Saturday, December 14, 2013

Volpi's demand

On the surface it seems that the Friars of the Immaculate are being treated with great harshness. Compare the treatment of the Legionaries of Christ under Pope Benedict, with gentle paternal patience of Cardinal Velasio De Paolis and what is happening with the Friars under Fr Volpi. A loyal son of the Church can only conclude that the Holy Father who speaks continually of 'mercy' is completely unaware of what is happening with the Friars. There appears to be a brutalism Fr Volpi is exhibiting that seems reminiscent of the Inquisition or something from Eco's In the Name of the Rose. His measures are pretty strong.
Their houses of studies have been closed
Diaconal and priestly ordinations have been cancelled for this year.
Chaplains from the order to their nuns have been removed.
Their lay institute - 3rd Order- has been suspended, their publishing house closed down.
Individual members of the Order have been sent 'to gain missionary experience' or sent into what seems to amount to internal exile.

We do not know what crimes or heresies or what plots these secretive; silent Friars are guilty of. Their crimes must be horrendous, certainly they must be more dangerous than those of those American nuns 'who have moved beyond Jesus' or those who the Pope cited whose superior told them to not bother about morning prayer but to 'bathe in the Cosmos'.

What seems to be the problem, according to Rorate's reporting of Fr Volpi, is that they are "crypto Lefebvrists" or even if they aren't, he says, they have a tendency towards that kind of thing. I really don't know what that means, one might presume that they intended to ordain their own bishops, without a Papal Mandate or at the very least intended to send their students to Econe or something similar, however no evidence has suggested this. Indeed all that seems to have happened at the most extreme is an attempt to open up some kind of friendly dialogue with the SSPX, something very much in the spirit of Vatican II and Benedict's Pontificate.

Their crime seems to be that they took Summorum Pontificum seriously and used it as basis for their spiritual lives. What really seems to be happening is the beginning of a war on Pope Benedict's liturgical theology, obviously not of Pope Francis' making but at least in this case by one of his over eager lieutenants.

Many others have commented on Fr Volpi's demand that those presently in formation must personally subscribe to a formal acceptance of the Novus Ordo 'as an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church'.

I know most commentators have suggested there is little problem with this, I am not sure I agree. I have no problem in saying the Novus Ordo, or believing it to be valid, or even that it is now 'the Mass' of the Latin Church but to say it is 'an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church" is a little more complex. It goes  beyond a simple filial acceptance of something proposed by the Church. In short I do not what the phrase means.

In these day when Pope Francis has indicated a decentralisation or de-Romanisation of the Church, I would go so far as to say that throughout the history of the Church the liturgy has 'developed' by two methods; from below, where Rites developed locally and organically and slowly spread by being handed on to other Churches, a truly organic development. The other method, which always involves rupture, is from above, the Pope decides something and hands it down. It could be argued this was virtually unknown before the invention of moveable type, I am sure that the Tridentine reforms were very necessary but I would have difficulty in saying they were, 'an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church', though one could argue over the centuries they became so.  Even innovations such as the introduction of Sacral Latin by Pope Damasus or the introduction of the Filioque clause were gradual and organic. I accept what is handed down, as every Catholic priest or lay person does but I, along with Eastern Christians, would question, when pushed, whether this can really be described as 'authentic', in the way in which both East and West would understand it.

As Pope Benedict wrote, before his election, as a private theologian, the Novus Ordo was created ex nihil. This is a personal view but it is precisely such a personal view, coming from the other direction, that Fr Volpi is demanding of the Friars. It seems what he is really asking for is a certain understanding of history and hermeneutics, which I suspect Ratzinger himself and many others would have serious reservations, including of course those Cardinals who have shown themselves supportive of the Friars. It would obviously be wrong to see this as an anti Ratzinger thing. I repeat I have no problem with the Novus Order but in conscience if Volpi's question were put to me in the form of oath, I couldn't take it in good conscience, others might prevaricate, I could not.

I pray this kind of action is not a first demonstration of the future work of other lieutenants.


Long-Skirts said...


Debased, depraved
Demoralized, debauched -
Virtuous faithful
Scrutinized, watched.

Debauched, demoralized
Depraved, debased -
Prince sends priests
Away disgraced.

All authentic
Approved, diverse -
Conjugal love, now
For perverse.

For "we" the Church
Do validate -
With anyone

While permitting Princes
Clutching their purse -
Dialogue with their minions…
As for Hell they rehearse!

Just another mad Catholic said...

If I were to meet Fr Volpi I would spit in face, no more 'Holy Obedience', no more 'offering it up' the time has come to storm St Peter's and thruw the diseased pieces of filth such as Fr.Volpi and the sodomite clergy into the gutter of Rome after being ritually humiliated (like Mr Banks in Mary Poppins).

