State of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

In this post I am publishing two documents.  First, there is an unsigned piece written by a friar of the Immaculate, which has been distributed in the form of a Word document named “State of the FFI.docx”.  Whether this document has been received by a small number of friars only or has had a wider distribution I do not know.  Clearly, however, the document is a concise set of talking points defending the former superiors of the FFI against the Apostolic Commissioner, Most Reverend Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, and the Prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, His Eminence Cardinal João Braz de Aviz.  I certainly do not agree with what is said in this document.  It is is reproduced here in its complete unedited form.

The second document is my commentary on “State of the FFI,” which I wrote with assistance of Fr. Agnellus Maria Murphy and am publishing with the approval of Fr. Alfonso Maria Bruno.  Please read both documents and simply do not bother to comment unless you have read both in their entirety.  Please also bear with my use of emphasis, as from experience I know that points get glossed over or ignored in the heat of the reading.

I am one of the original five friars who appealed to the Holy See concerning the problems within our Institute.  I mention this in the interests of full disclosure.

Comment moderation is on.

Since the establishment of the Apostolic Commission more than eight months ago, disinformation has continually emanated from within the Institute and has been broadcast internationally on the blogs.  It has persisted even until now and this is truly unfortunate. As I have said many times before, this problem would never best be adjudicated in the public forum.  But since the reputations of innocent people are involved, particularly those in the Holy See, and because the current crisis will only get worse in the face of the disinformation, these documents are being made public.

Father Angelo Mary Geiger

First Document: “State of the FFI”

In mid-July 2013, the Founder and Minister General of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the Co-Founder and Vicar General, and the Procurator General were called to the offices of the Congregation for Religious. There they met with the Prefect and Secretary of the Congregation, who delivered to them a decree assigning an Apostolic Commissioner to govern the Institute, and thereby deposing them. Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, the Founder, asked the reason for this drastic step. The Prefect said that it was because he had imposed the use of the extraordinary form on all the friars. Since the accusation was obviously false, Fr. Stefano tried to object, but the Prefect would not listen. The Commissioner, Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, OFM Cap, was also present, and announced that he had come “to demolish everything and rebuild.”

The decree came after an Apostolic Visitation deemed necessary because it was “requested by 21 members of the Institute” (which had some 350 at the time). It was a rather curious Visitation, in which the Visitor was physically present at only a few religious houses and never for more than a few hours. He spoke with only a handful of religious, never went to the General Archive, and saw only those few records that he asked to have brought to him. Although he is said to have presented hundreds of pages of documentation to the Congregation after he completed his work, the primary means by which he conducted his visit seems to have been a questionnaire for the solemnly professed friars that contained leading questions, and that was to be submitted by post or e-mail, without any verification of who compiled it.

The reasons for which a Commissioner was assigned remain unclear even eight months after his assignment. At no time prior to the decree did the Congregation ever ask to meet with representatives of the Institute. They were never informed of the accusations, nor were they given the opportunity to offer any explanation or defense. By the unusual step of obtaining Papal approval for the decree, the Congregation kept the Institute from being able to appeal.

While the Prefect originally indicated the extraordinary form was the problem, representatives of the Congregation have since said that there were other reasons for the decree. Yet they have never explained what exactly these were. Not infrequently, they point to the motivation indicated in the decree: “for the internal unity of the Religious Institutes [sic plural] and fraternal communion, adequate formation for religious and consecrated life, the organization of apostolic activities, and the proper management of temporal goods.” However, when formators and young religious asked what was wrong with the formation, they received no reply. When ex-members of the General Council asked what was wrong with the management of temporal goods (also wondering how this was determined without looking at the financial records), they received no reply. There was the Commissioner’s promise on 30 August 2013 to send all the friars a detailed written explanation of the reasons for his assignment within a few days, but this has not been forthcoming. That problems with a Religious Institute cannot be explained to the general public is understandable, but that they cannot be explained even to the highest-ranking members of the Institute is rather odd. It would appear that whatever the motives are, they would not stand up to scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner continues his pre-announced mission of demolition:

  • He has already closed or ordered the closure of not less than 9 religious houses.
  • He has deposed all of the regional superiors and many local superiors, undaunted by canon law, which requires a grave cause to remove the holder of an ecclesiastical office.
  • The friars are prohibited from contributing to the magazines and journals published by the Institute’s press and from distributing its books.
  • Meetings of the Institute’s lay movement have been banned in Italy (where half of the religious houses are located) unless and until the members provide a written declaration of their support for the Commissioner’s renewal of the Institute.
  • The seminary has been closed, and the students have been told that not all of them will be allowed to resume their studies in the fall (at other faculties). A number of the students have been told they will not be allowed to renew their vows.
  • Permission from the Commissioner is required to provide spiritual assistance to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate (to which the Institute has a duty to provide spiritual assistance in virtue of canonical aggregation of the two Institutes).
  • etc.

To prepare the rebuilding that is to follow the demolition, the Commissioner has organized secret meetings to reinvent the charism. Since something supposedly went wrong with the Founder, it is necessary to return what is called the “original charism,” even if this new charism will reject things like poverty in common, which was practiced from the very beginning. The handful of members of the Institute considered qualified to participate in this “renewal” of the charism are chosen from those who requested the Apostolic Visitation.

What really seems to be going on here is the clash between two visions of the Church and of religious life. On one side are the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, who heartily approves of the reformed religious life practiced by the American sisters whose leadership has trouble with the CDF; the Apostolic Commissioner, who has praised Card. Martini and has said that Benedict XVI divided the Church with Summorum Pontificum; and a group of friars who reject the idea that the extraordinary form can be used alongside the ordinary form in the Institute’s life of prayer.

On the other side is Fr. Stefano and the majority of the friars, supported by various Cardinals and Bishops, who, however, don’t have the authority to intervene. These are supporters of the hermeneutic of continuity, who say that something is wrong with a reform of religious life that was accompanied by a dramatic loss of vocations. Fr. Stefano proposed a different kind of reform in 1970, one which continued to value the past instead of breaking with it. Bl. John Paul II approved this reform by personally intervening twice, in 1990 to create the Institute and in 1997 to make it of Pontifical Right. The Congregation for Religious apparently did not want it then and does not want it now. Perhaps it is embarrassing to have Institutes that follow its idea of religious life in decline while this one is flourishing. As in 1990, only the Pope can save it, but it is unclear whether he will do so—as, indeed, it was then.

END OF DOCUMENT “Sate of the FFI”

Second Document: My Commentary on “State of the FFI”

The Historical Narrative

The narrative in “State of the FFI” regarding the history of the Commission claims that no legitimate reasons for its establishment were ever clearly described to the former superiors.  It is implied that this is because no reasons exist.  However, the account fails to  mention the Commissioner’s letter of 8 December 8 2013.  At the very least, multiple concrete reasons are given there.

Aside from this, however, there is absent from the narrative in “State of the FFI” an account of the history leading up to the Visitation and Commission, in which over the course of a number of years multiple friars brought various concerns to the General Superior.  The matters definitely brought before the General Superior regarded

  1. the authoritarian implementation of Summorum Pontificum,
  2. the manipulation of the General Chapter of 2008 in this regard,
  3. the traditionalist drift in the seminary and apostolic work,
  4. our association with known sympathizers of the traditionalist movement,
  5. the arbitrary character of the government of the Institute and absence of any mechanism to address this problem,
  6. the ways in which all these problems had been affecting the formation program,
  7. the influence of the former Mother General of the Sisters on the Founder,
  8. and the increasingly radicalized character of the sisters’ community.

In January of 2012 five friars who had served for many years in various senior capacities within the Institute met with the General Council (the Founder in absentia) in regard to the above specific concerns.  Not at that time, nor at any time since, has there ever been an admission by the former members of the General Council there were any serious problems within the community.  This is the context in which the five friars appealed to the Holy See, and then in which the Visitation was conducted and the Commission established.

Furthermore, over the course of the history of the Commission, friars within the Institute, such as the author of “State of the FFI,” have engaged in a propaganda campaign against the Commissioner and against the Holy See and have characterized the intervention of the Holy See as a move against Tradition and the old liturgy.  One of the principle traditionalist sympathizers with whom the former regime was associated, namely, Roberto de Mattei, has, since the establishment of the Commission, encouraged the friars to disobey the Holy See, has rejected the infallibility of the canonizations of St. John Paul II and St. John XIII, and now is encouraging both friars and sisters to leave the Institute.  This simply confirms that the apprehension of the five appellants was well founded.

The implication of the narrative, that the former superiors do not understand why the Holy See has taken such drastic measures, is disingenuous and is simply more of the same denial and disinformation that led to the appeal in the first place.  One could reasonably surmise that if the Holy See was guarded in its manner of dealing with the former superiors, it was because it understood just how unscrupulous they are.

The List of Grievances 

The list of grievances following the historical narrative in “State of FFI” serves to confirm the above analysis.  It states that the removal of office holders by the Commissioner is contrary to canon law.  However, the Commission is already an extraordinary measure implemented by Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, against which the Holy Father has eliminated the possibility of appeal.  The list also notably fails to mention that among persons involved in the lay groups associated with the FI there is open rebellion against the Commissioner, or that the publishing apostolate is now controlled by laity that are rebellious against the Commissioner.  It also does not mention that the seminary has been a source of rebellion and that seminarians have been leaking information to traditionalist blogs that are working to sabotage the mission entrusted to the Commissioner by the Holy See.

