Concerning Recent Reports from the Blogosphere on the State of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

The first point to be made is that the sources for recent the “reports,” are not responsible news outlets but bloggers, all of them, except one, are pseudonymous or anonymous. They have provided no evidence, that is, they have made purely hearsay allegations, or otherwise claimed to have “evidence” from which they have quoted excerpts without producing the document or its context. All the sources for these reports are clearly biased against the Commissioner and the Holy See and the bloggers in question are working in concert (Rorate Caeli and Correspondenza Romana, for example, regularly repeat and support each other’s reports).

Again, no reputable news outlet has taken responsibility for such “reports.” As far as I know—at least in the English-speaking world—no responsible news outlet has even repeated these stories emerging from the blogosphere. Please consider that when real journalists publish information from anonymous sources, the reporter takes personal responsibility with his real name, and the organization attempts to confirm the information by evidential reporting of independent sources. Nothing like this has ever been attempted by these bloggers. On the contrary, as already mentioned, there is an incestuous relationship between the various bloggers and their sources, and there has also been the habitual refusal to accept personal accountability for the damaging information that has been released.

Some Examples

During the recent Advent season one such “report” was made by Rorate Caeli about the Commissioner forbidding a novena of Masses and preventing one of our contemplative communities from providing itself financially. The allegation was purely hearsay, without a shred of evidence—again from an anonymous source—posted on the Internet by a pseudonymous blogger. I immediately provided the facts concerning matter, which showed the allegation to be pure calumny. But no retractions were made, nor did the bloggers in question provide a link to the information I posted.

Within the last several weeks another report was made by Rorate Caeli concerning a video of our seminary community. Once again, the source of the information and the claims made in its regard where from an anonymous source and posted on the Internet by the same pseudonymous blogger—of course without evidence. In the post, three false claims were made by the blogger: 1) that the video was shot on the day the seminary was closed; 2) that the information in the video was suppressed by the Commissioner; 3) that the video represents “what was,” and that the community as it “had been” has all been destroyed. I provided actual evidence, manifest and verifiable, that these allegations were false. Again, no retraction and no link.

In spite of this, I have been receiving messages and comments that completely ignore the manifest facts, so I will rehearse them once again. The seminary was ordered closed by the Commissioner on December 8, 2013, but the friars actually moved out sometime later. All the shots of the liturgy in the video are of the Extraordinary Form, but the celebration according to the old form ceased during the summer of 2013, some three to four months before the seminary was ordered closed. Furthermore, there are multiple liturgical colors used, so the various liturgical celebrations could not have been shot the same day. According to the seminarians with whom I live, one of whom is the videographer of the material, the video was not even shot entirely at the seminary. Thus, claim that the video was shot at the seminary on the day the seminary closed is false.

In fact, the various parts of the video were shot over many days, and the seminarian who shot the video produced a video from these shots which he posted approximately three months before the seminary was ordered closed (look at the time stamp on the YouTube video). If you watch the original video, you can see that some of the same material appears in both videos, and also that the second video even copies the style of presentation of the first. So the allegation that the Commissioner suppressed information is an outright lie. Finally, not a shred of evidence has been provided to prove that our life has substantially changed since the seminary closed, aside from what everyone has already known since the beginning of the Commission, namely, that we have had imposed on us restrictions regarding the use of the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy—by Pope Francis himself.

In spite of having provided irrefutable evidence that at least the first two allegations are falsehoods, no one who has spread these lies have, to my knowledge, attempted to correct the record.

The Occasion for This Response

Now there is another “report” from Rorate Caeli concerning an alleged civil judgment against Fr. Volpi, the Apostolic Commissioner of the FI, which has been passed from a single pseudonymous source in Italy, Dom Camillo through several other pseudonymous sources (Chiesa e post concilio and Francesca Romana, the pseudonymous translator at Rorate Caeli) to a final English speaking pseudonymous blogger at Rorate Caeli. Again, the report is pure allegation with no evidence and no one who is willing to put their real name to the charges.

But realizing they ought to provide at least the appearance of a confirming report, Correspondenza Romana, headed by Roberto de Mattei who regularly collaborates with Rorate Caeli, published a post in which it is claimed that the website is in possession of a court document that proves that Fr. Volpi admitted to

the felony [reato] of defamation and lies [menzogna, also: falsehood] on February 12th 2015

 and

as fair compensation, [he] will have to pay 20,000 Euros to the Manelli Family, plus all legal expenses, the publication of a public apology on internet sites run by him, as well as circular letters to all of the friars and nuns.

Here are the facts, among which I have included items I have paraphrased from a letter of response by Fr. Volpi, released on our official website:

Assets were alienated from the legitimate legal associations in possession of the goods of the Institute at the time it was commissioned by the Holy See. This was done in favor of the former superiors in order to deprive the legitimate ecclesiastical authority within the Institute of using these means to provide for the needs of the friars. In good faith, Fr. Volpi informed the friars of Institute of this in an internal letter, which he had no intention of making a matter of public record. Friars loyal to the Founder then immediately leaked the letter to traditionalist blogs and then Fr. Volpi was accused of by the Manelli family of defaming them because he mentioned the family of the Founder as being among the recipients of the alienated assets.

Please note that the responsibility for the entire public spectacle and the damage to reputations on all sides belongs to the traditionalist activists within and outside the Institute who leaked and broadcast the information and then accused Fr. Volpi of publically defaming innocent people. There has been an orchestrated effort from the beginning of the Commission on the part of these individuals and their organizations to undermine the will of the Holy Father for the Institute. Roberto de Mattei has made it very clear that if the Institute is not to remain as he thinks it ought, then it must not continue to exist at all. He and all of his anonymous collaborators have committed themselves to this project, and their latest effort is of this species.

According to current Italian civil procedural laws, any action that may give rise to a judgement can occur only after mediation between the parties has been attempted. Thus, in such mediation with the Manelli family—not in a court proceeding—pro bono pacis and in the fraternal spirit of St. Francis, Fr. Volpi reached settlement, which did not involve an admission of guilt or a legal judgement of guilt. He made this agreement in order to avoid further civil proceedings before the Court of Rome and further costs to the Institute. By the agreement he consented to clarify matters on the official website of the Institute.

But Dom Camillo who began the latest wave of propaganda, writes.

Padre Volpi, dopo avere ammesso il suo reato di calunnie e menzogne, il 12 febbraio è stato condannato.

That is:

Father Volpi, after having admitted his crime of slander and lies, was sentenced on the 12 February.

Fr. Volpi has not, in fact, been convicted of any offence, nor subjected to any criminal proceedings; nor has he ever—in court or outside—admitted committing a crime, or uttering slander or lies.   Thus, because a peaceful accord, already reached in good faith, by Fr. Volpi was not respected by the other party; but instead, the mediation process has been used by them as a tool the further efforts of propaganda against Pope Francis’ plans for the Institute, Fr. Volpi considers the agreement null and void and has no intention of fulfilling it.

