Gregory X had acted in favour of the Order of Saint Augustine during the pre-1274 years of his pontificate but, at the Second Council of Lyons, had to listen to the complaints of the bishops about the papal exemptions from episcopal authority granted to religious orders. The bishops gathered at Lyons called that something be done about it.
In the ecclesiastical politics of the era, to what extent did Gregory X intend the Second Council of Lyons to be only a salutary warning to the Augustinians to mould itself to the needs of the Church and to assist further the local bishops?
To what extent was it a Pope simply demonstrating to the bishops that he too would not like the proliferation of religious orders, but did not see this as being excessive as the bishops did?
After the death of Pope Gregory X , Pope Martin IV (Pope from 1281 to 1285), and especially the first Franciscan friar to become pope, Nicholas IV (Pope from 1288 to 1292), moved slowly on the suppression of religious orders.
These Popes could not but be impressed by the continuous efforts of the third Prior General, Clement of S Elpidio, to give his Order uniformity of habit as well as unity of mind and action. Blessed Clement had but one motto in office: Ut Ordo unus sit (“That the Order be one").
Clement published new liturgical books, held for the first time a General Chapter outside of Italy, and gave the Order a uniform theological teaching in prescribing in 1287 the doctrine of Giles of Rome O.S.A. for all schools of the Order. This devoted and intelligent leadership of the Order was favourably noted by the Papal See. Nicholas IV, therefore, did his share to help and protect the Augustinians.
Cardinal Richard Annibaldi had died in 1257 but no successor to him as Cardinal Protector of the Augustinians had been appointed. One of the first acts of Nicholas IV was to give the Order, in 1288, a new Cardinal Protector, Bernard de Languissel, Archbishop of Porto. The Pope also protected the Order, wherever it was attacked, particularly in Germany and Paris. He chose for his penitentiary Blessed Augustinus Novellus O.S.A.. By his personality and example, this Augustinian holy man exerted a remarkable influence on the Papal Curia.
In 1290 Nicholas IV asked the Prior General and twenty other Augustinians to preach the crusade, and eighteen months later requested thirty more. He sent similar requests to the Dominicans and Franciscans, an indication that the Augustinians now enjoyed a good reputation as preachers.
In August 1294, the brief administration of Pope Celestine V began. As Pietro di Murrhone, he had been taken from his obscure mountain cave in the Abruzzi and consecrated as Pope.
He was a holy man, but totally unsuitable for the position of Pope. On the 13th December 1294, he resigned from the burden of being the Pope, which was excessive for him.
He had not been interested in any decree of suppression of any religious groups.
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