The author of the narrative is also intellectually dishonest insofar as he claims that the Commissioner is committed to undoing poverty in common, when in fact the current version of the Directory, part of the Institute’s ecclesiastically approved legislation, includes a footnote, inserted by the former superiors, which allows the friars to control the entities established for the administration of goods:  “Where possible members of the corporation should be friars and sisters named by the Minister General and by the Mother General” (section 35, footnote 33). After the establishment of the Commission the former superiors extracted themselves from such control, but only to turn over the administration of goods to lay persons exclusively, thus alienating the goods of the Institute and effectively preventing the Commissioner from providing for the friars with such goods.  This is particularly the case of the house in Via Boccea, Rome, where laypersons are now effectively in control of the building and are evicting the friars from the premises.

Two Visions of the Church

“The State of the FFI” concludes by describing two different visions of the Church and religious life. The author places in opposition the vision of the Prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life along with that of the Commissioner, on the one hand, and that of the Founder, on the other.

The author presumes to suggest that the Founder and the friars who support him advocate the “hermeneutic of continuity” taught by Benedict XVI, when, in fact, under the Founder’s direction our Institute became one of principle instruments of the traditionalist movement in Italy to undermine the authority of that same hermeneutic.  This is the kind of lie and half-truth that has been driving the Institute into deeper crisis for a very long time.

The author also suggests that the life of the friars over the last six years or more is consistent with what was established at the original formation of Casa Mariana in 1970, where and when the Founder received the charism.  Our founding document, the Traccia, expresses that charism in the following way:

A community life of Prayer, of Poverty, of Penance, in the spirit of the vow of total consecration to the Immaculate Virgin, so that She may transform us, like St. Francis, into Jesus Crucified, and make us Her instruments for the conquest of all souls for God (section 1).

He claims that in fact there has been no substantial change in the observance and that the appellants are simply rebelling against the charism and the Founder.  But the author knows that this is not true either.  The points listed above concerning arbitrary and autocratic governance, an observance of poverty that was in many ways only apparent, and a marked change in the spirit of the Institute in association with the adoption of traditionalist ideology, sufficiently indicate wherein the differences lie.

This is also a typical problem within the Institute and one that led to the appeal in the first place.  Concerns about the former superiors, their policies, and the changes they introduced into the observance, without the approval of either the General Chapter or of the Holy See have been simply dismissed out of hand.  The former superiors have interpreted such concerns, even when raised by senior friars, as groundless or as some modernist, liberal or laxist plot against the Founder or against the good of religious life.

In fact, what the appellants have complained about are aspects of our life that have been introduced moto proprio by the Founder and his confidants, and are not mandated by the approved legislation of our Institute.  The argument is not about the Traccia, Constitutions, or Directory, our ecclesiastically approved legislation. It is about the arbitrary rule of a small group of friars who abused their authority and then have used every Machiavellian tactic to protect it.  And they continue to do so.

This manifests a vision of the Church that is not consistent with a “hermeneutic of continuity,” because continuity requires harmonious integration into the life of the Church.  In fact, the author makes full ecclesial communion the problem, not the solution.  At the same time, the legitimate ecclesiastical superiors are cast as the villains.  This is especially ironic considering that our formation in the Marian Vow inculcates in us a radical form of religious obedience.  How can any such thing exist if it does not first mean radical obedience to the Church itself?

In the end, the “vision” of the Church offered by the author of “The State of the FFI” is not Catholic, that is, “universal,” but one mired in dissention.  It is closer to the one offered by the SSPX rather than one that can be located within the bounds of continuity.   It is not a vision of the Church but the promotion of a sect.

In this regard the legitimate magisterium is the solution not the problem, because our vocation as Franciscans is to rebuild the Church, not to tear it down.

86 thoughts on “State of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

  1. And it is about time that some straight talk is used to clarify the obfuscations being published in the traditionalist blogs Fundamentally this is about the most basic of motives: serving yourself rather than submitting to the Authority of the Holy See. “I will not serve” takes many forms and disguises. Regarding yourself, or anyone for that matter as “holier than the Pope” is one of the more pernicious aspects of traditionalism.

  2. I was, not that long ago, firmly entrenched in the the Traditionalist mindset, and so this issue with the FFI is of great interest to me. Traditionalists, for the most part, sincerely believe that they are the only true remnant left of the Catholic Church. They are also of the firm belief that the salvation of the Church rests in the Traditional Latin Mass. “Save the liturgy, save the world.” They feel that anyone who disagrees with this is not just their enemy, but the enemy of God. That includes priests, bishops and even the Holy Father. Archbishop LeFebvre is their unofficial patron saint. I have read and been told personally that the only reason we still have the TLM is because of the courage of Archbishop LeFebvre. They completely disregard that he was excommunicated because of his disobedience to a direct command from the Vicar of Christ. They feel that he was not disobedient but heroic in his actions, and that he had no other choice than to do what he did if he was to follow the Holy Spirit.

    This is what we are seeing, I believe, in the situation with the FFI. it is the same thing we saw with the College of Fisher More. Traditionalists feel it is impossible for them to ever be wrong, and so anyone who tries to tell them so must be fought in the same way that Archbishop LeFebvre fought. I think it is tragic that this is tearing your Order apart, Father. If the Trads would just follow the example of our Blessed Mother in humble submission, and allow Our Lord to either fight the battle for them or just go humbly in prayer and ask to be shown the correct way to go, this could all end peacefully. But I don’t think that will happen.

    I am still of the firm belief that there is a great schism coming soon, and that Traditionalists will be at the heart of it.

    • The attitude you show here is not very loving. You are lumping all ‘Traditionalists’ together when the mindset of most Traditionlists is nothing like you say. Yes, most in the SSPX are like what you say but they are a minority of Traditionalists. Yes, there are a very vocal minority in some Traditional parishes that have at least some thought that seem to go to far. (Yet they wold never question the validity of the Pope in thought or word.) Most Traditionalists love the Pope and the Church. They support both per their obligations. They may disagree with some decisions that a Pope, Bishop, or priest make, but that is far different than from the wide brush with which you paint us. Most Traditionalists belong to parishes served by diocese priests, FSSP priests, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, and others. They do not support or attend schismatic Masses or those of the SSPX.

      Yet somehow this wide brush continues to paint us as evil, unloving and Pharisaical. I pray that God may open your eyes and your heart to all your Catholic brothers.

  3. Hello Fr. Angelo. Thank you for being courageous and standing against these radical traditionalists and their online supporters, by revealing the truth about the FFI, not to mention your status as one with valid concerns (of the 5) about your order. No one likes a whistleblower, but it has now been proven it was absolutely necessary for the Vatican to intervene.

    The interesting thing to note, is that the mean ol’ Trad Behaving Badly left his/her name anonymous, while you decided on full disclosure. It just further confirms and validates what you have said in your prior posts about anonymous posting. Shows you are now 200% right about what you wrote. Guess who’s virtuous in this situation?

    On a final note, I too, have experienced a similar contra-Benedictine/”hermetic of continuity” spirit in my neck of the woods with regards to traditional Catholicism. While this does not reflect all people who attend the TLM, that experience generated by the sizable minority affected me so much I have almost dropped out entirely of anything to do with the Latin Mass due to these characters, and only as of a few days ago I did the most feverish posting on my blog in a while, one dealing with serving the Latin Mass and other aspects in my Archdiocese. In fact, while I was planning to not post anything else for May, I’m going to highlight this and spread the word on my blog, even more so as Trads are using this as a sticking point to still claim war on the “post-conciliar Church”, even if they are not SSPX adherents. Not anymore!

    Pax Tibi Christi, Julian.

  4. I am visiting my family here in Wisconsin. At first I was willing to give you the benefit of doubt in this matter but after seeing what has happened to a growing and faithful religious body, I see something that worries me very greatly. I am now visiting my relatives in Iowa. I have seen most of my relatives give up on the faith. To them it is hollow and protestant. Many have joined protestant churches that do ‘community’ much better than the Catholic Church in this area does. The Churches have been gutted of their beaty and modernized. Most of the old reverencial, beautiful, and holy rites have been stripped away. Since my visit I have only found a few who seem to still actually believe the teachings of the Catholic Church and they are traditional Latin Mass Catholic. Sadly, none of these are from my relatives. Jesus said that you will know them by their fruits. The fruit I am seeing seems to be quite rotten.

    • Sorry, First I said Wisconsin then Iowa, my relatives live in Iowa, I am staying in Wiscons.

    • Your experience is unfortunate and shared by many. But it simply is not true that the only real, faithful and devout Catholics are found attending the TLM. Just. Not. True.

  5. Well, the Priests who asked for the intervention are certainly getting their way. The Institute will be gutted and they can kiss the great majority of future vocations they would have gotten goodbye.

    I hope they allow the great majority of friars who were perfectly happy with the Institute to form their own, in a form such as the FSSP or Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

    • This is part of the mythology that has been created by the propaganda. We have always had a steady growth of vocations. It was never dependent on a traditionalist bent, though, clearly our reputation is at stake, largely because of potentially self-fulfilling prophecy: “You won’t get any more vocations because the progressives and modernists took over.”

    • Dear frangelo, how sad it is to see this type of warfare being conducted in Holy Church. It can only do more damage than good. It seems to me like a question of defending one’s own position, desperate not to lose face, come what may. This washing of linen in the public domain is inexcusable. To all of you; be silent, as Our Lord was before His accusers. Be prayerful, especially towards your opponents. Heal the breach, work tirelessly for blessed harmony. God knows who is right and who is wrong, as deep in their hearts do those know who are most involved. All can be healed, if there is a true willingness to forgive, forget and unite. If unison is not achievable, then part amicably and live in peace and good will. Friction is worse than division. Abraham and his nephew are perfect examples of each going his own way, yet still united in faith and charity, ready to come to the aid of each other. Let us pray that we may all be one, as Our Lord is in His Father. Let us work, pray and sacrifice as He did, for the salvation of souls.
      Eduardo Ingles.

