A Franciscan take on the Motu Proprio

The Franciscans in Malta have something to say about the Motu Proprio.  The author,  Noel Muscat OFM, is in Jerusalem.

My emphases and comments.
 

1
FRANCISCANS
AND THE MOTU PROPRIO
«SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM»
Noel Muscat OFM

On 7th July 2007 Pope Benedict XVI published the Apostolic Letter Motu
Proprio data «Summorum Pontificum», concerning norms about the celebration of the
Eucharist according to the Tridentine Rite of Pope Saint Pius V, as updated by the
1962 version of the Roman Missal, published by Blessed Pope John XXIII.1 Together
with this Apostolic Letter, Benedict XVI also published a Letter, which he sent to all
bishops, explaining the pastoral aspects of «Summorum Pontificum» and the use of
the Roman Liturgy preceding the liturgical reform undertaken by Pope Paul VI in
1970.2

The Apostolic Letter contains two parts. The first part is a brief historical
outline of the progress of the Roman Rite from the times of Pope Saint Gregory the
Great, right down to the Council of Trent, and to Popes Saint Pius V, Clement VIII,
Urban VIII, Saint Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII, all of
whom updated the liturgical books, particularly the Roman Missal, especially in the
period following upon the Council of Trent. This section ends with a reference to the
liturgical reform of Vatican II and the first typical edition of the new Roman Missal
by Paul VI in 1970, followed by two other editions by John Paul II. The second
section contains the new norms regarding the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to 1970,
and particularly regarding the indult given by John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter
Motu Proprio data «Ecclesia Dei» (2nd July 1988) in favour of those priests and
faithful who ask bishops for permission to celebrate Mass according to the form
contained in the latest edition of the Tridentine Roman Missal (1962).
The days immediately following the publication of «Summorum Pontificum»,
which will take effect as from 14th September 2007, witnessed a variety of attitudes
and feedback from Christian associations and the press. They ranged from outright
rejection by “progressives”, to moderate criticism by supporters of the achievements
of liturgical reform after Vatican II, to euphoria and a sense of victory on the part of
“traditionalist” sectors of the Catholic Church.

Article 3 of «Summorum Pontificum» states: “Communities of Institutes of
consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan
right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal
promulgated in 1962, for conventual or community celebration in their oratories, may
do so. 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 statutes.”3

Given the nature of such a new legal provision, one would immediately ask
whether any Franciscan fraternity which specifically opts for such a celebration,
either habitually or permanently, and which would receive permission for doing so
from the competent authorities (major superiors for example), could be regarded as
still being in the “mainstream” of what Franciscan spiritual tradition has lived for
eight centuries, regarding the celebration of the liturgy (for example, the divine

2
office) “according to the Rite of the holy Roman Church.”
4 Such an assertion might
seem out of place, since the Roman Missal of 1962 is certainly part and parcel of
venerable ecclesial liturgical tradition, which has been valid in the Church for
centuries, and therefore still remains valid today.5 Our aim is simply that of providing
food for thought if we are to delve into what Francis meant when he commanded the
friars to pray the divine offices “according to the Rite of the holy Roman Church,”6
and if we consider the role of the Franciscan Order in liturgical reform in the Roman
rite.

Saint Francis and the liturgical reform of the Fourth Lateran Council
Francis lived during one of the great moments of reform in the Church,
namely that of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and its aftermath. We can compare
the Franciscan Order in that period to the Franciscan Order in these last 40 years after
Vatican Council II.
The Fourth Lateran Council was instrumental in reforming the
liturgical and sacramental practice of the Church. Among the post-conciliar
documents of Lateran IV we can quote the decree «Sane cum olim» of Pope Honorius
III (22nd November 1219), regarding respect and reverence towards the Eucharist,
liturgical books, vessels, altars, etc.7 On 3rd December 1224 Honorius III issued the
decree «Quia populares tumultus», addressed specifically to the Order of Friars
Minor, in which he gave them the privilege of having a portable altar in their
oratories, on which to celebrate solemn Mass and the other divine offices.8 Francis
himself wrote many a time to his brothers, to clerics and to the faithful, regarding
respect and reverence to the holy Eucharist, and regarding faithfulness to the Church
of Rome with respect to liturgical norms promulgated by the Fourth Lateran Council.9
Scholars of Franciscan liturgical tradition agree on one important point, namely, that
since the time of Saint Francis, the Friars Minor were keen upon spreading among
their fraternities, and subsequently in their conventual churches, the updated form of
liturgical practice in the papal court, and that they tried to update their own legislation
and fraternal traditions to the needs of the Church in the post Fourth Lateran Council
period.10

In his Chronicle, Salimbene de Adam of Parma attributes to Pope Innocent III
the revision of the ecclesiastical divine office during the Fourth Lateran Council.11
This revised office soon became popular with the Friars Minor, who according to the
witness of Matthew of Paris, carried their liturgical books in their haversacks during
their missionary journeys of preaching12.

The general chapter of Pentecost of 1230 decreed that all the provinces of the
Order should receive the breviaries and antiphonaries proper to the Order.13 The
chronicles of Jordan of Giano and Thomas of Eccleston both speak about the practice
of the friars to go to the cathedral and parish churches to sing the divine office, since
they still did not have their own oratories.

