PopeWatch: Progressive Inquisition?

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Rorate Caeli has commentary by Italian journalist Antonio Socci, a long time observer of the Vatican:

Libero  January 5, 2014

Does the Pope know what they are doing (in his name) to the “Franciscans of the Immaculate”? Just two days ago Francis rightly stated that “ the Gospel is not proclaimed with beatings, but with love and kindness.”
Yet, without reason or wrongdoing on their part, the Franciscans of the Immaculate have been stormed, thrashed and trashed. They are razing to the ground one of the few religious orders which is orthodox and full of vocations (and which was esteemed and supported by Benedict XVI).
The worst thing is that the destruction is being perpetrated in the name of Francis. But is it possible that the Pope of kindness approves of these methods and persecution?
Moreover, the “Franciscans of the Immaculate” in the all-over disaster of religious orders (without vocations, often in doctrinal and disciplinary crisis, with many well-known errors) should be held as an example: in fact they live radically in poverty – living by charity, they have many vocations, lead a tough ascetic life, they do many works of charity for the poor and outcast, proclaim the Good News with missionary zeal and are obedient to the Church (during these past months of repression they have suffered everything in meekness and silence).
Many of the faithful have been shocked at the great tenacity by which the FFI have been targeted. There are people who are crying because of the forced removal of these good friars from the communities where they had been working up until now.
I have never had anything to do with them [directly] but, as an impartial observer, I admire them. And I wonder: why is there such harshness against religious who represent a great example of life and are a true spiritual reference for the faithful?
And yet, never has there been such great tenacity not even in the cases of religious, priests and theologians where there were great doctrinal or disciplinary problems (and others).
For example, the post- Council era was a catastrophe. Tens of thousands threw away their religious habit: “ideas contrasting the revealed Truth which had always been taught, were scattered around [everywhere]” affirmed John Paul II, “very real heresies were spread, in the fields of dogma and morals, creating doubts, confusion, rebellion and the Liturgy was even tampered with; immersed in “intellectual and moral relativism, and therefore in permissiveness, Christians have been tempted to atheism , agnosticism, vaguely moralistic illuminism, and by a sociological Christianity lacking defined dogmas and objective morality.”
Also the Society of Jesus, as Bergoglio knows well, has been in the eye of the storm too and some of its members have fostered theological confusion. Yet there were no measures taken against them like the ones adopted today against the “Franciscans of the Immaculate”
According to official statistics from 1965 (when the Council ended) to 2005, the Members of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) fell by 45 per cent, the Salesians by 45 percent, the Friars Minor by 41per cent, the Capuchins by 29 per cent, the Benedictines by 35 percent and the Dominicans by 39 per cent.
By contrast the “Franciscans of the Immaculate” a religious family founded in the Seventies, by Father Stefano Maria Manelli and Father Gabriele Maria Pellettieri, immediately attracted many vocations.
Go here to read the rest.  In Imperial Russia people opposed to the policies of the government would often say, “If only the Tsar knew.”  Under Stalin, the phrase “If only Stalin knew” was fairly commonplace, if only in whispers.  PopeWatch believes that it can be safely assumed that in most institutions major policies or initiatives have the full support of those at the helm of the institution.  One of themes that Pope Francis has touched upon frequently during his papacy has been tolerance.  If tolerance is not being shown to the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the proper statement is not “If the Pope only knew”, but rather “Why are the Franciscans of the Immaculate seemingly not covered by the tolerance that the Pope preaches?”

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  1. Thanks for the link to the rest of the article and your post. Full of information about what is apparently an ongoing tug of war on the bridge of our ship.

    John Bosco pray for us! (Remember his dream about our help from Mary and from the Eucharist?)

  2. “Under Stalin, the phrase ‘If only Stalin knew’ was fairly commonplace, if only in whispers..” If you read Simon Sebag Montefiore’s “In the Court of the Red Tsar”, of course the fact was that Stalin DID know everything that was happening. I think this Pope who commented in one interview that he was “cunning”, does know what is happening to the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate, and since we know from Evan. Gaudium more about his prejudices (“self-absorbed Promethean neo-pelagianists”) against trads, everything is quite proceeding according to plan.

  3. This is certainly difficult to understand. Maybe some clarification will emerge over the next month or so, but if not, perhaps the voice of the Church – the laity – needs to be raised to request – no demand – an explanation – not just on blogs, but to the Holy Father himself, who needs to provide that explanation and justification for this action.

  4. I do not have details but my Catholic news services (on line) mentioned a meeting of Pope Francis with members of the Franciscans of the Immaculata in his surprise visit to Santa Maria Maggiore [Saint Mary Major] on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Of course I doubt that the whole order was there but I cannot find any details, other than the meeting itself. At least “contact has been made” by Pope Francis with the Friars, and apparently initiated by Pope Francis. I read this as positive for all involved. Oremus.

  5. Well, this is good news (Botolph’s report of a meeting between the Franciscans of MI and the Holy Father @ St Mary Major in Rome). It has to at least show he is interested in them and wants to address their issue, personally. This shows a bit of courage on his part (because of course it involves risk on his part).

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