Please, I beg you, consider the fact—not a conjecture, but the plain manifest fact—that no evidence (none) has been provided to the contrary of Fr. Volpi’s claim above.  All of it is hearsay, even the “document” claimed to be in the possession of Correspondenza Romana.  Nothing is proved, as Rorate Caeli claims.  I honestly wonder if they even know what it means to prove something.

The Leprous Catholic Internet

Brothers and Sisters, this is the state of the Catholic Internet. It is a disgrace and a scandal to the world.

I implore all those of good will, no matter how much their knee jerks in reaction to what they consider unjust restrictions on the use of the Extraordinary Form, to look at the facts, which are verifiable. Then give the benefit of the doubt based on the evidence provided by those who are willing to stake their personal reputation and good name on what they say in public.

As I have pointed out elsewhere, there is something terribly wrong with a large portion of the Catholic Internet and it seeps across the blogosphere and beyond.

Since when by Catholic standards do we judge it good and right to ruin men’s reputations with mass media gossip by means of anonymous sources and unconfirmed reports? Since when are the soldiers of Christ too afraid to speak in the light of day what they claim to be true, too callous to believe in fair-play, and too rationalistic to adhere to the principles of basic justice.

I have seen any number of Catholic blogs repeat the same rumor from an unnamed source, posted by a unnamed blogger, destructive of reputations, with the disclaimer “unconfirmed report.” That sounds so much like what they do in real newsrooms, but in reality it is the virtual echo chamber of wishful thinking.

The tragic defect of many, but not all, traditionalists is that they believe the justice of their cause, the piety of their intentions, their reverence before God, their self-applied status of persecuted class, and the urgency of their crisis sanctifies deeds that no sane Christian, free from the compulsion to justify everything they do, would ever attempt to rationalize.

But the damage is done and the ones who suffer the most are the legitimately anonymous little ones within the Institute, who just want to live what they promised and be left alone.

Some have criticized me for sounding shrill and in this way of undermining my own arguments.  But ninety-nine percent of those who so urgently multiply and publicize their thoughts on the matter of our Institute, don’t have any—meaning zero—first hand information about us, nor do they have even the least bit—meaning not one jot—of personal investment in our community.  All they know is that they are afraid the restrictions put on us with regard to the use of the old liturgy may at some future date affect them, that they do not like or trust Pope Francis.  These fears have become the filter through which they see everything.

Forget what you think of my tone for a minute.  Put your prejudices aside and follow the evidence.  The Church intervened in our case because the Institute and many of those who support us have a reality problem.

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51 thoughts on “Concerning Recent Reports from the Blogosphere on the State of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

  1. Keep up the great work Fr. Angelo! Know you’re in my prayers. You do a wonderful job in combating all the lies. Looking forward to seeing your brother Friars at this summer’s Courage/EnCourage Conference in Mundelein.

  2. Your report does nothing but slander traditionals and not regute the facts, Fr Judas. You started this inquisition so own up to it!

    • Mike – the failure in basic Catholic charity in your comments is the best refutation of your comments. Father Judas? Take a look in the mirror, Mike, you need it…and you need prayer in this matter.

  3. We should remember the lesson from the Book of Job….

    Nothing happens to us; including evil from the hands of others, without God permitting it first. The devil and his earhly minions will be crushed, and those Franciscan friars, and laity, who have been faithful to the Pope and Magesterium will be blessed a hundred fold.

    Look at Jacob, who was treated unjustly by Laban. Jacob was eventually blessed with a bounty of children, flocks, and wealth for his faithfulness to God’s divine providence.
    Consider Joseph, whose brothers threw him inti a pit to kill him. Joseph ends up becoming Pharaoh’s ‘right hand man, and in the end provides food for the Isrealites in a great famine!

    Just like Jacob and Joseph, there will be crowns of glory waiting for the those FFI who suffer a ‘white martyrdom’ at the hands of the deceitful bullies. [bullies is my emphasis]

    May the love of God prevail. A blessed Lent to all!

    Ave Maria!

  4. Father, even though you are trying to discredit Rorate, you come across as simply bitter to traditionalists. That’s a shame. I understand traditionalists can be lumped with bitter and angry Catholics, but that is not really traditional spirituality. Your own tone lacks charity and comes across as acusitory. It’s a shame Father. I will no longer be frequenting this blog.

    • Let me explain how you and those who post at Rorate Caeli and other Tradtionalist blogs come across. My husband and I spent hours readiing the blogs and the responses when this scandal first came out. I belonged to the MIM, and we ( my husband and I ) had no position either way, and simply wanted the truth. I can honestly say that the degree of venom, hate and vitriol leveled against the Pope and anyone who tried to defend his decision ( a decision that he has the authority to make ) by CATHOLICS left us both stunned. We used to debate on a very anti-Catholic appologetics board, and had not encountered that degree of hatred since then. I don’t need to know what is none of my business. I don’t want to know what this priest allegedly did or why, and to publicly assign motive to a person ( let alone the Pope ) without regard for prudence or scandal was and still is beyond irrisponsible. It has caused CONSIDERABLE harm. I will not participate with any group or Order that levels such a degree of hatred against our Holy Father and Holy Mother Church, and appears to take delight in consistently fomenting dissention and open rebellion against the Pope. It took a few days of reading the response’s to the Holy Father’s decree to realize where the Holy Spirit was, and where the Holy Spirit was not. The Holy Spirit is never found in a heart(s) consumed with vitriolic hatred. NEVER. Furthermore, you might want to look out the window. The Muslim hoard ( your real enemy ) is literally at the gate of Holy Mother Church. While you’ve been busy brandishing your figurative knives in the backs of your percieved ‘enemies’ (the Pope and Father Volpe, Father Angelo etc.), those with actual knives and the desire and means to use them are upon us. The devil has done a great job of distracting you with it’s right hand, and using the pride in all of you to destroy each other while winding up to sucker punch with the left. Wake up.

  5. Fr. Geiger, it’s a pity you have to spend so much time and energy just trying to tell and defend the truth. I’m sure you have more pressing things to do. However, I appreciate your efforts to keep us bystanders informed.

  6. Father, I thank you for clarifying the issue. I am praying for you that God may give you more time and strength to defend the truth.

  7. Dear Father,

    The letter of 8th December 2013 was addressed to ‘All the religious in their residences’. As you say it was an internal letter but if sent to all the religious of the Institute it had a fairly wide publication. Further it was not marked “Private and Confidential” nor was there any warning against further publication. In view of its contents it is not surprising that it did in fact get wider publication.