In the years 1240-1244 the minister general Haymo of Faversham undertook a
thorough revision of the liturgical books of the Order. The first liturgical books in the
Order had been published during the pontificate of Gregory IX. They included the
breviary and missal, together with the rubrics and calendar. These liturgical books
had the aim of spreading the Roman rite. The insistence of the Rule upon liturgical
faithfulness to the liturgy of the papal court is evident in the fact that scholars speak
about the “Regula breviary”, the “Regula missal” and the “Regula ritual”.14
3
The spreading of the Roman liturgy by the Franciscans was so effective, that
the breviary they used became to be called the “Roman-Franciscan” breviary. Pope
Nicholas III (1277-1286) decreed that in the churches of Rome the old antiphonaries,
graduals, missals and other liturgical books of the divine office were to be replaced by
the liturgical books and breviaries in use in the Franciscan Order. The popularity of
the liturgical reform after Lateran IV was such that, wherever the Franciscans settled
down, including the university cities of Paris, Oxford, Bologna and Padova, they
brought with them the revised Roman liturgy, particularly through the spreading of
the “Breviarium Curiae”. This trend continued right down to the Council of Trent and
the papacy of Saint Pius V, who unified the liturgy of the western Church by
providing it with the Roman model which, with periodic modifications, remained in
use until the latest liturgical reform, that of Vatican Council II.
Franciscans and the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council
The brief historical outline regarding the liturgical reforms introduced by the
Fourth Lateran Council and the role of the Franciscan Order in spreading them, tells
us one important fact, namely, that the Friars Minor were instrumental in promoting
Church reform and that the Franciscan liturgical tradition has always progressed along
the same lines indicated by the Church of Rome.
The great Franciscan preachers of
the Observant family in the fifteenth century are a proof of the beneficial use of the
vernacular in popular preaching,
just as the first Franciscan missionaries to the Far
East and to the Americas were innovators in translating the Bible and other liturgical
books into the native languages of the peoples they evangelised.
At this point of history we are faced with an option regarding the Roman
liturgical tradition. «Summorum pontificum» states this plainly in Article 1: “The
Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the ‘Lex orandi’
of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated
by Saint Pius V and reissued by Blessed John XXIII is to be considered as an
extraordinary expression of that same ‘Lex orandi’, and must be given due honour for
its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s ‘Lex orandi’
will in no way lead to a division of the Church’s ‘Lex credendi’. They are, in fact,
two usages of the one Roman rite.”15

It is up to theologians to discuss whether there is, in fact, the one and same
‘Lex credendi’ in the Missal of Saint Pius V and that of Paul VI, given that the
liturgical tradition prior to Vatican II, in some aspects, certainly expresses a different
ecclesiology than that which developed after Vatican II regarding the celebration of
the Eucharist.
The aim of these reflections is that of asking ourselves if, as
Franciscans, we are, in fact, free to decide personally and on a fraternal basis, whether
we can opt for one or another of the liturgical forms being presented.
The question of
these forms being “ordinary” and “extraordinary” is not a question of substantial
difference, given that the same ‘Motu proprio’ states, in Article 2: “For such
celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission
from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.”16

One of the problems in accepting this provision without any sense of
discernment
[Why, after making the case of the great benefits receivedf from Roman Pontiffs, and the role Franciscan have played in liturgical development, would the author present such a hermeneutic of discontinuity?] in the case of us Franciscans is linked with a correct understanding of the
ordained ministry in the fraternity. The Missal of Honorius III, which the friars used
in the 13th century, had a rubric, which stated: “If there are more priests [The vocation of a priest in the Church is not the same as the vocation of a friar.] in the same
4
place, they can individually sing the Mass they want.”17 It is important to confront
these words with what Francis himself states in the Letter to the Entire Order:
“I admonish and exhort you in the Lord, therefore, to celebrate only one Mass
a day according to the rite of the Holy Church in those places where the brothers
dwell. But if there is more than one priest there, let the other be content, for the love
of charity, at hearing the celebration of the other priest.”18 [I ask if there isn’t a subtle juxtaposition between the Pope and their great and saintly founder.]
In a time when there was no possibility of concelebrating the Eucharist,
Francis prefers the primacy of charity in the fraternity above the personal choices of
the priest in exercising his right to celebrate Mass.
With the possibility of
concelebration during “conventual” Mass, given to all religious communities after
Vatican II, the question of the convenience of celebrating “private” Masses, at least in
the Franciscan family, remains open to debate, just as the question of
“concelebration” is still an object of debate in some sectors of the Church.

We shall not deal, at this point, with the pastoral aspects of one or the other
kind of celebration, even though this is also a point of discussion, given that the
Church has entrusted many parishes to the pastoral care of the Franciscan Order. This
discussion would entail an examination of the role of the parish priest in relation to
the local Ordinary, whose authority in decision making regarding the use or otherwise
of the Tridentine Mass seems to have been curtailed
[In one sense this is true.  I prefer to see it from another point of view.  I prefer to say that the rights of priests and laypeople were underscored, rather than that the authority of bishops was curtailed.  It is an important distinction.] in «Summorum pontificum»,
article 7.19

With all due “obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope”, we cannot accept
the provisions of «Summorum pontificum» without some sense of preoccupation not
only regarding its long-term effects on Church unity and pastoral ministry, but more
so regarding its implications for us, as Franciscans.
In our long history, we have
hardly been an example of unity or uniformity.
Nevertheless, the Franciscan family
has always been a dynamic force in the Church. It has understood its faithfulness to
the Church of Rome as implying a sincere effort to move on with the Church, to open
up new spaces in which the Spirit of the Lord can operate. [Is there in this a suggestion that the "Spirit of the Lord" and the role of the Roman Church are being juxtaposed?] In this endeavour, ever
faithful to Catholic tradition, and rejecting all kinds of innovations not based on sound
Catholic doctrine, every Franciscan feels that it is his duty to move on.
The Second
Vatican Council has provided such an opportunity, which still needs to be studied in
depth and valued for the future of the Church. Among the new fruits of the Spirit
born out of Vatican II, the revised edition of the Roman Missal has certainly been a
great success.
[Really?  Gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.] The words of Pope Paul VI remain prophetic for us, Franciscan priests,
if we have to discern whether we can, in fact, remain faithful to our tradition by
making use of the privileges granted by «Summorum pontificum»:
“We hope nevertheless that the Missal will be received by the faithful as an
instrument which bears witness to and which affirms the common unity of all. Thus,
in the great diversity of languages, one unique prayer will rise as an acceptable
offering to our Father in heaven, through our High-Priest Jesus Christ, in the Holy
Spirit.”20  [Hang on.  Are not the words of Benedict XVI equally prophetic?]

