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The largest Franciscan church in the world, the Basilica di Santa Croce contains frescos by Giotto and a chapel in the cloister designed by Filippo Brunelleschi that is considered one of the masterpieces of Renaissance architecture.
According to St. Francis and the Franciscans’ reading of the Bible, Christ told his followers to take on a vow of poverty: “And he said to them: Take nothing for your journey; neither staff, nor scrip, nor bead, nor money; neither have two coats”. So, how did a sect of Catholicism that held a vow of poverty as one of its core values own such a posh church?
Well, in 1322, the Pope declared that the Franciscan’s vow of poverty was illegal, that Christ had in fact, owned property and wanted his followers to own property. This meant, of course, that the Franciscans were forced to collect money and land which in turn go to the Pope, proving that Biblical interpretation can be surprisingly profitable (especially if you’re the Pope).