I maintain to this day that Msgr Lefevbre will be one day be canonized, he will be vindicated and held up as a example of a Catholic Bishop who gave his all to the Church. The Society will be recognized as the ones who remained true whilst their heretical brother Priests abandoned the Fort

Deacon Augustine said...

Volpi's accusation against the FFI of being "crypto-lefebvrist" is clearly ludicrous as they say the Novus Ordo in addition to the TLM. The SSPX would never touch the Novus Ordo with a barge-pole.

If there is any substance to his charges against them, then it must be that they have experienced a "definitely traditionalist drift". If an adherence to Tradition warrants his tyrannical actions against them, then he should be made to explain why he is demanding that they affirm that the Novus Ordo is an authentic expression of liturgical TRADITION. Tradition is either good or bad - it can't be both.

If he is going to force an oath upon them, it should be the Oath against Modernism, and he should set the example by being the first to take it. After all, every Council Father at Vatican II had taken the Oath against Modernism and so we ought to interpret their decrees in that light.

Physiocrat said...

Have a discussion with the same self-styled liberals and they will say that it is petty to be concerned with what they call details of liturgy. This liberalism seems to work in just the one direction - theirs.

Fr Ray Blake said...

That is Anti-Christ! Such rage, such acts deny Christ - pray to be delivered from such feelings.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

jamc - after their ritual humiliation they might find their supercalifragilisticexpialidotious fact...I think l finally understand this new reign. Pope Francis has found his just needs to be translated, analysed, debated, re-translated, removed from the public sphere and replaced with summary.

in the real process of this razing of the virtue of gravitas from the Franciscans of the Immaculata - is this sent down from the hand of the Pope?

are there any other communities in danger of having to sign away their souls for the sake of a failing rite?

( I know you celebrate it with all those things Judas would complain about, Father, and which hungry sheep feel blessed by, but alot of Priests seem to like Judas' frugality)

the legacy will be? the photos of clowns etc and the memory of bad music, projectors malfunctioning, spending five minutes before mass running through the entrance song few could read anyway...the Guitar at the mass I attend is now practising during the Euchristic prayers. and always debussy's Clare d'lune whilst receiving Holy Communion - with accompanying gitaar. it's a beautiful piece but it's secular and they made a raunchy lesbian movie as an homage to the piece years ago. this is the trap of new order - beleiving the world is sanctified and therefore cannot pollute the Holy. the blissfully ignorant do their thang, those unfortunately informed are being assaulted from the moment they kneel (this is the point where the guitar and piano or organ sound like they're having a spat) to the...well there'll be those who suffer through Sunday who might understand and if we were not convinced that Our Lord suffered through all this to offer Himself to us...if I didn't attend weekday mass, solemn, quiet, still bare, but no supercalifragilisticexpialidotious - which is really not recommended = sound, noise, and then a line of people, and good on them, determined they should receive Holy Communion from the consecrated hands of the priest, but waiting, with the queue backing up behind, you have to go to the waiting smiling lady in the pretty red jacket - involuntarily smile at her as she says, 'the Body of Christ', with an upward inflection almost like question, I'm holding people up, I forget say, 'amen'.

the Real Prescence, made really hazy, and stressful in the humble pot luck NO.

Please don't a single child of Immaculata sign. it's not what She wants for you or Her Son.

Andres said...

Thanks for sharing father Blake. I am following Your blog since months ago with GREAT interest. The Church is in GREAT crisis and orthodox bishops and fearless priests are few. I thank God for priests lIke YOU, father Blake. The work to restore the Latin mass in The Church according to the will of Benedict needs to contuine with full speed. Latin is the future. Contuine to report from this sad event that is so symptomatic for the post V2 Church. Blessings!!

Liam Ronan said...

My Italian is limited, but isn't 'Volpi' rendered as 'Foxes' in English? How interesting.

Nicholas Dyson said...

JAMCs comments do the SSPX no good and gives grist to the mill to modernists in the church who maintain that they are a bunch of fanatics.

Gungarius said...

Fr Volpi appears not to have wholly banned them from saying the old rite and appears to have allowed things in the UK to carry on pretty well as normal, as a look at the LMS Mass schedules demonstrates.

It is tempting to imagine a liberal witchhunt, but the facts in the UK don't seem to bear this out. Perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye?

There does appear to be some entanglement of Catholic traditionalism with far right politics in certain parts of Europe.

While I am speculating and have no knowledge whether this is the case here, I would have thought that a Pope who has direct experience of living undeer Fasicsm would have no truck with this and, if such a problem did exist, would crackdown ruthlessly.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Your first comment, above, shows a rejection of Christ, your second which I will not publish shows a rejection of his Church.

SEEK HELP, before it is too late!

Katalina said...