NOTES
1 The original Latin version I shall quote is that found in the official web-site of the Vatican:
http://www.vatican.va
2 The English translation of the Letter will be quoted also from the official web-site of the Vatican.
5
3 BENEDICTUS XVI, Litterae Apostolicae Motu Proprio datae Summorum Pontificum, Art. 3: “Si
communitates Institutorum vitae consecratae atque Societatum vitae apostolicae iuris sive pontificii
sive dioecesani quae in celebratione conventuali seu “communitatis” in oratoriis propriis celebrationem
sanctae Missae iuxta editionem Missalis Romani anno 1962 promulgatam habere cupiunt, id eis licet.
Si singula communitas aut totum Institutum vel Societas tales celebrations saepe vel plerumque vel
permanenter perficere vult, res a Superioribus maioribus ad normam iuris et secundum leges et statuta
particularia decernatur.”
4 Later Rule, 3,1, Francis of Assisi. Early Documents, Vol. I, ed. R.J. Armstrong, J.A. Wayne
Hellmann, W.J. Short, Franciscan Institute, St. Bonventure University, NY 1999 [= FAED I], 101.
5 BENEDICT XVI, Letter to the Bishops on the occasion of the publication of the Apostolic Letter
“Motu Proprio data” «Summorum Pontificum» on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the reform of
1970: “In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second
Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into
question. This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul
VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be
the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale
Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962
and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical
celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were
‘two Rites’. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.”
6 Reg. Bullata (1223), 3,1: “Clerici faciant divinum officium secundum ordinem sanctae Romanae
Ecclesiae”. The Cistercian chronicler Alberic de Trois-Fontaines, in his Chronicle (1227-1235) writes:
“Regarding the usage (of the friars minor) in reading Scripture and singing psalms, he (Francis) chose
the form of the Church of Rome” (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores, 13,887-888).
7 HONORIUS III, Decree Sane cum olim (22 November 1219), in Bullarium Romanum, Honorius III,
n. XI, tom. III, 366a-366b: “We strictly enjoin by precept that the Eucharist be reserved always
devotedly and faithfully in a place of honour that is clean and designated for It alone. Every priest
should teach his people frequently that they should bow in reverence whenever the life-giving Host is
elevated at the celebration of Mass and that each one should do the same when the priest is carrying It
to the sick. At the same time, the priest should carry It in becoming apparel covered with a clean veil
and should bring It back opening at his breast and with respect. The priest should be preceded by a
torch, since the Eucharist is the radiance of Eternal Light” (translation taken from FAED I, 55).
8 HONORIUS III, Decree Quia populares tumultus (3 December 1224), in Bullarium Franciscanum I,
20, n. 17: “Therefore, favourable to your petitions, by authority of these present letters, we concede to
you this privilege: that in your places and oratories you may celebrate solemn Masses with a portable
altar, as well as the other divine offices, without prejudice to the rights of parochial churches”
(translation taken from FAED I, 562).
9 S.J.P. VAN DIJK, Sources of the Modern Roman Liturgy. The Ordinal by Haymo of Faversham and
Related Documents (1243-1307), Vol. I, Leiden 1963, 40-41: “The third chapter of the final Rule
(1223) prescribes that, except for the psalter, clerics are to say the Divine Office according to the use of
the Holy Roman Church, since they are allowed to have breviaries. Lay brothers are to say a number
of Our Fathers for each of the Canonical Hours. Since at the time the brotherhood of St. Francis was
predominantly an Order of laymen and clerics, the Rule limited itself to the obligation of the Office and
its equivalent without reference to the Mass liturgy. The increasing number of priests soon made itself
felt; by 1230 it was already so great that the first issue of liturgical books included both an Office and a
Mass book.”
“The phrase ‘according to the use of the Holy Roman Church’ is vague in itself. The liturgical books
published afterwards show how the Office intended was that of the pope’s court, officially residing at
the Lateran palace. In the last years of the reign of Innocent III this office was codified in an ordinal,
the arrangement and rubrics of which were followed not only in the liturgical books of the papal
chaplains but also in those reviewed by Honorius III in order to release this liturgy to a wider use. In
fact, the breviary was adopted by the canons of the cathedral of Assisi, from whom St. Francis
inherited his veneration for the court liturgy. The papal chaplains, however, used the so-called Roman
Psalter. The exception made on this point by the Rule indicates that the friars were to say the court
Office but not the Roman version of its Psalter. They conformed to the tradition observed outside
Rome by saying the Gallican Psalter.”
6
10 Cfr. N. MUSCAT, “Brothers, look at the humility of God”. The Eucharist in the Writings and the
Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, Franciscan Studies Corner, web-site of the Maltese Franciscan OFM
Province: www.ofm.org.mt
11 The Chronicle of Salimbene de Adam, ed. J.L. Baird, Medieval & Renaissance Texts and Studies,
Vol. 40, New York 1986, 4.
12 “Libros continue suos, videlicet bibliotecas, in forulis a cullo dependentes baiulantes.” Quotation
taken from GRATIEN DE PARIS, Historie de la Fondation et de l’Évolution de l’Ordre des Frères
Mineurs au XIIIe siècle, Bibliotheca Seraphico-Capuccina, Roma 1982, 63-64, footnote.
13 Thirteenth Century Chronicles. Jordan of Giano, Thomas of Eccleston, Salimbene degli Adami,
Translated from the Latin by P. Hermann, Introduction and Notes by M.T. Laureilhe, Franciscan
Herald Press, Chicago 1961, 61: “In the same general chapter breviaries and antiphonaries according to
the usage of the Order were sent to the provinces.”
14 S.J.P. VAN DIJK, Sources of the Modern Roman Liturgy. The Ordinal of Haymo of Faversham and
Related Documents (1243-1307), Vol. I, Leiden 1963, 40-55.
15 BENEDICTUS XVI, Litterae Apostolicae Motu Proprio datae Summorum Pontificum, Art. 1:
“Missale Romanum a Paulo VI promulgatum ordinaria expressio ‘Legis orandi’ Ecclesiae catholicae
ritus latini est. Missale autem Romanum a S. Pio V promulgatum et a B. Ioanne XXIII denuo editum
habeatur uti extraordinaria expressio eiusdem ‘Legis orandi’ Ecclesiae et ob venerabilem et antiquum
eius usum debito gaudeat honore. Haec duae expressiones ‘legis orandi’ Ecclesiae, minime vero
inducent in divisionem ‘legis credendi’ Ecclesiae; sunt enim duo usus unici ritus romani.”
16 BENEDICTUS XVI, Litterae Apostolicae Motu Proprio datae Summorum Pontificum, Art. 2: “Ad
talem celebrationem secundum unum alterumve Missale, sacerdos nulla eget licentia, nec Sedis
Apostolicae nec Ordinarii sui.”
17 “Sed si sunt plures sacerdotes in hoc loco, secrete possunt cantare missam quam volunt.”
18 EpOrd 30-31: “Si vero in loco plures fuerint sacerdotes, sit per amorem caritatis alter contentus
audita celebratione alterius sacerdotis.”
19 BENEDICTUS XVI, Litterae Apostolicae Motu Proprio datae Summorum Pontificum, Art. 7: “Ubi
aliquis coetus fidelium laicorum, de quo in art. 5 §1 petita a parocho non obtinuerit, de re certiorem
faciat Episcopum dioecesanum. Episcopus enixe rogatur ut eorum optatum exaudiat. Si ille ad
huiusmodi celebrationem providere non potest res ad Pontificiam Commissionem ‘Ecclesia Dei’
referatur.”
20 PAUL VI, Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum (3 April 1969), in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 61
(1969) 217-226: “Haud secus Nos, etsi, de praescripto Concilii Vaticani II, in novum Missale legitimas
varietates et aptationes (Cf CONCILIUM OECUMENICUM VATICANUM II, Const. de sacra liturgia
Sacrosanctum Concilium, nn. 38-40; AAS 56, 1964, p. 110) ascivimus, nihilo tamen secius fore
confidimus, ut hoc ipsum a christifidelibus quasi subsidium ad mutuam omnium unitatem testandam
confirmandamque accipiatur, utpote cuius ope, in tot varietate linguarum, una eademque cunctorum
precatio ad caelestem Patrem, per summum Pontificem nostrum Iesum Christum, in Spiritu Sancto,
quovis ture fragrantior ascendat.”

