Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I'm praying for the Sisters of the Immaculate


I met these Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate yesterday at the Ramsgate Mass for St Augustine. Without commenting on it they seemed a little anxious about the impending visitation. I said I would offer Mass for them, I will, I'll offer Mass on Ascension Day, our Missa Solemnis at 7.30pm. One of them knows Brighton well, she was school here, when I asked her where, with a slight hint of embarrassment she replied, 'Roedean'.

There is a post on Air Maria which sheds a little more light - or shadow - on the whole affair, the second article defending Fr Volpi's actions is by Fr. Agnellus Maria Murphy, who many in this country will know from 'A Day with Mary', I have never considered him to be a wet liberal. However, without getting into ad hominem arguments I tend to have sympathy with a comment made by friend.
 There really is nothing here to justify the drastic action taken. Since it would appear that the overwhelming number of friars supported the direction the institute was taking, surely it was for the five to ask to be transferred to an institute more to their taste; there is no lack of non-traddy Franciscan congregations, most of whom are desperate for vocations. In fact, this response confirms my view that the action taken by Aviz, Volpi and others is disproportionate, scandalous and downright cruel. His entire defence is simply a more elaborate way of saying that the Friars were getting too traditional for his taste.
It is the disproportionate nature of the Holy Sees response that is scandalous. It reflects very badly on this Papacy.

26 comments:

Simon Platt said...

Dear Father,

The second article was written by Fr Angelo Geiger "with assistance of Fr. Agnellus Maria Murphy".

I'm afraid I agree with your friend.

viterbo said...

The Sisters (there's something so reassuring about Religious Sisters who actually look like what they are!) hardly appear to be a threat to world peace, do they. I can remember reading somewhere in Therese de Lisieux, the Story of a Soul, one day she got a bit of a start - she saw a demon, and she then realised it was terrified of her. One wouldn't think St Therese was very scary, but I guess the holier someone is, the more that unholy things feel threatened. By all accounts the Franciscans getting all the negative attention are at least very much working at living Holy lives that once upon a time the Church would have been anxious to nurture; not anxious to nip in the bud. Strange days.

Gervase Crouchback said...

if this happened in Australia Fr Volpi could face police prosecution under the Bullying and Harassment provisions of the Crimes Act .
I think it is a poor witness that the Pope has acceded to and will be a stain on his papacy for sure

Delia said...

I see you made it to Ramsgate, unless that is Brighton sea behind you!

M. Prodigal said...

Fr. Geiger admits he was one of the 5 who has brought all this suffering about. He and others met privately to work this out. He wrote the Mother Superior was a problem and the sisters were leading the friars astray! He writes about the "traditional drift" and that the FFI was a promoter of traditional aspects of the holy Church in Italy--now all apparently crimes in this papacy? He does not seem to mind that a number of friars are closed, that the promotion of the message of Fatima is suppressed in Italy, etc. That is because the seminarians and the laity were in "rebellion"!!! This from the one who rebelled against the founders! It is a travesty. Have been following this story and it is heartbreaking.

Lynda said...

Words are not adequate to express the evil of the destructive and malicious action against a holy, faithful, orthodox institute which was clearly bearing great fruit - and showing up those orders that have abandoned the Faith. As for proportionality, the principle does not even arise as the nuns have done nothing against the laws of God or His Holy Church. On the contrary, they were exemplars of religious life. Their success in vocations and conversions could not be allowed to continue by the enemies with so much power "within" the Church. Blessed Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle . . .

Woody said...

Noting the very friendly meetings between the Holy Father and the Ecumenical Patriarch, with the accompanying statements from many sources of renewed hopes for a reunion or at least closer collaboration, one would observe that the kind of heavy handed treatment of the FFI at the insistence of a less traditional minority is just the kind of thing that both the Orthodox as well as the SSPX fear from Rome. There is, of course, a whole other cluster of straws in the wind of the same kind, but the way these things are going, I would forget about reunion for the long foreseeable future. Even if the next pontiff is more traditional, the actions of this one show what can happen if the pontiff is so inclined and will not be forgotten.

fidelisjoff said...

The whole affair is a lengthening shadow over this pontificate. I think the problem is holiness and how some who should no better baulk at it rather than cherish it within the Church. It will cement divisions within the Church that we thought were being healed and creates the rupture of what was once good and holy is not to be held so at least for a few years. Perhaps the Holy Father has been manipulated into it and not paid it the full attention it requires. Let's pray he looks again and if you are a traditionalist know to keep some views silent.

