Marco Tosatti, Italian daily La Stampa's best Vaticanist, about the FFI
(Source: Rorate Caeli)
20121204: What did the Franciscans do?.
20121205: respons by Father Fidenzio Volpi O.F.M. Cap
20121206: More on the Franciscans of the Immaculate….
On the 4th of December he posted an article consisting mainly of a letter from "a member of the laity who is close to the Franciscans of the Immaculate" (FI), which was soon followed on the 6th of December with another article featuring a long response by Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, Capuchin, the Apostolic Commissioner appointed by the Holy See for the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
Both articles appear below, followed by links to the harsh December 8 letter of Fr. Volpi to the FI announcing further sanctions and measures versus the community.
Notable are Fr. Volpi's affirmation that the intervention into the Franciscans of the Immaculate was "specifically ordered by the Vicar of Christ" and his speculation that the FI "has become the battleground of a struggle between different currents in the Curia, with the specific involvement of persons in opposition to the new pontificate of Pope Francis"!
These documents, and especially the two interventions from Fr. Volpi, speak for themselves and confirm what we already knew: the intervention in the Franciscans of the Immaculate was precipitated by their increasing attachment to Traditional Catholic theological positions -- not just to the Traditional Latin Mass.
We always maintained this position despite the denials and rationalizations invented by some non-expert commentators. One must not feel secure that this will end with the FI -- and if we say this, it is because we have a true basis for saying so.
It should be noted for the sake of truth that the accusation of "crypto-lefebvrianism" is a red herring: a religious Congregation that in practice continued to celebrate the Novus Ordo in the great majority of its apostolates even as it made liberal use of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum can scarcely be accused of "Lefebvrist" tendencies! The accusations of "embezzlement" (explained at length in the Dec. 8 letter of Fr. Volpi, the 3rd document in this post) also refer to events that occurred after the appointment of Fr. Volpi, and therefore could not be held as the reason for the Vatican's intervention.
What did the Franciscans do?.
By Marco Tosatti
We have received a letter from a member of the laity who is close to the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the order placed under “an external commissioner” and considered a highly disputable affair by some sources who denounce the remarkable harshness towards the order [shown] by the new administrators of the situation. But what could these “purged” religious have done to justify such severity?
We know after long experience, that the cruelty shown to brothers in ecclesial environments is no different to that which occurs in any other environment. But Pope Francis, the one who signed the order for the external commissioner, in an interview with the director of Civiltà Cattolica, encouraged an attitude of “mercy” and “tenderness”, compared the Church to a “field-hospital” after battle and stated: “I see clearly that the Church today is in great need of the capacity to heal wounds” since “eventually people get tired of authoritarianism.”
Read and see just how much authoritarianism and its sister ‘arrogance’ are present in this situation. Here is the letter:
“What happened after the news of the external commissioner is not well-known. Now it would be right to draw up a summary of the events.
After the accusations made against the founder, Father Stefano Manelli, stating that he had forced the friars to deviate from the charism of the foundation, with no explanation to date of exactly what Father Manelli’s deviation was;
after having deposed the Friars faithful to the charism of the Founders from their offices and transferring them elsewhere in great haste;
after having promoted those Friars who support the “new” line in the various F.I. convents throughout the world;
after having removed from teaching Padre Apollonio - General Procurator, Rector of the Theolgical Seminary and Guardian of the convent in Boccea, Rome - with no clear reasons given, subsequently transferring him to Portugal;
after having removed Father Lanzetta from teaching, - Vice-Deputy of the F.I. in Italy, Superior in Florence and Professor at the Seminary, then having him assigned in Austria;
after having moved Father Settimio Manelli and Father Siano, respectively Rector and Vice-Rector of the Seminary, deposed from their teaching positions, and subsequently substituted by two friars of the “new” line - one of them does not even have a bachelor’s degree in theology;
after having sent Father Budani suddenly to Africa, with no regard for canon law, and impeding him in the continuation of his studies;
after having exiled the always obedient Father Manelli and depriving him of visitors, including his own blood-relations, under pain of grave sin;
after having forbidden Father Manelli to receive phone-calls and blocking any direct contact with the world to him;
AFTER ALL OF THIS:
With the letter dated the 27th of November and sustained by Padre Alfonso Bruno, Father Fidenzio Volpi retained it opportune to direct his war without limits also against the laity. In fact, he suspended all of the activities related to the MIM (Mission Immaculate Mediatrix) and of TOFI (Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate) and he prohibited the third order from wearing the habit.
So, is it with this unimaginable harshness and Stalin-like purgation, that internal difficulties in a religious congregation are settled? Or is it like this that a charism is destroyed? A charism which was not only able to foster numerous and growing vocations, but was also praised ‘just yesterday’ and sustained by some of the highest prelates in the Vatican.
Just think, that only a few months ago Father Manelli and Father Lanzetta, who are now reprobates, frequented bishops and cardinals and found hospitality in the Osservatore Romano.”
Marco Tosatti, La Stampa
4th of December 2013