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35 Responses to A Franciscan take on the Motu Proprio

  1. Kris says:

    without some sense of preoccupation not
    only regarding its long-term effects on Church unity

    You mean these Franciscans are only NOW concerned about Church unity? Have they been looking the other way all these years and missed the loss of faith, loss of real bodies, confusion, distortion, watering down, disobedience and out right dissent as well as the insidious kind? Have they missed those “Rent-a-priests” as well as the new age stuff masquerading as Catholic/Christian? So now some Latin really scares them after all the other stuff? Wow! Such fortitude this late in the game! Guess they haven’t read about the labyrinths, reiki, use of healing “energy” at so many Franciscan retreat centers and hospitals. Why, I bet they could even find a way to meld Latin into the “spirits of the 4 directions” prayer offerings and say they’re “inclusive”!

  2. Wow says:

    “With all due ‘obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope’, we cannot accept the provisions of «Summorum pontificum» without some sense of preoccupation not only regarding its long-term effects on Church unity and pastoral ministry, but more so regarding its implications for us, as Franciscans.”

    What an amazing statement!….

  3. Sue Sims says:

    What an incredibly long-winded way of saying ‘Bugger off, Benedict!

  4. Ave Maria says:

    Franciscans are like the Church in general and by that I mean they are all over the place–in regards to Church teachings. Yes, there are horrific new age ‘retreat centers’ and there are heterodox Franciscan speakers and the Secular Order is mostly spinning out of control and in many cases has embraced dissent. (an evidence of this is the homosexual episcopalian minister invited to speak at the national conference.)

    But every TRUE Franciscan must hold to the mandate Our Lord gave to St. Francis which is to build up the Church. And St. Francis was a totally obedient and dutiful son of the Church and to the Holy Father and the Magisterium.

    So there are Franciscans who are totally faithful and those who are not such.
    One cannot just say ‘Franciscan’ in this day and age and have a definition that defines them all.

  5. Pater Iterum Jubilus says:

    The methods of intimidation cloaked in words that sound so concerned for good order in God’s House! I have visited dozens of Motherhouses of every type. Most are looney and no attempt is made to hide the New Age elements. Francis had such a great vision. Unfortunately his spiritual sons and daughters tended to wander off the reservation, even in his lifetime.

    They have been wandering so far and wide for the last 40 years that many have essentially wandered out of the church and Francis would not be welcomed in the house.

    I recall that Francis once said that perfect joy would consist (story here abreviated) in the ability to joyfully bless his own brethren if he were rejected at the door and chased off with a stick by the porter. This would be greater joy than signs and wonders and even raising the dead!

    Dear St. Francis, try it. As soon as you try to enter with your very orthodox faith, you will receive a quick shove to the door. Under other circumstances, this might give you Perfect Joy, but here I think you will, like many of us fans of your order,weep.

  6. Pater Iterum Jubilus says:

    The methods of intimidation cloaked in words that sound so concerned for good order in God’s House! I have visited dozens of Motherhouses of every type. Most are looney and no attempt is made to hide the New Age elements. Francis had such a great vision. Unfortunately his spiritual sons and daughters tended to wander off the reservation, even in his lifetime.

    They have been wandering so far and wide for the last 40 years that many have essentially wandered out of the church and Francis would not be welcomed in the house.

    I recall that Francis once said that perfect joy would consist (story here abreviated) in the ability to joyfully bless his own brethren if he were rejected at the door and chased off with a stick by the porter. This would be greater joy than signs and wonders and even raising the dead!

    Dear St. Francis, try it. As soon as you try to enter with your very orthodox faith, you will receive a quick shove to the door. Under other circumstances, this might give you Perfect Joy, but here I think you will, like many of us fans of your order,weep.

  7. Rob says:

    This is sad, I have always wished to see more Franciscans showing a deeper, more profound reverence
    in the Mass. Francis himself is often portrayed today as this sort of radical hippie, who liked to
    experiment around with everything. In reality, though Francis lived a very simple and humble lifestyle,
    nothing was too good for the Lord. If you look at vestments and other liturgical art that Franciscans used
    during their Masses at that time, it reflects that profound reverence for the Lord.
    Also, the way that Padre Pio celebrated the Mass should be an example to all Franciscans. I went to
    school at FUS, and many students that I talked to there also noted the lack of beauty and reverence in the
    chapel. Some students ended up going to Mass off campus. I do admire what Mother Angelica did, though. I
    remember an episode of Mother Angelica Live, where she was talking about why she took all of her nuns back to
    the traditional habit. It had to do with abuses that she saw at one of the World Youth Days.

