Sisters of the Immaculate Placed Under Visitation

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Well, I guess the ongoing persecution of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate was not sufficient for the powers that be at the Vatican.  Rorate Caeli gives us the disheartening details:

 

 

There can be no further doubts for anyone who still had any. There exists a plan for the systematic destruction of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, the two Religious Institutes founded by Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli currently caught up in the storm.

On Monday 19 May 2014 João Cardinal Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, informed the Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate that he was to appoint, with immediate effect, a “Visitor” for the Institute with utmost powers which would make her a sort of “Commissar.” At the Generalate in Frattocchie near Rome, Sister Fernanda Barbiero of the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy, a “grown-up” and “up-to-date” nun with moderately feminist tendencies and a follower (although somewhat later than all his other followers) of Jacques Maritain, has already been installed.

The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate are a Religious Institute of Pontifical Right distinguished by its very young average age, high number of locations, and especially the strictness of their charism in accordance with the Rule of St. Francis. Many of them are living an intense missionary apostolate in Africa, Brazil, and the Philippines, and others are living the contemplative life in a spirit of asceticism and prayer. The Sisters, drawing inspiration from St. Maximilian Kolbe, run publishing houses, radio stations, and print many popular magazines. This great apostolate, together with their love for Tradition, is certainly one of the reasons for the hatred many feel towards the Sisters and towards their Confreres (the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate).

On 11 July 2013, Cardinal Braz de Aviz entrusted running of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate to an “Apostolic Commissar” who, in less than one year, has shattered the Order and forced some of the best Friars to ask for dispensation from their vows and to leave an Institute which now looks like a bomb site, and they have tried to live their vocation to the Priesthood elsewhere.

Go here to read the rest.  There are powerful forces within the Church who hate and despise Catholicism as it has been practiced for almost 2000 years, and the persecution of the Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate is merely a manifestation of this hatred.  Prisoner 16670 pray for us.

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37 Comments

  1. We don’t have them down here, but have been watching this develop. Has there been any public disclosure for why this is happening? Seems strange – even bizarre, or demonic – that an apparently totally orthodox order should be so persecuted.

  2. Let’s see… a thriving, tradition-loving congregation of sisters, without the
    least scandal or controversy surrounding them, is put at the tender mercies
    of a Visitor, who’ll fix what’s wrong with them.
    .
    On the other hand, we have the Sinsinawa Dominicans here in the States.
    One of their sisters, Sr. Donna Quinn, was outed working as a volunteer at
    a Chicago-area abortion facility
    . Turned out that her fellow sisters had
    known about Sr. Donna’s day job for a good while, but they chose to circle the
    wagons. With the glare of publicity making the sister’s lives uncomfortable,
    Sr. Donna pinky-swore never to work for an abortion facility again (but she
    still lobbies and lectures on behalf of “women’s reproductive health”). The
    Sinsinawa Dominicans, of course, never had a Visitor assigned to sort out
    the hash of their increasingly older, smaller congregation.
    .
    I think I see the problem now…

  3. Congregation ‘for’ Institutes of Consecrated Life, indeed. The word ‘visitor’ takes on a dark and cold connotation now.

    Wonder whether there is some disorder of the minds involved in these decisions, in light of the tolerance and lack of restraint for rampant profanity from the politically vocal women religious elsewhere who don’t welcome visitors.

    The book, “Rule of Francis”, describes an orderly way of life with a view to Heaven and could be valuable for vocations in married or single lives as well.

    I think the Congregation is not for support of the Latin Mass or actual religious life. May their consciences have a visitor.

  4. I think someone once said something about the “smoke of satan” entering somewhere or other. Perhaps he was right. I will pray for them all. I just hope that after examples such as these, faithful Catholics see with greater clarity where the real problem is in the Church. I routinely ask myself, where are the adults in charge?

  5. St. Maximilian Kolbe is praying for them!
    He knows the brutality of beasts.
    He lived it throughly.
    Being tested is part of our journey.
    Being tested by the Apostolic Commissar is truly disheartening however this is an opportunity for the community to draw closer to the suffering Kolbe. The suffering Christ! They are in my prayers!