My understanding of this was that the FFI simply needed permission to say the Latin Mass and for a while it was granted. Now all of a sudden it has been forbidden to them. I had no idea that they did use to celebrate the New Mass. This is what Benedict wanted both forms to be celebrated side by side. Now all of a sudden they are not allowed to do anything.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Deacon Augustine has taken up the point I made to the Bones about "TRADITION". Is there something different between being "traditionalist" and following authentic tradition? It is such semantic niceties (if they exist at all) that are causing so much confusion. Words like "proselytising", "traditionalist", "fundamentalist", "ideologue" are thrown about with obviously pejorative inferences. And what about "ideologue of the logos" which someone has attributed to the Pope (where I do not know)? It strikes me as tautological and what does it mean? One could interpret it as a "theologian". Or does it mean someone who is unduly obsessed with Christ - the Logos? There is a real absence of intellectual rigour and failure to communicate in so much of what is being said and written. Sharpen up I say!!!!

Fr Ray Blake said...

NB, I think the phrase was 'specialist of the Logos'.

Anonymous said...

As much as I accept that we don't have all the facts, from everything we do know, it appears clear that a witchhunt against traditional tendencies in the FFI is afoot, with a plain desire to crush and destroy the order if necessary to this end. There is clearly something demonic going on and Satan's witting and unwitting agents in the Curia and the episcopal conferences and, I imagine, in the Capuchin order, are taking advantage of the new climate in Rome to wreak havoc. They are emboldened and mean to do the damage they can. The FFI was an easy target. We are at war - I am sorry, but I have now no time of niceties and "holy obedience" where that is used to destroy the Faith and the Mass of Ages. That was what was done in the bad old 60's and 70s. We know better now. Don't let them "pull rank" and browbeat, belittle or patronise you. Fight back. Be wise as serpents. It is time for all traditionally-minded Catholics, firstly, to get to their knees and implore Our Lady to intercede for the FFI and obtain their freedom and welfare. We must also beg our friends in the Curia (such as Cardinal Burke) to intervene somehow for the FFI. And we must pray for this man Volpi for his conversion and softening of his hard heart...

John Kearney said...

There is an attempt here to put a lid on boiling water. The lid will come off and the person holding it down will be scalded. If the Friars are doing God`s will, which I believe they are, a little persecution will helpl them grow in their Faith. Nothing of God will be defeated. Whereas like Father Blake I do not oppose the Novus Orde, I am conscious that it was a vehicle for further development and attack on the teachings of the Church. Altar rails removed not to remove `barriers` but to stop people kneeling. This was re-inforced by moving the Tavernacle to the side or a side room making the Community more important that Jesus himself, although the idea that the community is Jesus was born, enabling the secularisation of the Mass. It does not matter what Mass we attend, the question must always be `Does this Mass mover me closer to God" If the answer is "NO, but it moves me closer to the community" then we hve to ask ourselves where we stand with God.

Jacobi said...


The matter of the Friars becomes more significant by the day.

Clearly a power struggle is going on within the Vatican. I suspect that liberal/Relativist elements are making their move, now that Benedict has gone, and before the new Pope has really got his feet under the table.

The Novus Ordo, the Pauline Mass of 1969, is a valid Catholic Mass. It is one of the two main co-equal Rites of the Western Church. However, since 1969 there have been a raft of variations which implicitly (but not explicitly) attack Catholic doctrines such as the Mass as the Redemptive Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, the Real Presence and the Ordained Priesthood. The Pauline Mass was a construct, not a development, and was deeply influenced by reformers in the Church. Paul VI is reported to have been in tears when it was published without his final approval. It is in desperate need of a “Reform of the Reform”.

The Vetus Ordo is the other main Rite of the Church. This position was established by Summorum Pontificum. Perhaps more importantly, the recent work by de Mattei and others has confirmed that this Mass was not and could ever have been abrogated, since it also derives its validity from the 1570 Quo Primum of St Pius V. The Holy Catholic Church did not begin in 1969 as the reformers would have us believe. It is the “senior” Mass, and the standard by which the Novus Ordo must be judged.

Accordingly, any priest, subject to pastoral considerations, is free to say the Vetus Ordo, without permission and without sanction, unless he is a member of an Order specifically, as opposed to incidentally, based on the Novus Ordo, and the Friars are not.

The Holy Father must now deal with this issue, otherwise the Church will go into crisis.

Lynda said...

"Crypto-lefebvreism" is not a valid charge; it is a reprehensible slur.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Thank you Father; still "specialist of the Logos" seems to have created similar problems of interpretation for Sandro Magister!

Anita Moore said...

How can anyone doubt that the Church is under a great chastisement? And if God has seen fit to chastise us, we must have had it coming.

Aged parent said...

A most thoughtful article, Father. Many thanks.