    Rob

  8. michigancatholic says:

    Many people, even (maybe especially!) Franciscans make St. Francis into a sort of hippie, political radical, ecology nut or birdbath figure. There are a lot of reasons why this happens, but it’s rife, even among Secular Franciscans. (I am one, so I know this.)

    The Franciscan order has gone through the same valley as the rest of the Church these last 40 years, along with the other old established orders. IT’s been painful for a lot of people. Ave Maria (posting up above) said not all Franciscans are off-kilter. That’s true but a lot of them are, and unfortunately, the progressives currently have the microphone and the xerox machine.

    Part of the problem is that rules and constitutions of the largest groups were re-written during the reign of Paul VI and they have yet to be repaired. This includes the tertieries.

    There were attempts to make the third order secular (tertieries) into some sort of progressive “army” of a sorts. When that failed, as anyone with half a brain could have predicted, they were used to apply pressure via # of members and contributions (ie. head tax). This still goes on but since SFO tend to average about 75 years old and complain bitterly about head tax, it doesn’t get very far. So it’s dying out now in the US.

    The CFR in New York are a breath of fresh air in the Franciscan world. So is Mother Angelica’s order–the Poor Clares of Adoration, and also the Friars of the Eternal Word at EWTN. Such groups are the Franciscans once again taking up the holy mandate of St. Francis to “Repair My Church.” Both of these groups have many new vocations. I don’t know if there are other branches out there forming. I suspect there are, since there are always more kinds of Franciscans than anyone but God can count.

    One thing you have to know about Franciscans too, they tussle over who’s a REAL Franciscan and who’s not. This stretches back far before the Council. But no one can keep track but God, so it’s pretty much academic in nature. ;)

  9. This is an interesting essay but some careless historical interpretations undercut it at two points and these blunders come at central points to the argument.

    The first of these concerns the conformity of the Franciscan order to the Liturgy of the Roman curia. The date and purpose of this is blurred in the essay. This became a norm of the order only in 1223 with the promulgation of the “Regula Bollata” (final papally approved rule). Up to this point Franciscan friars sang their office and Mass according to the practice of the local church–the liturgical practice of each diocese being slightly (or considerablly) different from place to place. The evidence for this (and the only evidence) is Francis’ own words about what the earlier practice was in his Testament, where he wrote: “We clerics used to say the Office along with the other clergy, the lay brothers used to say the Pater Noster.”

    In 1223, the final rule determined that the friars were to use the liturgy as done in by the clerics of the Roman curia, a particular use different even from that of the city of Rome. Cardinal Hugolino then provided copies of the curial breviary to the friars–that of Francis is preserved in Assisi to this day. It appears that the goal of this was two fold: 1. to resolve the problem of friars having to adjust to a new liturgy every time they moved; and 2. as a symbol of union with the pope. The conclusions that the author wants to draw from this event prove too much or too little for what he wants. If it is ease of friars moving from place to place that matters, then the liturgy is used in all Franciscan houses should be in the same–I would assume Latin, the normative lanuage. After all, changing from German to French to Italian, etc., is far harder for friars than the relatively minor differences in Latin rite the decision of 1223 was meant to address. Next, refusal to allow friars to exercise a right that Pope Benedict clearly wishes all religious to be able to exercise, hardly symbolizes the kind of unity with the papacy that the 1223 legislation was meant to symbolize. The conclusions drawn by the author are historically bogus.

    The next problem with the article is the out-of-context quotations on private Mass and the rubrics of the Missal of Honorius (as he calls what is correctly the Missal of the Roman Curia). Here there is another chronological slight of hand. Francis wrote “I admonish and exhort you in the Lord, therefore, to celebrate only one Mass a day according to the rite of the Holy Church in those places where the brothers dwell. But if there is more than one priest there, let the other be content, for the love of charity, at hearing the celebration of the other priest.” to encourage observance of Sane cum Olim, a bull issued by Honorius III in Nov. 1219 and probably received by Francis in March 1220. That document mostly treated respect for the reserved sacrament (see the authors note 8) and said nothing on private Masses. The section treating private Mass in Francis letter almost certainly addresses the problem of the growing number of ordained Franciscans saying private Mass and absenting themselves from the community Mass in the friaries. The intention of the letter is to make sure they go to community Mass, even if it means not saying individual Masses. (Remember there was no concelebration at this time.)

    This desire of Francis, who at that time had already resigned as head of the order and could not issue precepts or laws, had the effect of seeming to abridge the right of all priests to say daily Mass.

    Then, three years LATER, when the Rule of 1223 imposed the Missal of the Roman Curia and its provision “If there are more priests in the same place, they can individually sing the Mass they want.” This corrected Francis’ EARLIER writing that seemed to violate the right of friar priests. If the author had paid attention to the dating he would have realized that later law abrogates earlier contradictory law (so friars should follow the Missal rubric, not Francis’ Letter). So again, the conclusion that this Franciscan wants to draw is invalid. One cannot argue from abrogated law against later legislation–esp. the legislation that did the abrogation.

    Now, I do think that religious orders might well decide that all houses of the order employ the same use, but that is a matter of legislation. And the multiplicity of Franciscan groups means that each one has to legislate for itself. There is nothing to prevent one from adopting the extraordinary use as its practice and another the ordinary. Since both are the Roman rite, both fulfil the spirit of the 1223 Rule. As for what a priest friar does at a private Mass, liberty should be the rule. This is not a community matter, anymore than what translation or version of the Bible a friar uses in private prayer–so long as it is a Catholic version. Analoguously, for private Mass, it should not matter to the community–so long as it is one of the two (after Sept. 14) approved Roman uses.

  10. FR K says:

    What a verbose, self-opinionated and tortuous article! The writer manages to make a simple and straightforward papal decree into something comples and virually unworkable. So much for Franciscan simplicity.

    Fr K

  11. michigancatholic says:

    Remember that St. Francis lived in a period of great heterodoxy too. There were many itinerant preachers and mendicants roaming Europe, some of them challenging the authority of the Church, some of them with autonomous charismatic leaders and novel ideas. Among them were the Cathars, Waldensians and other spiritualist groups.

