. Men had not heard their message. Force had to be employed. And now again he was sending his messenger, Cardinal Peter, "who in his name and by his authority would draw up the treaties of peace, cultivate with love a new plantation in the garden of the faith, consolidate orthodox groups, and in a general way destroy and suppress, construct and build, all that he would find necessary, correcting and reforming what seemed to require his attention."(38)

Among all these reforms and constructive enterprises, the reestablishment of the Praedicatio among the Albigenses was evidently the most important. If just at that time a group of preachers and defenders of the faith organized a company in Toulouse, the principal city of the region, "notorious as the center and cesspool of all the malice of heretical perversity."(39) was the commissioner of Innocent there for no special reason?

He was present when Dominic became head of the Praedicatio in Toulouse. This one official act, sole witness to us of his activity, shows that Dominic was directly under orders from the cardinal legate.(40)

The charter which instituted the Praedicatio of Dominic and his companions and endowed it with a share in the revenues of the diocese was, viewed in its totality, an innovation pure and simple; such as it was, it had no precedent in the annals of Christendom. Yet, and the fact is revealing, a few weeks later it was duplicated exactly in the tenth canon of the Lateran Council, set forth by Innocent Ill and imposed on all the bishops.

The two texts will bear parallel scrutiny; the juridical import is identical. According to the canon of the Lateran Council, the bishop was bound to have auxiliaries to distribute to his people "the bread of the word of God, to hear their confessions, and to attend to all that concerned the salvation of souls." Not one single coadjutor would suffice; be would need a corps of capable men to whom be would confide the office of holy preaching. The powers of these preachers would be valid throughout the whole diocese, which it would be their duty to visit. They were to edify the people confided to them "by word and example," as men "Powerful in word and work." They were to be established, therefore, among the regular clergy of the diocese ("in the cathedral chapters or the other conventual churches."). Finally, the bishop would provide for their needs, lest want should oblige them to abandon their apostolic labor.(41)


Every one of these points had been incorporated in the charter of Toulouse. True, once before, the Council of Avignon had ordered the bishop to provide a substitute for himself in the work of preaching in case of need.(42) Further, though not frequently invoked in practice, the canons permitted the bishop and his chapter to assign part of the revenues of the diocese to a religious community or some worthy cause. But the institution of a company of collaborators with the bishop, the search for the preachers among the regular clergy, the apologetic purpose which inspired it, and finally the provision of a subsidy for it by the canons who on other occasions had shown themselves "obdurate,"(43) made the establishment in Toulouse a unique creation. It would retain its uniqueness even after the Lateran Council, for the tenth canon did not meet the response expected of it. The resemblance of the society of Toulouse to the type of institution almost simultaneously recommended by the Ecumenical Council is, therefore, something to be marveled at. It is so remarkable that, if Innocent's influence on the institution in Toulouse is not supposed, we must conclude that the organization established by Foulques and Dominic influenced the canon of the Twelfth Ecumenical Council.

But why oppose them one to the other? One and the same thought was realized almost simultaneously, but not independently, at Toulouse and at Rome. The successive promulgation of the charters of foundation, the harmonious cooperation of Dominic and Innocent, prepared for through the legation of Peter of Benevento, was followed directly by Dominic's journey to the Lateran Council. This visit occurred immediately after the foundation in the diocese of Bishop Foulques as if it were desirable to have a report on the experiment in Toulouse and to prepare for its universal adoption. An these certain and significant facts forbid our interpreting the simultaneous promulgation of the canonical status of the diocesan missioners in Toulouse and in Rome as a mere coincidence. Rather they combine for our recognition of a plan premeditated and directed by the same thought, that of Pope Innocent III, shared if not suggested by the Founder of the Preachers.

We now have all the information needed to answer the question raised by this study. In 1215, after the foundation of the Preachers in Toulouse, Dominic could present all his projects to the Pope and be understood; more than that, he would receive a joyous welcome, since he represented the clerical order responding to the appeal of the head of the Church, dedicating its good will and its spiritual powers to the work expected of it, and offering the first fruits of an institution which the Pope hoped to build into the very structure of Christendom through the Lateran Council.


