Fr. Z on Fr. Hunwicke on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

I can say with great pleasure that Fr. John Hunwicke, a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, is blogging again.  He had a blog which was for a while repressed by the “powers that be”.  He understands something of what it is to be forced to do things by people with greater power.  I have met Fr. Hunwicke twice.  He strikes me as being one of those very smart guys, who has learned a lot by a) reaching his age and b) having suffered at the hands of those who should have been the most diligent in his care.

Fr. Hunwicke opined on the situation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, who – as reports have it – may be forced to take some sort of oath concerning the Novus Ordo and Vatican II.  Since I don’t know the official text of the Oath yet, I hesitate to speculate much about it.

As you know, the Franciscan Friars have internal disputes.  Some faction within the group brought the Holy See’s Congregation for Religious into the picture.  Unless you are bent on destruction (or are simply kinda dumb) that’s rarely a good idea.  The Congregation conducted what seems very much like a hostile take-over of the whole institute.  A “commissar” was appointed with absolute power over the Friars.  He has used it.  Included in his absolute control includes what seems a violation of the Church’s universal legislation in Summorum Pontificum, which was deeply disturbing for many of the traditional bent.  I can’t help but think that a lot of the Friars’ problems were to a certain extent brought on themselves, with the help of a lot of zealous lay people.

Enough of that.  Here is something from Fr. Hunwicke which, though based on speculation so far, smacks of the truth.  Keeping in mind an impending oath to be imposed by the Commissar, we enter in medias res:

Where an undertaking or oath is substantially meaningless, [As in this case.  I haven't seen any evidence that traditionally-minded Friars have rejected Vatican II or the Novus Ordo as invalid or anything like.] the over-scrupulous soul might hesitate to subscribe until someone has resolved all ambiguities. In my judgement, such scrupulosity would be completely excessive and would not in any way represent the obligation placed by God upon a good Catholic. [We are not just talking about "good Catholics" but about religious who make vow of obedience.  Let that pass.] We are expected to get on with living the Catholic life, not to waste our energies in endlessly picking over irrelevant scruples. [o{]:¬)] And [NB] the Holy Father Pope Francis has recently and justly urged those in authority in the Church “not to exhaust their energies in inspecting and verifying” (EG 94). [Rem acu tetigit.  But this is precisely what is going on.  Would Francis approve?  On the other hand, Francis is constantly saying in his daily fervorini that no one should ever speak badly of anyone else. BUT then he fills his own daily fervorini with snarky comments about hard to identify groups of people.  I digress.] If Authority imposes an undertaking which is vague to the point of being meaningless, then one may take that oath. This is not like subscribing to something which is untrue. [True.]

At the basis of all this is a very unpleasant implication. Asking these worthy religious men to make these Undertakings is as offensive as it would be to ask a husband to Undertake not to beat his wife. It implies that the exacting of such an Undertaking is necessary. [There it is.] One recalls Pope Francis’ words about a “persecution which appears a veritable witch hunt” (EG 100). [Rem iterum acu tetigit.] Apparently the Order has been accused of ‘crypto-lefebvreism’. [I haven't seen that yet, but it sounds as if it could be accurate.] I know no reason to suspect the friars of this. [I have NEVER seen that. