Story on the Friars of the Immaculate Goes Viral

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Rorate Caeli has succeeded in having the story of the persecution of the Friars of the Immaculate, go here to read all about it, go viral, the story having been picked up by the Associated Press:

Below you will find a story from the Associated Press following our report on the breathtaking crackdown on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FI) by order of Pope Francis. Good reporting from AP’s Nicole Winfield ensures this story is told to a world-wide audience and that, God willing, relief for the order will come soon.

Read Rorate’s report here for what prompted this story to now go viral.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis may have been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, but he has come under scathing criticism from a growing number of traditionalist Catholics for cracking down on a religious order that celebrates the old Latin Mass. The case has become a flashpoint in the ideological tug-of-war going on in the Catholic Church over Francis’ revolutionary agenda, which has thrilled progressives and alarmed some conservatives.
The matter concerns the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, a small but growing order of several hundred priests, seminarians and nuns that was founded in Italy in 1990 as an offshoot of the larger Franciscan order of the pope’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.
Then-Pope Benedict XVI launched an investigation into the congregation after five of its priests complained that the order was taking on an overly traditionalist bent, with the old Latin Mass being celebrated more and more at the expense of the liturgy in the vernacular.
While the order was in turmoil, the dispute at its core comes down to differing interpretations of the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council, which include the use of local languages in Mass that some considered a break with the church’s tradition.
Benedict, a great admirer of the pre-Vatican II Mass, had relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass in 2007.
The Vatican in July named the Rev. Fidenzio Volpi, a Franciscan Capuchin friar, as a special commissioner to run the order with a mandate to quell the dissent that had erupted over the liturgy, improve unity within its ranks and get a handle on its finances. In the same decree appointing Volpi, Francis forbade the friars from celebrating the old Latin Mass unless they got special permission, a clear rollback from Benedict’s 2007 decision.
In the weeks that followed, four tradition-minded Italian intellectuals wrote to the Vatican accusing it of violating Benedict’s 2007 edict by restricting the Latin Mass for the friars, saying the Holy See was imposing “unjust discrimination” against those who celebrate the ancient rite.
Volpi though was undeterred: He sent their founder, the Rev. Stefano Maria Manelli, to live in a religious home while he set about turning the order around [Rorate note: Fr. Manelli is basically on house arrest, not even permitted to speak to his family or friends].
And on Dec. 8, he took action, issuing a series of sanctions in the name of the pope that have stunned observers for their seeming severity: He closed the friars’ seminary and sent its students to other religious universities in Rome. He suspended the activities of the friars’ lay movement. He suspended ordinations of new priests for a year and required future priests to formally accept the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and its new liturgy or be kicked out. And he decreed that current priests must commit themselves in writing to following the existing mission of the order.
In a letter detailing the new measures, Volpi accused friars loyal to Manelli of seeking to undermine him and even accusing some of embezzlement. He denounced a cult of personality that has grown around Manelli, saying it “reveals a great spiritual poverty and psychological dependence that is incompatible with” the life in a religious community.
The sanctions seem harsh when compared to recent actions taken by the Vatican against other much larger religious orders or groups found to have doctrinal or other problems, such as the Holy See’s crackdown on social justice-minded American nuns or the Vatican’s reform efforts of the disgraced Legion of Christ. In both cases, a papal envoy was named to rewrite constitutions or statutes and oversee reforms, but Volpi’s actions with the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate would appear to go much further.
Traditionalists have charged that a double standard is at play, with a conservative, tradition-minded order being targeted for particular sanction on ideological grounds by a pope with a progressive bent.
Go here to read the rest.  It will be good to see what Pope Francis’ stated desire for a more transparent Church will mean, or not mean, in regard to all of this, as the furor over this builds, and it will build.

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  1. Latin is a dead language. There can be no cultural changes in the meaning of Latin words. Besides, Latin words have gender, male, female and neuter, giving the words a life among people. Since Vatican II gender inclusive language has been literally imposed upon the people by power rather than by wisdom. “Jesus took a child and placed “it” in their midst” It? Not he? Gender reassignment without surgery? ” “It”can never refer to a human being, a person. The pronouns “he”, “she” and “who” can only be used to refer to a person who is a human being. Wisdom is a virtue to which a feminine gender has been assigned by man. Man is a human being to whom a gender has been assigned by God.
    Nicole Winfield’s writing and reporting is superb.
    While Pope Francis may intend to avoid a cult of personality, our Pope Francis is opening the windows of the church that the smoke of Satan may enter. God is a woman, God has no gender, the liturgy is not based on Tradition, Tradition has no place in the liturgy, the liturgy is what Vatican II says it is. Altar rails were removed. As the population aged, the old folks needed the altar rail to hang onto or push off after receiving the Eucharist. The practical purposes of the altar rail were dismissed. Try kneeling without kneelers on a sloping floor. It is so uncomfortable, it might be considered part of the arena. Removing the Blessed Sacrament to the sacristy, removing the beauty of the stained glass windows, and the atrocious music of you know what. Talking, clapping , and profaning of consecrated, washed hands. Try praying in church after Mass. Irreverence for the Real Presence and disrespect for the pious. Does Pope Francis dare to ask for prayers after he has scattered the sheep?
    Nothing like a few heresies to liven up any liturgy.

  2. Thank you Mary DeVoe for expressing your deep love of the Lord and respect for the wisdom of the Church over the long ages.

  3. Mary put it much more eloquently that I did. Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and according to Fr. Z., Jesuits tend not to be concerned about observing the rubrics of the Liturgy.

  4. Two points

    (1) Whatever the rival merits of the ordinary and extraordinary forms, I would suggest special considerations apply to capitular and conventual masses, attendance at whichis obligatory for the whole chapter or community. It is worth noting that, in Quo Primum, made special provision that those not bound to adopt the Tridentine rite were only to do so “with the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter.”

    (2) In his interview in America Magazine, the Holy Father said, “I think the decision of Pope Benedict [his decision of July 7, 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity. What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.” It would be disingenuous to deny that, in some quarters, the Extraordinary Form has become the badge of a faction. It is well to recall the words of Bl John Henry Newman, in describing what he called, “the proper disposition towards heresy and schism,” “they rely on things more than on persons, and go through a round of duties in one and the same way, because they are used to them, and because in consequence they are attached to them, not as having any intelligent faith in a divine oracle which has ordered them.”

  5. That folks who love and participate in the EF are upset is completely understandable in my eyes. Having said that, however, I would ask for all to consider the stakes. The stakes are NOT the continued participation in the EF. This is NOT going to be taken away, although it seems that some are portraying it that way and of course the rest fear it.

    Now I ask that we all pause, take a breath and think: if this were ONLY about a squabble among the friars about the celebration of the EF or OF, do you really think Pope Benedict would have got involved, set up a commission etc to study it. One call from him or someone with authority would have ended that senseless squabble [that is what that would be: senseless; it is like someone from the Roman Rite saying that my rite is better than the Melkite Rite. That would be just plain nuts]

    Something else was going on among the Friars-that some (my guess traditionalist forces in Rome) are misleading now ‘the world’ and putting all the blame on Pope Francis. It was Pope Benedict, the very author of Summorum Pontificem, who set up this commission. It was not merely what form of the Mass to be celebrated that was the issue. From the very article above, these things have come out:
    1)radical questioning of the validity of the OF of the Rman RIte [remember this has nothing to do with perferences, likes or even criticisms of the OF. This is a radical questioning that it is indeed “Mass”, that those participating are not participating in Mass, receiving Holy Communion etc. AND are themselves out of communion with the Catholic Church. All Catholics participating in the OF are out of communion? Really?
    2)Of course this also implies a radical questioning of Vatican II-I am not speaking of genuine criticisms etc I am speaking about radical questioning the authenticity, and authority of an Ecumenical Council
    3)This radical questioning was apparently institutionalized in their seminary, necessitating its being closed, one year hiatus on ordinations to sift out who really denies VII and the OF, and the need to send the other Friar-seminarians to the other seminaries in Rome.
    4)There is very serious questioning of the form of religious life the Friars have taken on. In this case, much like the Legionnaires of Christ, the order fosters a ‘dependency’ and cult-like adhearance to the founder. Let me tell you that did not happen with St Benedict, Francis, or Ignatius of Loyola, as loved and appreciated as they were.
    5) finally, there is a question of embezzlement-whether that is actually true, there are major questions of a financial nature

    I repeat. I gleaned those five facts from the article above. Pope Benedict was no despiser of the EF, nor was he out to get the Friars—-this is all what the ‘forces’ militating against these disciplines are conveniently forgetting.

    That some groups, such as the American Women’s Religious group, the LCWR are not being totally taken over etc is a valid criticism-of how they are being dealt with. However, what is happening with this sad case is pretty bleak–if you keep to the facts.

  6. The comparison of this “Cartago delenda est” destruction of the FFI to the kid-gloving of the Legion of Christ is very telling.

    Apparently, being “crypto-Lefebvrian and definitely traditionalist” is a worse sin than knowingly venerating and protecting a monstrous, perverted fraud and grafter like Maciel.