Light is thus cast on more than one detail in the respective work of the Pope and the Preacher. Canon 10 of the Lateran Council, in revealing the personal ideas of the Sovereign Pontiff, enables us to ascertain his part in the future foundation: it was not with the religious order proper, but with the Praedicatio of Toulouse. There was a similarity between the organization in Toulouse and the institution called for by the Pope in the Council, and that organization itself was in continuity with the Praedicatio of Narbonne, initiated originally by Innocent. As a matter of fact, the Praedicatio of Toulouse did not in itself directly constitute the first convent of the Preachers. It was a new division in the hierarchical organization of the Church, an original reform of the ordinary apostolate which the Pope was attempting in vain to impose on all the bishops. We can readily see the Pope's hand in this innovation. At the same time, the organization possessed the foundation and structure of the ordo praedicatorum, its ecclesiastical rank, its aim, and even its method, because the mendicant poverty of the apostles already figured large in the official program for the papal Praedicatio in 1206.

But Dominic's part is not less important or less characteristic. One word expressed it in the charter of Foulques in 1215: "religiose proposuerunt incedere." In proposing a life of preaching and of "imitation of the apostles" as the end and activity of an order of religious clerics, the reformed canon of Osma recovered, with a more penetrating power than before, the spiritual leaven which had activated the canonical program. Into the ecclesiastical organization in Toulouse he introduced a force of expansion and development which with prodigious rapidity transformed it into a universal Order of Preachers, with all Christian Europe as its sphere of action.

This regular propositum, which had great institutional and spiritual consequences, was not of itself implied in the diocesan Praedicatio. But it was not foreign to the desires of Innocent. To confide the office of preaching to exemplary clerics, formed in the traditional discipline of religious life, canonical or monastic, burning with the spirit of poverty and zeal for souls, was indeed the explicit intention of the Pope when he organized the Praedicatio in Narbonne. A muted echo of it was perceptible in the canon of the Lateran. That these regular clerics, to ensure their formation, sustain their fervor, stabilize their good purpose, and perpetuate their membership, should unite in a single house which might later on multiply in similar foundations, was something that Innocent would surely applaud. He noted hopefully the first steps of advance toward the institutional stabilization of his own efforts, as they were taken by the ardent and contemplative Preacher, who, during nine years of experience, had learned the difficulty as well as the necessity of the work.

The Pope, it is true, was not alone; some of the prelates assembled for the Lateran Council were not always in accord with his progressive ideas, notably with his initiative in preaching enterprises and apostolic movements. They were prepared to thwart his innovations by passing the thirteenth canon, which contained the following prescription: "Lest too great a diversity of religious orders should lead to grave confusion in the Church of God, we strictly forbid anyone in the future to found a new order, but whoever should wish to enter an order, let him choose one already approved. Similarly he who should wish to found a new monastery, must accept a rule and institution already approved."(44) Was the Order of St. Dominic to be stifled out of existence before its birth? Impressed by the prohibitions of this canon, many historians have taken them as a proof that Dominic in 1215 was not free to found the Order that he wished.

But Innocent was not the man to let himself be thwarted in advance by the prejudice of bishops, and especially in what concerned the life of preaching. At that very moment be confirmed the little Franciscan society whose first rule, an original one composed by St. Francis, would henceforth be regarded by the Church as authentic. If Dominic had thought it necessary, even before the Council had passed its canon, the Pope would doubtless have authorized him to compose an entirely new rule.


But an exact reading of canon 13 shows that Dominic had nothing to fear from it. The word "institution" had reference only to the basic organization of a religious house, with its novitiate, its professed members, its superiors, and its interior appointment:(45) that stipulation would certainly be enough to strangle the lay eremitical or preaching movements which were then swarming into anarchy. It could in no way hamper the Order of Preachers which, on the contrary, required this minimum of regular institution. On this basis Dominic established what was a new institutional creation, his society for preaching, thanks to the official sanction of canon 10 on preachers. As to the observance of one or other of the classic rules, it was included in his designs.

