Monday 29 July 2013

Franciscans of the Immaculate Restricted on Celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass

Chiesa and the LMS Chairman today report the stunning, and frankly chilling news that the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have a new Superior, not a member of the Order but a Capuchin, Fidenzio Volpi, and that the priests of the Order have been forbidden to say the Traditional Mass in public or private, without special permission. This is effective from Sunday 11th August.

According to Sandro Magister, this appointment has been approved by His Holiness Pope Francis who has, by his apostolic authority, utterly contradicted both Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae, embedded into the Law of the Church by the Pope's predecessor, Benedict XVI. Many will be unsurprised by this flagrant contradiction of Church law if only because in this the reigning Pope has form.

As Sandro Magister says...

'And this in itself is cause for astonishment. Because the Franciscans of the Immaculate are one of the most flourishing religious communities born in the Catholic Church in recent decades, with male and female branches, with many young vocations, spread over several continents and with a mission in Argentina as well. They want to be faithful to tradition, in full respect for the magisterium of the Church. So much so that in their communities they celebrate Masses both in the ancient rite and in the modern rite, as moreover do hundreds of religious communities around the world - the Benedictines of Norcia, to give just one example - applying the spirit and the letter of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum" of Benedict XVI.'

According to the same journalist, 'the decree bears the date of July 11, 2013, the protocol number 52741/2012, and the signatures of the prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, a focolarino, and of the secretary of the same congregation, Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, a Franciscan.'

Cardinal Burke celebrates the TLM at the Friars of the Immaculate's seminary
In an 'extraordinary' manner, Pope Francis has, according to Magister, therefore allowed the astonishing over-riding of the existing laws instituted by his predecessor which give to all priests and religious communities the full and legal permission to celebrate the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

The Franciscans of the Immaculate will not be the only ones who will be stunned and crestfallen by this appointment and decree, but none other than Cardinal Raymond Burke and, one would imagine, all priests in the Catholic Church who have been 'emancipated' by the pontificate of Benedict XVI to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass will doubtless feel confused and betrayed.

A seagull awaits the election of the new Sovereign Pontiff of the Church
According to Magister, this chain of events began when a small group within the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate petitioned Rome in anger at the frequency with which the Mass in the Extraordinary Form was celebrated by the community.

There will be not a few priests who, knowing that the Mass of Ages is not universally popular within even their own congregations, will be concerned that if this can happen to an entire Franciscan Order, affecting each and every of their communities spread around the World, that it can happen to them, despite it being perfectly licit to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form since it was decreed by Pope Benedict XVI to have been 'never abrogated.'

Magister continues...

'But precisely this was contested by a core group of internal dissidents, who appealed to the Vatican authorities complaining of the excessive propensity of their congregation to celebrate the Mass in the ancient rite, with the effect of creating exclusion and opposition within the communities, of undermining internal unity and, worse, of weakening the more general "sentire cum Ecclesia." The Vatican authorities responded by sending an apostolic visitor one year ago. And now comes the appointment of the commissioner.

'But what is most astonishing are the last five lines of the decree of July 11: "In addition to the above, the Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite and that, if the occasion should arise, the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community that makes the request.” The astonishment stems from the fact that what is decreed contradicts the dispositions given by Benedict XVI, which for the celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite “sine populo" demand no previous request for authorization whatsoever.'

Shortly before he died, St. Francis of Assisi called together his followers and warned them of the coming troubles, saying:

'Act bravely, my Brethren; take courage, and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase.

The devils will have unusual power, the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity. At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death.

Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.

There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God.

Then our Rule and manner of life will be violently opposed by some, and terrible trials will come upon us. Those who are found faithful will receive the crown of life; but woe to those who, trusting solely in their Order, shall fall into tepidity, for they will not be able to support the temptations permitted for the proving of the elect.
St Francis gave a prophecy concerning his Order shortly before his death
Those who preserve their fervour and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and, persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth. but the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted, and will save all who trust in Him. And in order to be like their Head, [Christ] these, the elect, will act with confidence, and by their death will purchase for themselves eternal life; choosing to obey God rather than man, they will fear nothing, and they will prefer to perish rather than consent to falsehood and perfidy
Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.'

A seagull attacks the dove released by Pope Benedict XVI on 26.01.13
There will be some in the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate who may consider that this prophecy of St Francis is perhaps relevant to our times. Let us pray earnestly for the Pope and for the now persecuted sons and daughters of St Francis in the Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, who must be so dear to their Seraphic Father Saint Francis and pray to God in Heaven that His Holiness Pope Francis will reconsider the promulgation of this nefarious decree, since its implications extend way beyond the Franciscans of the Immaculate, but potentially to any religious community or indeed any parish priest who celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form in the wake of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae.

Quite what the Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Raymond Burke - who has celebrated Pontifical High Mass with the Franciscans of the Immaculate and whose depth of knowledge of Church and canon law is perhaps unparalleled in the whole Church - makes of this decree is anybody's guess, but I'm in a state of disbelief that following all that the then Pope Benedict XVI laid down in the Church's law by Motu Proprio, the flickering flame of the Mass of Ages can so easily be extinguished!


