The FI’s and Pope Francis: Two Updates

It was reported in the Catholic online press today that our religious community, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, has been assigned an Apostolic Commissioner by the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life.  Pope Francis has ordered the decree which goes into effect on August 12.

Pope Francis has also severely restricted our use of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and this has been reported by a major italian journalist as a “contradiction” of Pope Benedict’s permission granted in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.  This is an unfortunate instance of an overeager journalist sensationalizing something he can only speculate about.

The restrictions on our community are specific to us and have been put in place for reasons specific to us.  Pope Francis has not contradicted Pope Benedict.  The visitation of our community began under Pope Benedict and the Commission was recommended by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz who was appointed to the Congregation by Pope Benedict.

What is being reported in the press and what has actually transpired within our community over the course of a number of years are two different things.

Many of us—I would hope most of us—Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, welcome the Holy Father’s intervention into our life and trust fully that Holy Mother Church knows exactly what she is doing, even when the journalists do not.  We entrust ourselves to her care, just as we do to the Immaculate.

Please pray for our Institute.

Update 1:

Many of the comments in the blogosphere about Pope Francis concerning his decision in regard to our Institute are simply disgraceful, and “justified” by the most tenuous rationalizations.  He is the Vicar of Christ.  It is less than twenty-four hours since this hit the Internet and so many think they have got it all figured out.  I have also seen sheer fabrications about the situation in our Institute within some of these comments.  May God have mercy on us.  Thank God for all the holy popes we have had for the past fifty years, who all have had much to suffer.

Update 2:

I am closing down the comments now on these posts concerning the situation in the Institute.  I left comments open to make a point, which the some of the commenters have made for me.  Either you get the point or you don’t.  There is no point in trying to explain it.

The contempt, disrespect and spirit of disobedience shown toward the Vicar of Christ, I repudiate.  May God have mercy on us.

Lately in England

I finally figured out how to use the gallery function on WordPress. This should be interesting. The photos are not in any particular order. I will have to deal with that problem another time. Enjoy.

A Chapter Closed

This is the first moment I have had free to get back to the blog and give everyone an update. Our general chapter ended on Saturday evening and was capped by the solemn celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost, yesterday.

On Friday at aproximately 1:45 pm Father Stefano Maria Manelli, Founder and Minister General of our Institute from the beginning was reelected for a third term. Canon law requires that a third term for any major superior of a religious institute be “postulated,” which means that the chapter members must elect him by a two-thirds majority and then have the “postulation” ratified by the Holy See. After the ballots where counted and Father Stefano’s two-thirds majority was confirmed by the “scrutitores” (the ones who scrutinize), two of the chapter fathers rode on a motor scooter to the Vatican to present the “postulation” to the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for Consecrated Life. He happily signed the postulation and so we have Father Stefano for another three years. Deo Gratias!

This is a picture of all the chapter fathers:

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Mission to Rome

Well, I am on my way to the Logan Airport. I fly out this evening for Rome. Our general chapter begins on Tuesday morning with two day retreat, and then the chapter begins deliberations on matters concerning our order. On the eve of Pentecost the Minister General and his vicar will be elected.

Please pray for our order, the Franciscans of the Immaculate and for the chapter fathers, that we will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

I will try to post, if I can. I am bringing a camera. I hope to visit a few places that would be interesting to anyone with the spirit of chivalry. I will be back on May 14. I leave you with a section from the legislation of the friars concerning our Marian Vow. It is the spirit of chivalry:

The constitutive element most specific to the Marian Vow is the “unlimited” character of the consecration to the Immaculate.

In its most obvious and fundamental meaning, “unlimitedness” is the completeness of dedication to and possession by the Immaculate, excluding any limit and reservation, condition and regret of any kind. Gradually, in accord with the original inspiration of the Founder, there takes shape that resemblance to Her who in the Coredemption realized the most perfect unlimited love.

From this it follows that unlimited consecration to the Immaculate includes all other possible offerings and excludes none, nor can it exclude any, in virtue of the very nature of unlimitedness, which does not admit limits of any kind.

Because of this the Marian Vow entails “heroic action and unlimited striving for perfection”. It includes in itself an offer to be a “victim”, even beyond the furthest limit, namely, the immolation that is “martyrdom”. In the Marian Vow is found the most complete and radical offer of self to the Immaculate: She may demand “everything” from Her consecrated, ask any sacrifice and heroism, even that of being consumed as a victim of sacrifice and of immolating one’s life with the violent death of a martyr (cf. Const. 26), after the example of the death of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe.

That is the ideal. Please pray that we live it.

Ave Maria! Hopefully, I you will hear from me again soon.

MaryVictrix News: Holy Hour, Catholic Action and KL Formation

Several things or going on this week. First of all, I am on my way up to our friary in Maine NY, Mount St. Francis to visit our friars there before my trip to Rome during the first part of May. I will be there for our general chapter, which will conclude on Pentecost. Please pray for our community during this important time.

I will be back for the Third Thursday Night Holy Hour for the Fathers of our Families (program). This will be the third holy hour of the novena which will conclude in October just before the presidential election.

I have long encouraged the Knights of Lepanto to engage in Catholic action and our Third Thursday Meetings have been oriented in that direction. It is, however, far more important to pray and I have not wanted to neglect this. Hence the novena.

This particular month, I have invited Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut to speak following the holy. I will be putting up a post shortly on the work of Peter at FIC. I am inviting all local men to come and learn more about how you can help to protect marriage and family life in Connecticut.

Thirdly, on Saturday, April 19 I will be directing a day of recollection at the friary for the Knights of Lepanto, specifically for all the first year members who are in need of their basic formation. This is open to all those who are formal MIM members and who attend the Knights’ meetings, including those who have already finished the first year formation and would like to review or just attend for their spiritual benefit.

We are planning on an early day, so that the whole Saturday is not shot for the guys who have stuff to do around the house. WE BEGIN AT 8:30 AM.

Here are the topics I will be covering on Saturday:

1. What is the group, The Knights of Lepanto? (Article 1 and 2, KL Directory)

  • History
  • The Name
  • Nature and Purpose

2. Is there such a Thing as Catholic Masculinity?

  • The Problem within the Family and the Church
  • The Fatherhood of God
  • Reclaiming Masculinity and Fatherhood

3. Do Grown Men Need Our Lady?

  • The Imitation of Christ
  • Mary and the Church
  • Motherhood and Femininity