Thomas said...

I find the lack of precision in the language used about this situation by both sides of the argument very questionable, disturbing and irritating. People talk about "traditionalism" as if that is something readily identified, defined and obviously in itself a 'bad' or a 'good' thing. Does it mean an affection for the traditional devotion, sacred music, church architecture, attachment to the extraordinary form of Mass? Or does it mean rejection of Vatican II, (not the same as debating how to interpret some parts of the Council) and a desire to get rid of the Missa Normativa? and so on ... I don't know what has been going on with this religious order, but it seems to be very bad government and bad example to allow real nature of the fault being disciplined to be so unclear. The intervention of Fr. Murphy even used the word "radicalized" of the sisters. What does that mean? Are they becoming jihadist Muslims? If he means that they are espousing schismatic views, then he should say so. Otherwise it allows the thought to linger that people are being persecuted simply for taking a certain view of matters that are legitimate debate, and exercising a preference for spirituality they have a canonical right to embrace. Of course it isn't helpful that many self-styled "traditional" Catholics do seem to regard themselves as belonging to a separate faith group from anyone who attends Mass in the Novus Ordo.

Nicolas Bellord said...

It is all very confusing and difficult to know where the truth lies.

However, having read the two documents, the first by an anonymous friar does assert a series of facts as being true. Father Angelo's response, on the other hand, is more a series of ad hominem attacks accusing the anonymous friar and others: "disinformation", "disingenuous", "unscrupulous", "open rebellion", "intellectually dishonest" etc etc with little evidence of anything to support these accusations.

A particular accusation reads: "
The author presumes to suggest that the Founder and the friars who support him advocate the “hermeneutic of continuity” taught by Benedict XVI, when, in fact, under the Founder’s direction our Institute became one of principle instruments of the traditionalist movement in Italy to undermine the authority of that same hermeneutic.  This is the kind of lie and half-truth that has been driving the Institute into deeper crisis for a very long time."

Now my understanding of the "hermeneutic of continuity" is precisely taking account of tradition in the development of doctrine, liturgy etc. But here Father Angelo suggests that there is a traditionalist movement which is opposed to this H of C. What evidence is there of this? I understand the SSPX are traditionalists who reject Vatican II. But that is going a long way and there is no suggestion here that the FFI reject Vatican II or any other doctrine of the Church. So what exactly is being alleged?

Well Father Angelo goes on to say that there "aspects of our life that have been introduced moto proprio by the Founder and his confidants, and are not mandated by the approved legislation of our Institute." However he gives no concrete example of such merely calling it Machiavellian.

Father Angelo's theme is not very convincing and it is all very unseemly and scandalous. Is not the Church capable of resolving this by establishing a proper judicial inquiry?

Or are we going to have just more squabbling? I can understand that there is a generation of clergy who saw Vatican II as bringing a new dawn. Seeing what in fact has occurred, particularly in the religious orders, many of whom seem to be in near terminal decline, there is enormous disappointment and bitterness amongst those early enthusiasts for the spirit of Vatican II. Is all this a symptom of a disappointed section of the clergy?

Genty said...

Why join an order whose ethos you disagree with? It doesn't make sense - unless the dissenters joined the FFI with the intention of causing disruption. There are plenty of failing orders they could have gone to which would have given them what they appear to want. If that makes me a conspiracy nut, so be it.
If I attend a church whose priest celebrates Mass in a way that sets my teeth on edge, I don't write to the bishop to try to have him removed. I go to another parish.

Linette said...

Father,

You must be commended for not bending to the political correctness and relativism that surrounds this pontificate. You say things charitably, but not at the expense of the truth.
I understand that you are not living in a very trad-friendly diocese,so this is very brave of you. Thank you.

Cosmos said...

Thomas,

Here is the problem for me:

Even if the FFI was exhibiting "schismatic tendencies" (i.e., wondering what the heck the Church hierarrchy is currently doing, and whether it really has anything to do with the Faith of all times and all places)...

Why are schismatic tendencies so much worse than modernist or heretical tendencies? Why are all these other orders (Jesuits, Slaesians, Fransicans) allowed to espouse and teach non-Christian/anti-Christian views and get away with it, while the FFI is being dismantled for believing in Catholicism in an outdated manner? Is schism (say, Eastern Orthodoxy) really worse or equal to outright apostacy(Gnosticism, Communism, Universalism, etc...)? Seems very strange to me.

