No not relativism. Just an update 1.) to apprise the reader of my status, namely, that I did not fall off the face of the earth. and 2.) to disabuse whoever has eyes to see of the unreality of the latest “news” or “reporting” on the status of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Just because people say things does not make it true.
First, thanks to all those who have been praying for me. I made it to the end of the semester at the Angelicum still standing. I have one more final, but most of the stress is now behind me. I hope to blog at least a couple of times during the break.
Second, Rorate Caeli has posted a video by one of our former friars, which by all accounts is a fairly nice vocation video for the Institute as it stands now, but it has been posted with a predictable interpretation and broadcasted further by others.
- At least 90% of the footage was taken by a seminarian who remains in the community and is quite happy to do so. Some of his footage was used for a 2013 vocation video which is was used by the producer of the new video without permission. The parts of the new video that are not in the 2013 vocation video were shot for the vocation video and archived. I have checked all my facts here from the seminarian in question, who watched the video in its entirety. RC says that the “footage was then kept in secret, witness of something no longer tolerable to those in power, unseen until now.” This is simply false, as is evidenced by the video on YouTube.
- About half of the seminarians who are in the video are no longer in the Institute, but to them others have been added who have passed through the novitiate. When the seminary closed there were 51 seminarians. Today there are 28. The same pattern is true of the schola that sang in the video. It still exists and the members sing regularly at our liturgy. We continue, for example, to use the Liber Usualis every day for various parts of the liturgy. Please keep in mind that for those who have orchestrated the exodus, with outside from help from willing collaborators like those at RC, this is exactly what they wanted. Seminarians were being contacted clandestinely, and encouraged as well as pressured by both former friars and those still in the Institute to leave. This planned and well-orchestrated effort, unfortunately, was highly successful (and contrary to the explicit will of Pope Francis, BTW).
- Everything that is witnessed in the video, with the exception of the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy—a temporary restriction contingent on the temporary Commission—and the year long night rising for Matins we still do. The Holy Father told us face to face that his intention was not to permanently forbid its celebration, but solely to see to it that the liturgy was not a source of division within the community. Furthermore, the horarium has not changed, except for the continuous night rising, which was never part of our legislation anyway, and was only introduced in the seminary in November of 2011. (We still rise at night for Matins during Lent—a practice mandated by our ecclesiastically approved Constitutions. Prior to the change in 2011, this had been the practice since 1990 and it remains in force.).
- Thus, the quotations in the video from our legislation are norms still in force which we continue to observe.
- The statement of RC that there now exists within the Institute “a new atmosphere of doctrinal corruption and moral relaxation, of the disintegration of the religious observance” is gratuitous, offered without evidence because there is none.
- This is a fine example of a propaganda piece which says little in terms of facts, but effectively conveys an conclusion necessary to a world-view. It is called: “painting the target around the arrow.” For example, RC claims that the video was shot on the very day the seminary closed, in order to achieve a maximum sympathetic response. But in fact, the friar who shot the material, who was able to identify all the various elements, and who was present when the seminary closed, did not see anything that was shot on the day the seminary closed.
But perhaps our Lady, on her feastday, is offering a vision very different to that which seems to dominate presently in the Church — a vision of the consecrated life which is, as Simeon says of Christ, a sign of contradiction.
Indeed, I couldn’t agree more. May we have the grace to correspond to our vocation. But I don’t think any of the friars, including most who would like to see things the way RC wants to see them, would presume they are the ideal, or that the Church is without many other fine religious communities and holy religious.
After all is said and done, after everyone has had their say and shouted from the rooftops what they speculate might be reality—though they are convinced that their opinion is more than that—there remains only one thing to do, especially for vowed religious: obey the Church. Anything else would be a patent absurdity—a contradiction for sure, but not the sign of contradiction.
I kindly ask Rorate Caeli to link to this post, in the interests of truth, and also out of justice, since the footage does not belong to Rorate Caeli, but has its origin in the Institute and was the work of a friar still present in the community.