    Now that letter had contained the following:

    “In addition to all this, there is an extremely serious matter, which only now do I make officially
    known to you.
    It concerns the transfer of the control of movable and immovable goods of the Institute to members
    of the laity, persons known to be spiritual children or relatives of the Founder, Fr. Stefano M.
    Manelli, as well as to the parents of various sisters. These transfers were made after the
    appointment of the Apostolic Commissioner, and thus manifest the intention to embezzle funds
    away from the control of the Holy See and to deprive the Institute of the Franciscan Friars of the
    Immaculate of the necessary means for the maintenance of religious and, especially, for the works of the apostolate, and in particular of the missions.
    These acts are seriously illicit from both moral and canonical points of view, and entail consequences also in the areas of civil and criminal law. Whoever accomplished these deeds or allowed them to take place is guilty of serious fault, and, if he is a religious, is punishable by severe canonical penalties.”

    Now that is an accusation of embezzlement which in most jurisdictions is a criminal offence – indeed the letter acknowledges such. Furthermore in many jurisdictions falsely accusing someone of a criminal offence can in itself constitute criminal libel – a criminal offence. However whatever the position is to say such a thing without justification or truth is seriously defamatory.

    The question therefore arises as to whether what Father Volpi wrote was true i.e. somebody was guilty of embezzlement or whether there was reasonably justification for making the accusation. Are you able to clarify this for us?

    There appears to have been an agreement between Father Volpi and the Manelli family. Why not publish this as it might well be decisive in clarifying the facts as presumably the agreement was an agreed statement satisfactory to both parties?

    I agree there have been intemperate comments about this matter but I cannot help feeling you have added to the heat using words such as ‘leprous’. Let us discuss the facts without having ad hominem attacks from either side. Play the ball not the man.

    Further I would ask you to understand that there is genuine concern amongst the laity at large about what is happening with the FFI. Here in England one of the most inspiring events of recent years have been the “Days with Mary” (attended incidentally largely by immigrant communities – the marginalized?) and I have had occasion to meet both male and female members of the Insititute who help run these days. I have found them truly inspiring in the midst of the pretty dreadful state of the Catholic Church in England. It is therefore that with great sorrow that I have seen them apparently under some kind of administration which seems to restrict their mission.

    Please note that I am writing under my name!

    Yours sincerely,

    Nicolas Bellord

    • Nicholas,

      No, it is not surprising that the letter was made public. What is surprising (or perhaps not) is that Fr. Volpi was accused of defamation by the very people who made the letter public.

      I cannot comment on what, if any, legal procedures have been taken against the alleged embezzlement. You know as much as I do: lots of money disappeared between the time of the Commissioning and the surrender of the accounts. The present authorities within the Institute, since the publication of the December 8 letter, are not the least bit shy about affirming this and have been willing to attach their signature to the allegation (which is what responsible people do). And under the present circumstances, Fr. Volpi has seen it necessary to renew the allegation and to reaffirm also the participation of the Manelli family. Thus, the accusation that he admitted to guilt in the matter rings hollow.

      About the document and to whether it indicates an admission of guilt on Fr. Volpi’s part: they made the accusation and they claim they have a document supporting it. Let them ante-up. Let them actually prove their allegations.

      If a friar wants to know what our accounts look like, he can present himself to his superiors. The Institute as an ecclesiastical body is bound to render an account the Holy See. Those to whom Fr. Volpi addressed his allegations and those to whom he is responsible have access. So far as I have heard there have been no demands of the former superiors, who are all still in the Institute, to reveal what is in the books. If it is all vindication, let them demand to have the records revealed. Let those who have created this public spectacle come out of the shadows and make their allegations with proof in the light of day.

      Perhaps, I have added to the heat, with the word “leprous.” Perhaps you could suggest an equivalent that is less offensive. My honest opinion is that this behavior is disgraceful and anti-Christian—even diabolical because it is done in the very name of all that is holy. I mean that as a judgment of reason. (Please note this. I am not the least bit emotional right now. It is a judgment that I would be more than happy to defend by reason and evidence—the cold hard kind with my name attached. In fact, I have supported my position with hard evidence, both in this post and others.) My post is actually extremely restrained, so I guess “leprous” is my weak link. Then let me apologize. Please, whatever good-hearted and generous bloggers out there, who spread gossip about men to destroy their reputations, and do it from behind the safety of their computer screens, I am sorry for having characterized you as lepers. It was not my intention. What I meant to do was to indicate that, IMHO, the state of the Catholic Internet is disgraceful because it has become a grand forum for black propaganda, gossip, lies, disinformation and character assassination–all done without accountability, precisely because the Internet serves as I bush to hide in. But I don’t mean to imply anything about your character.

      Mr. Bellord, I have been in England many times and lived there for fifteen months. I have and continue to be involved with the Day with Mary. I have been involved with the Day with Mary for the better part of 20 years. I conducted the first Day with Mary in the United States. I have preached in the Westminster Cathedral for a Day with Mary, led many pilgrimages and retreats for the Day with Mary. I have preached and heard confessions at Days with Mary all over England and America and occasionally in Australia and Singapore. I ran the Day with Mary in the United States.

      Unintentionally—I mean no disrespect—you give lie to the myth that the friars who support the Commissioner have some agenda, or that the Commission has “restricted” our “mission.” Again, I welcome with open arms any evidence (note that word) to the contrary. In fact, there is not one jot or tittle of our ecclesiastically approved legislation that has been restricted, suppressed or modified by the Commission. Indeed, the main reason why friars had recourse to the Holy See is because the rule of law within the Institute was being consistently ignored. The problem is that among the crowd sympathetic to the bloggers in question, disagreement with them, or the desire to be free of association with their opinions and agendas is tantamount to modernism. This I will resist without apology to my dying day.

      • “You know as much as I do: lots of money disappeared between the time of the Commissioning and the surrender of the accounts.”

        Father, the above statement begs the question: what parameters are in place that would make benefactors feel comfortable donating monies to the FFI now?

        • Marie,

          The Commission was established by the Holy See, in part, to deal with financial “mismanagement.” There is has been an intervention of the Holy See and now it exercises direct supervision over all the proceedings of our Institute.

      • Dear Father,

        Many thanks for your reply.
        You say: ” What is surprising (or perhaps not) is that Fr. Volpi was accused of defamation by the very people who made the letter public.”

        I do not find this surprising. If a letter is being distributed which makes accusations against X who is not an addressee of the letter I think it only fair that someone says to X “I wonder if you are aware that accusations are being made against you and I think you need to clear your name if the accusations are not true”. Indeed I would have thought it a requirement of charity to do just that rather than leave X in the dark about what is being said about him.

        You go on to say: “You know as much as I do: lots of money disappeared between the time of the Commissioning and the surrender of the accounts.”

        I am afraid I know nothing of this other than what Father Volpi has said in his letter of 8th December 2013. So I probably know less than you?