The punishment must fit the crime but it is hard to imagine why restricting the use of the Ancient Rite is considered a just punishment no matter what infraction some in the Order may have committed. It simply doesn't make sense. Because of that strange anomaly it is hard to escape the conclusion that something else is going on here. Possibly it is that Stalinist idea of total conformity at play; the Order must be made to conform at all costs. It is hard to say.

Again, an excellent post. One quick suggestion, though, if you will permit me. You may wish to avail yourself of the edifying experience of reading a few of the works of that truly great Catholic historian William Thomas Walsh. In two of his books, "Isabella of Spain" and "Characters of the Inquisition" he puts paid to the popular myths that have been floating around about the Inquisition for centuries. They are essential reading.

With every good wish for Advent, and the coming Christmas season...

parepidemos said...

JAMC, To read such vicious words from someone who aspires to the Priesthood is most worrying; they cannot be of Christ and such an attitude does not help the cause of the Friars. I beg to heed the wise counsel of Fr. Blake.

Anonymous said...

I find both the modernist "spirit of Vatican II" - everything worthwhile in the Church started in 1968 - claptrap and the bitter, twisted - and frankly paranoid - rantings of the most extreme "traditionalists" deeply off-putting and scandalizing. They are both part of the problem not the solution.

There are aspects of reported case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate that I do find disturbing too, but I don't know all the facts. It doesn't seem wise for me to comment on it, but I do pray for everyone involved.

In terms of the liturgy, old or new style, there are things I find helpful and things I find off-putting in both forms if I am really honest. Yes, the NO is too wordy and, as often celebrated, not clearly enough a sacral act. The signs and rubrics leave too much room for improvisation and imposing of personalities. There are too many readings and I wish we could get rid of the endless Bidding Prayers that are just an excuse for someone to pedal their pet theology. It makes no sense to me that the priest faces us to recite the Eucharistic Prayer - he's not talking to us right then. But, equally I don't find it makes sense for him to face away from us all the time.

I mean no disrespect, but I find Low Mass in the EF terribly flat and empty (I know it isn't in fact, but it takes a conscious act of faith sometimes to know otherwise). The series of half mumbled "dominus vobisc..."and incomplete spoken phrases that punctuate the priest's monlogue seem distracting and pointless; either address us or don't!

I don't mean to stir up a hornet's nest or offend anyone, but I genuinely long for a real "mutual learning" of the two rites to take place as Pope Benedict asked for, so we can have a reverent, beautiful and engaging liturgy for our times. I suspect that many ordinary Catholics are in the same position. We are not edified by the in-fighting of trads and libs. We love Christ and His Church and we want to just worship him in Spirit and in Truth.

RJ said...

Father, your account reminds me of the early history of the Carmelite reform - compare the treatment of St John of the Cross. But St John of the Cross would not have been disturbed. What is of God will survive.

TLMWx said...

Well I could not sign an oath that states that the Novus Ordo form is in keeping with the liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church. Even Pope Paul VI rejected what Fr Volpi is suggesting. Fr Volpi is not too bright to be insisting on such a thing.

Paul VI on Novus Ordo
"No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant."

Physiocrat said...

Thomas - there are many ways to approach the EF Mass so that it does not feel flat. One is to follow it in your book and recite the Canon silently at the same time as the priest. It also helps to take time to read and reflect on it at leisure so that you know what is being said.

Hope you find this useful.

Nicolas Bellord said...

As I have mentioned before, possibly on the Bones's blog, there is a serious allegation of possible civil and/or criminal embezzlement of funds by transferring them to members of the Founder's family. There is now an exchange of letters on the FFI website at:

My Italian is not marvellous so I may have got some of this wrong. The first letter is from a lawyer acting on behalf of the founder's family complaining that Father Volpi has made extremely defamatory statements about them i.e. an accusation of embezzlement. It is a classic letter before action for libel.

Volpi replies to this letter. He mentions the Associazione Missione del Cuore Immacolato. I do not know what this Association is or does. Is it the legal body which holds the FFI's property? It is said to own the building of the Curia Generalizia.
Apparently at a recent meeting of the Association it was decided that the "associati" (trustees?) of the Association should in future be laymen rather than religious. Further the Superior General would no longer have power over the Association. Whether all the religious were replaced by laymen is not stated but the important point is that the founder's brother in law was appointed Secretary. It is suggested that in that position he can dispose of the assets. That seems rather unlikely to me - I would have thought that the associati (trustees?) would alone have the power to deal with assets.

Anyway that is the extent of the founder's family being involved. One can see that the rest of his family - accused of embezzlement - would be rather upset. What the legalities are in all this I have no idea not being familiar with Italian law. It could all be quite lawful or not. What the purpose was of these changes in the organisation remains an open question. However to accuse a whole family of embezzlement is way over the top. It does not reflect well on Volpi and may indicate impetuosity?

nickbris said...

