Defending Fr. Volpi Against Another Calumny

The blog Rorate Caeli has leveled a new accusation against the authority of the Institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.  In a recent post there, the blogger makes the accusation that the Apostolic Commissioner, Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, with the approval of Pope Francis, has engaged in the purposeful destruction of the Institute.

The latest “evidence” shown for this is Fr. Volpi’s alleged prohibition of a yearly Christmas Novena of Masses that had been offered in one of our contemplative houses for some time previously.  The blogger quotes an unnamed source, which he claims to be one of our former seminarians. Continue reading

Franciscan Conspiracy

Aside

The latest conspiracy theory concerning the resignation of Pope Benedict goes like this: a group cardinals lobbying for Cardinal Bergoglio went to Pope Benedict and convinced him to retire because they had someone, very conservative (they said), waiting in the wings to take over.  It was all set, they told him.  He could go in peace.  But then as soon as the resignation was official they sprung Bergoglio as the real candidate.  And the rest . . .

As much as this satisfies the urge to have an explanation for something one does not understand, and while those who are likely to swallow this do so in reverence to Pope Emeritus Benedict, it paints him as a real chump—basically—as an idiot.  Not to mention that in collaborating in this plan he would have executed a deed that would have resulted in automatic excommunication of all involved.

Needless to say, the point is to demonize Pope Francis.

This is not “news,” my friends, it is something quite different.  Let it go.

William Doino on the Pope’s True Agenda

First Things just posted an excellent post by William Doino, “The Pope’s True Agenda.”   It is necessary reading, because it it is a well documented piece showing that Pope Francis doesn’t fit into any of the boxes partisans wish to put him in.  He is not a liberal, nor a conservative, but a Catholic.  Thank God for Bill Doino’s courage.

It strikes me as a bit ironic, especially among those concerned about orthodoxy, that even as people eschew labels and generalizations, they attempt to pigeonhole Francis.  I recently read a post by a well-known theologian, who while admitting he ordinarily argues against the use of labels, decided to use the tags “liberal” and “conservative” just one time in defense of Francis.  Continue reading

The Spirit(s) of the Synod

That Pope Francis would have executed the synod in the manner in which he did was predictable from many things he has said over the course of his papacy, including Evangelii Gaudium, esp. 32-39. From what he says there, especially about the “conversion of the papacy,” it seems he is not adverse to critique, as long as there is ultimate unity with Peter and under Peter (cum Petro et sub Petro).

One ought to make a distinction between legitimate but respectful criticism from those who are genuinely concerned about the preservation of the deposit of faith, and the radicalizing tendencies of certain factions who will use anything to promote their own interests. One group uses Francis’ openness to sinners as an excuse to justify the unjustifiable, and the other is bent on using the synod to prove that everything since Vatican II was a mistake. Continue reading

Mary Victrix, Our Fortress and Defense

A blessed Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

On the Solemnity of St. Francis the seminarians and I went to the prayer vigil of the Holy Father in preparation for the synod, which has now begun.  Afterward, we moved into the new building that the Holy Father has provided us.  I can walk to the Angelicum in a half hour.

Here are a couple of photos of our new surroundings.  More to come.  Click on photos for larger view.  There is a bit of distortion due to my use of the pan setting.

The gate you are looking at is Porta Tiburtina, after which our street is named, otherwise know as Porta San Lorenzo.  The gate was constructed to commemorate a Roman victory.  But our victory is found in the Gate of Heaven.

I post my yearly tribute to Mary Victrix:

I cast myself before Thee, Thy bondsman and fool;
Thy patronage is freedom, Thy slavery my school.
I offer Thee my sword hilt and wait for Thy command
To serve among Thy servants who pledge to take a stand.
That I might die in battle, a victim of Thy love:
My wish, my prayer, my promise, thus written in my blood.

I saw the bark of Peter ride dark into the sun,
But darker still the marking of crescent, hoard and gun.
Her sails lay flat and mellow, Her men had pledged their troth,
Left hand on beaded psalter, the right to keep their oath.
The haughty fiend had counted on fear to win the day,
But Thine own breath has countered to turn the wind their way.

My Queen, to Thee be honor and praise through all Thy knights
Who toiled and bled and parted Thy martyrs robed in white.
All courtesy and prowess, all strength and gentleness,
Thy heart a pyx of virtue, Thy face all loveliness.
Then at the hour of judgment my colors Thou may see,
Thy Son upon His white steed, Thou pray to come for me.

 

The Nameless Darkness and the FI

From the usual suspect:

If, as Tosatti clearly implies it is, this information is true (which would not be shocking considering the evolution of current events), the situation of the former Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is even more suffocating than before, on a level never before seen in the Church in recent centuries (for instance, there certainly was no blacklist of dioceses incardinating as secular priests the former Jesuits after the suppression of the order in the 18th century, and in similar cases). These poor priest-friars will simply remain with no way out, other than completely abandoning the priesthood, if even the bishops willing to welcome those who want to leave the modified order are blacklisted by the highest levels in the Vatican. (Of course, if true, the bishops can still incardinate them, but are aware that they may suffer consequences) [emphasis mine].

Continue reading

The FI Internet Problem Illustrated

More unsubstantiated gossip from an anonymous source, released by a pseudonymous blogger who skirts all accountability.

There is no way to verify the accuracy of the account of what is going on within the FSI. The source has to be someone within the community, who is not exactly an objective observer (nor one who is cooperating with the Church for that matter), which makes a real confirmation of the facts all the more crucial.  At the very least, that confirmation ought to be had before something is released to the public as though it were fact.  There are many lives affected by this Internet spectacle.

The blogger further claims that the prefect of the Congregation for Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, and the secretary, Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo (to whom he refers as the “Duo) have “thoroughly destroyed” the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.  Really?  This man simply does not know what he is talking about, because he is only interested in one side of the story—the one that serves the purpose of his blog.

So the question for him and those like him is whether Pope Francis wishes to obliterate the sisters, which according tot he omniscient blogger, was the will of the Holy Father for the friars.

The gravest irresponsibility in all this is that the blogger and all those who have concocted and published their theories from the bits and pieces on the Internet do not know what they do not know.  They have no way of assessing how much, or how little of the pertinent information they have or its relative value.

The behavior is irresponsible and all the more because so much is done without the slightest accountability.

But then again, they don’t care about any of this because this “reporting” is all about their own agenda.  They have made no real investment in our Institute or any real knowledge about the issues involved.  Ours is a symbolic cause for them and we friars and sisters are their cannon fodder.

This is why I say I am ambivalent about the Internet and the excuse it provides for intellectual, cultural, moral and religious voyeurism.

It is a disgrace.

Dear Father . . .

Quote

Father,

I read your blog and know that you comment on the SSPX and related matters. What do you make of this: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/08/sspx-priest-celebrates-mass-in-saint.html  This does seem to change things. They were given permission to offer mass. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQfiaY-6bRQ Thank you for your time. The SSPX confirms that permission was in fact given: http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/sspx-mass-st-peters-basilica-video-4715.

I can only speculate what it all means.  I am not inclined to think that it means anything juridical is in the works.  However, I would hazard to say that it indicates that Pope Francis has no ill will or nefarious plan for undoing the provisions which favor those attached to the TLM.  Which is what I have always been saying.

And for this reason the confusion of Damien Thompson as to why then Pope Francis would have placed restrictions on our Institute, might best be explained by considering that perhaps the narrative some traditionalists have spread about my Institute are wrong.