  6. St. Donatus — I remember our last two late Popes stating that our Church of the future will become much smaller, but more solid (lean and mean). Sitting in the typical pew of your typical Catholic Church do seem to be a majority of Protestant-thinking Catholics. HOWEVER, there are orthodox ones in there! Seek and ye shall find. When you go to a Traditional Mass, you are seeing a select few who all chose to go there — like the Evangelicals vs many mainline Protestant denominations. I see the attraction in this — it’s safe; it’s supportive; it’s easy. But since when did Christ ever tell us to go where it’s safe, supportive and easy? I always personally feel called to go into the deep — where it’s quite scary and sometimes very alone and certainly not easy. (Although, believe me, I WANT to be where it’s safe, supportive and easy. Oy.)

    Fr. Angelo— I have been praying feverishly for your Order. I am sorry that you must all go through this. I do believe that all the FFI men (and women) have their hearts in the right place — wanting to serve our Lord through the loving arms of His Mother. Unfortunately by trimming down to wanting a Traditionalist leaning and, even worse, possibly believing that the Pope is no longer one to be followed, they are probably placing themselves out on a cushy island far away from the majority of people whom you’re called to serve. Where is Christ in that, I’m forced to ask?

    There is SO MUCH unrest in the world right now. EVERYWHERE. Why should it be any different in our Church? Keep fasting and praying for the proper guidance from the Holy Spirit. God bless.

    • “I see the attraction in this — it’s safe; it’s supportive; it’s easy.”

      I have no idea why going to the traditional Latin Mass is “safe, supportive, and easy.” It’s not “easy” for many families when they have to drive, sometimes great distances, out of their way to attend one. It’s also not “easy” in that following the Latin Mass is more difficult than following the Novus Ordo. It’s also not necessarily “supportive” since it may not have any parish life possible. It’s also not “safe” in the sense that the traditional Latin Mass is completely counter-cultural to our egalitarian, superficial society.

      I attend the Novus Ordo regularly since there is no traditional Latin Mass available in my area. It’s definitely easier to attend than the traditional Latin Mass but at the same time more difficult as its banality (which is typical) and lack of any silence make it something to be endured, and certainly provides no opportunity to actually pray.

  7. Out of curiosity, how many religious are currently in the FFI and how many were there two years ago? How many are in training to become members?

    Yes, I love the ‘old’ rites of the Church, but I attend more Novus Ordo Masses than I do Latin Masses. In fact, I am server at daily Mass at a Novus Ordo parish since there are no children available. I do love serving God in this way. I know that some religious orders that only have the Novus Ordo Mass are booming such as the Dominicans of Nashville, but they are very orthodox sisters. Yet this is not the case with most orthodox orders who attend exclusively the Novus Ordo. Orders that favor the Latin Mass are almost all booming, the lay people whom they serve are growing quickly in number. (Of course there are exceptions to every rule.)

    The very distinct trend toward the support of liberal orders and the obvious suppression of more orthodox orders is what I am concerned about. Orders that support and teach heretical views are talked to year after year, but nothing is ever done (as with the LCWR). They lead thousands away from the Church and into the hands of Satan through ‘New Age’ beliefs, yet the FFI that was notorious for its orthodoxy are violently suppressed.

    How many Catholics did the FFI friars lead into the hands of the SSPX? Probably none. But how many have come to believe that the SSPX has legitimate concerns since this suppression of the traditional beliefs of many in the FFI, probably thousands. In fact I know several who have changed their minds about the SSPX. Before they would have considered them nuts, now they wonder if they were right all along. Several who left the SSPX and joined a local FSSP parish, have now returned to the SSPX. They fear that all the work they do to support the FSSP will end with suppression of the FSSP. At least with the SSPX, they don’t have to worry about their hard earned donations going to nothing.

    • I would suggest that if anything you say is true, then it as easily be explained by the SSPX/tradiionalist propaganda machine, which has sought to demonize anyone that opposes it, as by anything else.

      Let’s not go down the post hoc ergo propter hoc road.

      We had no serious problems, like the Nashville Dominicans, before the arbitrary style of government lead us down this path, even though at time we were virtually ignored by traditionalists. The Vetus Ordo is not our problem, per se. The problem is that we have been identified, not just with the old Mass but also with the anti-ecclesial baggage.

      We were not a “liberal order” prior to Summorum Pontificum and we are not now.

  8. Dear Father Geiger,

    I am a priest of the Diocese of St. Catharines, in Ontario Canada. I am the brother of Hugh McDonald. If you are who I think you are, I met you at Marytown in the 1980s.

    I have read both documents. I know nothing of your internal affairs.

    I would just remark that your text assumes the following:

    Traditionalism = evil

    All Traditionalism? It might help if you defined your terms.

    I hope and pray that you would have no difficulty in being, and in calling yourself “anti-modernist”.

    Fr Paul McDonald

    • Dear Fr. McDonald,

      With all due respect Fr. Angelo’s article deals with traditionlism and how it affects the Franciscans of the Immaculate, not your agenda. The fact that you or I may prefer one form of the Mass over the other does not in itself make one virtuos or the other not.

      Generally speaking traditionalISM as it is commonly understood is evil, period, as are most ism’s that reduce the Church to a political entity, period.

      But if you must, explain what you mean by traditiolism without criticising those who hold that the ordinary form of the Mass is as holy as the extraordinary form.

    • Fr. McDonald,

      I also hope and pray that Fr. Angelo does not justify your implication by declaring that he is “anti-modernist” not until you declare yourself to be “anti-traditionalist” the opposite face of modernism!

      Until then may the Remnant be with you.

    • Dear Father,

      It is possible we met at Marytown at that time. I went there as a postulant on a home visit from the Philippines.

      My definition of traditionalism is here. I kindly request you read the whole post before you comment again.

      I am happy to discuss the term, because such clarifications are definitely necessary. Whatever terms we use will have assets and liabilities. Some will say that we should not use “labels” at all because one is either Catholic nor not, which is true. But factions within the Church, each of them claiming a measure of legitimacy, de facto exist. Indeed, there are factions who claim legitimacy against what they consider an illegitimate or revolutionary magisterium. So the labels are all debatable, but without the measured or tentative use of them we really can’t talk intelligently about what is happening.

      As for the term “anti-modernist,” do you assume that because I could easily be interpreted as anti-traditionalist, that I am therefore, pro-modernist? If so, the very assumption is one of the reasons that I have a problem with traditionalism. I am anti-modernist in the same way I am anti-abortion and anti-choice. But I would never call myself anti-abortion. I am pro-life. However, I know that saying I am Catholic is not all that helpful nowadays, because it really does not tell people where I stand. I would not call myself an anti-traditionalist anymore than I would call myself an anti-modernist. But I my focus here has more often been on traditionalism than modernism, because modernists do not spend much time on my blog, and because my personal experience in religious life, especially now, has been more adversely affected by traditionalism than modernism.

      I would say that traditionalism as I define it in my link is evil, but I know that many would not except my definition, and I know my definition has its liabilities. I even hypothetically concede that traditionalists could be in good faith (and generally this might be true) and there are many people who are following their consciences along the lines of what I describe under the title “traditionalism.” I personally, would not expect them to do otherwise on my authority and I recognize that the Church tolerates a measure of “diversity” (for lack of a better word) in the matter.

      Just remember that the problem with terminology is not one-sided. I have heard any number of traditionalists express themselves in ways that would suggest that if one is not a traditionalist, he must be a modernist, which is pretty close to what you implied.

      So I think it is a very bad idea to subscribe to the ideology served up by Rorate Caeli, Messa in Latina, Libertà e persona, The Eponymous Flower, Catholic Family News, the Remnant, Tradition in Action, Correspondenza Romana, let alone Angelus Press and beyond, etc., etc. But if that is your cup of tea and you can maintain the Catholicity of, say, the FFSP, I am not going to bother you. But I am certainly not going to concede that I am insufficiently Catholic, or not “anti-modernist” enough because I think that these outlets are “traditionalist” in the way that I describe it. Nor will I apologize for the fact that I believe these outlets ought to be avoided like the plague–or lets say, like The National Catholic Reporter.

      I don’t pretend my views on these matters are anything more than my opinion, but then again, I am not in the habit of submitting everything the magisterium has to say to the traditionalist smell test. So there you are.

      I also want to address right here something that is implied (perhaps in an unintended way) in your comment, and is explicit in St Donatus’ comment, namely, that most traditionalists don’t have the problems I am addressing and that my very addressing these matters is uncharitable.

      I make no claims about how many traditionalists (however you define them) are problematic. I do not consider the answer to that question altogether relevant. But my lengthy experience in the matter and the ecclesiastical crisis caused by the situation surrounding my institute tells me the problem is significant and worth discussing.

      There has been an eight month long propaganda war against the Holy See because of this, and the character assassination of the Commissioner, the Prefect, and even the Holy Father, not to mention those of us who appealed to the Holy See. So, we are not going to do any comparisons of wounds, or engage in arguments about which side was more uncharitable. I think this is really broad-minded and generous of me. So just leave it at that.

