Spirituales (or Spirituals)
Spirituales (Or Spirituals)
is the name given to the stricter party of the Franciscans. Elijah of Cortona attempted, especially after the death of St. Francis, to soften the rigid discipline of the order. Violent discussions arose, and Elijah was twice deposed, but finally reconciled to the Church (1253). The fanaticism of the rigid party increased in proportion as their more lax opponents grew in number. At length the disputants separated, and the stricter party (called Spirituales, Zelatores, Fratricelli) gradually became avowed opponents of the Church and of its rulers who had disowned them, and even denounced the pope as antichrist. They were, consequently, given over to the Inquisition. See Fisher, Hist. of the Ref. p. 57; Kurtz, Church Hist. 1, 108, 4.