Your Blog father Ray certainly brings them out of themselves,some of these people ought to be sectioned before they do any damage to themselves;they are not Catholics as I was led to believe about it.

Long-Skirts said...

Liam Ronan said...

"My Italian is limited, but isn't 'Volpi' rendered as 'Foxes' in English?"

Yes, and "What Does The Fox Say?"

"Crypto-lefebvreism" Oh, so THAT'S what the Fox says.

I still have teenagers so I'm up on the latest popular songs...too funny and too sad!

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Archbsihop Jose Palma of Cebu celebrated Pontifical High Mass in the church of the FFI in Cebu on the Solemnity of the Annunciation last year[]. However, on one occasion in that same church at which I concelebrated at the funeral Mass (Novus Ordo) of a friend who was a member of the FFI Third Order 'Ave Maria' was played over the loudspeakers to 'enhance' the Consecration. I thought at first that someone had mistakenly switched on the music. However, it was planned. I was extremely upset and let the main celebrant know after the Mass.

That being said, the measures being taken by the Vatican against the FFI, when none are taken against all kinds of abuses by others or against 'Catholic' universities in the USA that promote abortion, seem somewhat excessive and chilling, in the sense that recent events in North Korea are chilling, though not quite to the same degree as what happened there.

Liam Ronan said...

I have to keep a close watch on my heart and head these days when it all seems to be flying apart. I pray for charity and discernment every day. I recall Matthew 24:12:
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold."
The Fox had a piece of advice from Jesus I think:
"And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course." Luke 13:32
Different 'fox' though.

Woody said...

As i mentioned on Fr. Z's blog, my hunch is that it was not only the growing preference of the EF, but also, and inthink maybe more significant, the apparent favoring of Msgr Gherardini's writings raising questions about the council, and giving him a place in some of their conferences. I would bet that that was the real sticking point, and in some support of that, note that Casa Mariana, the FFI Italian publishing house that published Gherardini, was the publisher shut down.

Some other contributors to the string at Fr. Z's claimed to have inside knowledge, which I do not, and said they agreed.

Deacon Augustine said...

Nicolas Bellord, I believe the alleged "embezzlement" only occurred after Volpi was appointed. This would, therefore, have nothing to do with him being appointed in the first place.

However, just because there has been a transfer of assets, that does not mean that there has been embezzlement. There are many legitimate and prudent reasons why it might have been done. I imagine the assets were transferred into lay control to stop them falling into the hands of commisar Volpi and his politburo. The lay associations would be under no oath of obedience to him and could thus keep the assets out of his reach. (At least, that is what I would do if I were one of the trustees.)

I can see this developing into a veritable soap opera before it is resolved.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Deacon Augustine: I agree that there could be a myriad of different reasons for transferring the assets. Perhaps they were all under the control of the Founder and in view of his age a new arrangement was required. There is bound to be evolution of legal structures as a new order develops. If they were in France I believe they would be obliged by the iniquitous Loi des Associations to have the assets held by laymen. However if the transfer was merely to keep the Commissioner's hands off them then I am not sure that would be a proper reason and might be contrary to Canon Law.

I see this has now got into the mass media. I hope somebody in Rome sees the need for all to hold off and quieten down before it becomes really scandalous.

Savonarola said...

In 'Summorum pontificum' Pope Benedict says, "The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. The Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Pius V and revised by Blessed John XXIII is nonetheless to be considered an extraordinary expression of the same lex orandi of the Church and duly honoured for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s lex orandi will in no way lead to a division in the Church’s lex credendi (rule of faith); for they are two usages of the one Roman rite." Does not this authoritative statement of the magisterium answer any doubts about whether the Novus Ordo is an authentic liturgy?
The Pope's use of the term usage is an interesting one. Traditionalists constantly denigrate the NO because of particular ways in which it is sometimes celebrated which they dislike and exaggerate the differences and supposed lack of continuity between the two usages, going so far as to claim that the NO is a new invention, but what Pope Benedict indicates is that they cannot deny that it is an authentic usage of the one Roman rite and indeed, as he says, is to be regarded as the normal usage - while the TLM is now an extraordinary usage. There should therefore be none of that divisive ecclesial oneupmanship (we are the true Catholics because we prefer the TLM etc.), which it seems has been one of the problems with the Franciscans.

Deacon Augustine said...

Savonarola, read the words with care and proper distinctions. SP says: "The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (rule of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite."

I don't see anybody here disputing that except perhaps for SSPX adherents. SP does not mention whether the NO is "an authentic expression of liturgical tradition" as the FFI are being asked to swear under oath. All it says is that it is the "ordinary expression of the lex orandi". It obviously is so because that is how the Holy Father defined it in SP. Whether it is an authentic expression of liturgical tradition or not is an entirely different question.