Dominic, therefore, was authorized to advance the realization of his projects. On the advice of the Pope he was to return to Toulouse and, to comply with the recommendations of the fathers of the Council, he would then establish his regular monastic observances: "in accord with his brethren he would choose one of the rules already approved," which would serve to guarantee the authentic character of his Order.(46) According to the general custom of the period, he would compose a certain number of supplementary customs to constitute his own legislation, and then submit all this to the Sovereign Pontiff, who promised in advance "confirmation of the whole."

The question of observance having been thus decided, the diocesan preachers of Toulouse could pronounce vows and thus become religious. The first convent of the Order of St. Dominic was born.

A final detail still had to be arranged: this convent of clerics should have a church. But that did not depend on Dominic, or even in a certain sense on his bishop, but on the cathedral chapter. Such groups ordinarily were not disposed in any way to cede their rights over the administration and revenues of parishes by depriving themselves of a church.(47) Had not the Brothers of St. Stephen already made a sufficient sacrifice in yielding a share of their tithes to Dominic? Up to that time the Preachers had to be satisfied with a dwelling house in Toulouse. But a formal order from Innocent reached the chapter through its bishop. Foulques was to assign a church to Dominic and his friars; indeed, he was to assign him three churches.(48) This last measure came as a first impulse to the expansion of the Order of St. Dominic. It is remarkable that it left the Order in Languedoc and in a diocesan setting.(49)

Jordan's text, quoted at the beginning of this study, can be read again; our aim was simply to make a commentary; each word has its own significance.

"Having heard their petition, therefore, the Holy Father counseled Dominic to return to his brethren, and after careful deliberation with them to choose some approved rule with their unanimous consent (the Bishop would then assign a church to them); finally, they would report again to the Pope to receive the confirmation of their work."

When he was urging the fathers of the Council to adopt the general decree obliging bishops to obtain official preachers, Innocent III permitted the canon of Osma to work at the foundation of a clerical religious order that would soon furnish those very bishops with preachers "powerful in word and work," men whom they would not otherwise find. Furthermore, the Pope promised in advance the approval of the Church to this order that was not yet born.

In viewing these conclusions as a whole, we find warrant for stating not only that in 1215 the Sovereign Pontiff did not rebuff Dominic, but that he received him with joy, that he understood and fostered his projects, inspired partly by the Pope's own vision, and, finally, that he promised the Order its official consecration.

The friars of Toulouse, informed by Dominic of the results of his visit, cherished the thought of this accord and the memory of this anticipated approbation. One of them, John of Navarro, was a witness to it in the process at Bologna, signalizing the year 1215, which saw his entrance into the little diocesan society, in these words: "The year in which the Order of Friars Preachers was confirmed, at the Council of the Lord Pope, Innocent III."(50) Jordan of Saxony, who was informed by the first friars, wrote of this confirmation, as promised, and granted the following year: "Brother Dominic obtained in its plenitude and in all its import the confirmation of his Order and of all that he had wished to obtain, according to the plan and the organization which he had conceived."(51)

These documents, moreover, are not isolated. In reality, the later history of the sons of St. Dominic was a living demonstration which would in itself prove that the primitive ideal and the original plan of their Founder in 1215, far from meeting a reverse, received instead from the papacy the welcome and the impulse which made them develop in all their fullness with an astonishingly rapid growth into the Order of Preachers.


1 Luchaire, p. 89; cf. p. 91. He even thought that the "Poor Catholics," instituted by Innocent III, became a model for the Order of Preachers, so that "the subprior of Osma created nothing original. A forerunner of the Dominicans, the Poor Catholics opened and blazed the trail for the powerful Order of Preachers" (pp. 109, 113). The statement shows exaggeration. Grundmann (pp. 106, 117, 141) demonstrated that the Poor Catholics dia not constitute an Order.

2 Scheeben, p. 27.

3 Ibid., p. 379.

4 Grundmann, p. 70.

5 Ibid., p. 103, where there is a refutation of Scheeben.

6 Jordan, no. 41. The italicized words belong to a second edition of the Libellus; they are also in the legend of Ferrand, no. 27 (1235-39).

