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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: respons by Father Fidenzio Volpi O.F.M. Cap.

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. 


More on the Franciscans of the Immaculate…

(Original: Ancora sui Francescani dell'Immacolata...)

By Marco Tosatti

The Commissioner to the Franciscans of the Immaculate replies to the layman from the Congregation, who complained about the closing of the lay activities connected to the FFI. And he defends the Vatican’s decision.

We have received a long letter from Father Fidenzio Volpi, Commissioner to the Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. It is in response to the one published two days ago from a layman (not a laywoman, as the Commissioner insinuates) who had complained about the measures curtailing the lay activities connected to the Congregation.   We cite   two extracts:

“Along with the positive   and encouraging aspects in the Institute, not a few difficulties inherent   to unity have emerged: the apostolic activity, the initial and permanent formation of the friars, the style of government and the administration of temporal goods.”  

Now, I believe that these type of problems are also somewhat diffused in all religious congregations, not to mention dioceses.

The second extract appears to be more illuminating: “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 [in the community]. To my recent invitation of clarification this past 16th November, in search of recomposition and also to request an account of all the works, temporal goods and the property of the Institute, entrusted to its family and spiritual children during the external commissioner’s [visit], Father Manelli answered with a medical certificate which came from a private clinic where he is still a patient at his own request.”  

And he concludes with: “If it is true that the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have done and continue to do many good and beautiful things for the glory of God, it is also true that some of them, at one time in the governing or inassigning positions of responsibility, “have done something” not so good and beautiful…”

So, it seems to me, if I understand correctly, that the concrete problem – laying aside the temporal goods and the property – is “the crypto-lefebvrian and definitely traditionalist drift.”

In the letter there is no mention of what appeared to be the “casus belli” i.e. the Mass according to the Vetus Ordo. But perhaps that is included in the “drift” mentioned above.

The impression deduced from the tone of the letter is, however, of great severity; and in many years of experience we do not recall that the external administration of the Jesuits comes close to this [in sternness]. And perhaps we are a little bit obtuse, but we are astonished. Unless the external administration is a general indication to say that there is no place in the Church for Christians who are “ definitely traditionalist” – so much for Pope Benedict.

But here is the respons (interesting also because of its style) by Father Fidenzio Volpi O.F.M. Cap.