        In Father Volpi’s most recent letter he says: “Referring to changes made to the Statutes of the two Associations with legal personality under civil law which own the physical assets of the Institute, I stated that these goods had been placed under the control of persons that include some family members of Fr. Manelli. This statement was no lie, and could easily be verified.”

        Now that may be correct but it is not the whole truth about what he had written and I find his failure to tell what he actually said in his earlier letter falls under the heading of “economising with the truth”. That does not inspire confidence in Father Volpi.

        I have no experience of Italian law but I spent some 40 years advising Cardinals, Bishops, clergy and religious regarding the holding of property in the U.K. Reading G.K.Chesterton’s life of St Francis he tells of a similar problem arising after the death of St Francis as to how property should be held in view of the idea that Franciscans should not own anything. This was resolved by the Pope, at the time, setting up a separate trust to hold their property and presumably the legal estate was in the hands of Trustees who were not Franciscans so solving the problem. The Franciscans would then have to trust the Trustees to carry out their trust in the interest of the Franciscans. If the Trustees failed to do so there would be remedies in the Courts of Equity.

        Now I imagined that something similar had happened here. I believe Father Manelli’s brother-in-law was appointed one of the Trustees and that possibly he was an accountant. It does not seem to me to be improper to appoint a relative in such a case where trust and a certain expertise is required together with the necessary enthusiasm to do considerable work without payment – generally Trustees cannot be paid for their services. Therefore I see nothing improper if property was transferred into the names of outside Trustees one of whom happens to be a relative.

        However to accuse someone of embezzlement in this case is to accuse a Trustee of a breach of Trust such as putting his hand in the till and using money for his own personal benefit which might even be a criminal act. Is their any evidence of such a breach of Trust?

        Now is Father Volpi continuing with these serious accusations? You imply that he is. As I have said it would be useful to have sight of the agreement he reached with the Manelli family. I notice he talks of clarification. In the U.K. such a settlement of a libel action would result in a statement in open court. It seems to me to be unlikely that an agreement was arrived at whereby the embezzlement charge was allowed to stand. Could the clarification be of the kind that says “I did not really mean that and what I should have said was this” i.e. withdrawing the accusation with the fiction that the accusation was never made!

        But just suppose there had been embezzlement? Many years ago I found that one of my partners had abused the trust of his other partners by incurring very large financial liabilities on their behalf without their knowledge and tried to conceal them. We required him to resign from the partnership. What we did NOT do was to stop taking on trainee lawyers or stop advising our clients. Yet in this case I understand that the FFI seminary and their publication arm have both been closed with other measures specified in Father Volpi’s letter of 8th December 2013. This strikes me and others as serious overkill? Surely it cannot be justified by what has been said regarding property transactions.

        There is justifiable concern by members of the laity. It is not just private matter for the Institute much as some would like to have it. Father Volpi mentioned “the battleground of a struggle between different currents in the Curia”. He makes further accusations about happenings within the male order and in particular mentions improper influence from the sisters. The problem for the laity is that many of us have seen the FFI as an order truly faithful to the teachings of the Church in a world where many of the clergy and religious have either neglected to feed the sheep or directly questioned basic teachings of the Church without ever being sanctioned. Only when the secular Press have dug up this dissent have the authorities in the Church taken action: viz our former Bishop of Arundel and Brighton and earlier the paedophile scandals. It is this contrast in the treatment of a traditional order and those dissenters from the true Faith that concerns people of like mind to myself.

        As regards Catholic blogs I find these on the whole to be beneficial in discussing matters that concern the laity. I have learnt a lot about my faith. There is of course a problem with certain people who misuse their freedom to comment. I and others have tried to warn off such people with some success. Recently I have had occasion to warn off people making anti-Semitic comments and I acknowledge that you have problems with some people! However you do have the power not to allow their comments and I find one can just ignore them and continue with respectful dialogue. I do hope that Church authorities see these blogs as being beneficial on balance and not just try and close them down as happened with “Protect the Pope”.

        • Nicholas,

          Those who were accused in Fr. Volpi’s letter of 2013 had de facto access to it. Every member of the Institute saw it, and the Manelli family would have at least have received it through the Founder. The publication of the document on the Internet was an entirely different matter.

          As to whether Fr. Volpi clearly adheres to the seriousness of the charges he made, or is now attempting to walk them back by not restating them in all their force: he has made no retraction. Indeed, he reaffirms the contents of the 2013 letter, both with as regards the former superiors and his charge for which he was sued by the Manelli family.

          You say you know nothing of the matter of the alleged embezzlement and then go on to “imagine” a whole scenario. I don’t know how his letter of 2013 could be any clearer, or how you might imagine he no longer holds its contents to be factual. You have as much access to it as I do. Here is the pertinent section:

          In addition to all this, there is an extremely serious matter, which only now do I make officially known to you.

          It concerns the transfer of the control of movable and immovable goods of the Institute to members of the laity, persons known to be spiritual children or relatives of the Founder, Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, as well as to the parents of various sisters. These transfers were made after the appointment of the Apostolic Commissioner, and thus manifest the intention to embezzle funds away from the control of the Holy See and to deprive the Institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate of the necessary means for the maintenance of religious and, especially, for the works of the apostolate, and in particular of the missions.

          These acts are seriously illicit from both moral and canonical points of view, and entail consequences also in the areas of civil and criminal law. Whoever accomplished these deeds or allowed them to take place is guilty of serious fault, and, if he is a religious, is punishable by severe canonical penalties.

          A similar thing has happened in respect of works of the apostolate: the publishing house, the television station ….

          Again, there have been transfers of money-while I was fully in charge as Commissioner-to individuals with no official recognition from us, by persons who no longer had any authority or power of autonomous activity (this last emphasis mine).

          Your scenario is way off the mark.

          The closure of the seminary had nothing to do with the embezzlement. Why would you conflate the two? But, yes, lets say, as you hypothetically suggest, that there was an embezzlement and that those running the seminary were more or less on the same wavelength with those who committed the embezzlement, so that with a kind of generic commonality the seminary formators were working in their own way to undermine and circumvent the authority of the Commissioner. Let’s say, also, of course hypothetically, the whole formation program was being run by formators such as these. Would that make a difference to you?

          As far as the publication arm was concerned. It was also unjustly alienated from the control of the friars after the commissioning of the Institute by the same two parties. Those who received it were hostile to the Commissioner. But why don’t you click here and witness how fruitful our publishing apostolate in America is going, precisely because there was no criminal activity to thwart it. A lesson for everyone.

          There is a public aspect to our situation, but from my point of view it is secondary and relative to the good of this family. Families sometimes become news. But they do not necessarily owe it to anyone to bare their souls. And quite frankly, until proven otherwise, this is more or less academic for you and almost everyone who comments here. It is not so for me, or for any of the friars. Unless you are a friar you cannot possibly understand. You are not even a religious.