7 Jordan, no. 40. The expression, qui predicatoruin diceretur et esset ("which would be called [an Order] of Preachers and would be") echoes a New Testament formula in frequent use at that time. Cf. Apoc. 2:9.

8 Laurent, no. 74.

9 Confirmamus Ordinem tuum.... (Laurent, no. 75).

10 Laurent, no. 60. Only the year is indicated in the document. The charter of April 25, 1215 (Laurent, no. 61), ceding the house of Peter Seila "to The Lord Brother Dominic, to his successors, to the inhabitants of this house both present and future and to their heirs," gives some insight into the start of the little group. But it throws no light on the character of their organization. This fact could be readily understood if the charter instituting the diocesan preachers had not yet been issued. It should be dated June or July. See Balme, I, 517; Mandonnet, Saint Dominique, 1'idée, 1'homme et l'oeuvre (Ghent, 1921), p. 43; Scheeben, pp. 156-58. Jordan likewise suggests this sequence for the two charters (Jordan, nos. 38 f.). The departure for Rome was in September: charter 62 shows that Dominic had already met the Pope on October 8.

11 Was Innocent more tractable when it was a question of according a propositum conversationis, that is, a particular mode of life which did not in itself imply any legal status? Perhaps, since it would be of less consequence and would involve neither the welfare nor the law of the Church. But we do not know what corrections preceded the approval of the Poor Catholics. Durandus of Huesca waited a year before receiving the first bull of the Pope; it was another four years before Durandus and Bernard were officially and in writing taken "under the protection of Peter." As to Francis, he obtained only a provisional oral permission in 1210. He had to wait until 1219 for a written sign of approbation for the Franciscan way of life.

12 Laurent, no. 62.

13 Friars of St. James of the Sword, bull of July 5, 1175 (Jaffé, no. 12504; PL, CC, 1024); Trinitarians, bull of December 17, 1198 (Potthast, no. 483; PL, CCXIV, 444); Humiliati, bull of June 7, 12, 16, 1201 (Potthast, Dos. 1415, 1416, 1417; Tiraboschi, 11, 128 ff.); Poor Catholics of Durandus of Huesca, bull of December 18, 1208 (Potthast, no. 3571; PL, CCXV, 1510 ff.); Bernard Prim, bull of June 14, 1210 (Potthast, no. 4014; PL, CCXVL 289 ff.).

14 In the Pope's letters to the Poor Catholics, neither "Ordo" nor "Regula" ever occurs, any more than the expression "convent" or "religious profession," but there are words like those in the profession of faith of converts: "Since truly not only upright faith, but good works also are necessary for salvation... we likewise consider the way of life proposed in this writing, the tenor of which is... " (Potthast, no. 3571; PL, CCXV, 1512; cf. Potthast, no. 4567; PL, CCXVI, 648). It was a program designed for itinerant preachers and "teachers of doctrine." The only houses spoken of were the schools and the homes of seculars, whose direction they assumed on occasion. An attempt was made in 1212 to found an institute of this type at Elne (Potthast, no. 4504; PL, CCXVI, 601). It was through these establishments that the movement survived and little bv little developed toward the type of regular foundations, and the name "Order of Poor Catholics" was finally conferred in 1256 in a letter of Alexander IV, associating them with the Hermits of St. Augustine (Pierron, pp. 168f.).
      In 1210, St. Francis and his companions presented their case in the same way as the Poor Catholics. Grundmann has emphasized this particular phase of the two movements (pp. 106, 117, 130, 133, 140f.).

