CAPUCHINS. An off-shoot of the Franciscans (q.v.), or rather of a branch of the Franciscans, the Observant Ines (q.v.). The Observatines adhered to the strict rule of Francis of Assisi. Matteo di Bassi of Urbino was one of them, being a member of the Observantine fraternity at Monte Falco. He came to the conclusion, however, that the hood (capieche) used by St. Francis was different from that adopted afterwards by the Franciscan monks. In 152G, therefore, he went to Pope Clement VII., and obtained permission " to put on a pyramidal capuche, to wear a long beard, to live as a hermit, and to preach wherever he liked, on the condition that he should report once every year at the provincial chapter of the Observants [Observantines] " (Schaff-Herzog). But the Observantines regarded him as an apostate. He was joined by others, and the new body was befriended by the Conventuals. In 1528 the Capuchins or Fratres Minores Capuzini were confirmed by Pope Clement VII. as a separate congregation, but were placed under the authority of the Conventuals. It was agreed that they
should be allowed to live the hermit life, to wear beards, and to use the pyramidal capuche. " They should have only a vicar-general, and he should be confirmed by the general of the Conventuals; they should be subject to visitations from the chapter of the Conventuals; when walking in a procession, they should walk under the cross of the Conventuals, and not under a cross of their own, etc." (Schaff-Herzog). In 1619 they obtained more inde pendence, when they were allowed to walk in procession under a cross of their own, and to have their own general. Before this the Order had spread from Italy to France. Germany, and Spain. In France and Germany the Order was abolished in the eighteenth century: but in Austria. Switzerland, and the British Isles it still flourishes. In 1534 an Order of Capuchin nuns was founded in Italy. See Schaff-Herzog; the Oath. Encycl.