The rigorists, who soon became known as "Spirituals," represented St Francis as the initiator of Joachim's third age.
This book was published with, and as an introduction to, the three principal works of Joachim, in which the Spirituals had made some interpolations.'
The Joachimite ideas were equally persistent among the Spirituals, and acquired new strength with the publication of the commentary on the Apocalypse.
It was decreed that the Benedictine houses of each ecclesiastical province should henceforth be federated for the purposes of mutual help and the maintenance of discipline, and that for these ends the abbots should every third year meet in a provincial chapter (or synod), in order to pass laws binding on all and to appoint visitors who, in addition to the bishops, should canonically visit the monasteries and report on their condition in spirituals and temporals to the ensuing chapter.
Peter of Morrone was in close contact with the Franciscan Spirituals of the extreme type (see Franciscans), and he endeavoured to form an amalgamation between them and his hermits, under the title "Poor Hermits of Celestine."
From this moment Louis appeared in the character of the natural ally and even the protector of the Spirituals against the persecution of the pope.
When news of this affair had reached Paris, the pope sent the general of the Minorites, Gerard Odonis, accompanied by a Dominican, to sustain his doctrine in that city, but King Philip VI., perhaps at the instigation of the refugee Spirituals in Paris, referred the question to the faculty of theology, which, on the 2nd of January 1 333, declared that the souls of the blessed were elevated to the beatific vision immediately after death; the faculty, nevertheless, were of opinion that the pope should have propounded his erroneous doctrine only "recitando," and not "determinando, asserendo, sed etiam opinando."
Clement V., at the council of Vienne, had attempted to bring back the Spirituals to the common rule by concessions; John, on the other hand, in the bull Quorundam exigit (April 13, 1317), adopted an uncompromising and absolute attitude, and by the bull Gloriosam ecclesiam (January 23, 1318) condemned the protests which had been raised against the bull Quorundam by a group of seventy-four Spirituals and conveyed to Avignon by the monk Bernard Delicieux.
Shortly afterwards four Spirituals were burned at Marseilles.
The minister general, Michael of Cesena, though opposed to the exaggerations of the Spirituals, joined with them in protesting against the condemnation of the fundamental principle of evangelical poverty, and the agitation gradually gained ground.
Treatises on poverty appeared on every side; the party of Occam clamoured with increasing imperiousness for the condemnation of John by a general council; and the Spirituals, confounded in the persecution with the Beghards and with Fraticelli of every description, maintained themselves in the south of France in spite of the reign of terror instituted in that region by the Inquisition.