          But regardless of the extent to which we agree or disagree about the public nature of the Institute’s situation, it does not justify the lies, gossip, character assignation and, frankly, deeds completely devoid of justice and charity. You say, this skullduggery is needed to expose who-knows-what is useful. It serves a purpose. But that does not make it right, as you well know, especially when it allows men to run away from accountability as they accuse others—others who have a right to know their accusers and defend their good name. The behavior is despicable, and, therefore, I despise it.

          And, BTW, you are the only one who has mentioned censorship. Again, where would you read that into anything I have said? I have never even called for a boycott of the websites that I think do more harm than good. They and you can do whatever you want, but if it is the kind of behavior named above, I will denounce it and call it for what it is–evil.

          Traditionalists know all about this, right?—calling a spade a spade, naming the darkness. These are evil deeds, Nicholas, plain and simple, and there is not anything in this world or heaven that can make them otherwise.

  8. Father, If clarity can be spoken would you please enlighten us as to why this rupture has taken place within your order. From my very limited knowledge it would seem that those who are the superiors of the order were trying to have the formation of their order be more inline with a traditional mindset and most especially in regards to the Mass. It also seems as though this may not have been the original bylaws of this order and that there are those within the order who would prefer to maintain the original bylaws. Is this what the rupture is about in its most simplest form? If this be so Father why do you think that some may have such a hard time with the Extraordinary rite of Mass? From things that have been written it would seems as though this order is a most beautiful example of Catholicism, You are a wonderful example of a loyal and faithful son of Holy Mother Church. From what I have read in your writing’s you always try to give the Churches teachings and perspectives, so why is there a seeming lack of unity? My love and prayers Mary

    • Mary,

      Our charism is to live a Marian-Franciscan life according the spirituality of St. Maximilian Kolbe. That is the reason most the friars entered the order, at least before recently. We have always been a traditional order and nothing in our founding charism or in our ecclesiastically approved legislation has ever been under dispute. In other words, our form and life and apostolate as it existed up until recently, according to the laws still in place, are not a part of the discussion. Neither was the matter that came under dispute a question about whether we would or would not make use of the old liturgy. What came under dispute was the manner of the government of the Institute.

      Less than ten years ago, we had a reputation as a traditional order, but no one would have called us traditionalist or identified us with organizations who make it their business and apostolate to complain about the new Mass and the “evils” of Vatican II. But now the biggest critics of the Church’s intervention are those most radicalized in this direction. More importantly, the Institute as such showed itself incapable of internal reform and without a working mechanism to resolve what amounted to a de facto division within the Institute, so the Church intervened.

      Since then, those who had recourse to the Holy See have been characterized by those disgruntled with the intervention as progressives, modernists, Freemasons, patricides, Judases and haters of all thing traditional and holy. The sole reason for this, is the intervention. Ninety-nine percent of those who say these things have no direct knowledge of what is happening in the Institute, nor do they have any personal knowledge of the people they accuse. All of which seems to me to confirm that there was a serious problem within the Institute, and that we had come to associate ourselves with the wrong people.

      • Father, Thank you for your reply knowing that God knows all things I am assured in my heart that those who seek His Will shall find the peace that He promises. My prayers are for your order that they may receive God’s Grace and that peace and right order may return to your walls. When we seek the Will of God then we need not fear what the devil may through our way. May St. Maximilian Kolbe intercede on behalf of this order to help them to live out the life they have been called to, in imitation of his great example of Love for the Church and for our Blessed Mother. To Jesus through Mary! Mary

    • Fr. Angelo, May I ask you – with all your apparent knowledge – why all this disruption has happened since Pope Francis took the Seat of Peter? From the outside looking in, the root of the problem seems to connect to His Holiness’s dislike of Tradition, from the Extraordinary form of Holy Mass, to the splendor of vestments appropriate to the Vicar of Christ on Earth, to the questioning of adherence to our Church teaching on the sacredness of Matrimony of one man and one woman, to the practice of celibacy and chastity, to shocking public statements and activities of members of the Hierarchy without chastisement.
      I must ask what has happened to our Church in two years? I am an ordinary elderly woman, who has lived through to this seventh Pope, I have never felt so disturbed and worried as now. I love my Latin Mass, attend the N.O.(OFM Conv) when I cannot travel the hour each way in traffic to Latin, I have seen the denigration of respect for the Holy Eucharist mainly while living in Europe and N. America. I have seen the devastating affect of Modernism (Secular) on priests to the point that they have little hope for the Church they once knew. The Church has been so blest for many years with the Popes who served the Church in humility, wisely, diplomatically, lovingly. Had the clergy at large followed the intended direction of Vatican II (and not allowed the ‘outside’ interference which brought about unintended and ungodly changes) we would have had greater peace and sanctity and larger congregations today. Many churches are sparsely attended, many church buildings closed (some cafes, some mosques, some shopping centres or amusement arcades). The principal growth today is in the Traditional fraternities and even young diocesan priests choose to offer the Latin Mass as an option. We pray daily for the Holy Father. We pray for a return to stability, without contradiction and his off the cuff remarks. We pray for the Church suffering.

      • Treasa,

        Only the public spectacle has occurred since Francis. The Commission was a result of a visitation that began under Pope Benedict, and the problems that led to the visitation have existed for many years, but again, did not become public until those who have been resisting the Commission from the beginning chose to fight the Holy See by means of a propaganda campaign.

        We have always been a traditional community with orthodox beliefs and traditional practices. I repeat, that this is a disagreement between traditional Catholics and modernist Catholics is a plausible narrative based on conjecture but not on fact. The vast majority of people who talk about us, have no direct knowledge of the matter. Most people who criticize the intervention have no direct knowledge. Those engaged in the propaganda have banked on making a connection between the problems you outline and what is happening in our community, but none of the problems you mention are characteristic of the community under Commission, although much has been said to the contrary without evidence.

        • Thank you Father for responding. You refer to the situation with the Friars in particular, and rightly so for that is the subject under discussion. The larger picture is that there are suddenly so many major concerns and disruptions in the Church in the past two years. Not the least being the removal of a much beloved and faithful Cardinal Burke from a position he filled successfully in the Vatican. That was followed by various other dismissals of clergy who were not bent to the modernism. The Pope has made some very hurtful remarks aimed at those of us who love the Church Traditions, and ominous talk about the traditional seminaries and he has even been critical of clerical garb.
          Recently some of his remarks have begun to sound threatening. Surely he did not have to handle the Franciscan situation with a demolition hammer. That is not how any of his predecessors would have dealt with whatever the situation was. Where was the dignity of the Papacy when the Pope invited a transvestite ‘couple’ to visit with him in the guest house where he lives. Who else lives in that house….? Finally, Francis is not Jesus and the Church must not be reduced back to biblical days. Jesus showed us the way. The Church followed His way and so a Christian civilization grew. The Church has played important roles in world peace before and surely needs to be strongly there for that reason all the more today. Embracing Muslim clerics while Christians are being slaughtered by followers of that faith surely speaks of a strange version of Fatherhood. I feel our Church today has lost its rudder and the ocean is heaving with storm. The rough treatment and dismantling of the Franciscans is only part of the whole situation.
          God bless you Father.

