Alessandro Gnocchi wrote a long article a few days ago on the intervention in the Franciscans of the Immaculate (Corrispondenza Romana, in Italian). Gnocchi, a Traditional-minded journalist well known in his native Italy, has had a long and fruitful relationship with the Friars and Sisters, and his article dwells on that a bit, and on the scandalous liturgical aspect of the intervention that was indeed a flagrant curtailment of the rights recognized (not created!) by Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum.
In any event, the really interesting part of the article for us is the following. Gnocchi describes a conversation he had with the founder of the Friars and Sisters, Fr. Stefano Manelli, earlier this year:
Two years ago, I met him in the shrine of [the Madonna of] Zuccarello di Nembro, near Bergamo, for the Mass in memory of his mother. He was seating in the sacristy, folded on the chair, finding it hard even to answer back those who greeted him. "How is Father Stefano?" He opened his arms as much as he could and whispered, "He is like this, on the cross". I had just written a book on Padre Pio with Mario Palmaro, but only when faced with that spiritual son of his I finally experienced a small bit of true compassion for the suffering I had unworthily described with words.Three months ago, I saw him again, shortly before the bomb of the intervention exploded. He was restless, but more for the future of the Church than for that of his foundation. "Now, only the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary can save us. We are at that time that Padre Pio called of the 'four Ts': tutte tenebre [all darkness, total darkness]". "And what can we do, Father?" "We must prepare, pray, and continue the struggle. And then," he added with that smile of his, a little as that an old man, and a little as that of a child, "there are the 'four Ts' of light: all Franciscans of the Immaculate".We were at Sassoferrato, in the seminary of the order. A huge building emptied of vocations by the Conventual Friars Minor and replenished by the Franciscans of the Immaculate. A building in which these friars who greet everyone with the splendid 'Ave Maria' live side by side with Lady Poverty. In their houses, poverty is the true one, not that shown to the photographers' cameras nor that preached to others. It is lived truly and one can literally breathe it as soon as one crosses the threshold of any of their convents. Not in the churches, because there, as father Francis wanted, all things must be as splendid as possible for the Lord. But in their houses only those who decide and accept to be truly poor can live.
P.S. We do have some things left to add regarding this mess, but at the appropriate time.