|Louis Welden Hawkins|
The Orphans (1881)
The official communication strategy of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI) – of those who are for the moment the mandataries of the institutional shell founded by Fr. Manelli, Commissioner Volpi and the minority that unleashed the canonical visit – attempts to mask, or at least to disguise, the cruel reality. The official website had published [several months ago] a communiqué that reported the "defections", estimating their numbers at about fifteen, and mentioning another fifteen departure claimants who had asked for the dismissal of their vows. In addition, we can find, also in the official site, the mention of two solemn professions, and eighteen entrances at the Philippines novitiate, of seven temporary professions and five entries at the Benin novitiate. No news from the house of African vocations for the FFI, moved from Benin to Nigeria: the "Volpi cold" must have made ravages there... As for perpetual vows, by which one consecrates oneself to the Lord forever in the institute, and not in another, and that are the true measure of the vitality of an institute: for the whole FFI, the number was down from twelve last year [the first after the intervention] to two this year for the entire Institute.But things are worse in Europe, that is, in Italy. The period around September 8 is traditionally in the FFI the date for solemn professions, renewal of temporary vows, and profession of the first temporary vows in Italy (in fact for all of Europe). Deafening silence in the institutional website: and for good reason. We have to visit the Facebook profile of the FFI to find there a picture of the renewal of vows: we can count there twenty-two friars, while they were over fifty last year. For the first vows, we must once agin visit Facebook: six professed their first vows, out of twelve novices at the beginning [last year]; and, above all, not a single additional solemn profession, not one single new entrance at the novitiate [this year] in Italy, and therefore for the whole of Europe. In the Franciscans of the Immaculate, we move towards the peace of the cemeteries. As a result, convents are shut down, as local media sadly report. After the arrival of the Commissioner, ten have been closed. It is true that, for two among these, this had already been foreseen before the establishment of the Intervention, related to the low number of vocations in the countries involved (India, England), and that another one was reopened two days after [it had been closed], apparently following the intervention of the bishop of Teramo-Atri, Bp. Seccia.Cardinal Braz de Aviz and his men are doing a fine job. [Source, in French]
Regarding the same Institute under the intense persecution of some Vatican authorities, the senior religious correspondent for Italian daily La Stampa may have reached a stunning conclusion for the deep motives behind this unprecedented persecution.
As our readers may recall, Rorate explained in great detail in March 2013, shortly after the conclave, how the Traditional Mass had effectively been blocked in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires following Summorum Pontificum (contrary to what others had affirmed in typical vainglorious ignorance). The only Traditional Latin Mass in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires (but outside the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires) was celebrated precisely by Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, in Villa Celina, Diocese of San Justo - the other two were celebrated in others areas of the Province of Buenos Aires, in the Dioceses of Mercedes-Luján and La Plata.
Tosatti, after making reference to our latest post on the persecution of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, in a text posted on Thursday connects the dots between what Cardinal Bergoglio may have understood as a personal challenge to him just 500 yards from his jurisdiction, and the current predicament of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Could Tosatti be on to something?...
As Archbishop [of Buenos Aires], it seems that Bergoglio never much liked the Mass celebrated according to the Vetus Ordo. And perhaps we have here a hint as to why as Pope he is deeply adverse towards the Franciscans of the Immaculate, who celebrated Mass according to both rites. In the Diocese of San Justo, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate regularly offered the Missa Antiqua for the faithful at Villa Celina. This is located no more than 500 meters from General Paz Avenue [the beltway around Buenos Aires], which is within the city and diocese of Buenos Aires, which is separate from the rest of the province and other dioceses. It was the only Traditional Mass in the whole metropolitan area, practically under the nose of the future Pope, who certainly was not happy with it. And perhaps we can find here the reason for his dislike [for the FFI] and for the extraordinary persecution of that order.This, among other things, would drive the Pope to ask for the list of the bishops who are welcoming the Friars who are leaving the Order. And this might explain why the founder of the FFI would have been prevented from being allowed to pray at the tomb of his parents. Not even regarding the Legionaries of Maciel, or other situations that were truly problematical, have such steps been taken as they have been with respect to the FFI. And this under the banner of mercy. [Source, in Italian]