More on the Crackdown on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

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 A follow up to a post, go here to read it, on the actions taken against the Friars of the Immaculate.


From Vatican Insider:



The decision to appoint a commissioner to oversee the Congregation of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and the need for the order to obtain authorisation before it can celebrate Mass according to the Old Rite has sparked a heated debate. Traditionalist blogs and websites have voiced disagreements over this. Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi says the decision does not go against Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio but is exclusively to do with existing tensions within the Institute. Vatican Insider asked Fr. Alessandro Apollonio, the Procurator General of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate to answer some questions regarding the decision.



Why did the Vatican decide to send an apostolic visitor to your Institute?

“Because a few of the friars who don’t agree with the founding Father and Minister general’s style asked for it. They also disagree with his eagerness to promote the Vetus Ordo within the Institute, alongside the Novus Ordo, in accordance with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae.”



To what extent did the issue of the use of the old missal influence the decision to send an apostolic visitor?

“It had a big influence on the decision because the group of friars I mentioned before accused the founding Father of imposing the Vetus Ordo on the whole Institute. Although the accusation is completely unfounded, people believed it and our attempts to prove it was false proved futile. This false accusation has spread like an oil slick, with various newspapers and news agencies passing it on. This has seriously harmed the good name of the Institute’s founding Father.”



Traditionalist blogs and websites have reacted to this news – and to the decision that prior authorisation will have to be obtained before the Institute can celebrate Mass according to the Old Rite – by saying that these decisions disavow Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio. Do you agree with this interpretation? What can you say about these decisions?

“Fr. Lombardi has clearly stated that the decisions taken regarding our Institute are not a disavowal of the Motu Proprio. However, we are still waiting for an authentic interpretation of the Holy See’s liturgical provisions for our Institute. For example, it is still unclear who exactly the “competent authorities” who will give the aforementioned authorization, are. Will it be the commissioner, the Congregation for Religious, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the local ordinary, one of these or all of these? We hope this is just a temporary disciplinary provision and that we will soon be given authorisation to celebrate according to the Vetus Ordo also, as we have always done. Without all the current restrictions which – unless a better reason can be given – deprive us of the universal right granted to us in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and the Instruction Universae Ecclesiae.”


I think this has been handled in an incredibly ham-fisted manner, and I hope that Pope Francis will act to correct what appears to be a manifest injustice to one of the orders that is a light to the Church.

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  1. Once in a while, in times of trouble, one has the urge to Do Something. Right or wrong, left or right…just don’t sit there! DoSomething!

    and maybe the heat is turned up by partisan advisors, or maybe all the background info isn’t take into account. (I am also thinking of how a sudden forceful statement from the bishop concerning political correctness and immigration last week left many of us slack-jawed)

    I am not schooled in these matters, so i have this question: Not a matter of dogma- but just a rule the pope can make; could the pope also walk it back???

  2. I wish I could edit out that question. Sorry Donald. I wrote that before I finished reading your post. I was too busy thinking about a different pronouncement that I considered ill advised.

  3. Obviously, special questions arise over capitular and conventual masses. One recalls that Quo Primum, which introduced the Tridentine use made rather elaborate provisions for those cathedral chapters and religious orders that qualified for exemption under the 200 year rule, in some cases requiring unanimity for any change.

    It is, perhaps, worth recollecting that, in France particularly, attachment to these “usus antiquiores,” legitimate as they were, became the badge of a faction unduly attached to the traditional liberties and immunities of the Gallican Church and suspicious of the actions of papal authority, which they readily ascribed to the pope’s “evil counsellors” This party is portrayed as notable for stiff reserve,
    precise moral carriage, and a species of decorum amounting almost to moroseness – plus ça change…

  4. I sure hate when at times we act like “protestants” on our own legal, liturgical matters. Yes, we should police abuses (but let them be true abuses). Not those dreamed up by rogue SSPXers that do not have concerns for the one, true, holy, apostolic church.

  5. It is appalling that, of all the Catholic orders that exist, the ones who get the crackdown are the FFI.

    I pray for (not often enough) Pope Francis. Yet, I see him overmatched for the job. His Italian is poor. He doesn’t speak English. His archdiocese was on the other side of the world from Rome and he has little use for traditional Latin Catholicism.

  6. Penguins Fan

    Bear in mind that this was not a spontaneous interference, but a response to an appeal. The Holy See first of all appointed an Apostolic Visitor to investigate and report. This would suggest that tensions existed that needed to be addressed.

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