    St. Francis was accepted in Rome because of his promises of absolute obedience to the Holy See and the notion that he might be able to gather people prone to this sort of thing together in orthodoxy, which he did, as did St. Dominic. Some of the lay mendicants attached themselves to the Dominicans, some to the Franciscans. These formed the foundations of the third orders of those congregations.

    This is why disobedience is such a travesty when it comes from the Franciscans (or the Dominicans too, for that matter). Strict and unflinching obedience to the Holy See has always been an essential part of the Franciscan order’s understanding of itself laid down at the beginning by St. Francis. Franciscans are supposed to place obedience to the Holy See even before obedience to the order or to the bodily needs & desires of one’s own person.

    I believe Noel Muscat is a prominent man in the OFM order, Secretary for Formation and Studies in Jerusalem, but he is not Minister General. I pretty sure he’s not even a provincial minister. I don’t know if he’s ever been one in the past. (They get elected to terms of service.)

    He cannot speak for the Conventuals, the Poor Clares, the Third Order Seculars (tertieries), the Third Order Regulars (men & women) or any of the myriad independent Franciscan bodies in the Franciscan family (like the CFRs). He couldn’t even do that if he actually were the Minister General of the OFMs in Rome.

    There have been splits in the Franciscan Order from the beginning, the center (and surviving piece) of the Franciscan Order always (often pretty quickly) coming down on the side of obedience to the Holy See. If the order’s center ever seeks to disobey the Holy See, it would be a historic departure and one that would mark the death of the Order.

    Lucky for the millions of happy Holy-See-loving Franciscans, nobody but God knows what the “center” is. Heh. The obedient ones would survive and “become” the center, perhaps retroactively. It’s the Franciscan way. =)

  12. michigancatholic says:

    Yes, Fr. K,

    That’s something else that’s happened to the Franciscan order in the last 30-40 years or so.

    One of the reasons one really has to work to come to know St. Francis is that he didn’t leave a lot of literature that was distinctively his. He left no autobiographies or treatises. He honestly believed that no one would want to read them. :]
    What he did leave are a few poems which mirror some psalms very closely, and tracts of scripture which he used constantly. Even the rule is full of it, direct quotes from scripture. He also left a Testament and there are things that were written about him at the time. St. Clare wrote only a rule for her poor ladies and a few letters. That’s it.

    St. Bonaventure wrote in a scholarly fashion about Franciscan spirituality and about mystical theology & philosophy because he was a teacher, but it was not like this piece you see above at all.

    The reams and reams of stuff that the Franciscan order spins out now are a departure, being neither scholarly like Bonaventure’s nor humble and scriptural like Francis’, nor devotional like the small writings of members of order that have come down to us. Some of it is rather very political and organizational in type. St. Francis would be having a FIT.

  13. prof. basto says:

    Hermeneutics of discontinuity at its worst.

    The Pope says, in the magisterial introduction of his Apostolic Letter,
    that the two forms of the law of prayer lead to no division of the law of
    belief. And the author has the guts to say that that is still a matter for
    theologians to decide(!), due to the “different ecclesiology” of both Missals.
    There is no “different ecclesiology”. The doctrine of the Church on the Church
    cannot change! Truth does not change!

    The author gravely departs from the spirit of St. Francis, because St. Francis
    would NEVER place his personal interpretations above those of the “Lord Pope”.
    One’s concerns for the state of a certain Order cannot override the Pope’s
    decision. The preverences of an Order are only legitimate to the extent that they
    comply with the wishes of the supreme ecclesiastical authority.The life of St. Francis was a life of respect and submission to the Holy Roman Church and to the Vicar of Christ. He went to Rome precisely for that reason.

    What the Pope has given to each priest, the Order of Friars Minor cannot supress!

  14. Ryan S. says:

    I’m afraid that this does not bode well for those of us studying at FUS.

  15. michigancatholic says:

    Why, Ryan? What hold does Neil Muscat have on what goes on at FUS?

  16. Ryan S. says:

    Not so much that Muscat said it, but rather that this sort of thing is what I’ve been led to believe (I pray I’ve been misled) is typical of the Franciscans at FUS. I know that “charismatics” are particularly influential there and they have not been charitable in the past regarding the 1962 Missal, despite large groups of students requesting it, which is why many drive an hour to find the Mass in the extraordinary form. Perhaps they’ll be moved by the words of the Holy Father. Hopefully, this is not the view held by most Franciscans, or at least not the ones in Steubenville.

  17. michigancatholic says:

    I wish you luck in finding one nearby, Ryan.

    I hope people in charge at FUS realize that they are going to get left if they don’t provide appropriate worship in both legitimate forms for students.

    I’d hate for them to get mired down in the excesses of the 20th century too.

  18. MikeL says:

    Ryan –
    I would suggest holding any gloomy thoughts in abeyance for a while. I have reason to believe that there is an increasing interest in traditional prayer and chant – see what happens in the Music dept. next year. There was a public search for new faculty members to set up a program of chant and polyphony.

    Besides, I have heard that Fr. Scanlon himself has been known to say the traditional Mass of Blessed John XXIII!

  19. Legisperitus says:

    If this is typical of Franciscan thinking today, it’s no wonder the order is dying out.

  20. Ryan S. says:

    I would suggest holding any gloomy thoughts in abeyance for a while.
    Oh, absolutely. They’re good priests, so there’s always reason to hope that they’ll be willing to reach out to more traditional Catholics. And the info about the music department and Fr. Scanlan is certainly more reason to be optimistic (but this particular document, if it is in any way representative of Franciscan thought, does not). I’ve waited this long and I can wait a little longer to see where things settle.

  21. Black Friar says:

    The Franciscan friar’s reaction caused me to wonder about those orders which had their own use of the Roman Rite before 1969 (Dominicans, Carmelites etc.) “Summorum Pontificum” explicitly gives us the right to celebrate according to the Missal of Bl. John XXIII (something we have never enjoyed previously – except in individual cases by indult etc) – but says nothing of our former use, which, like the ‘Tridentine’ rite, was never abolished, though its use since 1969 has been greatly restricted.