Genty said...

This isn't a restriction. It's a wipe-out. What the order actually means is that permission will never be given.
Back to future as some of us feared,(if the story stands up). It'll be a repeat of the iconoclasm and the ruthless rooting out of the "restorationists" that so many of us experienced in the 1970s and which lost me to Mother Church for 20 years.
The difference between then and now is that this appears to have the active approval, (if not leading the charge), of the reigning Pontiff and I suspect it will not be confined to the orders. All the while it seems the Vatican remains untouched.
May Blessed Titus Brandsma protect all Catholic bloggers.

Martina Katholik said...

“Perhaps even a letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine (of the Faith) will arrive for you, telling you that you said such or such thing... But do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward...”
Now everyone who wants to know knows what „to move forward“ means.

We are moving forward to 2017, the 100th anniversary of the bolshevist revolution.
Our Lady of Fatima, our last hope, pray for us!

Martina Katholik said...

F.Z.´s and Cardinal Burke´s former wishful thinking:

[Nota bene:] ZENIT: Pope Francis is a different person to Benedict XVI in many ways, but it’s hard to believe there are substantial differences between them on the importance of the sacred liturgy. Are there any differences?

Cardinal Burke: I don’t see it at all. [!] The Holy Father clearly hasn’t had the opportunity to teach in a kind of authoritative way about the sacred liturgy, but in the things he has said about the sacred liturgy I see a perfect continuity with Pope Benedict XVI. I see in the Holy Father, too, a great concern for respecting the magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI and his discipline, and that is what Pope Francis is doing. [Reading Francis Through Benedict!]

remnant said...

So Francis is the enemy of Tradition and pluralism in the Church, he wants us all dancing on the beach.

This is not a good sign for those many vocations inspired by the Traditional Mass.

This is divisive, a sign that the growing young Traditionalist movement in the Church is neither secure nor really wanted by Bergoglio.

Wake Up England said...

Well, now we are beginning to see the real truth of this new papacy.

For the second time in the lifetime of many of us, we are about to witness the attempted smashing of the Traditional Latin Mass.

David said...


It will be interesting to see how Fr John Zuhlsdorf will spin this.

FrereRabit said...

This is appalling news. All the while since the election of this Pope, I have been trying to ignore worrying signs, hoping and praying that the Church was still slowly dragging itself out of the mire of Vatican II. This news wrecks my hopes. The withdrawing of the EF from such a traditional community is clearly an ominous sign.

Walpurgis said...

Ah, well. Summorum Pontificum was nice while it lasted (all of six years). Bishops everywhere will no doubt take this as carte blanche to ride roughshod over the rights conferred by S.P. (even more than they do at the moment, that is.)

How long, I wonder, before the traditionalist orders start to feel the heat?

pelerin said...

If the worst were to happen then it is going to be a real test of obedience for many of us as it was 40 years ago. I'm not even sure whether I would be able to hang on for a second time.... Are we really seeing the brick wall collapsing?

Wake up England said...

To Wulpurgis (funny name by the way are you a Satanist?)

looks to me as though the traditional orders are ALREADY feeling the heat; isn't that what's just happened?

I wonder who will be next on the hit-list?

Dilly said...

This is an excellent piece. The source of the quote, as far as I know, is "Works of The Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, translated by a religious of the order, London: R. Washbourne, 1882. pp. 248-250".

I checked because there are a lot of cod-prophecies out on the net, purporting to tie the end-days to our times,and I am always cautious.

Do you, or any of the erudite commenters know any more about the sources of this prophecy?

Walpurgis said...

Bones: By "traditionalist orders" I mean those, such as the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, which are exclusively devoted to the Extraordinary Form, and whose very identity would be destroyed if they were denied its use.

(and FYI: St Walpurgis – very much not a Satanist!!)

Walpurgis said...

(Sorry, that last comment was addressed to W. U. England, not L. England!)

Unknown said...

Maybe it would be wise to wait for more informstion to emerge before giving way to despair. Meanwhile, we could pray.

Neil Addison said...

Summorum Ponificum says Article 3

"If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues."

So as far as I can see this particular decision relating to the Friars of the Immaculate
"the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities, for every religious and/or community [ie of the Friars] that makes the request."
is fully in accordance with SP. The decision by a Priest of the Friars to use the TLM "often, habitually or permanently" has to be agreed by the superior of the Order in accordance with their statutes.

Clearly there is a dispute within the Friars which is unfortunate to put it mildly but the issue may (and I stress "may) relate to individual Priests using the TLM regularly and unilaterally which would not be in accordance with SP.

BJC said...

Fr. Z, as ever, tries to pour oil on troubled waters. Lets hope he's right.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I think we need to wait and see how often permission for the EF is given in this religious order. We may find that we need not worry too much.

The Pope Who Won't Be Buried

It has been a long time since I have put finger to keyboard to write about our holy Catholic Faith, something I regret, but which I put larg...