Tradition is something that is received from our predecessors - not fabricated in committee.

Supertradmum said...

So all those good men who would have joined this group will go where? If I were in that position, I would be tempted to become a full-fledged Lefevbre-ite. But, then I am just a noisy laywoman and not a holy seminarian.

Hard days for the remnant...

George said...

Let's remember Clement XIV and the Jesuits. There's precedence for all of this. Be at peace.

Anonymous said...

This makes me deeply angry. I departed the SSPX milieu at great personal cost - virtual estrangement from my wife's family. My wife followed me loyally, trusting me that my instincts were right. We found a home with a parish that has begun to offer the EF regularly. I began to believe things were "coming right" and that the Lefebvrists had become cultish, extremist I am wondering whether they were not right. War has been declared, it seems,not only on those devoted to the EF, but on all orthodox Catholics. Put a happy face on it if you must. But - I wish this Pontificate would end. I love Pope Francis but he has been hijacked by the servants of Hell, unknown to him, and it seems, humanly speaking that this will be the case as long as he reigns - sorry, serves as Pope, er, Bishop of Rome.

Lynda said...

All orthodox Catholics are suffering. Let us support one another in this time of desolation and persecution.

Savonarola said...

Deacon Augustine, read the words with care and proper distinctions. If, as Pope Benedict says, NO and EF are twin usages of the one Roman Rite and the one Roman Rite is an authentic expression of liturgical tradition, then NO is an authentic expression of liturgical tradition.

Gungarius said...


Agreed. I'm sure that without the NO the attendance at weekday Masses would not have seen anywhere near the level of growth we have had in recent years as the EF is basically too long for a low day weekday Mass.

The big mistake was imposing the OF exclusively. That has been rectified by B16.

What people don't want and fear is the return of self flaggetlating negative Jansenism, which gives the impression that God created the earth as a series of landmines and trip wires and sends to Hell anyone who deosen't take extraordinary and obsessive measures to avoid each and every one of them; not to mention an Amish like total rejection of the modern world and retreat into homeschooling isolationism, both of which sadly seems to be very present in the "Traditionalist" movement.

As a result many good Catholics run scared from the EF.

Fr Ray Blake said...

The rule in the the old Southwark diocese was: 30 minutes from amice to amice. It takes me a bit longer to say the EF Mass, but what we have today, is a little different from what our fathers had.

Lynda said...

Homeschooling is good. And, if there is no orthodox Catholic school that gives a truly Catholic education, then children must be educated at home. I find "modern world" is often used as an umbrella term for lots of different widespread types of immorality - which must be rejected.

Gungarius said...

Why is it that people seek to homeschool taking fright from the world for fear that their childen will be polluted by it. Two families in one of my daughters class have returned to church after she encouraged schooldfriends to in her (non catholic state) school. That would **not** have happened had she been homeschooled.

This is exactly what Pope Frances is saying, get out there and evangelise rather than hiding your light under a bushel.

You cannot hide your children from the modern world. Far better that they find out about it while they are still at home with you and can talk it over with you than get hit like a brick with it once they turn 18.

Physiocrat said...

In so many schools the chances of learning anything are next to zero due to disruptive pupils in the class. On top of that is widespread bullying, and then there is the time wasted travelling to and from school. Can you blame parents for not wanting to use the system even though they have been forced to pay for it.

Personally, and I am talking about 60 years ago when the schools were not affected by these problems, I still found I could learn better at home than in the classroom.

Gungarius said...

School isn't just about learning academic subjects, it is about learning about other people and how to understand and get on with them, in both good and adverse conditions. Essential tools if you want success in the world of work.

I'm sure in a few cases the schools are so awful its not safe for the children but I would expect these to be very rare.

I'm just wondering how long it will be before some traditionalists set up their own amish style communities.

Physiocrat said...

It is not just that the schools are awful in themselves, it is also that they fail to cater for pupils who are different in some way. They are a procrustean bed. Institutionalised child abuse.

I was lucky because the classes were streamed and the children of similar abilities were put together and made friends, in some cases life-long. I still like to meet up with my classmates from 1950. But with mixed-ability teaching, the brighter pupils get bored and into mischief, the less academic children get left behind and bored and into mischief, and the disturbed children just get into mischief. This does not create good conditions for learning. Mixing the sexes is also a bad idea because girls and boys are different, they have different interests and learning styles and grow up a different rates.

The whole system has been set up for failure and for why? Political reasons.

Lynda said...