      My experience with traditionalism extends a long way back. The last eight months is only a small part of what I have seen. And I have to admit at one time I was much more sympathetic. But then I realized the word “tradition,” among many of those who use it, connotes a fair number of things that to my mind have nothing to do with Tradition.

      It also seems to me that there is an obvious context to my remarks. I am not painting with a broad brush in my post. I think it is pretty clear and specific. I don’t want the propaganda of Roberto de Mattei or the political manipulation of his crowd rammed down my throat any more than I want to be forced to attend a clown Mass. Catholicity is not defined by any of these people, nor by you or me.

      I went with others to the Holy See in this context, because it was a matter of conscience. I did not, nor do I now, hold my conscience supreme. I did the only thing my conscience would allow. I went to the Church. And I am not the least bit sorry that I did.

    • Just to add to Fr. Angelo’s remarks, I have personally never met anyone who identifies as a Traditionalist who does not question the Magesterium of the Church in some way and who does not reject Vatican II at least to an extent, if not wholly. I was most definitely among these people until the last year or so. I found my way out by turning off Catholic Family News, Rorate Caeli, Remnant, etc. and began listening to the Church without the traditionalist filter. These traditionalist sites and organizations are spiritual poison, as far as I am concerned, and they are the culprits who stirring up trouble among the FFI and other organizations.

      Thank you, Fr. Angelo, for having the courage and fortitude to stand up against this spiritual onslaught.

  9. Dear Fr Angelo and Fr Agnellus, thank you for this, which makes the situation of the FFI very clear. May God bless you and keep you and continue to fill you with His holy courage.

  10. Color me cynical. Not of this post, nor of your clearly justifiable position Father Angelo – but of what the rad trad reaction will be. Since they have had no regard for ecclesial authority and have had free rein for their lies (or “intellectual dishonesty”, if you prefer) in the com boxes, what will they now do when the straw man speaks? I predict that they will either ignore you, or try to (further) malign your good name. Anonymously.

    • Steve,

      Anonymously? Of course! But they probably do things “anonymously” to protect their innocence since they clearly have no regard for the innocence of others. Justifiable anonymity or is it anamousity?

    • As a “Rad-Trad Onlyist”, as I like to call myself, I am posting in these boxes under the name “Brennan555”. Brennan is my actual name. Brennan Doherty is my full name. bd55555@gmail.com is my e-mail address. If you want my address too let me know.

  11. The above post is not about the TLM vs. the Novus Ordo. The article Fr. Angelo, unfortunately, had to post, airing FI dirty laundry, is more about the egregious behavior of the fomer superiors of the FI, and some of its members in the lower echelon. This behavior is nothing more than bullying. Bullying is not limited to thugs in back alleys, or schooll boys in the playground. Bullying stems from a fundamental personal insecurity, a lack of courage to live in our current age with all its moral problems, and to grow in personal holiness in that situation, and to help others do the same. It is rooted in fear, pride, power, honor, and I feel I must add great wealth to this list. You all are afraid to suffer; to carry your crosses, much like the Pharisees of the Old Testament.

    Those who proclaim to love God and still hate their brother (this FI debacle is a clear case of hate) is a liar! And your master is the Father of Lies!

    • Marie,

      Well said I can add nothing to it but my sincere gratitude for it.

      St. Bonaventure points out that when greed is the fuel of all vices they exacerbrate the others. So for instance, greed fueling lust becomes the closest one human being can come to possessing another. And as lust has many more forms than its crass expression it is not out of play here. I wish they could see that as Satan lusted for the flesh of Christ, that is, to be worshiped as Divine, so all who exalt their needs and agendas over that of the Mystical Body of Christ do the same, bullies each and every one!

      God Bless you Marie.

    • Really? Judging even by the two letters above, where the first letter is much more specific, who is bullying who? I don’t recall the hammer being dropped more strongly on a religious order than has happened to the friars who celebrated the Gregorian Rite in the FFI.

  12. I am sorry. I confused you with Fr Bernard Geiger, ofm conv, whom I had presumed had become an FFI.

    I was trying to be concilatory, since to be Catholic one must accept the (in effect anti-modernist) dogmas of the Vatican Council of 1870.

    I am a diocesan priest. I celebrate the mass of Ven Paul VI 49 out of 50 times in my day to day ministry.

  13. Father,
    In response to those who insist that the order thrives because of the Latin Mass, and will now fail, I can say that in my case, it was fidelity the magisterium and the reverence for God that was what kept me coming all those years. The many Friars that I met in that time, and there were many, were good, holy men who were more about reverence than Traditionalism. All those men came in during the Novus Ordo Mass. In my opinion, it was the reverence that drew them. As you wrote a couple of years ago in your definition of Traditionalism,
    ” My community, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, is a “reform of the reform” community and has been long before this idea became popular. More than twenty-five years ago I was attracted to the FI, in part, because of its reverent celebration of the novus ordo according to the rubrics, and its readiness to incorporate the use of Latin and Gregorian chant into the liturgy. I know that many of our friars, sisters, tertiaries and members of our liturgical congregations have been attracted for the same reasons. This attraction has helped to produce many vocations to religious life and continues to be a reason why people come to our friaries and attend our liturgies.”

    Thanks Father

  14. Within the Catholic traditionalist culture (by that, I mean devotees of the 1962 Missal) there are a set of sub-cultures. There are those who hold views that are not in harmony with Holy Church on certain documents of Vatican II, for example. There are others who might accept the documents of Vatican II, but who don’t care for the new Mass, or who even refuse to assist at one. Then, there are those who accept the documents of Vatican II, and who have a preference for the TLM, but who understand it is not everyone’s cup of tea. These are just some of the sub-cultures.

    Stridency, along with an attitude that “traditionalist” is the only right way to be Catholic, I believe, is found more in the first two groups. I go to the TLM most weeks and most people I know can sometimes be found at other Masses at the parish, not TLM, on occasion. I am grateful to have an option.

    Unfortunately, all those with an affection for the 1962 Missal are being lumped in together when there are complaints about traditionalists.

    One thing I will point out, is that if an order that was originally established around the OF begins to shift with interest in the TLM, then to my mind, it would be a very delicate matter and one which must develop carefully and with everyone affected. A ram-rod approach, if taken, would be disastrous. People came into the order under one form of the Mass, and if there’s an attempt to change that so that it is exclusively or mainly EF, this could cause serious quarrels within the community. If half of a large order wanted to go in one each direction, then I would say it might be worth considering two branches of the order, much like you can now find a Benedictine house that is all EF and another that is all OF. I think the Carmelites in Wyoming are still EF, yet there are other Carmelites (most of them) which are OF.

    I think such diversity is good and can maximize vocations.

    However, where I see a problem, in light of what Fr. Angelo states, is if things were being pushed in one direction, or if things were pushed in any direction too fast. Moreover, if stridency, and if ideologies embraced more by groups like SSPX were manifest, then splitting them off into their own province would allow somewhat of an infection to incubate more easily.

    I’ve stayed out of this fray for the most part because I’m all too aware that we know a fraction of the story and usually that which leaks is coming from the most disgruntled party (and that usually comes anonymously, without any way to validate the information).

    What I can do is include this situation in my daily prayers that an amicable solution is found for all concerned.

    Just remember, from friction, comes pearls. This is painful now, but Romans 5:20 always rules.

    • Good points Diane, and this is one reason why I hope the friars who wish to be able to celebrate the Gregorian rite be allowed to form their own separate institute.

  15. Excellent, Marie — but may I ask where you feel greed enters in? (I can be slow with these sort of things!)

    St. Donatus and Fr. McDonald — I doubt most people who frequent this blog have any real issue with traditional Masses. Both Masses are valid and each form brings with it the same blessings and some unique blessings. The hangup becomes when people start to imply that one is ‘better’ than the other and those who attend one are ‘better Catholics’ than the others. I, for one, am not for new-age modernism and I surely am tired of disobedient priests. However, disobedience can come in two ways. A priest can be disobedient by going against the Magisterium and, say, teach that same-sex marriages should be valid, women should be ordained priests, abortion is fine, birth control is fine. We would all lump these types of disobedience into the modernistic swamp. But a priest can also be disobedient by claiming to be holier than the pope — by being stricter than the pope wants them to be. They can require things that are not requirements of being a Catholic in good standing and thus crush people. “For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them. ” (Matt 23:4, Douay-Rheims)

  16. Thank you Fr. Angelo and Fr. Agnellus! We have never met, but I used to be friar of this institute and was once assigned in the Marian House in Via di Boccea way back 2010-2011. For them to say that the institute has not changed is truly a lie. To make an analogy, it was like I was being formed and trained to go through the desert during my 3 years of religious formation before being professed, but when I came to Italy, it seemed as if I had found myself going through the Alps in the middle of winter. After much prayer, reflection and spiritual guidance, I found within myself that I could no longer go where the institute was heading. So I no longer renewed my vows. I returned to the Philippines despite the fact that I was already eligible to study in STIM. Like as you said, the seminary was becoming the ground of rebellion. I just couldn’t bear it. I left peacefully and now, I am already a diocesan seminarian and a very happy one, too.

    I have no regrets having left the institute and I have no regrets, too, in having entered it seven years ago. I may no longer be a Franciscan in habit, but I am still a Franciscan by heart. Even though I am no longer in the institute, I still love it because it brought me to God. The Immaculate brought me into this institute to get what I could, like a seed planted and nourished within the walls of the Marian House. Now, She has taken me from there and transplanted me here in my diocese. In my own little ways, as a Franciscan at heart, I am helping “rebuild” the Church here.

    Thank you and I truly admire your courage! May this purification bring out good results not only for the members but also for the Church. Grazie mille!