  6. I find it very odd indeed that “a follower…of Jacques Maritain” should be used as a term of reproach.

    Jacques Maritain, like Maurice Blondel and Étienne Gilson, was one of a group of philosophers and theologians, that recovered the authentic teaching of St Thomas from the Neo-Thomists that were, in the words of Cardinal Henri de Lubac, “destroying Christian thought.”

    I cannot help but see a delicious irony in the present position of soi-disant “traditionalists”; a movement that originally championed orthodoxy has come to defend freedom; begun in opposition to religious liberalism, it now appeals to liberal values for its survival.

  7. Don the Kiwi,
    I surmise by watching this that they are being given such attention because Rome fears groups that could schism ( those who allow anti Vatican II speech…the Latin Mass is minor to Rome except when it is coerced as part of an anti Vat.II ideology) and She fears groups who schism far more than Rome fears heretics because once those orthodox people schism, they take with them priests who perform the sacraments in such wise that a canon lawyer is needed to advise those who unwittingly receive them. From the wiki article on the canonical situation of the society of St. Pius X:
    ” In a letter dated 23 May 2008, the Commission ( Ecclesia Dei) stated: “The Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony, however, require that the priest enjoys the faculties of the diocese or has proper delegation. Since that is not the case with these priests, these sacraments are invalid. It remains true, however, that, if the faithful are genuinely ignorant that the priests of the Society of St. Pius X do not have proper faculty to absolve, the Church supplies these faculties so that the sacrament is valid (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 144).”
    Traditionalist Catholics schism at times while heretics merely drift off to themselves or in groups that few would mistake for a valid Catholic church parish. The “corruption of the best is worst”…applies here.
    Christ said that people would know He came from the Father by the unity of the Church which means schism obscures to the whole world that Christ came from the Father.
    ” ..That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Jn.17:21 DR.
    God now is faced with Christianity having a myriad of pieces….so how is e.g. Japan to know that Christ came from the Father. Hence Rome wants no more pieces.

  8. “I cannot help but see a delicious irony in the present position of soi-disant “traditionalists”; a movement that originally championed orthodoxy has come to defend freedom; begun in opposition to religious liberalism, it now appeals to liberal values for its survival.”

    Rubbish MPS. First, the freedom of the Catholic Church has ever been an essential part of Catholic teaching, and that freedom consists in Catholics being able to worship according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Second, there is nothing “soi distant” about the Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate. The contempt that some “soi distant” Catholics have for those Catholics who strive, always imperfectly, to follow the orthodox teachings of the Catholic Church is beyond shameful.

  9. If one wants to defend the sisters, writing an article praising Society of St. Pius X over legitimate Vatican authorities is not the way to do it.

    The recent “blunt” statement to the LWCR and recent excommunication of the We Are Church founders makes me rather skeptical that there is any liberal conspiracy in the Vatican.

    If the Sisters are doing God’s will, the Vatican won’t be able to stop them. If they are straying from the faith, the whole thing will fall apart, as it should.

  10. Folks,
    Go to the order’s own website…Air Maria’s Sep. 2013 version of Vatican polling of friars on problems in the order and it is not a handfull of friars who were open to Vatican oversight.
    Even on the nuns sector, 85% of 53% of vowed Friars were open to Vatican intervention. I quote:
    ” Finally, with regard to the relationship of the Superior General with the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, 47% of the friars claimed that all is well, while 53% said that there are problems. Of these latter, 85% said that the problems are only resolvable with either an extraordinary Chapter or the appointment of a Commissioner.”
    See more at: http://airmaria.com/2013/09/30/the-truth-about-the-appointment-of-a-commissioner-to-the-franciscans-of-the-immaculate/#sthash.OJPu0Maq.dpuf

    On the manner of the Latin Mass being prioritized, the article notes 77% of 64% wanting intervention or a special general chapter:
    ” Sept 24, 2013…Publication of data from an internal questionnaire: Regarding the old Mass, 64% of the friars stated that there are problems, and as many as 77% of these said that they could only be resolved with an extraordinary General Chapter or by the appointment of a Commissioner over the Institute.”