15 In 1175, Alexander III himself gave to Peter Ferdinand, in his bull of foundation, a certain number of statutes: at the same time he had a rule drawn up in seventy-one chapters (Helyot, Histoire des Ordres, II, 263). On his first visit to Rome, St. John of Matha was sent back to Paris to his Bishop and the Abbot of St. Victor; they prepared for Innocent III the plan of a rule which he revised and finally conferred in his bull of 1198, making reference to this origin (PL, CCXIV, 444). The Humiliati petitioned Innocent III in 1199. He required them to present their rule to the Bishop of Vercelli and to the Abbot of Locedio, who revised it. He then gave the text to a special commission. It was only in 1201 that the revised rule was granted to the Humiliati (Tirasboschi II, 140; cf. Zanoni, p. 92; Grundmann, p. 76).
      In 1204, Innocent had founded a house of Hospitallers at Santa Maria in Sassia and had affiliated it to the celebrated Hospital of the Holy Ghost at Montpellier. In 1213, he had a rule given to the whole Order (PL, CCXVII, 1137). At the same time the representative of Innocent, Robert de Courson, imposed in France certain prescriptions of the councils, and thereby initiated the great movement toward a codification of the rule for Hospitallers and a regulation of their life according to the type enjoined in religious congregations, a movement which continued to develop up to the thirteenth century (L. Le Grand, Status d'Hôtels-Dieu, Paris, 1901).

16 The first profession recorded, that of John of Navarre, was made in the church of St. Romanus, August 28, 1216 (Processus [Bologna] no. 25). This date, however, is much disputed.

17 Jordan, nos. 38, 40.

18 Zanoni (p. 92) regards the Humiliati's lack of enthusiasm in accepting a rule as one of the reasons for the delay in their confirmation. Francis would not be persuaded "to adopt either the monastic or the eremitical life" (I, Celano, 34; Grundmann, pp. 130f.). Grundmann has emphasized the efforts of the popes, and of Innocent especially, to direct the religious 'movements" toward a more organized form of life and, if possible, toward an order in the true meaning of the word (pp. 9-11, 43-45).

19 The disputes of the missioners in Narbonne with the heretics which Cernai (nos. 20-54) distinguishes from ordinary sermons, were theological jousts with a form and a definite technique of which the modem debates give no idea. The public disputation was then the elementary and universal procedure in a theological disquisition, which reduced itself often to a very concrete discussion of texts from Holy Scripture and patristic authorities: that is what rendered those sacred fencing matches so full of challenge and appeal even for those not scholars. Cernai has described them exactly.
      The importance of this public theological exercise in the struggle against heresy can be estimated by the program of the Poor Catholics in 1208: "Moreover, since the majority of us are clerics and nearly all educated men, we have decided to labor by means of sermons, exhortations, instructions, and disputations against all the sects of error. The disputations, however, should be conducted by brethren more learned In the Catholic faith, men confirmed and instructed in the law of the Lord, that the adversaries of the Catholic and apostolic faith may be confounded. Moreover, through the more upright and more enlightened in the law of God and in the writings of the holy Fathers, we have decreed that the word of the Lord ought to be propounded to our brethren and friends in our schools, with permission of the prelates of course, and with due reverence, by brothers qualified and instructed in sacred letters, who will be powerful in sound doctrine to convince an erring people, to draw men back to the faith and to recall them to the bosom of the Holy Roman Church" (PL, CCXV, 1513). Evidently Dominic and his companions could not do less than that. This doctrinal exposition of the faith was in their program (LaureDt, no. 60).
      It would be easy to find witnesses to the doctrinal culture and apostolate of St. Dominic (Jordan, nos. 6, 15, 22, 23; Processus [Bologna], nos. 3, 22, 28, 32, 35; Cernai, no. 54; Frachet, p. 82).