    • Sem. Rey Carlo: Just a thought on reading your post… My pastor is a diocesan priest who had an interest in Carmelite spirituality. He complimented his secular priesthood by becoming also a secular Carmelite. He is now the chaplain of a a healthy and growing secular Carmelite community. Perhaps some day you might become a secular Franciscan and lead lay people in your parish or area of the diocese in such a vocation.

      • Thanks a lot Diane! I do have that in mind. I was originally part of the MIM before I entered the FFI. Due to my present formation in the seminary, I can’t attend the regular MIM meetings though I’ve been considered as an MIM 1 member despite my absence. Hopefully, in due time I will be able to regularly attend the formations.

  17. brennan555 — sorry for the confusion. I stated above that it was safer, easier, and more supportive to avoid the typical novus ordo Masses filled with confused, misled, and often very secular or protestant-like individuals (sinners) in order to cling to Traditional Masses usually filled with people who have had a definite conversion to Christ and a deep longing to live accordingly (also sinners, of course). I wasn’t referring to the physical aspects of getting to the EF Masses. It can be challenging to get to Novus Ordo Masses that are reverent and that have a priest who is orthodox leading the way. Yes, it’s important to spend time with other committed Catholic Christians — to become friends with them and even to worship with them. We need that and it was this aspect that always drew me to the FFI. However, that is not what this issue is about.

    If the Magisterium says that both forms are to be permitted and that neither form of the Mass is better than the other — that both forms should be offered —– what’s the problem here?

    The real questions to me are whether you feel that Vatican II is something we MUST follow and not question. Whether we feel that the Council of Bishops (thus the USCCB for us Americans) has legitimate leadership over us. Whether we feel that the popes after VAtican II are legitmate popes. If all the members of the FI didn’t have a problem with these concepts, I don’t think they’d be in the predicament they are currently in.

    • Hi Jennifer, thanks for clarifying.

      Whether one form of Mass is better than another is something even Pope Benedict (as Cardinal Ratzinger) weighed in on and it’s certainly a legitimate (and important) topic of discussion for Catholics.

      The USCCB has no authority over Catholics whatsoever, and certainly no teaching authority. Local bishops do. See:

      http://www.stopmandatumabuse.com/drupal/USCCBAuthority

      There are plenty of things to question in regards to Vatican II such as “What do certain documents actually mean”? and “How can we square documents such as Dignitatis Humanae” with prior Church teaching?” This is what the “Hermeneutic of Continuity” is all about.

      As far as I know, there are no FFI friars that are sedevacantists so yes, they accept all the recent popes as valid popes and believe that both forms of the Mass are valid.

      • Pope Benedict defended the conciliar teaching on religious liberty in the very “hermeneutic of continuity” address (December 22, 2005) itself, and continued to defend Dignitatis Humanae to the end of his pontificate.

        I wouldn’t want you to get away with implying that Pope Benedict’s “hermeneutic of continuity” was an invitation to challenge the possibility of such a hermeneutic, which is pretty much generally the way it is treated by the crowd I have been criticizing.

  18. I found one serious flaw in the article. It states that Roberto De Mattei has rejected the infallibilty of the canonizations of Pope John Paul ll and John XXlll. This is not true. I have read Roberto de Mattei’s long piece on the subject. Rather, he describes the definition on infallibilty and how it applies to the canonizations, which are not considered by Church teaching to be strictly infallible. This is not the same thing as rejecting the canonizations outright. Since the article is wrong about this, what else can it be wrong about? Someone is being dishonest here.

    • ‘M. Ray’…..Perhaps you might back up your assertions with solid evidence. If you make such statements, as the one above, with implications of deceit by others then prove it. Otherwise your words are meaningless!

    • M. Ray,

      If you are going to accuse me of lying you had better get your facts straight.

      De Mattei 1) rejects the infallible character of all canonizations and 2) he flatly rejects the validity of the canonization of St. John XIII.

      1) You are free to agree with him or not, but the facts are the facts. De Mattei does not believe that canonizations are infallible and that is effectively what I said.

      2) When asked: “Do you hold, instead, that the last Popes were not saints?” de Mattei replied:

      Allow me to explain myself using the example of one Pope whom I know better, as a historian: John XXIII. Having studied the Second Vatican Council, I examined in depth his biography and consulted the acts of his beatification process. When the Church canonizes one of the faithful, it is not that she wants to assure us that the deceased is in the glory of Heaven, rather She proposes them as a model of heroic virtue. Depending on the case, it is a perfect religious, pastor, father of a family, and so on. In the case of a Pope, to be considered a saint he must have exercised heroic virtue in performing his mission as Pontiff, as was for example, the case for Saint Pius V or Saint Pius X. Well, as far as John XXIII, I am certain after careful consideration, that his pontificate was objectively harmful to the Church and so it is impossible to speak of sanctity for him.

      Here he explicitly denies the infallible character of the canonization of John XIII at least implies it in regard to John Paul II a) because he does so generally, and b) because the question was about “last popes.”

      If you want to comment here again, you will have to retract that accusation of dishonesty.

    • M. Ray, you state,

      “Someone is being dishonest here.”

      Could that be you?

  19. I am not publishing comments that accuse me of lumping all traditionalists together or hating them, or of hating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I am also not publishing comments that suggest that I lump all traditionalists with the SSPX.

    Anyone that would like to opine on related matters had better read this and this. Otherwise, don’t waste your time and mine.

  20. @ brooklincatholic,
    “I have personally never met anyone who identifies as a Traditionalist who does not question the Magesterium of the Church in some way and who does not reject Vatican II at least to an extent, if not wholly.”

    Cardinal Kasper – who is not a Traditionalist, far from it – admitted last year that :
    “In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction.”
    This was published in L’Osservatore Romano in April last year. You can Google it. This is one source (http://www.knightsofdivinemercy.com/2013/04/22/cardinal-kasper-admits-to-intentional-ambiguities-in-vatican-ii/)

    So to be fair on Traditionalists – many of whom had been saying this all along -, this can hardly be the working of the Holy Spirit. He might have allowed this to happen for reasons known to Him alone, but He was certainly not the Originator.

    • Cardinal Kaspar is not the Pope, Christ’s representative on earth, nor is he the Magisterium. We are required as Catholics to be faithful to both, not align ourselves with a Cardinal, who is, at present, on shaky grounds for his recent comments on marriage, divorce, and reception of Holy Communion.

  21. A commenter above said, “How many Catholics did the FFI friars lead into the hands of the SSPX? Probably none. But how many have come to believe that the SSPX has legitimate concerns since this suppression of the traditional beliefs of many in the FFI, probably thousands.”
    This statement has the clear ring of common sense to the fair reader. I once believed that the SSPX were kooks and schismatics. The door to tradition was then opened to me by Summorum Pontificum (I presently attend the TLM at a cathedral). In the years since S.P. was issued, I’ve watched panicking Spirit-of-Vatican-II-ists act aggressively toward those who have dared to remind us of “The Binding Force of Tradition,” to quote the title of Fr. Chad Ripperger’s short book. It really is helpful to read lots and lots of Church history to try to understand how winners and losers in ecclesiastical debates are viewed in the short term and in the long term. Great saints and doctors were exiled during their lifetimes. I wouldn’t make up my mind too quickly about Archbishop Lefebvre. Yes, he was excommunicated. But the excommunications of the others SSPX bishops were lifted by Benedict XVI. You can see how political winds determine who’s an insider and who’s an outsider. Winds shift. Fortunes change.

    • Thanks Greco, for helping make the point for me.

      There a number of comments I am not posting which say I am against the old Mass, the reform of the reform and Summorum Pontificum. That my position is all rebellion against what–Tradition?

      But the point is, if one raises a concern about the intellectual merry-go-round of Rorate Caeli, Catholic Family News and the Remnant, or anything like them, one must be an enemy of the Old Mass and Tradition, and this all just makes the SSPX look that much more legitimate. And that is precisely the reasoning (?) I reject.

      Then, if one takes his concerns to the Church, he is a modernist and rebel, while those who publicly rebel against the Church are the sainted guardians of tradition.

      You couldn’t make this stuff up

  22. Yikes! I’m not going to get into the thick of this discussion but, wow, I would much rather deal with any difficulties in the Ordinary Form than what you are all experiencing in the Extraordinary Form It is painful to read. I will certainly keep you all in prayer and especially pray for the FI.

    And, yes, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia – very inspiring, very beautiful spirituality. We are very blessed to have them teaching at our parish school and in our Catholic Community. To me they represent the reform of the reform. Our diocese, in fact, is blessed with many vocations to the priesthood and religious life. It is sad that some have such a negative view of the Ordinary Form. I wish you could experience the beauty that I am fortunate to see on a daily basis. Again, I will offer my prayers for all of you and a peaceful resolution to the discord you are experiencing.

    In Christ,
    Marian

    • Marian — Your situation sounds LOVELY. Is that TX or TN? Shucks – can my family be your nextdoor neighbor???

  23. Thank you, Dear Father, for this posting. It does seem to place some things in better perspective.

    I’m afraid that going through the reply queue must be a bit like navigating through the worst sort of mine field. While I am a definite “traditionalist”, I must admit that “traditionalist” and “internet social media” can be a bit of a volatile mixture.

    I pray that, in spite of the later hour, fraternity and charity may rule the day.

    Who are we all, before the Face of God, but sinners.

    May you all see the Face of God, with joy.