    Moral of the story: have deep pockets and don’t celebrate the Extraordinary Form.

  7. Apparently, being “crypto-Lefebvrian and definitely traditionalist” is a worse sin than knowingly venerating and protecting a monstrous, perverted fraud and grafter like Maciel.

    I have seen allegations about and finding of multifarious sex offenses, some dating from ca. 1955, some much later. Was he really all that? Just who in the order knew (and continued venerating him all the same)?

  8. “[Papal Visitor Fidenzio Volpe] suspended ordinations of new priests for a year and required future priests to formally accept the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and its new liturgy or be kicked out..” This becomes intriguing. So the issue once again is Vatican II, Vatican II, Vatican II. Yet there was no new theology taught at this council, it being “a pastoral council”. But it is the summative statement of Catholic faith that one must “practice” Vatican II teachings. Really? What are they?

  9. Steve Phoenix

    “Yet there was no new theology taught at this council…”

    It would be more accurate to say that no new articles of faith were defined at the council. In its dogmatic constitutions, there is a re-presentation of existing doctrine. Now, the explication of the deposit of faith is precisely the task of theology and these documents certainly are new theological reflections that inform the council’s pastoral teaching.

    The ordinary form of the Roman rite was no more the product of the council than the missal of Pius V was produced by Trent. It rests on pontifical legislation, specifically the Apostolic Constitution, Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI, promulgated on 3 April 1969.

  10. Please, do train me, Michael: “In [Vat2’s] dogmatic constitutions, there is a re-presentation of existing doctrine. Now, the explication of the deposit of faith is precisely the task of theology and these documents certainly are new theological reflections.” Pray, tell: what are these “new theological reflections” that Vat2 that are now new dogmas (or arent they?), which Fr. Volpe advocates the Franciscans/MI must practice; else they are not Catholic enough, their seminarians cannot be ordained, etc. And the liturgy of Vat 2 must be adhered to? Yet, the liturgy of Trent formalized Quo Primum, which was the same liturgy prior to Trent, wasnt it? (A. Yes it was). Can you say the same thing of Vat2, where the liturgy of Vat 2 (which was the TLM), which Sacro Concilium says should be normatively in Latin, which somehow the post-council “Concilium” found itself authorized to change mysteriously the words of institution, and which substituted mysteriously formulated new “Eucharistic Prayers”, a Mass which should utilize Gregorian chant as its music and the organ as its instrument, and which no where states that the Tridentine Mass was to be abrogated (yet it was),… Yes, please instruct me how this is the “same” Mass as before.

  11. I don’t like to call it the mass of Vat2. because I don’t blame Vat 2 for it. As you know Sac. Concil. did not impose the changes that we see now. (read Father Fessio)
    the fault is not with the documents of Vat2, but with the opportunists of the Consilium and the rebellious spirit that pushed the tide of reform past what had been envisioned at Vat 2 or by the renewal. Perhaps the wording of the theological reflections was such that opportunists could do so.
    The same spirit of rebellion had evidenced itself earlier on the very day of Paul Vi’s promulgation of Humanae Vitae.

  12. I whole-heartedly agree, Anzlyne, with your observation about the Mass of Vat2 not corresponding with the constitutions and decrees of Vat2: the opportunists of the Consilium taking over the Mass (read Weakland’s proud crowing about helping Bugnini design the New Mass inhis memoirs, A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church), operating entirely on their own. I especially subscribe to Romano Amerio’s comment that the “Spirit of Vat2” (he calls it a circiterism, a vague phrase or wording which is used as though a very certain and defined term), which is used to dragoon everyone into being FOR Vatican 2 or AGAINST Vatican 2, Catholic or NOT Catholic. Paul VI, Benedict XVI and even JP2 all clearly stated in different levels of authority that Vat2 was not a dogmatic council and did not define new doctrine. But now we are told there are “new theological reflections” that one must hold and believe, or you are going to be pronounced apostate. I am fascinated. What are these “new dogmas”, anyone, tell me, please.

  13. yes- Michael P-S said “The ordinary form of the Roman rite was no more the product of the council than the missal of Pius V was produced by Trent. ” …pontiifical legislation..
    .and I have heard that the pope accepted the mass when they gave him their finished product with tears in his eyes; and also that he had never expected the ordinary of the mass not to be in latin.

    The duplicity and treachery of men like Weakland etal.
    Just reading the reference to Weakland’s name makes me upset. not just because of our families struggles with same sex issues, but upset for all the Church. Who can we trust. Should not be a question.

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