20 There is no reason to suppose that the canonical Office was not included in the projects of St. Dominic in 1215, because it was part of the life of the Preachers from the bevinning. On this point the conduct of the saint himself would afford sufficient evidence, for through all the labors of a zealous apostolate he was a contemplative soul.
      On almost every page, the process of canonization refers to the praying of St. Dominic, often prolonged through whole nights (Processus [Bologna], nos. 7, 18, 20, 31, 36, 42, 43, 47; Processus [Toulousel, no. 18), during the day (Proces&us [Bologna], nos. 3, 7, 13, 18, 25, 42), on journeys (Processus [Bologna], nos. 3, 7, 13, 41, 42, 46; Processus [Toulouse], no. 10), in sickness (Processus [Bologna], no. 22). Although, in general, this evidence is for the years subsequent to 1215, it is clear that the spirit which it reflects was habitual earlier. After 1215, Dominic desired to see this spirit of prayer among his brethren. It is also certain that for him and his brethren, thefore as well as after 1215, the major place in their long prayer was reserved for the canonical Office (Processus [Bologna ] nos. 3, 6, 7, 31, 36, 42, 43). Not until the beginning of modern times did th Church see religious prefer what was formerly called "secret prayer" to the official and social prayer of the Church. A member of the regular clergy in the thirteenth century could never have departed from this universal psychology regarding prayer, when even a parish priest had the Office chanted in his parish (cf. Council of Paris, 1212, can. 1, 2; Mansi, XXII, 819, 847). Jordan was certainly well informed when he pictured the members of the papal mission in 1206 despoiling themselves of all their baggage, with the exception of the books required for the Office, study, and the disputations (Jordan, no. 22). Moreover, the Praedicatio was only a temporary association, not a religious order.

21 Dominic was a lover of the common life. The Praedicatio at Prouille became at once the center for the common life, as did the Praedicatio in Toulouse in 1215. He felt there could be no fruitful apostolate without regular formation, prayer, and study, supported by the esteem which a strict religious life merits. Note these two prescriptions in his future Constitutions: for the novices: "how fervent they ought to be in preaching at the opportune time"; for visitators: "what fruit there will be from the report that the brethren dwell continually in peace, are assiduous in study, fervent in preaching, if there is regular observance in regard to food and other things according tc) the tenor of the Constitutions" (Denifle, Archiv., I, 201, 219).

22 Laurent, no. 61; sublimes et nobiles domos, Jordan, no, 38.

23 Laurent, no. 60.

24 Peter Seila's donation (Laurent, no. 61) makes mention of a "house which the same Master Dominic had established." This domus constituta was of a date earlier than April 25. Dominic was its head. He received the donation pro Petro Seilano, et pro se, et pro omnibus mis successoribus et habitatoribus (dicte) domus. There is also a reference to eorurn ordinio (sic), which signifies their regular successors, their legal heirs.

25 Jordan, no. 38. This picture of a progressive development in humility is taken from Benedictine spirituality. It should be noted that Jordan does not say religious observance, but the observances of religious.

26 Canon 10 of the Lateran Council, Hefele-Leclereq, V, 1340; Schroeder, Councils, p. 251.

27 Canons 32-42 of the Synod of Montpellier (January 8, 1215). Hefele-Leclercq, V, 1301 f.

28 Cf. Grundmann, p. 136.

29 Cf. Grundmann, pp. 70-135.

30 The last series of letters in favor of Durandus of Huesca was dated in May, 1212; for Bernard Prim, August 1. Luchaire (p. 113) emphasizes this disappearance of the Poor Catholics in view of the rise of the institution of the Preachers: "The statue finished, why keep the model?"

31 Grundmann (pp. 142-48) has carefully studied the attitude of the Pope toward St. Francis at the time of the Lateran Council; he concluded that Innocent had not then changed his attitude toward apostolic movements. To the arguments of Grundmann might be added the words of Jacques de Vitry in 1216 signalizing the "holy institution confirmed by the Lord Pope," as noted by the Franciscans in the Chapter of Pentecost. Boehmer, p. 67.

32 "Wherefore in these places various and damnable heresies have sprung up, and the negligence of the prelates ought to be reproved and punished; acting as mercenaries rather than as pastors, they have not fortified themselves as a wall for the house of Israel, nor spread the teaching of the Gospel among the people committed to them: with the approval of the Council we have decreed that the bishop should more frequently and more diligently than has been customary, preach the orthodox faith; when it is expedient, he may delegate other upright and discreet persons to preach" (Mansi, XXII, 785). This canon echoes the pronouncements in the letters of Innocent. Potthast, nos. 2103, 2912; PL, CCXV, 274, 1024.