  24. The difficulty in evaluating these two accounts what has happened to the FFI for us as outsiders, of course, is that it is difficult to know which is accurate. And if one has a strong position on these issues (wherever it lies), there is always the risk of selection bias, and confirmation bias, when evaluating them.

    I am content to be called a traditionalist, and as a traditionalist, I have been around long enough and seen enough to know that adherence to tradition is not a guarantee against vicious or sinful behavior, let alone lack of prudence. An extreme example can be found in the Society of St. John in Scranton, which turned out to have all kinds of serious problems. The 1999-2000 flap in the FSSP shows that even it is not above the occasional difficulty. I myself have been involved in the discipline of a tradition friendly priest, and unfortunately the discipline was well merited. Having said all that, it is also my experience that serious misbehaviors are far more rare in traditional communities and societies (at least those in regular canonical situations; my knowledge of the SSPX is more limited). Such places and groups are not perfect (that is impossible), but they are almost always more spiritually healthy than the norm in the Church.

    But while I cannot fully evaluate the claims made by Fr. Geiger and this anonymous friar (and it may turn out that both have some measure of the truth), there is something that strikes me as an outsider: it is impossible to find, in the post-conciliar era, any religious order subject to a corrective regime this severe in its measures and extent. Even the Legion of Christ, which manifested systemic sexual abuse (even by its founder), financial irregularities and cultish behaviors on a large scale, has faced relatively modest adjustments and disciplines relative to what the FFI has. And while not everything has been made public, there have been no allegations of anything like those behaviors imputed to Fr. Manelli or the FFI leadership to date. What charges have been made seem quite vague and nebulus. What exactly are “crypto-Lefebvrist” attitudes? What are the concrete, specific things that have been said and done?

    This is why it seems to so many traditionalists that what has been ordered by Fr. Volpi to the FFI is, as Fr Ray Blake blogged the other day, quite disproportionate. And given that traditionalist fears of ecclesiastical repression are not unfounded, given the history of the past five decades, I think that the alarm that has been manifested over this in your combox and elsewhere is not entirely unreasonable. And to the extent that many laity depend on the FFI for their spiritual well-being, I think there is an obligation to disclose more than has been done to date.

    • The comparison and contrast to the Legionaries is not entirely fair. Maciel had papal protection and the Legion had far more influence and power by means of its numbers, global extension, and, frankly, its money. Nothing about that is any big revelation, nor is it something rare in Church history.

      On a different matter, the appellants did not move against the ecclesiastically approved observances of the Institute. The only thing that has been stopped is what is not indicated in our form of life as it was approved by the Church. Everything else that has happened flowed from the fact that unity could not be restored on that basis. All we really had to do is what we have always agreed to do, what we were called to do, and what we wanted to do when we entered.

      You are right in that you imply that there is a whole pre-history to the appeal. Years of it. All anyone knows about the problem is what became public knowledge at the time of the establishment of the Commission, when the propaganda campaign began. Why should I think that further revelation would make any difference?

      I have already been told multiple times that those who appealed, legitimately, to the Church are dishonest, rebellious and treacherous. No benefit of the doubt was ever given. It won’t be given now.

      Fr. Ray, in fact, makes no thoughtful comment about what I have actually said. He simply dismisses the whole thing out of hand, and suggests that a man he otherwise knows to be an traditional and faithful priest is simply a “wet liberal.”

      No, Richard, the “benefits” to revealing more details and being responsible for harming more reputations is not worth what I know will come of it.

      The comments here that are generally opposed to what I represent make short shift of the public propaganda campaign directed by traditionally minded people agains the Holy Father and those who are delegated by him deal with this kind of problem. I think one of the reasons why traditional communities get treated more harshly is that the expectation is that they will obey, because it is consistent with their own principles, and because the behavior manifested over the last eight months stands in direct and explicit contradiction of the principles they so loudly espouse. Again, vowed religious obedience is absurd if it does not mean in the first place obedience to the Church.

      Over and over again I hear I should just have obeyed. But the same principle seems to have no application now to those who actively seek to undermine the Commissioner’s work. In that context it is not at all hard to understand why bishops and Cardinals, who may not count themselves as traditionalists are inclined to move in. It does not take some kind of ecclesiastical calculus or conspiracy theory to figure this out.

      I am not in a position to prove that I am right. But those who have created the narrative you suspect is true, almost all of whom remain anonymous and unaccountable, didn’t have to prove anything either. All they had to do is say from hiding whatever would help their cause. They were the ones who revealed the information in public that was damaging even to people on their own side. And of course, they blame the whole thing on us. This is why I have said that this cannot be arbitrated in the public forum.

      It is also why we have the Church, and why in particular problems within religious orders are supposed to be resolved in an ecclesial manner, one that involves obedience to the Church in the first place.

    • Fr. Angelo,

      Thank you very kindly for the extended reply.

      It’s true that I am inclined to *suspect” that the anonymous narrative, and others like it, are true, as you say. But while there’s plenty of history to suspect Cardinal Braz de Aviz, Fr. Volpi (who was openly critical of Pope Benedict’s decision to issue SP) and the Congregation for [Religious], it’s also true that I cannot rule out that not everything was as it should have been in the FFI’s governance and practices. Adherence to tradition, however considered, is no guarantee against human fallibility. Without more information, it is impossible for me to draw a comprehensive conclusion here. You suggest that such information won’t be forthcoming, at least for now, so I limit myself to two questions:

      1) I am unclear what you mean by suggesting that the Legion is not a fair comparison. Is it that the Legion was not put under as strong correctives because they wielded more power and influence than the FFI? Or did you mean something else? If the former, this would seem to suggest that if the FFI rightly suffers the current impositions, the Legion, given its more severe problems, should have been razed to the ground.

      Like Fr. Blake, I am still struck by the unprecedented (for the post-conciliar era) impositions made upon the FFI, especially given how many problems we have seen in religious life since 1965. Perhaps the proper answer is that many of those orders should have been dealt with much more firmly, too; that failure to discipline in one case cannot excuse failure to act in another. But you can see, surely, how this raises suspicions and resentments from those who identify with tradition.

      2) I note two phrases that you give expression to: “No benefit of the doubt was ever given. It won’t be given now.” And: “Everything else that has happened flowed from the fact that unity could not be restored on that basis.” It seems to me – and, I cannot help but think, to you as well at some level – that the unity which now exists under the Commissioner’s new arrangements is a superficial unity, with wounds too deep to be easily healed. More to the point, as the anonymous source suggests, there really are two quite different visions of how the FFI should live and pray, and there does not seem to be any way to reconcile these in the long term. Precinding from any genuine doctrinal errors or misbehaviors by individuals that need to be addressed, would it really not make more sense to split up the FFI into new orders that are ordered by observances that make more explicit those visions, subsequent to ecclesiastical approval – presumably with the EF-friendly contingent being subject to Ecclesia Dei?

      If so, I hope that this possibility is being explored.

      • I am quite aware that for the time we are loosing the propaganda war, that is, that people of good will suspect that the Holy See is taking this opportunity to move against Tradition and that I am not in a position to prove otherwise. Either the Holy See’s actions were reasonable or unreasonable, but the Church belongs to Christ and religious are vowed to Him in and through the Church. The provisions of the Commission are derived from the Holy Father himself, who saw to it that there can be no appeal against it. I quote Bl. Newman on the matter:

        I say with Cardinal Bellarmine whether the Pope be infallible or not in any pronouncement, anyhow he is to be obeyed. No good can come from disobedience. His facts and his warnings may be all wrong; his deliberations may have been biassed. He may have been misled. Imperiousness and craft, tyranny and cruelty, may be patent in the conduct of his advisers and instruments. But when he speaks formally and authoritatively he speaks as our Lord would have him speak, and all those imperfections and sins of individuals are overruled for that result which our Lord intends (just as the action of the wicked and of enemies to the Church are overruled) and therefore the Pope’s word stands, and a blessing goes with obedience to it, and no blessing with disobedience. (Letter to Lady Simeon, 10 November 1867)

        People can nickel and dime the quote as to its application, but as I see it, either one gets the point or one doesn’t. Truly, no good will come from this opposition to the Holy See.

        Regarding the Legion, my point is that if the intervention took so long and proceeded by so many baby steps, as it may seem, it is likely because of the reasons I mentioned. The same reasons did not exist in respect to our Institute, and so there were fewer factors militating against an immediate and effective intervention. I am not trying to prove anything except that you can’t prove anything by such a comparison and contrast without making a lot of assumptions that you really can’t prove. It is a horse that won’t run.

        I fully understand the suspicions and resentments from those who identify with Tradition. Sometimes, however, in the interests of achieving a supernatural end through the appropriate (moral and effective) means (the exercise of the virtue of infused prudence), one must set aside such things, or otherwise accept defeat. Much should be done on the part of the Church to allay the fears of traditionalists. But traditionalists need to stop giving bishops, who are entrusted by Christ with the task of discerning charisms, so many reasons to fear that the movement cannot be harmoniously integrated into the life of the Church.

        Maybe there is a double standard in some of the bishops, but that is not the whole story. Anytime I have ever brought up what I believe to be real problems within the movement, I am always told that the resentment and opposition is justified.

        I really am left deeply perplexed by how little many traditionalists learn in this regard, and how continually shocked and outraged they are when bad things happen to them. Fr. Gruner, for example, kept poking the Holy See for years with a stick with relatively little reaction, and even after Rome began to react the walls closed in slowly. But people were shocked and outraged, nevertheless. The point is not whether he was right or wrong. The point is, he who eats the pope dies. You can count on it. It may take a while, but it will happen.