So even if we are given a perfectly reasonable reason for why the FFI is getting spanked, it becomes totally unreasonable in the light of how everyone else is treated. Arbitrary application of the law, undermines its legitimacy: "OK judge, now I understand why you sentenced the unlicenced street vendor to prison. But tell me again why you let the arsonist and theif go free?"

Ginge White said...

Father, I find your words hear worrying. True, but worrying nevertheless. We need to be realistic, the bad days, the great trial, is only just beginning and we will need the voice of good priests, like yourself, to give us hope. If you continue down this line we will undoubtedly lose you. They have a free hand and, as a full-time Church worker, I see them using there new found licence with a ruthlessness that scorns and attacks anyone that dare to challenge them. Please, we would prefer to have you stating the facts, that they seek to cover up, without comment rather than losing you all together.

Clare said...

It is not unheard of that in the past very holy people were persecuted within the Church and in the end, thanks to their sufferings, attained a high degree of sanctity.

Thomas said...

Cosmos, many of wonder what is going on with some of the hierarchy and know that what is being said and done by some in even high places is out and out heresy and destructive of the Faith. But we don't then define ourselves more or less explicitly as the holy remnant of God's faithful who form another church within (or perhaps separate from) the actual visible Church. I simply grieve and weep and plead before he Lord for his poor Church of which I am another sinful member and do what I can to correct things according to my very limited abilities. The Church is till the Church even with terrible Popes, unfaithful bishops, scandalous priests, heresy preached abroad and even good shepherds asleep at the wheel. The gates of hell shall not prevail and it is both pride and despair to regard oneself as the only faithful souls in God's household; or suggest that you are only a "real" Catholic if you go to Mass in one form etc. To think that is indeed a schismatic, and mentality. And I think it is dangerous to try to way up whether schism or heresy are worse - that's a bot like saying that murder is worse than theft so it won't matter if I rob a bank because at least I won't be murdering anyone!

BTW I agree that there is complete inconsistency in jumping on traditionalists while giving heresy a free pass. A very holy priest I once knew once said to me that this was because the bishops are usually afraid of that the modernists will really split the Church (and many owe their careers to movers and shakers of that ilk) whereas most orthodox minded people will remain loyal, and even if a few do leave it won't reflect so badly on them. He may have been right, who am I to say ...

JARay said...

I am with you on this Father. This whole issue reflects very badly on this Papacy.

Linette said...

There is a Rosary Crusade in support of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate.
http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-call-to-prayer-on-behalf-of.html
They need our prayers.

geoff kiernan said...

The restrictions placed on the FFI???? Why does the word diabolical keep coming to mind?

Sienna said...

I just spent several weeks in Seattle where I visited several churches. Tabernacles are often hard to find; bands with drums are often the norm (with applause for the performance after Mass); rubrics are ignored (Kyrie skipped, Creed skipped, etc.) ; women give homilies; Birthday people are celebrated by the singing of Happy Birthday at the end of Mass before the final blessing (of course with accompanying applause); chatting an greeting one another before Mass, during Mass and after Mass (even walking up and back from Communion) is not uncommon; Adoration at the Holy Thursday vigil was accompanied by taped music from some performance so it was punctuated by applause and "chat". Homilies are full of jokes and on and on and we are suppressing the FFI, a group which I know was doing both the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine Mass? I was also in Salt Lake City and the Church there was only slightly less "progressive". I wrote to the Bishop, to some churches to the diocesan liturgy committees and to the Holy Father, but from the ones I heard back from, only got platitudes. i converted to Catholicism before the Vatican II crowd took over. Don't know if I would if it were now.

Sienna said...

I just spent several weeks in Seattle where I visited several churches. Tabernacles are often hard to find; bands with drums are often the norm (with applause for the performance after Mass); rubrics are ignored (Kyrie skipped, Creed skipped, etc.) ; women give homilies; Birthday people are celebrated by the singing of Happy Birthday at the end of Mass before the final blessing (of course with accompanying applause); chatting an greeting one another before Mass, during Mass and after Mass (even walking up and back from Communion) is not uncommon; Adoration at the Holy Thursday vigil was accompanied by taped music from some performance so it was punctuated by applause and "chat". Homilies are full of jokes and on and on and we are suppressing the FFI, a group which I know was doing both the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine Mass? I was also in Salt Lake City and the Church there was only slightly less "progressive". I wrote to the Bishop, to some churches to the diocesan liturgy committees and to the Holy Father, but from the ones I heard back from, only got platitudes. i converted to Catholicism before the Vatican II crowd took over. Don't know if I would if it were now.