          • Father ,
            You have been most generous with your time and indulgent with your correspondence to those of us who have been following this blog thank you. It is true that the internet does provide us with a social field in which to reach out to one another in order to learn and discuss matters that may or may not pertain to us in a most direct manner. It is true that we are drawn like a fly to the light when we are able to talk and discuss these issues that in some way hopefully are helping us grow spiritually as well as do our part in the spiritual work of mercy in praying for one another. The devil is hard at work in the destruction of the authority in the Church and the decimation of the Unity that should exist amongst the faithful who desire to do God’s Will. We know as Catholics he can never succeed at this for we have our Lord’s word on that “The gates of hell shall not prevail.” Thou great harm does occur as a result of his {the devil} persistence. So it is not surprising to see people of faith fighting for what is true to the best of their abilities even if they don’t always do it maybe in the way they should. Father I do wish to express my respect of the manner in how you have handled these issues in the social media. There are other orders that are going thru similar unrest within in their orders and yet some members who believe their view to be correct have set out on a campaign of downing and disrespecting their current superiors with statements that are less then a Christian way of behaving. I have not seen that in your writings. I can gather from your writings that you may not have agreed with your former superiors and it would seem that you are grateful for the intervention that Rome has sent. But it is most commendable that you don’t act in slander and condemnation. If you are free to speak of exactly what the issues were that made the friars request an intervention from Rome this may help put to rest speculation. It is true that we don’t have a right to know everything especially in matters that don’t concern us. The reason why I would request this is maybe it would help people to understand that this is not a matter of true Catholics versing Modernist.

            Thank you Father and God Bless!
            Mary

  9. fr geiger –

    i have an interest in the FI as an institute with a contemplative element, and which has integrated traditional forms into its practice. i have an interest in your blog, as it is precisely written and informative about a very great issue. what i see in your tone is intensity of engagement, where others see something negative. i hope you maintain your health of spirit in the midst of this. i also think you’ve put your finger on a very important aspect:

    “their self-applied status of persecuted class”

    an ex-monk once said to me, “theology is 90% psychology.” an overstatement, but an illuminating point. when i hear the other party waul about how victimized they are, i realize that i am entering an area where the motive is something other than either reason or charity.

    good luck in your studies!

  10. “Since when by Catholic standards do we judge it good and right to ruin men’s reputations with mass media gossip by means of anonymous sources and unconfirmed reports? Since when are the soldiers of Christ too afraid to speak in the light of day what they claim to be true, too callous to believe in fair-play, and too rationalistic to adhere to the principles of basic justice.

    I have seen any number of Catholic blogs repeat the same rumor from an unnamed source, posted by a unnamed blogger, destructive of reputations, with the disclaimer “unconfirmed report.” That sounds so much like what they do in real newsrooms, but in reality it is the virtual echo chamber of wishful thinking.”

    This is so true. It doesn’t matter if the subject matter is religion. Almost everything people share on FB, blogs or the internet, in general, is gossip, calumny, or slander anymore. We have forgotten what the 8th commandment requires as a generation. Too many of us believe that if the writer is Catholic, that therefore what they speak is true. The priesthood has not caught up with the modern world and almost no one but yourself is cautioning us to speak the truth and not spread lies.

    May God Bless you and resolve the matter quickly.

  11. Pingback: I FRANCESCANI DELL’IMMACOLATA E LA BLOGOSFERA « La verità sul Commissariamento dei Frati Francescani dell'Immacolata

  12. As a Catholic, who was taught to read the scripture, and knows Christ’s teachings, it’s patently clear to me that this pope & the hypocrites he’s elevated, all contemptuous of the tenets of the Catholic faith, all displaying the actions of those Christ warned of, false teachers, seek to exploit power in the church for personal and political gain. Anyone who contrasts their words and actions with what Christ taught, sees them for what they are, frauds, despots, criminals.

  13. Well done! Father Angelo. Keep up the good works. Fight the good fight! It is a great virtue.

  14. There are things which would say he should keep up, not when he is teaching the contrary why use the face of False Vitue you know Virtue is moderation AVE MARI

    • There are things in which you would say he should keep up, not when he is teaching the contrary why use the face of False Vitue, you know Virtue is moderation AVE MARIA!!!!!!!!

  15. Thank you Father Angelo! We’ve been praying and will continue to pray for your order. We are a family of 10, the oldest members have all formally consecrated themselves to Mary through the Militia of the Immaculata. Over the past 3 years we have had the opportunity to attend several Masses, a Franciscan Feast Day Celebration and a Day with Mary at Mount Saint Francis in Maine, NY. What a joy it is! All of homilies and talks have been uplifting and exude the spirit of St. Maximilian Kolbe to the fullest. Ave Maria!

  16. I get it. It is the fault of the ‘traditionalists’! So Fr. Volpi can sign an agreement and change his mind a few days later and get lawyers and threaten to sue…just like St. Francis would have done.

    • No, Maggie, unfortunately you don’t get it. May I suggest re-reading Father’s original post, his comments, and the associated links in their totality? Sarcasm is not particularly illuminating, generating more heat than light. Godspeed

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  18. Your blog has helped me immensely.

    It never made sense that the horrible things reported about Pope Francis pertaining to the FFI could be true but there was no way to find out exactly what the facts were/are. The public now has access to truthful reporting on this issue.

    My concerns are twofold. Firstly, if Pope Francis has been so thoroughly, and unfairly, savaged on this issue what about the attacks against him on all of the other issues facing the church? Are the attacks there just as unfair? Secondly, and possibly even more important, who will bring this truth to the Catholic, mass-attending person who, in all honesty, MAY begin to doubt everything coming out of Rome and begin to lose confidence in the Holy Father.

    Keep up the good work.

    • I agree there is so much animosity that it seems that some traditionalists are willing to abandon truth in order to promote their version of the Truth.

  19. “who will bring this truth to the Catholic, mass-attending person who, in all honesty, MAY begin to doubt everything coming out of Rome and begin to lose confidence in the Holy Father.”

    Djc…Jesus told Peter, “he who hears you hears Me.” It’s that simple.
    When in doubt, trust. When you can’t trust, trust any way!