  11. “Go to the order’s own website…Air Maria’s Sep. 2013 version of Vatican polling of friars on problems in the order and it is not a handfull of friars who were open to Vatican oversight.
    Even on the nuns sector, 85% of 53% of vowed Friars were open to Vatican intervention. I quote:”

    Hilarious. That survey is as worthless as election results in the old Soviet Union.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/12/19/rorate-caeli-responds-to-catholic-world-report-on-the-friars-of-the-immaculate/

  12. Donald,
    You’re saying that lumping ” extraordinary general chapter” with Vatican intervention skews the results.
    Eliminate then Vatican intervention entirely…entirely. That still means that 85% of 53% saw an ” extraordinary general chapter” as needed for the nuns….and 77% of 64% as wanting an extraordinary general chapter for Latin Mass matters. That’s if we unfairly skew things against air maria…an order web site.

  13. What Dale Price said:

    “Tomato, tomah-to. The friars, or their boosters, are now complaining about how the the number of complainants was not enough (or, in your words, not the huge majority necessary) to warrant a commissioner, even though the investigation is already well underway (and even though Fr Bruno has already backhandedly conceded that the initial report was misleading).”

    Sigh. No. One last time. I and my co-workers are given a multiple choice survey question about temperature and comfort in the work place during a typical midwestern summer.

    A and B represent “It’s too cold” answers, and C and D “it’s too hot.”

    Answer C says, “It’s too hot, please make sure the average temperature does not rise above 75 degrees.”

    Answer D says “It’s too hot–we need to make sure the average temperature does not rise above 55 degrees.”

    The management announces that, on the basis of the fact that 61 percent of the employees think the office is too hot, the temperature will not go above 55 degrees. But they won’t give us the percentage split between those who voted to work in a meatlocker vs. those who wanted relief from the heat. It might suggest that Mr. Coldcuts rigged the game a little bit to get the solution he wanted. As applied to the FFI, the failure to explain the level of discontent suggests hammer-swinger eager to treat yet another problem like a nail. And, again, the discrepancy in treatment between the FFI and more aberrant groups like the LCs and Neocatechumenate, both of which had or have serious issues, is left entirely unaddressed. –

    See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/12/19/rorate-caeli-responds-to-catholic-world-report-on-the-friars-of-the-immaculate/#sthash.pKd8yf0y.dpuf

    I think the survey was cooked to get the desired result, and that these interventions are completely transparent attempts to stamp on two orthodox growing orders during the same time that outright heresy in other orders has been given a pass since 1965. We live in dismal times indeed when Orthodox Catholics have to fear both persecution from the World and from those who hold power within the Church.

  14. Don,
    As I said, after artificially removing Vatican intervention entirely from the poll, that leaves 45% of the vowed wanting intervention for Latin Mass matters and 49% of vowed wanting intervention on the nuns.
    I with you do not fathom non intervention where heresy is in religious orders except that schism and thus confusion on the sacraments is a more palpable problem that can be solved without Vatican courts. Heresy requires a Vatican court decision and St. John Paul II lectured those courts on their incredible back log which probably is budget related as to man power. But schism has sacrament problems which prioritize it too.

  15. Bill Bannon is right to point to the danger of schism.

    At its heart is the attempt to identify the true Church by its teaching and the faithful by their tenets, rather than by visible communion with the see of Rome. Implicit in this is a denial of Cardinal Manning’s dictum that “The enunciation of the faith by the living Church of this hour, is the maximum of evidence, both natural and supernatural, as to the fact and the contents of the original revelation. I know what are revealed there not by retrospect, but by listening.”
    His question is apposite, “Do you or do you not believe that there is a Divine Person teaching now, as in the beginning, with a divine, and therefore infallible voice; and that the Church of this hour is the organ through which He speaks to the world ?” Otherwise, the appeal to orthodoxy or tradition, like the Protestant’s appeal to sola scriptura, becomes an exercise in private judgment, to this or that coterie’s or clique’s interpretation of tradition.

