Last updated: September 25, 2019
Topic: SocietyHistory
Sample donated:

A question arises concerning Catholic faith, when defining venial verses Mortal Sin. What defines venial,and what defines Mortal? Further, at what point does venial sin cross the threshold and become a mortal sin? Or at what point does our actions, such as sleep, eating, and frustration turn into one of the seven deadly sins: Sloth, gluttony, and anger? this question cannot be answered with precision. This is the case with the controversy regarding Usus Pauper. The controversy arose regarding what it was meant by Usus pauper, and whterh the Franciscans could follow this notion without being in danger of Mortal sin.

The Translation of Usus Pauper is, “poor use”, but in this case, what is meant is, “restricted use” And this was reffering to the Franciscans way of life. The notion of Usus Pauper included the the lack of ownership, and also the restricted use of things that did not belong to them, insofar as, using items as it became necessary to them. Several questions rose form this notion, including whether or not this was really part the vow of the Franciscan order. The response given was the differnece between taking a Vow determinately and indeterminately.

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Another question that came forth was at what point does Usus Pauper become Usus Dives, known as “rich peoples use”. For this argument, the difference between necessary for, and necessary at had been highlighted by a Franciscan; named Olivi. In fact, Olivi’s opposers, made it unclear as to what it was about Usus Pauper they were arguing against. Olivi, As the main defender of Usus pauper, was born in 1247 or 1248 in southern France, and entered the Franciscan Order at the age of twelve in 1259 or 1260. He was also a student in Paris, Studying Theology.

HIs views were considered original, and slightly dangerous, due to the fact that early on in his life, he had produced controversal writting/statements on the Virgin Mary. After his statements were scrutinized by an Angelo Clareno, they were ordered to be burned. Despite this endeavor, Olivi continued to teach and gain a high standing reputation for himself, so much so, that when Nicholas III issued his Papel statement, Exiit qui Seminat, which was on franciscan poverty, he was asked to write a position paper in response to Nicholas’s statement.

Now the main problem Olivi’s opposers had with Usus pauper, was how to define, “restricted use” and whether or not it was even necessary as part of the vow taken as a Franciscan. At this time in history, the franciscans had many different roles, such as, professors, bishops, inquisitors, which added to the difficulty of defining Usus Pauper. Further, Was this an aspect which Francis’s wanted followed. Olivi defends this by saying that when taking the vow, there are things that are determinate, such as chastity, and the lack of ownership. But there are things that