Unofficial translation of the Italian original follows:
In an order whose predominant attention is to the traditional liturgy. A decree of the Pope appoints an apostolic commissioner
The Congregation for Religious, with the approval of Pope Francis, decided last July 11 to appoint a commissioner to the Congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, a religious order in which the spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi had, in recent years, been combined with a predominant attention given to the traditional liturgy.
The appointing of a commissioner, one reads in the decree of the vatican ‘ministry’ for religious orders, aims to “protect and promote the internal unity of religious institutes and their fraternal communion, their adequate formation in religious and consecrated life, the organization of apostolic activities “and” the proper management of temporal goods. “
The decision comes after the apostolic visitation began in July a year ago, conducted by Monsignor Vito Angelo Todisco. Leading the order temporarily, with the role of “apostolic commissioner,” will be the Capuchin friar Fidenzio Volpi.
The decree also indicates that Pope Francis has ordered that the friars must henceforth “celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary form”, or the post-conciliar Mass in the local vernacular, while the celebration of the Mass in Latin, the Tridentine rite – liberalized by Benedict XVI in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum – “must be explicitly authorized by the competent authority for each religious and or community who requests it”
After the Motu Proprio of Pope Ratzinger in 2007, the Franciscans of the Immaculate had decided infact to adopt the “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite, or Tridentine Mass, as their predominant rite; for their sisters, its use was even exclusive.
Doing so, however, they were exposed to the “instrumentalization” of some traditionalist groups, explained to Vatican Insider, the spokesman of the order, Father Alfonso Maria Bruno. This instrumentalization was then followed by an attempt to act as mediators in negotiations, which later failed, between the Vatican and Lefebvre’s Society of St. Pius X.
According to Father Bruno, in a survey conducted during the apostolic visitation, the vast majority of the members of the order said they were not in aggreement with the exclusive celebration of the old Mass, “especially in the pastoral care of parishes in Italy and in the missions”.
In some cases, in fact, the old rite “had not been well received.” Despite the value of the Tridentine Mass, the spokesman of the Franciscans of the Immaculate noted, “if people do not understand, the message does not get through.” “The brothers greet with respectful obedience and a supernatural spirit the providential dispositions of the Apostolic See and, as sons of the Church, they offer their total cooperation,” concluded Father Bruno.