Sienna said...

I just spent several weeks in Seattle where I visited several churches. Tabernacles are often hard to find; bands with drums are often the norm (with applause for the performance after Mass); rubrics are ignored (Kyrie skipped, Creed skipped, etc.) ; women give homilies; Birthday people are celebrated by the singing of Happy Birthday at the end of Mass before the final blessing (of course with accompanying applause); chatting an greeting one another before Mass, during Mass and after Mass (even walking up and back from Communion) is not uncommon; Adoration at the Holy Thursday vigil was accompanied by taped music from some performance so it was punctuated by applause and "chat". Homilies are full of jokes and on and on and we are suppressing the FFI, a group which I know was doing both the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine Mass? I was also in Salt Lake City and the Church there was only slightly less "progressive". I wrote to the Bishop, to some churches to the diocesan liturgy committees and to the Holy Father, but from the ones I heard back from, only got platitudes. i converted to Catholicism before the Vatican II crowd took over. Don't know if I would if it were now.

Sienna said...

I just spent several weeks in Seattle where I visited several churches. Tabernacles are often hard to find; bands with drums are often the norm (with applause for the performance after Mass); rubrics are ignored (Kyrie skipped, Creed skipped, etc.) ; women give homilies; Birthday people are celebrated by the singing of Happy Birthday at the end of Mass before the final blessing (of course with accompanying applause); chatting an greeting one another before Mass, during Mass and after Mass (even walking up and back from Communion) is not uncommon; Adoration at the Holy Thursday vigil was accompanied by taped music from some performance so it was punctuated by applause and "chat". Homilies are full of jokes and on and on and we are suppressing the FFI, a group which I know was doing both the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine Mass? I was also in Salt Lake City and the Church there was only slightly less "progressive". I wrote to the Bishop, to some churches to the diocesan liturgy committees and to the Holy Father, but from the ones I heard back from, only got platitudes. i converted to Catholicism before the Vatican II crowd took over. Don't know if I would if it were now.

Sienna said...

I just spent several weeks in Seattle where I visited several churches. Tabernacles are often hard to find; bands with drums are often the norm (with applause for the performance after Mass); rubrics are ignored (Kyrie skipped, Creed skipped, etc.) ; women give homilies; Birthday people are celebrated by the singing of Happy Birthday at the end of Mass before the final blessing (of course with accompanying applause); chatting and greeting one another before Mass, during Mass and after Mass (even walking up and back from Communion) is not uncommon; Adoration at the Holy Thursday vigil was accompanied by taped music from some performance so it was punctuated by applause and "chat". The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is punctuated by homilies are full of jokes, and exhortations to "have a nice day" and on and on and we are suppressing the FFI, a group which I know was doing both the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine Mass? I was also in Salt Lake City and the Church there was only slightly less "progressive". I wrote to the Bishop, to some churches to the diocesan liturgy committees and to the Holy Father, but from the ones I heard back from, only got platitudes. i converted to Catholicism before the Vatican II crowd took over. Don't know if I would if it were now. Why bother, if I want entertainment, there are far better places.

geoff kiernan said...

If some one had said to me 40/50 years ago that in 40/50 years the Holy Sacrifice the Mass, the Mass of the Angels, the Mass of the ages, would be banned or in any way restricted They would have been laughed out of existence.
Don't tell me these are not diabolical days

Febe said...

It is incredibly worrying that the Pope is backing the actions of a his nominee in the destruction of such a dedicated and very 'Catholic' Institute of Franciscans. It appears that we, the laity, will be forced to endure irreverent Masses where priests celebrate Sunday prime time 10AM Mass without wearing their Chausibles, where the recessional hymn may be 'Waltzing Matilda' (yes, in Australia) where it's common that clay and ceramic Chalices are used for Mass, Extraordinary Ministers (EM) distribute communion hosts from Tupperware boxes whilst priests are sitting down, where male EM are dressed in Tshirts and shorts at the altar, and female EM dress in 'spaghetti strapped' lingerie style short dresses to 'distribute' our Lord, I could go on and on....!
I never had to worry that any of the masses and sermons where the main celebrant were an FI or a priest used to celebrating the EOM would be a disgraceful Mass. So why is Fr Stefano and many of his faithful friars and sisters being persecuted by the Vatican for carrying out their vocation well ?