    God promised that He will not leave us orphans!!!
    Thanks be to God! 🙂

  20. I will simply state that the FI controversy is merely part of a much wider problem that Trads have with the current Holy Father and his deputies. His Holiness has not helped himself by demoting Cardinal Burke, gratuitously insulting Traditionalists with words such as:

    ““They disguise themselves, they disguise themselves as good people: they make themselves up like little holy cards, looking up at heaven as they pray, making sure they are seen—they believe they are more righteous than others, they despise others!”

    “Rosary Counter”

    “older people nostalgic for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world…”

    “young people addicted to fashion…”

    That and his actions e.g. parading the fact that he doesn’t live in the Papal apartments, giving Cdle Kasper et al public platform with which to disseminate their Anglican views of marriage and sexuality and more recently criticising Bishops who accept young men from outside their Diocese as candidates for the Priesthood by implying that their these men automatically have psychological deficiencies. (zenit)

    (all of the above are easily corroborated from either official Vatican news sources or respectable international news outlets)

    Put simply short of publicly apologising for the above and making a significant and concrete concession to Traditionalists, Pope Francis has lost their affection for good, therefore they are predisposed to believe anything that makes him (even by association) look bad and nothing you can say Father will change that.

    Perhaps Fr. Volpi should take a leaf out of St Padre Pio’s book and just stay silent in the face of his detractors ? After all, if all is as you say (and despite my misgivings towards Fr. Volpi and his master I am open towards your case) then he should view this is an an opportunity to practise humility in the face of unjust persecution, after all I doubt his denials will make any difference to the Rorate crowd.

    • The blogs that have smeared Fr. Volpi (and in this I include Corresponenza Romana–it is not really a news organization, but the propaganda arm of Roberto de Mattei), have collaborated in a concerted effort to discredit Fr. Volpi and the effort of Pope Francis to deal with our problems. For example, every “report” concerning Fr. Volpi has been prefaced or concluded with a call to have him removed and the old superiors restored. This has been the agenda of these organizations, working in concert with the friars who have been leaking information, since day one in the summer of 2013.

      And while I am not indifferent to the sufferings of traditionalists or the supportive readers of Rorate Caeli, they are not my primary concern, and certainly not Fr. Volpi’s. Let others, whose religious life and future is not mortally threatened by these efforts, worry about making some headway with these traditionalists. My concern is primarily with the friars within the Institute. They have a right to have the record made known: a record of the facts; of the fact that the allegations made against Fr. Volpi and the Institute are unproven and untrue; of the fact that those in the shadows work through lies, gossip and innuendo; of the fact that those initiated the Church’s action are not modernists, Freemasons and Judases.

      With all due respect, the fact that you have no trust or faith in Pope Francis is not my problem, nor that of Fr. Volpi, nor is it a matter which concerns our Institute. I certainly cannot expect someone like yourself to clearly distinguish between the two things, nor can I expect people not to talk about it. And I don’t. But I will continue to denounce the dishonesty and cowardice of those who publicize gossip and lies in order to sabotage the legitimate intervention of the Church in this matter. This is not ad hominem attack: lies are being told (objective truth) without accountability (objective truth). Traditionalists by definition have to be concerned about acting in good faith according to the truth, without kidding themselves into thinking the ends justifies the means.

      We are all adults and it is time to stop justifying the unjustifiable because we are suffering. We are Roman Catholics who are followers of the Cross. Even less can those who claim to be enlightened find even a subjective pretext for this behavior. Time for the excuses to stop.

      • Dear Father

        Cool IT!!! I’m not trying to justify anything, I know that you are a good Priest and despite the fact that if we hanging out in a bar the two of us would probably agree on very little, I find myself having to take your case seriously and it may well lead me to admit that I was wrong. I’m not an expert on the way the FI was set up or the complexities of the Italian legal system (civil or criminals) so I can’t say for certain but I have to take you seriously.

        a) for myself I said that I am open to listening to you and the facts that you have presented despite the fact that I am not well predisposed to either Fr. Volpi or the Holy Father – I never said it was your problem or that of the FI, Despite the fact that your Friars are forbidden to say the Old Mass I’m looking forward to April when “A Day with Mary” comes to one of the local parishes.

        b) I know you are not indifferent to us Trads and our sufferings, I merely said that because of his actions and lets face it, less than charitable comments about this particular constituency they are not confident that Holy Father has their best interests or that of the FI at heart (putting it mildly), ditto for Fr. Volpi (who in my humble opinion made a huge pastoral error in recommending that the Old Mass be suppressed within the Institute) therefore the chances of them listening to you are slim because they are thinking with their hearts instead of their heads, worrying that everything they sweat blood to build up ever since the chaos started is about to be undone, and that the FI is a test case for achieving that.

        c) You want to counter the reports put out by Rorate fine, absolutely your right, but can you envision that the suspicious mindset is leading them to trust less than reputable sources over more official channels ?

  21. The ‘Catholics’ complaining on Father Angelo’s blog have lost sight of what a true follower of Christ (and the Immaculate) means.
    I’ll use the lives of Saints Padre Pio, Bernadette, Therese of the Child Jesus, Louis de Montfort, and Faustina as examples. When persecutions or unjust behavior fell upon them they did not complain. They all accepted the events in their lives as God’s Will. They remained patient (epistle of St. James “consider it a joy, my brethren, when you come under various trials…..for you shall be made perfect.”)

    Rather than whining like children who fear they are being treated unfairly, follow the examples of the saints.

    I t

    • This is what I published over there:

      If you are going to engage in battles that you believe are matters of real importance, then it is worth doing your due diligence before posting on information that could potentially be damaging to others. Just a couple of things to keep in mind in respect to the situation with the FI:

      1. I am not the head of the FI, just a student in theology.

      2. Fr. Volpi did not introduce the information about our institute and the question of the money into the public forum, those who are now accusing him did.

      3. Fr. Volpi did not introduce the issue into the legal system, his accusers did, and now he is protecting his reputation as Commissioner.

  22. Your logic here is twisted or inconsistent. From your article:
    “Assets were alienated from the legitimate legal associations in possession of the goods of the Institute at the time it was commissioned by the Holy See. This was done in favor of the former superiors in order to deprive the legitimate ecclesiastical authority within the Institute of using these means to provide for the needs of the friars. In good faith, Fr. Volpi informed the friars of Institute of this in an internal letter, which he had no intention of making a matter of public record. [I would say a letter to all the friars is a public accusation, and lacking a canonical trail where his fault is proven, is calumny.] Friars loyal to the Founder then immediately leaked the letter to traditionalist blogs and then Fr. Volpi was accused of by the Manelli family of defaming them because he mentioned the family of the Founder as being among the recipients of the alienated assets.

