Friars Minor Support Pope's Measures for Assisi

Communiqué Follows Decision to Give Local Bishop More Oversight

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ROME, NOV. 24, 2005 ( The Order of Friars Minor has expressed its full support for the measures established by Benedict XVI for the oversight of Assisi’s holy places.

The order’s communiqué was issued after the publication last Saturday of the apostolic letter which established a papal legate as a sign of the bond between the Apostolic See and Assisi and the jurisdiction of the local bishop over the «two major Franciscan churches» at the town.

The Pope has named a new bishop in Assisi and given him additional authority to oversee more closely the activities of the basilicas of St. Francis and of St. Mary of the Angels.

The Basilica of St. Francis, which houses the saint’s remains, is entrusted to the Conventual Franciscans. The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, which contains the Portincula chapel, is looked after by the Order of Friars Minor.

In an apostolic letter issued «motu proprio» (on his own initiative), Benedict XVI wrote: «In the course of the centuries, the Conventual Friars and the Friars Minor, with their solicitous work and testimony, have kept alive the spirit and charism of St. Francis, spreading his evangelical message of peace, fraternity and goodness throughout the world.»

«Fully in favor»

In the communiqué, the representatives of the Order of Friars Minor said: «[T]he new juridical disposition with its special modalities of collaboration, prescribed by the ‘motu proprio,’ between the Sanctuary and our Pastors, finds us fully in favor of and desirous to continue such collaboration.

«We are confident that the measures quoted will permit an even more profitable pastoral cooperation and efficacious ecclesiastical communion between the Friars working in the Sanctuary and the diocesan and universal Church.»

They added: «We also wish to reaffirm our filial obedience to and communion with the Holy Father and the new Diocesan Bishop assigned by him — Monsignor Domenico Sorrentino — for the good of the Church itself and of the People of God.»

The communiqué is signed by Fathers Massimo Reschiglian, provincial minister of Umbria, and José Rodríguez Carballo, minister general of the order.

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