    I should say that when the Dominican Order adopted – of its own volition – the Roman Missal in 1969 (and subsequently the other liturgical books), Priors Provincial were given authority to permit continued use of the former Missal. No conditions or restrictions were spelled out, though many in the Order were of the opinion that the intention of the legislator was that this was for old and infirm priests etc. Also the new Proper of the Order has many of the elements of the old Missal as optional alternatives to the Roman use: our very beautiful Blessing of Palms at the start of Holy Week, our rite of veneration of the Cross on Good Friday (sensitively and ‘organically’ modified, it is true, but substantially the same), our unique Litany (in place of the Intercessions) at Lauds on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the daily ‘Salve’ procession after Compline (or Vespers)… many (not all) of these are used in our priory, at least.

    As far as the old use is concerned, I would be willing to learn to say the Missal of Bl John XXIII for the sake of any laity who wanted it, but I would feel rather awkward. I would much rather celebrate using the 1965 Dominican Missal, whose rituals I learned as an altar boy and with which I am still more familiar. I wonder whether the Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei’ can or will issue any clarification on the use of the other unabrogated but now ‘extraordinary’ rites – sorry, ‘uses’ – and indeed whether the General Chapter of the Order, about to meet in Bogota, Colombia, will have anything to say about it?

  22. RBrown says:

    I think permission for the SOP mass (Also OCarm and Carthusian) is implicit in the Motu Proprio because it is implicit in the use of the 1962 Missal.

  23. Hammerbrecher says:

    Someone forgot to tell them that St. Francis went to the Mass of Gregory the Great…. I guess he really needed the new missal to be effective, eh?

  24. shana sfo says:

    In regard to FUS and the Tridentine Mass –

    The Bishop Conlon of Steubenville had expressly forbidden it to be said in his diocese (I suppose it could have been done as a private Mass for the priest).

    The University DOES say the NO in Latin (usually at the Wed evening Mass) because there are students (especially the theology students) that want it. I have attended Holy Mass in Latin there and have found it done with joy and reverence.

    I have been told (by students) that the friars will be happy celebrate the Tridentine Mass for the students once they are free to do so.

  25. Jim says:

    Does anyone remember the title of the book that studied the relationship of the Franciscan Missal before Trent and the Missal of Pius V? If I’m not mistaken, the Missal of Pius V is THE SAME as the Missal used by Franciscans at that time. The Church adopted the Franciscan Missal because they had made it the most popular in Europe at that time. (Maybe this is reflected in the fact that the feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis is so prominent in the Roman Missal of Pius V!!!)

  26. J says:

    Noel Muscatt OFM will have NO IMPACT on Franciscan University of Steubenville. The problem at Steubenville is that they are so incredibly stuck in the arms-in-the-air, emotional-diarrhea charistmatic stuff. Even at the Latin Masses some of the students feel like they have to put their hands in the air to feel the Holy Spirit.

    Unfortunately, some of the TOR friars and other priests on the campus are not as liturgically orthodox as many people might think. I was amazed to see a priest stop between the Preface Dialogue and the Preface to invite everyone to pray “in tongues” for a while. This stuff is insane!

  27. Lisa, sfo says:

    So, all that long-winded pomposity boils down to them flippin’ B16 the bird. Great.

    As a Secular Franciscan, this document turns my stomach. Reading Fr. Z’s dissection of the idiocy helped (thank you, Father!) as did the thoughts of previous commentors, like “Ave Maria”, “Pater Iterum Jubilus”, and Rob. And “michigancatholic”, reading what you had to say especially keeps me from utter despair for our Order. Thanks for taking the time to post what ya did. :-)

  28. Black Friar says:

    “I think permission for the SOP mass (Also OCarm and Carthusian) is implicit in the Motu Proprio because it is implicit in the use of the 1962 Missal.” … like permission for dancing girls is implicit in the N.O., or Vatican II implicitly said all religions are equal? This is the problem with the “implicit” argument: people read into a document what they want to see. The m.p. explicitly says that “each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970″. Now that is not the Dominican Missal, promulgated in 1965, however you read it. Nor do all the reasons adduced by the Pope for the m.p. necessarily apply to these other uses: they are not very relevant to reconciliation with the Socity of Pius X crowd, for example.

    The Pope is very specific about which missal is covered by this motu proprio, which is why I worry about “implicit” extensions of it. He does not say “the rite in force in 1962″ but “the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962.” However, if there were an authentic interpretation allowing such extension by the Ecclesia Dei commission, for example, all my scruples would (happily) evaporate.

  29. I would agree with “Black Friar” in rejecting “implicit” meanings of the Motu Proprio for other Latin rites. The motu proprio is about the Liturgy of John XXII, the Roman Liturgy and nothing is implied about the other other Latin Rites.

    He is also correct, I think, that the use of the Dominican Rite remains governed by the SCR rescript of June 4, 1969 that acceded to the Order’s request to adopt the Roman Rite. Again correct is the observation that some provincials have understood that permission as intended for aged and infirm priests, as that was the usual situation when Roman priests were allowed to continue using the older forms after 1970 (until Ecclesia Dei). A kind of analogy governed this logic. But other provincials did not make such restrictions.

    It is of interest that when Pere Pierre-Marie Gy, O.P. (RIP), the historian-liturgist-theologian was asked by an Anglicum Professor (verbally) about what Ecclesia Dei meant for the O.P. rite, he said that as part of the Latin rite family we should mimic the parent rites discipline. That is to say, the rubrics used should be those in force in 1962 (not the 1965 use with modifications made between 1965 and 1969) and that superiors should grant use of the old rite more freely, just as the bishops were asked to do in Ecc. Dei. But again, this was merely his opinion and I do not think that there is/was any consistency of practice. The video of the Portland Solemn O.P. Mass linked on this site’s side-bar uses the 1960 rubrics, not 1965. By the way, Pere Gy was in no way a traditionalist.

    I would think myself, that any Dominican wishing to say the old rite should still have recourse to his provincial for permission and not assume that the Motu Proprio excepts him from the terms of the 1969 rescript. Even the Motu Proprio indicates that superiors have a say in the public use of the Liturgy of John XXIII in the public cult of their institutes.

    Also, the Carthusians did not abandon their rite; it continues in use with some modifications that mimic the changes in the Roman rite after 1970. I am be wrong, but I do not believe there are any Charterhouses using the Roman liturgy, but I could be wrong.

