THE LETTER
of our most holy lord
Leo XIII
by divine providence
POPE
to the most reverend
Father Bernadino di Porto Romantino
Minister General of the Order of the Minors

Latin text taken from Opera Omnia S. Bonaventurae, Ad Claras Aquas, 1887, Vol. III, p. i-ii.

Footnotes by the English Translator.


P. BERNADINO A PORTU ROMANTINO
ORDINIS MINORUM MINISTRO GENERALI

LEO PP. XIII.

DILECTE FILI

Salutem et Apostolicam Benedictionem.

Quod universa Seraphici Doctoris opera de integro edenda decreveras, non mediocrem animi laetitiam percepimus; nunc vero eidem exsequendo consilio manum esse feliciter admotam magna cum voluptate intelligimus. Qui enim vix fere Pontificatu inito, nil ad oppugnandos nostroum temporum errores fore aptius, nil ad confirmandam veritatem efficacius duximus, quam ut excellens summi Scholasticorum Magistri sapientia longe lateque fluat, atque ad id praecipuam operum illius editionem numeris omnibus absolutam publicare iussimus, haud satis laudare propositum tuum poteramus, quo vulgatis sancti Bonaventurae scriptis catholica iuventus ad scholasticas disciplinas etiam studiosius colendas inflammaretur. Quanta inter S. Thomam ac Seraphicum Doctorem necessitudo, quanta sanctitatis ac doctrinae similitudo intercesserit, omnibus in comperto est. Ac s. m. Sixtus V Decessor Noster verissime affirmavit eos esse « duas olivas et dua candelabra in domo Dei lucentia, qui et caritatis pinquedine et scientiae suae luce totam Ecclesiam Dei » collustrarent, atque eos « singulari Dei providentia eodem tempore tamquam duas stellas exorientes ex duabus clarissimis regularium Ordinum familiis » prodiisse « quae ad catholicam religionem propugnandam maxime utiles, et ad omnes labores ac pericula pro orthodoxa fide sueunda paratae semper existerent ». Itaque oblata Nobis a te eorundem operum volumina veluti totius editionis primitias libentissime Nos accepisse testatum volumus, magnique apud Nos haberi labores, quos vel ab anno MDCCCLXX religiosi tui Ordinis viri, in Collegium Sancti Bonaventurae coacti, pertulerunt, ut tanti ponderis opus, auctoritate tua illis commissum, accurate perficerent. Nec plane Fidelis a Fanna sodalis qui conquisitis undique per totam Europam codicibus et ad criticae artis regulas diligentissime exactis longo decem annorum spatio certissima editioni curandae monumenta comparavit: quo e vivis sublato, consodalem Ignatium Jeiler eidem suffectum pari studio iisdemque consiliis in re eiusmodi gerenda modo versare agnovimus. Nec vero tantum prudens in rerum singuloum delectu iudicium, sed et accuratae textus emendationes, atque optima literarum forma in primis commendanda est. Maxime autem placuit propositum, opportunas animadversiones seu scholia singulis libris adiiciendi, ut ea doctrinarum harmonia manifeste appareat, qua praecellentes illas duorum Doctorum mentes instructas fuisse ante diximus. Ex quo exploratum etiam est clarissimos hosce scholasticarum disciplinarum adsertores peracri ingenio, assiduo studio, magnis laboribus atque vigiliis pretiosum doctrinae thesaurum a sapientibus superiorum saeculorum, potissimum vero s SS. Ecclesiae Patribus congregatum, multisque modis cumulate auctum, posteris tradidisse. Quapropter nullo modo dubitandum, quin catholici praesertim iuvenes in spem Ecclesiae succrescentes, qui ad philosophica ac theologica studia secundum Aquinatis doctrinam sectanda se conferunt, perlegendis S. Bonanventurae operibus plurimam utilitatem sint hausturi, atque ex amborum scriptis, quasi ex praecipuis armamentariis, gladios ac tela sumant quibus in teterrimo bello adversus Ecclesiam ipsamque humanam societatem commoto hostes superare strenue queant. Haec itaque, quae scripsimus, et tibi dilecte fili, et sodalibus tui Ordinis Collegio S. Bonaventurae addictis solatio atque incitamento sint ut incoeptum opus alacriter absolvere pergant. Praecipuae vero dilectionis Nostrae testem ac caelestium munerum auspicem, Apostolicam benedictionem tibi atque ipsis peramanter in Domino impertimus.

Datum Romae apud S. Petrum, die XIII Decembris anno MDCCCLXXXV Pontificatus Nostri Octavo.

