A Plea to the Pope




Pat Archbold has been on fire lately.  I gladly join him in his plea to the Pope:

Dear Holy Father,

I urgently need your help and so do others. I have heard all you have been saying for months and I want to believe it is true. I want to believe the you want to decentralize the authority of the Church. I know that you don’t want us to be hung up rules that limit our worship to just one way of doing things, that you want to do away with arbitrary rigidity. I know that you are concerned about the little guy, those in the Church with no voice.

Well, this is where I need your help. Holy Father, there is a group within the Church that currently has no voice and is being abused by that arbitrary, rigid, and centralized Church that is so destructive of evangelization.

Holy Father, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate need your protection from that very Church. As you know, months ago you appointed Rev. Fidenzio Volpi as special commissioner to oversee the FFI after five priests complained about the traditional direction of the order, with Mass in the extraordinary form a particular concern.

At the time, their ability to say mass in the extraordinary form as guaranteed under Summorum Pontificum was suspended. We were assured at the time that this was simply to make sure that those in the order that did not prefer the EF did not have it unfairly forced upon them. While the move was shocking to me and to many in traditionalist circles, we understood the need for fairness for all in this matter and we took a wait and see approach.

We have waited and we have seen. What we have seen has frightened and scandalized us to no end.

In the past few weeks, Fr. Volpi “has closed the friars’ seminary and sent its students to other religious universities. 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.”

Holy Father, we have rarely if ever seen such sanctions even against groups in open defiance of the Church and in open heresy. But why is the Church, this centralized authoritarian Church, dealing so severely with this group? There have been no public accusations of wrongdoing or heresy. Nothing like that.

Fr. Volpi himself has stated, in response to criticism, that the reason for such draconian and disproportionate measures is that “the founder and ex- MinisterGeneral, Father Stefano Maria Manelli, in January 2012, had already evaded constructive dialogue with the religious who had complained of a crypto-lefebvrian and definitely traditionalist drift.

Crypto-lefebrvrianism? A traditionalist drift?

Dear Holy Father, is faithful traditionalism within the Church now a crime? Is becoming more traditional a sign of deficiency within an order? Holy Father, that cannot be!

Go here to National Catholic Register to read the rest.  Like all the rest of us, a pope has to live by his words.  Unless all of his talk about a more transparent and open Church is so much meaningless blather, what is being done to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, go here to read all about it, should be directly contrary to the Pope’s vision for the Church.  We shall see.

More to explorer


  1. Nothing will be done to correct this till the next Pope, assuming the election of a conservative.


    We have gotten the leaders – political and religious – that we deserve: soft, pink totalitarianism.

  2. Perhaps, the Vatican’s concern is that traditionalists have shown themselves more prone to schism than liberals. One thinks of SSPX, Sede Vacantists and the rest of the Chouannerie. Liberals, like the Jansenists before them, tend to cling on to the barque of Peter like limpets.

    The surest way for a liberal to get himself excommunicated is to participate in the pretended ordination of a woman by some Episcopus vagans, as this represents a breach of communion.

    Schism, even incipient, rather than heresy, appears to be the principle reason for action.

  3. The CWR link is a good one, but it’s not completely satisfactory. The fact is, it does not try to explain the difference in treatment between the FFI and similar, if not worse, aberrant behavior by the likes of the LCs and the Neocatechumenate. The latter two have had much gentler treatment despite similar–or, in the case of Maciel, much, much worse–behavior.

  4. The article does shed light. But what still puzzles me is that the sanctions imposed do not seem to be directed at the ills to be remedied. How is banning celebration of the TLM, and forcing an oath about the NO and V II that is questionable at best supposed to remedy possible financial irregularities/property shifting?

  5. Ah, it’s the well-defined bane of the Church again, “the crypto-lefebvrian and definitely traditionalists”. This is the age of Bergoglio-minted mouthfuls, like “self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagians”. But I knew it, I knew it, all these years what was killing vocations and depressing sacramental marriages and baptisms and reducing Sunday Mass attendance from over 70 percent prior to dear Vat II to about 30 percent now—it was those damned “crypto-lefebvrian and definitely traditionalists”! Now that we have named the enemy (and s/he is clearly that), let us set out to destroy them, boys!

  6. The Holy Father has made a number of off the cuff remarks that poke needles in the eyes of those who embrace the Church teachings and liturgy as taught – and has never been officially suppressed – before the Vatican II crowd took hold. For someone who claims to want a decentralized Church, Fr. Volpi’s actions put the lie to the Holy Father’s words.

    I find it difficult to believe that there wasn’t someone better for the job in the College of Cardinals.

    Jorge Bergoglio shows many of the symptoms so clearly exposed in Mario Vargas Llosa’s book, The Guide to the Latin American Idiot. Vargas Llosa is from Peru, however, Vargas Llosa has an extensive knowledge of all Latin American countries. Vargas Llosa skewers the pseudo-intellects that blame the United States and/or capitalism for their problems and embrace liberation theology or Marxism or caudillos (Chavez, Peron, Castro) for their solutions. These pseudo-intellects can be found in Latin American higher education, politics and especially the Catholic Church. This bunch has a tenuous grasp on reality – if they have one at all.

    Pope Francis is a man who, his personal orthodoxy notwithstanding, has shown little understanding of the Catholic Church or the world outside of his archdiocese. His off the cuff comments about almost any subject show little insight or research and lots of uninformed opinion. He has also shown that he is a man not to be crossed.

    My wife is from Colombia. She learned her Catholicism from Jesuits. My Catholic instruction as a child was shallow and minimal. Hers was often just plain wrong. One of the authors she was encouraged to read was Anthony DiMello, a former Jesuit priest, whose writings were censured in no uncertain terms by Cardinal Ratzinger. Liberation theology and the Jesuits have wreaked havoc on the Church in much of Latin America.

