Put on Your Surprise Face…
Francis Punished the Franciscans of the Immaculate because they are “Traditionalist”
UPDATE 12/19/13: Deep Dive into the Vatican Crackdown
UPDATE 12/14/13: Vatican Rejects Calls for Removal of “Fr.” Volpi (click here)
UPDATE 12/11/13: More details and links to translations and documents (click here)
UPDATE 12/10/13: Lay Supporters of FFI demand Removal of “Fr.” Volpi (click here)
Finally, for the first time, the “Apostolic Commissioner” Fidenzio Volpi, OFM Cap., de facto now the head of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, has officially admitted to the real reason for the far-reaching interference with the order when “Pope” Francis issued a blanket prohibition against their use of the 1962 Missal (“Traditional Latin Mass”) on July 11, 2013: They were “crypto-Lefebvrian” or at least “traditionalist.” (See our original coverage of the case here.) Of course this is not at all surprising, but what’s remarkable here is that it has now actually been admitted, as the news story below shows.
The case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, no doubt very pious and good-willed souls who truly love what they erroneously think is the Church (they mistakenly believe the Vatican II Sect to be the Catholic Church), demonstrates in a most tragic manner the folly of the so-called “indult” position, which seeks to be authentically Catholic while at the same time recognizing and submitting to the Modernist hierarchy. It goes to show that all the enthusiasm by the indult/resistance cheerleaders at The Remnant, Fatima Center, various indult organizations and the like, which we saw under the “pontificate” of Benedict XVI, was entirely misplaced and the result not of the proper application of sound Catholic principle but of emotional attachment to wishful thinking, that of a supposed “Restoration of Tradition” under Ratzinger, an idea they pushed at all costs because it just “had” to be true; that is, they simply wanted it to be true.
We warned people from the very beginning that this was an illusion because it was founded on flawed principle (see our 2005 Prediction of what Benedict XVI would do, here). It goes without saying that what one “Pope” can permit or grant, another can simply forbid or take away. As long as people concede the idea that a Pope need not be a Catholic to be Pope, just so they can keep from having to conclude that the Novus Ordo Church is false, they will always fall prey to such deception. See the following articles for more information, and be sure to read the insightful article below.
- The Vatican, the SSPX, and the “Restoration of Tradition”
- Benedict XVI – No Friend of Fatima
- “One and the Same Rite”? Benedict XVI and the Traditional Latin Mass
- The Chair Is Still Empty: Response to John Salza
- Recognize and Resist? Why It’s not a Catholic Option
Intervention Against Franciscans of the Immaculate because “Crypto-Lefebvrian, In Any Case Traditionalist”
by Giuseppe Nardi
(Rome) The Apostolic Commissioner, the Capuchin Father Fidenzio Volpi OFM Cap from the Congregation of Religious, who, with the approval of Pope Francis, had been put in as the head of the Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (FI) with sole decision-making power, has given the real reason for the drastic intervention in the life of the Order for the first time. A few days ago, the progressive Vaticanist Mario Tosatti published in the daily newspaper La Stampa a letter from a member of the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, in which the radical approach of the Commissioner has been criticized (see separate report, “Unrestricted War” against the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception? The Unspeakable “Blemish”). The interventions affect not only the male religious branch, but also the Third Order, which was completely paralyzed by Father Volpi.
Commissioner Confirms for the First Time What Observers Suspected from the Beginning
The Apostolic Commissioner responded to Tosatti’s publication with a letter. In it, he explained for the first time the actual reason for the actions of the Vatican against the Order and its founder. The Franciscans of the Immaculate are accused of having “drifted” in a direction described as “Crypto-Lefebvrian, in any case traditionalist.” Even Tosatti can glean from the extensive letter, in addition to several minor matters, that this is what “the real problem” is. The Commissioner thus confirmed what was immediately clear to observers by the prohibition of the traditional rite and in the decree made by the Religious Congregation. The tough measures are directed against the rediscovery of the traditional rite and against the defense of the Church’s tradition. Commissioner Father Volpi does not distinguish between “Lefebvrian” and “traditionalist”, and thus, not even between the canonically unrecognized Priestly Society of St. Pius X and the canonically recognized Ecclesia Dei communities. Obviously, an attachment to Tradition constitutes a fundamental “problem” for the Commissioner. A direction that is not only displeasing to the Capuchin, but one that must be fought. And he has done so with great zeal since last August. Obviously, it was this aversion that qualified him for the task of the Apostolic Commissioner.
De Mattei’s “Prediction” Came True
As early as August  the well-known historian Roberto de Mattei wrote:
In the coming days and weeks we will know better the plans of the Commissioner, Fidenzio Volpi, but their rough outline can already be guessed: isolate the Founder, Father [Stefano] Manelli; decapitate the heads in the General Council of the Order faithful to him; deport the “traditionalist” brothers to the periphery; give the reins of the Order to the dissidents; entrust the novitiates to Fathers who are not under suspicion of “traditionalist” sympathies; neutralization of the publications and writings of the Franciscans that deal in particular with “controversial” internal Church matters; in particular: avoid Marian “maximalism,” an “exaggerated” rigor in moral teaching and especially any criticism, be it ever so respectful, of the Second Vatican Council; plus opening up the Order to “ecumenical dialogue” with other religions; making the Vetus Ordo [Old Rite] merely an exceptional occurrence; in short, the destruction of the identity of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, which is even worse than their removal.
The public response by Father Volpi to Mario Tosatti confirms in black and white the fears that had been immediately expressed by de Mattei and others. It also reveals what moved the Congregation of Religious under Cardinal Prefect João Braz de Aviz and apparently also Pope Francis, to ruin this thriving Order of pious men. An Order that, only a few months ago, had access to Pope Benedict XVI.
Different Ways of Taking Action: a Comparison
When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005, he personally took action against Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ (LC). Benedict XVI said about Maciel that he revealed “very serious and objectively immoral behavior that is confirmed by indisputable testimony” and manifested itself “sometimes in the form of real crimes” and exposed “an unscrupulous life without true religious sentiment”. Yet Benedict XVI did not move against the Order, which had distinguished itself in many ways. Due to the commotion in the Order about the founder and Superior General, and to enable a new beginning, he placed the Order under provisional administration. For this purpose he appointed Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, who led the Order in a paternal way to a new beginning. A path that will be successfully completed in early 2014.
When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope in 2013, he agreed to decisive action by the Congregation of Religious against the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FI). Neither the Order nor its founder, Father Stefano Manelli, had done anything wrong in any way. They had not committed any shameful crimes, nor, as had Marcial Maciel, spread heresies, caused confusion, or violated Church doctrine or law in any other manner. It was the orientation of the Order, although recognized in the Church and legitimate and supported by the previous Pope until February, which did not fit any longer. A direction that has now been disparagingly referred to by the Commissioner in charge as “crypto-Lefebvrian, in any case traditionalist.” Not a Cardinal, but a simple Capuchin was put in by the Congregation of Religious as Commissioner, not a paternal friend of the Order, but a declared opponent of Tradition.
Commissioner Volpi Also Wants to Take Action against the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate
The Commissioner wants to move even against the female branch, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, although the decree of appointment says nothing about that. Father Volpi has accused the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate of being even more attached to Tradition “stubborn” than the male branch. The Apostolic Commissioner came to this conclusion because the sisters’ convents had immediately expressed the desire to maintain the Old Rite. Since publication of the decree against the friars, the female branch of the Order has insisted on its independence. Last October, Father Volpi even accused the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and even Cardinal Prefect Braz de Aviz, of not moving decisively enough against the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate because they would not extend his jurisdiction [to include the female branch of the Order].