    This is a accusation of embezzlement. If untrue, it IS defamation. It was written in letter sent to a large number of friars, and therefore a fairly public accusation. Of course the denial and the counter accusation of defamation would have the same right to be public. You should not take umbrage to that. But you do! As the catechism says, “Everyone has a right to their good name. Therefore, detraction and calumny (which destroy that reputation) are sins against justice and charity.” Until there had been a canonical trial proving the accusation, this should matter have been very private, but it was announced to the whole order! This looks like a sin to me. Then for you to complain about the accusation of defamation is public. This is illogical and emotional.

    You go on to say:

    “Please note that the responsibility for the entire public spectacle and the damage to reputations on all sides belongs to the traditionalist activists within and outside the Institute who leaked and broadcast the information and then accused Fr. Volpi of publically defaming innocent people.”

    Is the Mannelli family guilty? Is the founder guilty? As you say, “Let them actually prove their allegations.” All we have is a letter with allegations. Show the books! It is a public scandal now. Show the books. Have a trial against the Mannellis.

    and later:

    “The Institute as an ecclesiastical body is bound to render an account the Holy See. Those to whom Fr. Volpi addressed his allegations and those to whom he is responsible have access. So far as I have heard there have been no demands of the former superiors, who are all still in the Institute, to reveal what is in the books. If it is all vindication, let them demand to have the records revealed.”

    Um, normally, aren’t the accusers the ones who are supposed to support their accusations? What you say is back-words, twisted, especially when you go on to say:

    “About the document and to whether it indicates an admission of guilt on Fr. Volpi’s part: they made the accusation and they claim they have a document supporting it. Let them ante-up. Let them actually prove their allegations.”

    Well which is it? Let Father Volpi “actually prove” his allagations

    And then:

    “Fr. Volpi has not, in fact, been convicted of any offence, nor subjected to any criminal proceedings; nor has he ever—in court or outside—admitted committing a crime, or uttering slander or lies.”

    Has the Mannelli family been convicted of embezzlement or admitted such? No, all we have is a letter that is broadcast to the whole order that makes a bald claim of embezzlement and no financial statements or letters of transfer of accounts or property to back up the accusation, Where is the Mannelli family’s right to a trial? They have been convicted of nothing, just like Fr. Volpi. We are just supposed to trust that are some documents buried in the Vatican proving this serious charge against the Manelli family. “Let them actually prove their allegations” as you say. It is simply ridiculous that you accuse the accused for not having the documents revealed, while you revile them for revealing a not-so-private letter. I say it again, it is the responsibility of the accuser to show evidence. From the Rule of Raymond Du Puy, dating from before the Fanciscans we see this: “[18.]And let no brother accuse another brother unless he would be able to prove the accusation properly ;if he has made an accusation he cannot prove, he is not a good brother, and should suffer the same penalty the accused would suffer, if the accusation could be proved” We still only have an accusation! And yet your screech about a counter accusation of libel. Nothing has been proved you say.

    Lastly, I will close with a question for Fr. Volpi using your own words: “Since when by Catholic standards do we judge it good and right to ruin men’s reputations…by means of anonymous sources and unconfirmed reports?

    It seems to me, Father Mannelli has had his freedom and reputation destroyed without the justice of a canonical trial. Such a trial would be held in private, but the verdict would be public. I have heard nothing of a trial or verdict.

    Without a propper trial what has been done to the accused is either: Rash judgment -Which assumes as true the moral fault of another without sufficient evidence, or detraction – Which discloses a person’s faults to another without any valid reason or calumny (slander) – which harms another’s reputation by saying what is not true.

    Fr, Volpi made a public accusation with that letter to all the brothers. We have a public accusation, but no public evidence. We have no canonical trial.

    Father, you are all over the map, using one standard here and another there. Then you say vile things in broad swipes about traditionalist using this sad incident as a cudgel. Please stop.

    • The Letter of December 8, 2013, mentions a public fact related to the alienation of funds, namely that our publishing arm in Italy had come under the control of lay people hostile to the Commissioner. Before the alienation it was in the control of the friars. Furthermore, subsequent to this, the lay trustees began a process of evicting the friars from our friary in Rome on Via Boccea. In fact the bishop of the diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina is now forced to build a new parish Church at Via Boccea because the lay association now owns the old one. These are all public facts and the Commissioner has no compelling reason not to explain their causes to the friars. I have not been eager to share these things, both because they are scandalous and because, while I understand how media culture works, I don’t feel that the public has the slightest God-given right to have us air our family business to them.

      The alienation of the assets of the Institute by the friars, who previously had control of the money, to their lay collaborators without the permission of the Commissioner is simply a fact, and all the friars know it is true. Those who are now crying about the defamation are glad that the assets are in the hands of people loyal to the Founder.

      By the effects of the alienation its fact was known. Fr. Volpi simply explained what happened to those who have a right to know–and the friars do have a right to know. They also have a right to see further proof, if they believe they need any further proof, but that is between them and the Commissioner. The legal proceedings that might have followed initiated by the Commissioner, if any did, would have been a matter, likewise, that the Commissioner did not choose to make a public matter. Just because you don’t know about something doesn’t mean nothing is happening.

      Friars opposed to the Commissioner and their loyal collaborators on the blogs immediately leaked and published Fr. Volpi’s letter, thus making the issue fully public. Then the same people accused Fr. Volpi of defamation. For this reason, I believe the responsibility for the public scandal and whole sorry spectacle to lay squarely and entirely on their heads.

      But those responsible shed crocodile tears. The real aim is and always has been to discredit Fr. Volpi and use the Internet to make it impossible to achieve any kind of resolution to the problems we face. From day one until now, nothing short of the end of the Commission and the repudiation the legitimate concerns that led to it will satisfy those who chose–and it was their choice–to use the media to fight the Holy Father and the Holy See.

      I doubt that anyone who has commented here really knows any more than he or she has read on blogs and most of that information comes from clearly biased sources, many of them in acting in concert with one another and some of them being fed and primed by the friars themselves. As serious a matter as this merits due diligence, the testing and weighing of sources and of evidence. Some of the prime sources for the information that I have reacted against are not only clearly biased, they have also been caught in lies and habitually behave in a cowardly fashion.

      I have nothing on my conscience and I make no apologies. Before God I can say I have been honest and careful in my words. I also actually know first hand what is happening.

      People can and will say what they want, but I will also continue to call out and denounce the gossip, lies and cowardice.

  23. From my perspective of 9 years in the Cathosphere, it would seem Traditionalism is mostly a lay online armchair popery with a decidedly American flavor (“Don’t tread on me — Papa!” “If you’re not with us, you’re against us!” “Hellfire and damnation–NOW!”). You don’t have the luxury of leaving these people to themselves, Father, and I’m glad of that for one reason only: Some borderline Traditionalists maintain a respect for the word of non-Traditionalist but orthodox and rational clergy. Thus, they have ears to hear and eyes to see. Some are hearing the truth and seeing the lies. It is a leavening. May God doubly-bless with your every effort.

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