  7. This pope is a very easy-going one. He really likes to resonate with the cutlural climate and a lot of people are taking to him. Barbara Walters was singing his praises last night on CNN. He comes across as non-judgmental and understanding. People find that refreshing. From my perspective though, it seems the pope is unwilling to speak forthrightly about Christian teaching as it relates to morality. People are interpreting him to mean that he simply doesn’t care about distinctions within that realm.

  8. Just to add. That article from Catholic World Report is extremely slanted, and like wreaking of disdain for tradition. The fact is that Pat Archibald is correct, and the CWR article is written by with input by the very wolves in sheeps clothing that are attacking the Church. This onslaught attack is a last gasp attack by the “spirit of Vatican two” crowd that have ruined the faith throughout the seventies and eighties. They see the sharp rise in popularity of traditional Catholicism as s threat to their agenda, and their fangs are showing… we must pray for holy mother church. They will continue to attack the laity with names as “palagian” or “triumphalism” and the orthodox priest’s will either catch bogus charges (see Minneapolis), be attacked as “clericalism” on the pages of dissident wayward Catholic rags like National Catholic Reporter, or continue to be oppressed like the FFI.
    The Gay Mafia fawning over Francis is troubling also, and his and many of the bishops lack of direction adds to our need for extra prayer and action in this sad time of the Church… the worst it has ever seen.

  9. I wonder if the Traditionalists ever see the irony of their own position: the champions of orthodoxy invoking freedom of conscience; the implacable opponents of liberalism appealing for tolerance, replacing their former demands for uniformity with a plea for pluralism.

  10. I am not sure that describing the Roman Church as “an arbitrary, rigid and centralized Church” will persuade anyone in Rome in favor of the cause of the Friars.

    I fully agree with you Donald, there needs to be a more transparent, open Church. No doubt about it. However, that goes both ways. Why is it that this is consistently being presented as a move against the EF, with the calculated desire to inflame more traditional Catholics already, if unnecessarily afraid that the EF will be taken away from them.

    Why is it that the real issue that of full acceptance of Vatican II and the validity of the OF, something expected of any Catholic deacon about to be ordained a priest, is not being shown every time someone from the traditionalists wants to complain about what is happening to the Friars? Wouldn’t this be indeed part of this transparency to which Rome is called?

    As I have stated in other posts, there is something very wrong going on within the Friars. Minus the issue of the EF it has all the aroma of what we have already seen with the Legionairres of Christ. I agree that Rome had let them go too long. They were protected by no less than Cardinal Sodano for some very worldly reasons. The Church learned from the LC case. I believe that is the reason Rome is taking the Friars in toe so quickly and completely.

    Again I repeat: the issue is not the EF, it is acceptance of Vatican II as an authentic and authoritative Ecumenical Council of the Church and the OF as a valid Liturgy and a licit manifestation of the Roman Rite [likes and preferences not withstanding]. Are the Friars, or those elements within the Friars Catholic or not? Being Catholic means accepting Vatican II as an authentic and authoritative Council of the Church and the OF as a valid liturgy and licit expression of the Roman Rite. Are they in communion with the pope and bishops in communion with him or not?

  11. Donald R McClarey

    But are they Catholics?

    As Cardinal Manning said of the Anglican Ritualists of his day, “Ritualism is private judgment in gorgeous raiment, wrought about with divers colours” and he added, “the more elaborate, the less Catholic; the nearer the imitation, the further from the submission of faith.”

  12. Rational and thoughtful . . . I would have posited, “there likely is something very wrong going on within . . . ”

    As ever, the friars are guilty until proven innocent. Thank God, “they” stopped employing instruments of torture.

    Inquisitors’ instructions: “You are to promise them favor and pardon if they confess the truth, but if not, you are to acquaint them that they will be condemned to death.”

  13. “Donald R McClarey

    But are they Catholics?”

    If they aren’t MPS the Church faces a very bleak felt bannered immediate future. The real problem for the Friars of the Immaculate is that they were quite successful, and they ran afoul of forces within the Church that like to pretend that the Church began with Vatican II.

  14. Make no mistake, this is not just a liberal Pope, he is not stupid or soft. He knows exactly what he is doing and where he is going. The signs are all there. We are in a time when the Church is in grave danger and we must pray and fast; we should fight but knowing that we may not win this battle but Christ will win the war – and war is coming. The powers of evil are reaching their zenith in our time, but we know that Christ will triumph and Satan will be cast into hell for all eternity. We have reached this point because too many Catholics have been complacent and like sheep have just followed whatever their local priest tells them without question. People were less “educated” in the past but they had far more common sense and innate knowledge of human nature, and they recognised false teaching when it was offered to them. Let us prray for each other and for our Holy Church.

  15. Foxfire : Rational meaning a good sense of balance. Has there been irrational post? Is the Pope Catholic? (oh wait don’t answer that) Did the Holy Spirit bring this Pope to our church at a time that may be needed? Could PF just be a source of light that this world, this church and society needs? Can good come even if we don’t aspire to his economic experiences and understanding? It sure the hell won’t if the likes of many here have their wish.

  16. David W, you make it quite clear that you are not rational– or that you believe the facts aren’t on your side, so it’s time to pound the table– when you try to passively accuse me of thinking the Pope isn’t Catholic.

    Bad enough that you make silly accusations, but you won’t even make them straight out.

  17. Foxfire: Please.
    I’m not against disagreeing with a pope’s general statements …. but how and when that is done says much about our priorities. Many seem awfully quick to boil the new shepherd in water.

  18. Again, you are attacking with a limp wrist.

    That gives you all the “up sides” of a direct challenge, without any of the down sides of actually having a specific claim that can be countered.

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