Saint Francis in some of his conversations with his friars stated that he did not want them to live in monasteries or friaries that many patrons wanted to build for them. He did not want them to become scholars or amass great collections of books, and he did not want them to become priests. In his humble lifestyle he wanted to rebuild the Church which had grown increasingly corrupt. Though Francis did not want his friars to become priests, he did want those friars to be obedient to those priests. Though he might have viewed the priests of the day as arrogant and corrupt, he realized that they alone could offer the sacraments.
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,but do not follow their example.
He understood the gospel reading Mt 23:1-12 well, he understood what the chair of Moses signified. The role and the authority of “the chair” maintained importance, those occupying them could stand some improvement. Francis, like Christ, did not call for an abolishment of the religious institutions; but called for a reform or change of heart. He called for them, those ordained, to return to their mission, and perhaps for their followers,his friars and the commoner sitting in a pew, to lead those in authority by example. Francis understood the importance of authority, but also understood the pitfalls that those in authority often face. By positioning his Friars far from those pitfalls, they then could provide the means to draw those that were in trouble into a different direction. Using his approach, which must have been greatly influenced by this gospel, he restored the Church from within while still remaining faithful to that chair. I think Francis understood this gospel passage very well