33 Tudela, stanza 46.

34 Narbonne, Agde, Béziers, Carcassonne, Elne, Nîmes, Uzès, are listed by Eubel, I, 76, 137, 166, 238, 356, 360, 510; Gains, pp. 478, 517, 528, 583, 589, 600, 646. The circumstances and exact dates are not noted in full; the whole, however, is conclusive. The Pope had been wishing since 1205 for the deposition in Narbonne and Agde; he had finally waited for the death of Berenger, the head of the Province. The bishops of Carcassonne and Uzès resigned their sees in 1211-12. Only the succession in Narbonne and Agde have been recorded as elective.

35 Luchaire, pp. 244 ff.

36Constantine, no. 55.

37 This strategy of Innocent against the heretics of the South, as much by clerical groups as by evangelical volunteers, is evidenced through a brief résumé: 1199, discrimination between Catholic and schismatic apostles; 1199-1201, institution of the Humiliati; 1203-4, legate preachers among Albigenses; 1204-7, Sancta Praedicatio in Narbonne; 1208-10, Poor Catholics; 1210, Saint Francis; summer 1212, Poor Catholics were taken "sub b. Petri protectione"; 1205 and 1211-13, change of ordinaries.
      On a parallel scale ran the administrative and political episodes in the crusade among the Albigenses, which ended in the victory of Muret in 1213.

38 Bull Equo rufo of January 17, 1214 (Potthast, no. 4882; PL, CCXVI, 955 f.). No other program than that cited is indicated in the letter. It is a program of peace and reform. Thus the work of the Council of Montpellier, presided over by Peter of Benevento (January 81 1215), was also one of clerical reform (canons 1-31), of peace (32-42), and of measures against disorders and heresy (44-46).
      In regard to preaching, it was not so much a question of renewing administrative exhortations to the bishops (already done at Avignon) as of putting the hand to the plow and of realizing something.

39 Letter of convocation of the Council of Montpellier. Mansi, XXII, 951.

40 Balme, I 484. The letter is not dated, and the name of the Cardinal is not indicated. But Toulouse was not actually reopened to the Catholic apostolate until after the occupation of the Château of Narbonne by Foulques in January, 1215, in the name of Peter of Benevento. He alone could have been the one mentioned in this document. The Praedicatio was already organized; Dominic called himself Praedicationis humilis minister. He had come to a definite decision: "From this time on let the Lord Cardinal more expressly command him or us."

41 Laurent, no. 64; Mansi, XXII, 998; Hefele-Leclercq, V, 1340.

42 In 1212, the Council of Paris (and the Council of Rouen, 1214) also provided for this: "We also ordain that on great feasts they themselves (the bishops) will celebrate the divine mysteries and preach the word of God, or they will appoint someone to preach." Mansi, XXII, 840 and 917. It is a far cry from these texts to those of the Lateran Council! Nothing like them had been issued before 1215 (at least as far back as the ninth century). Moreover, such canons were adopted at the behest of Innocent III and were like an anticipation of canon 10 of the year 1215.

43 It was only in 1211, four years after the foundation, that at St. Dominic's petition the sisters received from the Bishop the abandoned church close to which they were established (cf. supra, The Birth of Saint Mary of Prouille). No service was im posed on them, but they did not receive the tithes and first fruits (long before the installation of the sisters there had been a suspension of revenue). On May 15 Foulques and his chapter granted the church of Bram to the sisters in their name: upon their death the church was to revert to the diocese (Laurent, no. 9). In the course of 1211, upon a new request from Dominic, the Bishop and his chapter granted with the church of Prouille, an adjacent strip of land, as required by the canons; the tithes and first fruits of the church of Prouille were due to the church of Fanjeaux, but the sisters' possessions were exempt. On May 25, 1214, Foulques canceled the tithes which the sisters owed to Fanjeaux (Laurent, nos. 54f.). Later (1214; Laurent, no. 58), at Dominic's suggestion, he granted them the tithes of Fanjeaux, to which Dominic had a right as its curé. Only in 1221 (April 17) did Foulques cede to Dominic, for Prouille, the church of Fanjeaux with its tithes, first fruits, and offerings, in exchange for the tithes of Toulouse, given up by the Preachers (Laurent, no. 134).
      These successive donations were neither very generous nor were they spontaneously made. After the crusade, however, the bishopric of Toulouse had recovered most of its property from the heretical nobles.