  16. “At its heart is the attempt to identify the true Church by its teaching and the faithful by their tenets, rather than by visible communion with the see of Rome.”

    Rubbish on stilts. There was not the slightest danger of schism. What there was a danger of, was that the Friars and the Sisters were demonstrating that the religious life lived without the post Vatican II chaos and secularization is attractive to men and women, as opposed to the dying liberal orders. That could not be tolerated.

  17. “I with you do not fathom non intervention where heresy is in religious orders except that schism and thus confusion on the sacraments is a more palpable problem that can be solved without Vatican courts.”
    [br]
    Except that the same heresy-hotbed orders also breed members who routinely deny the authority of the Church in a host of areas. Every time you hear a progressive bleat about being “prophetic,” they are simply rouging-up their schismatic mentality in flowery language. Never mind that most “prophets” are false…
    [br]
    Maybe that’s the solution: trads should start calling their actions “prophetic.” If nothing else, it highlights the double standard.

  18. [br]”Jacques Maritain, like Maurice Blondel and Étienne Gilson, was one of a group of philosophers and theologians, that recovered the authentic teaching of St Thomas from the Neo-Thomists that were, in the words of Cardinal Henri de Lubac, ‘destroying Christian thought.'”
    [br]

    I like Maritain, and even de Lubac, but that quote from the latter is pure horse-puckey. It sounds like a revolutionary justifying the new order…which he was, and as a card-carrying member, too.

    [br] Lest we forget, Maritain worked closely with the “worst” of the Neo-Thomists, Garrigou-Lagrange, for decades. I agree with Maritain on the political point that destroyed their relationship, but Maritain’s political judgments were less-than at times, too.
    [br]
    The passage of time will determine the value of each school–and I suspect it will be kinder to the neo-Thomists than the Nouvelle partisans are now.

  19. “The passage of time will determine the value of each school–and I suspect it will be kinder to the neo-Thomists than the Nouvelle partisans are now.”

    de Lubac made numerous errors in his understanding of Patristics and Thomas. It just takes a while to develop the body of work that makes Nouvell theology a relic that never should have been.

  20. Phillip

    One recalls that, during a visit to the Institut Catholique in Paris in 1980, Pope St John Paul II interrupted his address at the sight of the priest to say, “I bow my head before Father de Lubac.” Shortly afterwards, he conferred the red hat on him and on Yves Congar and Jean Daniélou

  21. It is not true that a majority of friars wanted intervention and that has been shown. A small number-5- found interested ears in the Vatican and also some of them actively worked for disunity for some time beforehand. If so many friars wanted a modern Capuchin to come in and destroy them, then why is it that so many petitioned Ecclesia Dei and why did all but two of the seminarians wish to remain under the guidance and holy charism of the founders? Why are so many friars petitioning to be released from their vows? It does not add up.

    And the sisters? No dissenters there asking for an outsider who does not share their charism to come in. These holy and self-sacrificing Brides of Christ are being persecuted because they are those things.

    We know that the Church has been infiltrated by masons and homosexuals and with a number of high ranking churchmen spouting off things contrary to the teachings of the faith and also dissenting women ‘religious’ doing whatever they want–and all with impunity…perhaps allowed by those of those infiltrations. NONE of that sort of thing has been cleaned up or out. And so you have the desire to get rid of an Order of prayer and penance which evil cannot stand.

  22. “I cannot help but see a delicious irony in the present position of soi-disant “traditionalists”; a movement… begun in opposition to religious liberalism, it now appeals to liberal values for its survival.” (MPS)

    This twisted reasoning I dont get either, but I think one’s kilt is showing: Somehow, to be a Catholic, as defined by tradition is now an appeal to liberal values? An appeal to liberalism, which is the most authoritarian, domineering mind- and behavioral-control of this age? Liberalism has cornered the market on freedom and so it doesnt think anyone else should be free to serve God according to their calling. Good luck with that.

