Religion: No Room for St. Francis

St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th century saint-for-all-seasons who founded the Order of Friars Minor, loved the term brother so much that he used it to address all God's creatures. Indeed, his ragged band of followers was at the beginning composed almost entirely of brothers—members of a religious order who are not ordained—and Francis himself chose never to become a priest. Yet for centuries the Franciscans have been governed only by priests, with brothers relegated to minor positions.

In 1967, a worldwide Franciscan general chapter meeting in Assisi voted to end that discrimination....

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