Children primarily educated in the home are generally very socially competent and enjoy appropriate social interaction with all ages. They are usually very good at thinking issues through logically and coming to a valid conclusion as well as forming reasoned opinions. They ate generally more independent-minded and confident as a result. Most schools in the West have miseducated children and subjected them go ideological propaganda for decades. The children are not taught to think critically and analyse methodically, and most end up not knowing why they've been taught x is good, y is bad. This covers not just moral education but all aspects. Parents have a duty to provide the best education (authentically Catholic and rational) they can for their children.

Gungarius said...

Sorry Lynda I disagree. Homeschooling gives an elementary education at best, unless the parents are exceptionally gifted. Exactly how do homeschoolers learn the complex sciences, engineering, design and technology, metallurgy or woodwork and information technology/computer programming? How many homes have the apparatus needed to conduct complex physics and chemsitry experiments? These are resource hungry and need to be taught by experts. The idea that 99% of parents can do it is laughable.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

gungariusm, teachers of primary and even secondary levels can't control their classes, are about as critically thinking as a snail on a lettuce leaf and have such a thin grasp on balance of 'complex sciences, engineering, design and technology, metallurgy or woodwork and information technology/computer programming,' that a dedicated parent is certainly not going to do more harm.

p.s. my brother and his wife homeschooled five girls and they are confident, (those old enough are employed), accomplished in arts - music, painting - and sciences - maths, IT, unabashed Christian morals and even join foreign charity do-gooders schemes.

Gungarius said...

Viterbo. I think what you have written is a slur on the teaching profession. Some teachers and schools are poor but to imply that the lot are is nonsense. I have five children all at local catchment area state schools and I cannot speak highly enough of the schools.

I find it difficult to believe that any homeschooler can give suitable teaching in hard subjects such as physical sciences, unless they themselves have trained in the subject. Arts, music, painting and even IT (aka operating a computer) are commendable but for most will lead to a burger flipping McJob unless the family have "contacts". "Sciences" is meanlingless. Is it a general appreciation (of little use) or do they have A levels in hard subjects like Physics or Chemistry?

Homeschooling is an indulgence for a tiny elite of wealthy and talented with large houses and plenty of resources. Do you seriously think a single mother in a small damp council flat, or a low paid couple both working flat out for the minimum wage to pay the rent could sucessfully homeschool?

I am a qualified Engineer and I would not dream of attempting to teach my children physical sciences or advanced/applied maths or IT other than basic computer operating skills because I simply don't have the expertise or competence to do it properly.

Anita Moore said...

Gungarius said...Homeschooling gives an elementary education at best, unless the parents are exceptionally gifted. Exactly how do homeschoolers learn the complex sciences, engineering, design and technology, metallurgy or woodwork and information technology/computer programming? How many homes have the apparatus needed to conduct complex physics and chemsitry experiments?

If a kid knows all about metallurgy, woodwork, and computer programming, but does not know what he needs to save his soul, then his education was a failure.

Gungarius said...

Teaching a child what he needs to save his soul - including the apologetics to cope with the fact that many others are indifferent or hostile to this - is the responsibility of the parent.

Teaching a child all about metallurgy, woodwork, and computer programming etc., is the responsibility of the school/college. Sending the child there to that its God given talents are not wasted is the responsibility of the parent; as to allow such talents to be wasted will endanger the souls of both child and parents.

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

gungarius - we must be referring to very different 'classes' of education. Yes, I should pray for teachers that have no critical thinking and pass this on to the next generation. My brother and his wife have never been able to afford to own their own house, but they never skimped on their kids minds or souls. If there younger generations were being lifted up by their education, perhaps there would be less husbandless mothers in slums.

Nicolas Bellord said...

But Gungarius suppose that the school is teaching things destructive of the soul - such as sexual immorality, abortion etc?
Also you tend to mention the sciences which are difficult to teach at home whilst the liberal arts should be relatively easy for a well-educated parent.

Gungarius said...

Re, teaching things destructive of the soul. Far better they encounter such things at School when they are still liable to turn to you for advice and discussion and an opposing opinion than once they leave home and enter the world of work when they won't.

If they are not in a catholic school then you can explain that non catholics do these things and they are wrong and sad that they do but a consequence of them not being enlightened by the faith.

The problem comes when Catholic schools do this in the name of the Church. When the school wrote to us regarding what was going to be taught in sex eductation for our oldest we objected to one part and they were very co-operative in ensuring that she was undertaking something else without the reason being obvious. With our second daughter I am minded to leave well alone as she is likely to enliven the class with the iniquities of what is being taught and why in no uncertain terms....

We deliberately took the decision not to send ours to catholic schools, partly because the nearest was 10 miles away but also because of the dangers of so called Catholic schools teaching heresy in matters of faith and morals.

Teaching the liberal arts at home is very fine and noble but unlikely to lead to a decent job unless you are exceptionally talented. Unfortunately the UK still suffers severely from an over emphasis on the status of liberal arts at the expense of the status of scientists and engineers.