        Now, for the last eight months, people have been suspecting that the Holy See was up to no good—again, no proof, but a great deal of apprehension and resentment, as well as a very large dose of conspiracy theory. So what did the traditionalist pedagogues and pundits do, having calculated the exact means best to achieve their goal? They began poking the Holy See with a stick. Over and over and over. Much of it has been done from the shadows, using innuendo, leaked documents and unproven allegations (which also was part of their brilliant plan).

        So if the traditionalists had enemies before all this, the situation is now incalculably worse. Everyone can come back at me with philosophical and theological syllogisms and quote this or that pre-conciliar document. But none of it changes the fact that they have acted like damn fools and they still don’t see it. And, course, if I am right and the hens come home to roost, guess whose fault it will be? The whole thing will be pinned on the Holy See and the “rebels’ that appealed, and the people holding the sticks will take absolutely no responsibility.

        Just to let you know, there was a concerted attempt to change things before the five appealed to the Holy See, and a suggestion floated that a two-community solution might be necessary. That idea was rejected by the former superiors, and only after we had exhausted our options did we go to the Holy See.

        It seems that at this time the Holy See is generally indisposed to splitting to splitting up communities. But even so, it is far less likely now, for obvious reasons, than it would have been if we together would have approached the Holy See for a solution. Again, we all know who will get the public blame for this. But the more strident and outraged people become, the more they expect to get what they think is “justice.” Unfortunately, the more often they rush city hall with rakes, pitchforks and torches, the less likely they are to get a hearing.

        I take no pleasure in writing this. I have been warning people for years.

        And I agree that the care of souls ought to be put first. But put yourself in a bishop’s shoes. Don’t presume he is a modernist old-Mass hater. He is just a man who has responsibility for the Church and needs to be convinced that approving something is really in the interest of souls. It would not be too impolite or uncharitable to say that the opposition to the Holy See has presented itself very unprofessionally and very much in a way that suggests that their movement would be harmful to the unity of the Church.

        I know there will be many objections to this, because I have said similar things many times before. It is too general. It minimizes the effects of modernism in the Church. But with all those limitations accounted for it still contains a valid point. And one either gets it or he doesn’t. I submit not getting this particular point may very well be fatal to the traditionalist movement, as it is currently constituted.

        • I should clarify and say that to say “a suggestion floated that a two-community solution might be necessary” does not express the truth strong enough. In fact an extraordinary general chapter was formally requested in writing with the proviso that the Holy See would be involved in the event that a two solution was judged to be necessary. This was done in late 2011 and the proposal was rejected by the former superiors.

    • Yes! Richard and there is a modernist lurking behind every tree waiting to pounce on a traditionlist and tear him apart! What a way to live.

      But, is it the way taught by Christ?

  25. Jennifer – IN. We also have a Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Rode my bike there this evening for a visit. More than lovely…..Heavenly 🙂
    In Christ,
    Marian

  26. “while there’s plenty of history to suspect Cardinal Braz de Aviz, Fr. Volpi (who was openly critical of Pope Benedict’s decision to issue SP) and the Congregation for [Religious]”

    There is always another side to the story, and I have yet to hear what it is. But, based on the behavior of traditionalists, I am beginning to suspect that many who may have had reservations about SP (and the TLM in general) were apprehensive not because they were “old Mass haters”, but because they knew the character of those within the traditionalist movement and they could foresee the troubles that were forthcoming if traditionalists were given the opportunity. That’s just a personal theory, but a few years ago I could not imagine a reason why anyone would want to restrict access to Tradition such as the TLM, but now I can provide a list.

  27. Dear Father,

    I have been pondering over the last few days what I read on your page (both article and comments), and although I still very much believe what I believed before as to how this crisis started, I do realize from the tone of your post that you have been hurt – I suppose many of us have, which might explain the tensions and misunderstandings – and I acknowledge that I have a share in it in a way. Perhaps you didn’t intend it the way the whole thing unfolded, or even foresee it. Anyway. Please be assured that as I am praying for your brothers and sisters of the Institute I am also praying for you. May the Lord through the intercession of our Lady Queen of Peace, bring healing and reconciliation between us all.

    God bless,

    Aline

  28. Hello Father Angelo,

    I consider myself a Traditionalist, somebody, who after Summorum Pontificum found his way back to the Holy Church through the Traditional Latin Mass, to the extent that I consider myself a convert although I was born a Catholic (in pre-conciliar times). I have personally made my own experiences in my home country on how the generation of VII priests (let me define that as priests ordained in the 1960s and 1970s) shows a degree of intolerance and mercilessness towards followers of the TLM for simply asking to have the TLM celebrated once in their home parish. At the same time “dialogue” is being practiced and sought with Protestant communities and with other religions particularly with the Islam, even to the extent of joint prayers and services. A rather strange was of double standards is being applied.
    I must admit, I have been reading a lot of reports and blogs (you call it propaganda) about the clamping down on the FFI with regards to the use of TLM and I am shocked by what appears to be the same mercilessness as what I have seen from my own experience (obviously at a much smaller scale). I have come across the following article in which the treatment of FFI is compared with the one of LCWR, which I found quite interesting:

    http://marymagdalen.blogspot.de/2014/05/bavaria-and-buenos-aires.html

    Father, I would be interested to hear your opinion on this. You might call it another example of propaganda, but I feel that the differences are striking between how your order is being treated with an iron fist (other than yourselves, I presume) and how non-tradionalist dissidents of LCWR receive a rather mild form of treatment. What is the reason for this?

    Kind regards, Wolfgang Kilger

    • I don’t think you have read all the comments and the links I have provided. Most of what you are looking for is already answered by me in the body of the post and in the comments and the links in the comments.

      The friars who have appealed were not against the Latin Mass and have been perfectly willing to celebrate the Extraordinary Form, especially for those who requested it. I was one of the first priests in the Institute, ordained after the Council, to learn to celebrate it, long before SP.

      IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT THE LATIN MASS.

      I also believe you, and Fr. Ray, and Fr. Z are making the same mistake concerning the whole question of LCWR and its comparison to us, that the commenter who spoke of the comparison between Legion of Christ and our community made. You assume the two things are comparable simply as non-traditional to traditional and have made no effort to establish whether there are any other differences. In fact, both issues involve complexities which you cannot accurately insert into a working calculus. You simply don’t know all the facts.

      We are one Institute of less than four-hundred friars. The LWCR, according to their website, has more than 1400 members, who represent more than 80 percent of the approximately 51,600 women religious in the United States,” which means it represents who knows how many religious Institutes, each with its own canonical status and governing bodies. Also, how many schools, universities, hospitals and other major institutions do you think are also represented?

      What is going to be potentially involved in an intervention in our Institute and the LWCR are two entirely different things. But I admit that your assumptions are convenient to the anti-Vatican narrative regarding our Institute–one which from the beginning has been based on incomplete knowledge, half-truths, innuendo and character assissination. But, of course, it is the narrative that counts.

      Are you aware that any of LCWR’s own members appealed to the Holy See against it, or any of the religious participation against their communities participation in the LWCR? If so what happened?

      Interesting, however that Fr. Ray’s criticism is not just about the “iron first of Francis” against the FI, but also about the “velvet glove” of Benedict against the LCWR. Seems it really is not all about the alleged liberalism of Pope Francis, which just suggests that I am right and the comparison with our Institute is just being made for convenient ideological reasons to bolster a conclusion already reached, based on a narrative the is just full of holes.

    • Boy, all this dialogue is beginning to make me wonder if it is time to apply a principle taught by Msgr. Eugene Kevane of happy memory. He taught that you do not dialogue with modernism either in it’s liberal form or conservative/traditionalist form. He rather advised scratch the modernist, liberal or “conservative” to expose his pietistic atheism. Facts mean nothing because propaganda is such compelling reading, i.e, it gives you all a good feeling, a sentimental high in the disguise of an intellectual exercise, or in the immortal words of Msgr. Kevane they are driven by Alice in Wonderland theology, “words mean what I say they mean Alice,” and guided by Cinderella catechises.

  29. Father, I am a layman, I am not a theologian, not an ideologist, I love the Holy Mother Church and I believe that the TLM is the salvation to the Church. Although I am a layman, I have eyes to see. I have seen the decline of faith after VII, I myself was a victim of it, having become a lukewarm Catholic over time, but did not realize it. As I mentioned, the TLM converted me, it brought back the faith of my childhood to me and the experience of it after Summorum Pontificum became something like an awakening to me. I firmly believe that the TLM is at the center of our faith. Believe me, father, I am not writing this as another form of propaganda, I am writing this from the bottom of my heart. But what I see is the hostility towards the TLM which in the case of the FFI manisfests itself in the fact that the TLM is effectively no longer permitted in your order, which is heartbreaking. Is it being celebrated at the moment, father? If not, why is that so?

    • Wolfgang,

      The provisions of the decree in regard to the TLM are specific to us and temporary and in many places where the TLM was in place already as a pastoral work it has been permitted to continue as it has at the Shrine in LaCrosse, a parish the the friars help in New York, our sisters convent in Lanherne, the parish in Stoke-On-Trent until it closed (for other reasons). Ognissanti in Florence still has at least one TLM mass weekly. Those are the ones I know of specifically. I am sure there are others. I also know that our priests who have requested to celebrate the TLM privately has been given permission to do so.