    And I didnt know that Vatican II was a full endorsement of Congar, de Lubac, and why dont you throw in the now-atheist “post-Catholic” Hans Kung? Is that right? A bitter tree bears bitter fruit. Congar, whose now-available journals reveal a small-minded, bitterly scheming partisan, who took advantage of the trust and good faith of other Council Fathers and periti to co-orchestrate—along with Bea and many other actors—the Council takeover. Too much to believe.

  23. MPS writes, “…begun in opposition to religious liberalism…”
    .
    Pray tell…is there really such a thing as religious liberalism?

  24. I hold Pope Francis personally responsible for this entire mess. Pope Francis is to blame. Pope Francis is an accomodationist – except when it comes to anyone critical of the grand, glorious, most wonderful Second Vatican Council.

    Aviz is a Brazilian modernist. I must pray more for the good friars and sisters of the FFI. If it were my son or daughter who was a member of the FFI, Fr. Volpi and Cardinal Aviz would be tormented by me until their dying days. I despise modernism in the Church. I hated it in Catholic school when we sang God Mixes with Man and other insipid songs with a guitar playing and I hate it now.

  25. I have many questions concerning what is taking place with both the Sisters and the FFI. Something is going on there for all this to be happening, but what? I do not accept that the issue is TLM. The process of looking into the orders began under Pope Benedict’s ministry. Something (or several things) are up-this is more complicated than it appears.

    I sympathize with those who wonder/question why ‘progressive’ religious orders have not also been ‘taken over’ by a Visitation etc. It is a valid question

    However, I must say I was stunned by the article’s inference again Jacques Maritain [I fully realize that the Sisters have nothing to do with that inference]. Jacques Maritain has certainly been considered a solid Catholic Philosopher in the various Thomist Schools. I am actually alarmed by that ‘slur’.

  26. How can a Capuchin and all the latent animosity they have for those they consider not true franciscans, judge a Franciscan of the Immaculate? He would believe they should be all franciscans. It is similar to the mess St JP2 had to sort out with the animosity towards Blessed Mother Teresa. This is where the Marian catechism of Fr John Hardon came from. As St JP2 said to the sister superiors in Rome on their visit from India, “At least now these loving Missionaries of Charity can teach the catechism to those dying, they hold in their arms, in the railway station at Calcutta (Kolkuta)

  27. The friars are not 100% agreeing with traditionalist thinkers they seems to be associated to. The FFI always loved the Pope and hierarchy, SO NO SCHISM RISK has ever been real. Please, don’t believe all the defamations is going on. the FFI and FSI are not even traditionalist! They were bi-ritual! And they don’t burn Maritain books for sure, they were provided good and solid ‘scotist’ theological basis.

  28. Well, Aldo, fat good it did the Franciscans of MI, to not be “schismatic-traditionalists”: for all intents and purposes, their habit might as well have bullseyes painted on them as their order’s crest. All of which makes the pogrom against them, and now the Sisters’ order, all the more insane. Had the FMI been in fact “schismatics”, they would have been able to carry on their liturgical mission and apostolate undisturbed, that apostolate which is worshipping as the Church once always worshipped, and praying as the Church once always believed. If that worship and apostolate was right ‘then’, it is right now; if it was wrong then, then that which passes for liturgy and apostolic work may just as effectively be declared wrong now by anyone.

    And pray, tell me, that there was no discontinuity occassioned by Vatican II? Rubbish on very, very high, tall stilts.

  29. Steve Phoenix wrote, “worshipping as the Church once always worshipped, and praying as the Church once always believed…”
    Reminds me of Bl John Henry Newman’s description of the Greeks and Russians, “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; and that in consequence they would start in irritation, as they have started, from such indications of that Oracle’s existence as is necessarily implied in the promulgation of a new definition of faith.”
    This, he described as “the proper disposition towards heresy and schism” and he draws this contrast, “a ready and easy acceptance of the apparent novelty, and a cordial acquiescence in its promulgation, may be the very evidence of a mind, which has lived, not merely in certain doctrines, but in those doctrines as revealed,—not simply in a Creed, but in its Giver,—or, in other words, which has lived by real faith.”

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