Nicolas Bellord said...

The FFI saga continues to develop and I owe what follows to the Rorate Coeli blog. Evidently Father Volpi is saying one thing and Rorate Coeli are saying something different. One might say that it is impossible to know which version is correct and therefore reserve judgement. However Rorate Coeli refers us to statements on two sites - one which purports to be the official website of the friars and the other of the sisters.

Now Father Volpi in his letter of 8th December blames the Sisters for "distortions" which have influenced the Friars saying:

"All this reveals serious errors in the ecclesiological sphere with regard to basic principles of religious
life. It reveals a great spiritual poverty and a psychological dependence that is incompatible with that
"freedom of the children of God" (cf. Rom 8:21) that is presupposed in whoever sets himself to live
total self-donation to the Lord through religious consecration.
Obedience, as the Second Vatican Council has shown, is not slavish automatism, but the responsible
assumption of the will of God expressed by legitimate authority (d. PC14). This authority is not to
be identified with this or that person, even if he should be the Founder, but with Christ Himself, who
speaks through the hierarchical Church, of which one's legitimate Superior is the immediate
expression insofar, and only insofar, as he is faithful to the Church itself
At the present moment, as you all know, the Superior of the Institute, according to the will of the
Church, is the Apostolic Commissioner, that is, my humble self.
The formation of this "distorted" mentality has been contributed to in a notable way by some
prominent members of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate. They have strongly influenced the
style of life of the male branch."

He restricts his accusation to "some prominent members" of the Sisters. But what is astonishing is a flat denial of this on the official website of the Sisters in a note of clarification dated 13th December 2013:


"It is with deep sadness and consternation we learn that in the circular letter of the 8th December, addressed to all the Friars of the Immaculate, the most Reverend Father Volpi, accuses some of the most prominent exponents of the Sisters of the Immaculate, “of having contributed to the creation of a ‘distorted mentality’ in the Friars, strongly influencing their lifestyle.”

We retain that such accusations are totally unfounded, and because of the generalizations, they offend our entire Institute, and consequently, we refute them completely, at the same time recalling the words of our Pope Francis “Whoever speaks badly about his brother, kills him." (2.9.2013) while “mercy changes the world.” (17.3.2013).

On our part, we endeavor to follow the invitation from the Vicar of Christ “to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord; to edify the Church with the blood of the Lord, shed upon the Cross; and to confess the only glory: Christ crucified. And like this the Church goes forth.” (14.3.2013).

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate"

This can be found at:

So here we have not some outside group or some minority of the Sisters but the official website of the Sisters directly refusing to accept Father Volpi's accusation. The whole saga would therefore appear to be much more serious than previously thought.

More to follow...

Nicolas Bellord said...


Then there is the accusation by Father Volpi that the founder had insisted that the EF be used exclusively throughout the order. The official website of the Friars contradicted this as far back as August:

"It is our duty to respond, with knowledge and in conscience, that in reality, Fr. Stefano not only has never imposed on all the F.I. communities the use—much less the exclusive use—of the Vetus Ordo, but he does not even want it to become the exclusive use, and he has personally given the example, celebrating everywhere according to the one and the other Ordo."


So here again we have an official website of the Friars directly contradicting the assertion made by Father Volpi.

There may be documentary or other evidence lending weight to one or other version of the truth but so far this has not been disclosed if it exists. But this is a very serious dispute as to the facts and it suggests that somebody is not telling the truth.

Rorate Coeli have a further explanation regarding the allegations of embezzlement. They say the FFI wanted to follow their vow of poverty and not own anything at all. In respect of real property they did this by allowing independent lay associations to hold the title to any property they occupied. Thus such property would be controlled by the lay association who would allow the Friars to occupy the property. The Friars would have no control over the property. The recent change in the statutes of the Association was designed to make this policy clear. They further say this was not alienation of ecclesial property contrary to Canon Law as the property was acquired by the lay association and never belonged to the Friars so not ecclesial property. To me, a retired lawyer, dealing with religious this does seem a perfectly plausible explanation. Father Volpi is going to have to produce evidence to refute this explanation.

In summary the dispute seems much more serious than I previously thought. Father Volpi's letter of 8th December is worth re-reading as it strikes me as intemperate. At one point he says:
"I wondered why there is this oftentimes ardent interest in our affairs, and I concluded that the
Institute has become the battleground of a struggle between different currents in the Curia, with the
specific involvement of persons in opposition to the new pontificate of Pope Francis."

That is an astonishing statement pointing at the Curia which can only give support to the idea that this is really a battle between the orthodox and liberal wings in the Church. No evidence is given in support of this but I find it extraordinary that someone acting in a quasi-judicial capacity should be flailing around with that kind of accusation about the Curia who are not within his jurisdiction.

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