Leo PP. XIII

POPE LEO XIII

TO MY BELOVED SON

Father Bernardino di Porto Romantino
MINISTER GENERAL OF THE ORDER OF MINORS

Health and Apostolic Benediction.

Because you had decided to publish all the works of the Seraphic Doctor as a whole, We felt no moderate joy of soul; now indeed with great pleasure We understand that a hand was happily moved to execute that same counsel. For almost nearly at the beginning of Our Pontificate, We had commanded1 nothing more apt to fight against the errors of our times, nothing more efficacious to confirm the truth, so that the excelling wisdom of the greatest Scholastic Masters may flow as far and wide as possible, and had given the command to publish that pre-eminent edition of their works complete in all their entirety [numberis omnibus], by no means have We been able to praise sufficiently your proposal, by which, with the writings of St. Bonaventure published, catholic youth would be inflamed to studiously cultivate even the scholastic disciplines. How much intimate friendship [necessitudo] among St. Thomas and the Seraphic Doctor, how much similarity of holiness and of doctrine passed between them, is thoroughly experienced by all [omnibus in comperto est]. And Our former predecessor [decessor] of holy memory, Sixtus V, most truly affirmed2 them to be « the two olive trees and two candlesticks lighting the house of God, who both with the fat of charity and the light of science » would « entirely illumine the whole Church » and that they came forth « by the singular providence of God at the same time as two stars rising up from the brightest families of regular Orders, which have always stood ready as things most useful to holy Church to defend the catholic religion, and to undertake all labors and dangers for the orthodox faith ». And so most freely did We wish to accept the volumes of the same works offered to Us by yourself as the firstfruits of the entire edition, and that the labors regarded among Us as great, which even from the year 1870 the religious men of your Order, in the College of St. Bonaventure, had begun, be brought to an end, so that a worrk of such weight, committed to them on your authority, would be completed accurately. Nor plainly did Professor Fidelis of Fanna, who, by having carefully sought everywhere throughout Europe for the codices and by having corrected them most diligently according to the rules of the critical art, prepared them: after having been borne off from the living, We understand that [his] colleague Ignatius Jelier is [now] engaged, suffused with the same equal devotion [studio] and with the same counsels to undertake the matter in the same manner. Nor alone indeed is the prudent judgement in the choice of each single thing, but also the accurate emendations of the text, and the optimum literary form to be comended before all else. Moreover most agreeable was the proposal to add opportune observations or scholia in each of the books, so that there may manifestly appear the harmony of those doctrines, by which [harmony], [as] We said before, those pre-eminent minds of the two Doctors had been instructed. From which it has even been established that those brightest clamants to the scholastic disciplines by [their] very sharp genius, assiduous study, great labors and vigils have handed on to posterity a precious treasury of doctrine from the wise men of past ages, gathered indeed chiefly from the most holy Fathers of the Church, and cumulatively englarged in many ways. On which account in no manner must it be doubted, but rather are catholics, especially the youth growing up in the hope of the Church, who devote themselves to attending philosophical and theological studies according to the doctrine of Aquinas, to drink up the most utility by reading through the works of St. Bonaventure, and from the writings of them both, as from a pre-eminent armory, may they take up swords and javelines with which they may be able to strenously conquer the enemy in the most hideous war stirred up against the Church and human society itself. And so, may these things, of which We have written, both to you, beloved son, and to the members of your Order [who have been] bound to the College of St. Bonaventure, be as a solace and incitement to proceed swiftly to acquit yourselves of the unfinished work. Indeed as a witness of our pre-eminent dilection and as an omen of hevenly gifts, We very lovingly in the Lord impart to you and to those same [friars], the Apostolic blessing.

Given at Rome in the Basilica of St. Peter, on the 13th day of December in the year 1885, the eighth of Our pontificate.

Pope Leo XIII


1 Cfr. Leonis PP. XIII, Aeterni Patris, A.D.. 1879.
2 Cfr. Triumphantis Ierusalem, n. 13. Verbum S. Scripturae « duas olivas » sumtum est de Apoc. 11:4.


1 Cf. Pope Leo XII's Encylical on the restoration of theological studies,: Aterni Patris, 1879 A.D..
2 Cf. Triumphantis Ierusalem, n. 13. The reference to the "two olive trees" is taken from Apoc. 11:4.


This English translation has been released to the public domain by its author. Items in square brackets have been added by the translator to clarify the context or indicate the precise Latin word corresponding to the English.