  30. athanasius says:

    Our aim is simply that of providing
    food for thought if we are to delve into what Francis meant when he commanded the
    friars to pray the divine offices “according to the Rite of the holy Roman Church,”6
    and if we consider the role of the Franciscan Order in liturgical reform in the Roman
    rite.

    Oh really? I wonder what he has to say now?

    CWN News: Pope Benedict says 1962 Missal regularly

    Vatican, Jul. 16, 2007 (CWNews.com) – Pope Benedict XVI (bio – news), who recently issued a motu proprio allowing all Catholic priests to celebrate the old Latin Mass, uses the older ritual himself for his private Mass, CWN has learned.

    Informed sources at the Vatican have confirmed reports that the Holy Father regularly celebrates Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal.

  31. Black Friar says:

    I thank Fr Augustine for those remarks. In 1973 a special Commission in the Order considered those elements of the Dominican rite that might be preserved in the Order after the adoption of the revised Roman books. It concluded that “it could in no way be asserted that the Order had lost its own rights regarding the Missal and Breviary” – and, for that matter, the other liturgical books. For more detail, see the article “Le Rit Dominicain a la suite de la reforme liturgique de Vatican II” by Fr Dominic Dye OP (Analecta S.O.P., XLIII (1977) pp. 193 -275, esp. p. 196) and also the by Fr Romano article which is available on-line at http://www.australia.op.org/texts/romano_prof.doc : Vincenzo Romano, “The Rite of Profession of the Order of Preachers”

    Finally I would note that in approving those ritual actions and texts which the Dominicans can carry over from their old books and use with the Novus Ordo, the S. Cong. for the Saraments and Divine Worship in 1977 explicitly referred to the previous approval of these by the Master of the Order and the General Chapter, and approved them “in accordance with the principle of the due honor to be accorded to the “particular rites,” solemnly sanctioned by the Second Vatican Council.” So those people who say that the Order has “abandoned” its rite or its rights, or that the Dominican Rite (or “Use”) has been abolished, are inexact to say the least. Using the rite in place before 1969 – ie the 1965 Missal for the Mass – does require the Provincial’s permission. I think it is proper that it be so, at least for public celebration, just as I hope Provincials would be liberal in granting it.

  32. michigancatholic says:

    Thank you, Lisa sfo, for your comments too.

    It not only consists of “flippin’ B16 the bird.” It consists of someone with a higher profile in the order who is NOT in a position of juridical authority “flippin’ B16 the bird.” So it’s just trash talk, as far as the rest of the order is concerned, not that it matters in the grand scheme of things anyway. (Or if some provincial is putting Muscat up to this, then he should get up, say so himself and be a man about it–or be silent.)

    The Franciscan order, from its foundations, is and always has been obedient to the Holy See. It’s constitutive of being a Franciscan, and has been since the first day of the order in the hands of St. Francis himself, occasional childish behavior of some wayward members notwithstanding.

    Listen. Everyone has their weaknesses, whose proper remedy is the confessional, but someone should discipline these whiners for defaulting *publicly* on their commitments as Franciscans.

  33. michigancatholic says:

    Fr. Z,

    There is a long history (albeit usually along the fringes of the order) of juxtaposing the “spirit of poverty” or the “spirit of St. Francis,” or the so-called “Spirit of God” against proper juridical authority. The tension between seeking poverty for its beauty and truth, and seeking the Church for her beauty and truth, is fascinating and appears in many of the ancient documents of the order. Recall the times: There were great contrasts in society and it was a time of immense social change. Resolutions have been worked since the very first days of the order, because the mendicant life (which was different then than now) is the very context in which the order first popularly appeared. Some of the very scarce texts St. Francis himself wrote pertain to this.

    Franciscan history includes the stories of quite a few movements emerging from this basic tension, among them the “Franciscan Spirituals of the Marches,” finally excommunicated in 1317 for their extreme behaviors and propositions. There were also groups in Avignon & Tuscany at one point.

    However, it comes down to this: Regardless of the understanding of poverty and humility currently in vogue, both de jure and de facto juxtaposition are absolutely to be avoided. St. Francis NEVER intended for his spirituality to become in any way, on either extreme, a contradiction to papal authority. His life of obedience to the Holy See bore this basic principle out.

  34. joy sfo says:

    One of the main reasons I was drawn to St Francis was due to his fidelity to the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church. We all need backbone and the courage of our convictions, not this wishy-washy 20th century stuff.

    Near the end of the Franciscan Omnibus somewhere is related that it was revealed to St Francis that the antichrist would come from his order, upon which he wanted to disband it immediately. But he was assured that great good would also come from the order, and so did not dissolve it. St Francis, ora pro nobis!

  35. Lisa, sfo says:

    >>michigancatholic: It not only consists of “flippin’ B16 the bird.” It consists of someone with a higher profile in the order who is NOT in a position of juridical authority “flippin’ B16 the bird.” So it’s just trash talk, as far as the rest of the order is concerned, not that it matters in the grand scheme of things anyway.

    That’s a great observation re: the response bein’ nothing more than “trash talk”.

    >>michigancatholic: Listen. Everyone has their weaknesses, whose proper remedy is the confessional, but someone should discipline these whiners for defaulting publicly on their commitments as Franciscans.

    Well said!!

    I am SO enjoying — and learning from! — your comments, michigancatholic! Thank you!

    >>joy sfo: One of the main reasons I was drawn to St Francis was due to his fidelity to the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church. We all need backbone and the courage of our convictions, not this wishy-washy 20th century stuff.

    Me, too! That’s one of the many things that impressed me so greatly about him. It drives me batty to see our Franciscan contemporaries studiously ignore his obedience, or downplay it by making him out to be somewhat of a simpleton in that regard, because of course, we’re ever so much more sophisticated today than to be — gasp! — obedient!

    >>joy sfo: Near the end of the Franciscan Omnibus somewhere is related that it was revealed to St Francis that the antichrist would come from his order, upon which he wanted to disband it immediately. But he was assured that great good would also come from the order, and so did not dissolve it.

    Holy. Cow. (Yet another reminder of why I need to shell out the $$ and buy the Omnibus.) That reminds me of an article I read a few months ago on Catholic Culture, “Pacifists, Ecologists and Ecumenists: Antichrist at Work“. Gee, that sound like key traits of any religious order we know?