44 Hefele-Leclercq, V, 1344; Schroeder, Councils, p. 255.

45 This canon has been interpreted with much inaccuracy, particularly in reference to the words regulam et institutionem. The best way to know what it signified is to consider bow the popes used it in numerous instances in the thirteenth century (1219, Ugolino to the sisters of Italy; 1224, Hospital of Ditiaco; 1228, Brothers of St. Blase of Brittino; 1231, Hermits of the Diocese of Siena; 1235, Friars of St. Eulalia (Mercedarians); 1237, Poor Catholics; 1249, Servites (confirmation of a rule granted in 1240); 1253, Bonites (withdrawal of earlier grant); 1257, Servants of the Virgin Mary of Marseilles). An examination of these documents leads us to the following conclusions:

  1. In spite of an apparent similarity, the phrase regula et institutio, which was used in the canonical texts (privileges of foundation Religiosam vitam and in canon 13), is quite different from the phrase regula et institutiones, used in certain formulas of profession. The latter applies to two different things, the two types of texts which in the thirteenth century composed religious legislation: the Rule and the Constitutions. The Rule was a text authorized by the Church (in the texts the words regula, observantia, ordo, and religio are equivalent; these four terms are frequently substituted for one another in this period); the Constitutions included private supplementary laws. The phrase regula et institutio designates the rule and the institution corresponding to it, that is, the fundamental organization of the religious house as it was practically guaranteed by the great Privilege Religiosam vitam; novitiate, profession, election, interior order, etc. (the institutio is generally established by the Rule; the Benedictine institution or the Augustinian institution; its meaning might be extended to designate a particular religious family: the institution of Prémontré or of St. Victor).

  2. Consequently, what canon 13 required was that all future foundations of religious houses (at that time canon law did not yet know the centralized orders as subjects with rights) take a rule approved by the Church, that is, an authorized text; in nearly every case that we have met, it was the Rule of St. Augustine. It was likewise required (even though not expressly stated) to adopt the organization of the religious house in harmony with this rule or form of regular life.

  3. Never was a new society required to borrow, in whole or part, the constitutions of a society already in existence. On the contrary, members were expressly ordered at times to draw up their own constitutions. These constitutions were private laws, with which Rome still only rarely interfered in the thirteenth century, and only on the petition of the religious themselves. It might happen that these private laws which supplemented the authorized Rule would be at variance with it on a particular point. Such was the case with the formula vitae added by Ugolino to the Rule of St. Benedict, which he granted to some religious in Italy in 1219 (cf. following note).

46 If there is any doubt about the liberty which the choice of the Rule of St. Augustine left for the formulation of Dominican laws, consideration need only be given to the role which Cardinal Ugolino, friend and protector of St. Dominic, gave to the Rule of St. Benedict in 1219, in assigning it as the first part of the formula vitae of the Poor Clares: "We give you the Rule of St. Benedict to be observed in all those things in which it is not contrary to the formula of life drawn up by us for you" (Sbaralea I, 264).
      Let us add that the Rule of St. Benedict is much more detailed than the legislative remnant called the Rule of St. Augustine.

47 Difficulties for a church with the Archbishop of Narbonne and the monks of St. Hilaire, Laurent, no. 5, 7, 80, 89, 94. Difficulties for the Church of St. Jacques of Paris, Laurent, no. 99, 101, 117, 120.

48 Jordan, nos. 43 f.

49 Nothing indicates that Dominic had at this date conceived of anything more than the foundation of a regular house of the canonical type on Albigensian soil, capable ultimately of expansion, The universal horizon of his Order was only indirectly assured by his relations with Innocent III. Canon 10 of the Lateran Council opened to eventual developments the whole field of Christendom within the framework of the dioceses. It was only in the communications of Dominic and Honorius in the following year that there appeared the trend toward the supradiocesan universalism of the Order of Preachers.

50 Processus (Bologna), no. 25.

51 Jordan, no. 45.