      • I was just at the Shrine in La Crosse. They no longer have the TLM during the week like they used to but they do have it on Sundays. The NO that I attended there was very reverential and beautiful. They used Latin for some of the responses and Greek Kyrie. Communion was on the tongue kneeling. Honestly attending this type of mass celebrated in this way gave me a similar closeness to God as the TLM always does, perhaps even more so than the low TLM mass. When attending these very rare forms of the Novus Ordo mass with all the reverence and beauty of the TLM mass, I can see a shadow of what Vatican II was attempting to do with the mass.

        Sadly what we have now in 98% of all masses across the US is a gutting of all the rites of the Catholic Church including the Mass. Rarely do you see this type of reverence and beauty in any of the rites such as baptism, marriage, burial, etc. It is all gone and the result has been devastating to the faith of millions. Thankfully we have the TLM and the hard work of many faithful Catholics who despite incredible odds have established this most reverent and beautiful form of the Mass. It is having a positive effect on the way the Novus Ordo is being celebrated in more and more parishes.

        In regards to another comment that the Novus Ordo is a bad for the faith of Catholics, I disagree and yet agree. Yes the effect of the way the Novus Ordo is celebrated in 98% of parishes in the US does have a negative effect on the faith. Sadly a irreverent form of the Novus Ordo Mass is the only exposure that most Catholics have with their faith and if it is made mundane, banal, ordinary, a party, or any other way other than holy and reverent, it becomes a boring ritual with no meaning. If we add the heretical teachings of many priests (including that our ‘protestant brothers’ have at least as good a chance at everlasting life as we do) makes it not worthwhile to endure this hour long ritual. (Why not watch the football game or go recreate if we are all going to heaven anyway.)

        We add this to the constant montra of the media that God is not a part of our lives, religious people are fanatics, religious people are ignorant, sin is fun and beneficial, etc. Where the average American is exposed to many hours per day as in radio, TV, internet, billboards etc. Do we have any doubt that the faith has been undermined on many fronts.

        We these two weapons against our faith, no wonder that 75% of Catholics don’t attend Mass anymore and most of those who do, live a hollow faith life.

        • St. Donatus,

          Thank you for giving evidence that the friars continue to be reverent and traditional, regardless of which form they celebrate. This has always been true and it continues to be so.

          Just to be clear: there never was any regular TLM on weekdays. It is possible you were there on a day when a visiting priest celebrated the TLM for his own Mass, but the scheduled weekday Masses have always been novus ordo.

    • Father Angelo, that it is still being practiced is some sort of relief I feel, however, that it is only allowed privately I do not comprehend. I wonder why it was one of the main main points of the decree. Why so much hate against the TLM by the new/old “establishment” of the Church, why such fear? Does Summorum Pontificum no longer apply? Is FFI exempted from it, I don’t think so. I can only interprete it as setting an example to the Traditionalists within the Church, Benedict is gone, we are back in charge now, we will clean up now.

      • Wolfgang,

        We have gone the distance, you and I. There is plenty for you to read here. Either you accept that the Church has some valid reason to intervene that does not involve hatred for the old Mass, or you believe that the Holy See is run by connivers. I have said as much as I can.

        Regardless of which it is, I would suggest it is not in the best interests of traditionalists to speculatetoo loudly about such things, when it is not really possible for them to be sure. The more people keep suggesting that the Holy See is full of old Mass haters when you don’t have proof, the more likely those who are innocent in the Holy See are going to start thinking that the problem is somewhere else

        As much as you think our situation involves implies something for all traditionalists, you really don’t have a dog in this fight.

        Your best bet is just to pray for us.

  30. I was a convert 30 years ago. Then, one day I awoke to the really odious stench of what I saw around me in this America, and realized SOMETHING had gone terribly wrong in the Church and with myself. At 50, I started a new search and found the EF and a saintly priest offering it–and I have been forever changed. In no manner will I EVER attend a Novus Ordo mass again. I believe it is stinks up God’s nostrils, much the way the world now seems to be stinking from the sins it has embraced. As I continue to read the Council’s documents and the history, I truly believe the “voice” heard by Leo XIII has been one of truth–vindicated by the fruits of this era.

  31. What a pathetic sight to witness here.

    The individual stiring ^*it up a bit under some usernames is one FI individual. ..an adolescent who never grew up, never learned how to lose to anyone, and is a member of FI1. (I have ample proof on flash drive to prove what I say.)

    I fear the owner of this blog has been defending his Order, and all things proper and good, far too long. Its time to give the sword to another, until your wounds heal.

    Seriously, your anger is just that; anger. And that will be your soul’s ruination. Let go of it, now, or remain the slave of the Father of Lies. “Your buying the farm my friend”.

    Without the Immaculata living in your hearts you all are simply existing! And that is not God’s design for any of us….we are called to bring Him glory!! And to live in mercy!! That’s how saints are made!!!

    {M.S.M. ~ To whom has received much much will be required! Wouldn’t want to be standing in your sandals on your judgement day!}

    • Father Angelo, ok, I take your point on the speculation/conspiracy theory and of course I will pray for you and all of the brothers and sisters and also for Father Volpi. However, speculation aside, I just want to understand the reasons for why the restrictions of celebrating the TLM are at the center of the decree. Has Father Volpi explained this to you or the order in general. If yes, can you share it with me/us? Please forgive me for being a nuisance.

      P.S.: And yes, I have done some reading of other contributions here and your replies to it. Of what I have read, it did not address this specific point on the TLM.

      • The restriction is not at the center of the decree. It is at the center of the narrative. It was inserted directly by the Holy Father. We never requested it. You will have to ask him.

        Perhaps he wanted to see if we would obey. Perhaps he wanted to establish unity of celebration according to one form for the duration of the Commission, until some workable policy could be implemented.

        I am afraid the reaction on the Internet, which was not simply one of confusion, but of contempt for his person was not helpful. Since when do devout Catholics have to insist that they understand a directive of the Holy Father to obey it, esp. when it is directed to a relatively small group of persons for a limited time?

        You really don’t have a dog in this fight, Wolfgang. God bless you.

  32. After reading this and getting the other side of this I am convinced of two things.
    First, let me preface this by saying that I am a NO Catholic who also attends the VO. I have read the documents of VII as well as Summorum Pontificum. I have served as youth coordinator, DRE, high school FF teacher, and have led several summer retreats for our youth in my parish. During the course of awakening our youth in our parish to their Catholic Faith, the children decided to kneel for communion after being introduced to communion rails at the painted churches in Texas. This is when my family and I began to kneel for communion and wear veils. One could hardly refer to us as ‘traditionalists.’
    The first important lesson I learned from this experience was intolerance. We were labeled ‘traditionalists’ for showing humility and reverence when receiving Holy Communion. We were accused of ‘indoctrinating’ the children of the parish into the ‘traditionalists heresy,’ we were removed from all functions within the parish, we were told by the priests that we were not allowed to explain to anyone why we knelt for Communion, veiled, or received communion on the tongue (which is the norm in our parish) and that if we would not obey, the priest ‘invited us to find another parish.’ The intolerance of the heterodox forces within the church was on full display. The priest removed all the veil wearers from any parish ministry whatsoever. When the word went out, some switched from veils to hats, but most heeded the priest’s wishes and were run out of the parish. They were left no choice. Under the priests’ guidance these people were ostracized socially and in their professional lives. They were labeled ‘traditionalists.’ None of us considered ourselves ‘traditionalists’ or followed anything but the teachings of the church. There were no SSPX leanings. There were no Lefebrvites. Just simple people trying their best to live their faith.
    The second thing I learned was the ability of priests and the heterodox to demonize, mischaracterize, and dehumanize us. We were treated as second hand, or second rate, or perhaps ‘heretical’ Catholics. These people who for 7 years that we were in this parish were our friends, and our family. The priest cancelled all the socials in the name of ‘a need for spirituality.’ He removed all the Latin responses from the Mass, and set lose the the group of heterodox people in the parish on the veil wearers. One third of the parish evaporated into thin air. The heterodox people criticized us for teaching Catholic doctrine because they did not want the kids to know that contraception wasn’t permitted or that premarital sex was fornication and that post marital sex with someone other than your spouse was still adultery. We were to teach that it was all a matter of conscience or be removed from teaching. All 6 of us were removed when we refused to teach heresy as doctrine. We were treated as less than human as we were forced to abandon our parish in the face of hatred and bullying. Our children were treated poorly and attacked verbally. We were told very very clearly that we had no friends in the chancery.
    In light of our experiences with the heterodox, I have come to understand that the forces of heterodoxy are in control of most of the levers of power in the church and the visitation has followed the same pattern that our ostracization and ejection from our parish has followed. One has only to show some type of reverence outside of the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ and those levers of power will be brought to bear. When one resists and attempts to defend your position, in spite of its clear backing in the documents of Vatican II, Summorum Pontificum, and various other church documents; your defense of your point of view will be pointed to as proof that these heterodox people are right to crush you and anything that does not conform to their vision of the Church. A church that they are destroying. We know how it ends, ‘the gates I hell…,’ but the persecutions from inside Holy Mother Church was not what I feared. Perhaps we should have.

    • David,

      We have always knelt for Communion, received Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling at altar rails, used gregorian chant, have had eucharistic adoration and benediction everyday, Rosary in common everyday, have insisted on modest dress our Churches. None of these practices had anything to do with Summorum Pontificum, although that was implemented as well by those who appealed to the Holy See.

      My whole point is that the narrative that has been created around our problem is a myth designed precisely to effect what is has, namely, to convenience people that what is at work is heterodoxy against tradition.

      Why are we suddenly the emblem for everyone else’s experience? Because of the myth. I am sorry these things happen to you. Please don’t lift our situation up as a symbol of something else. It is not.

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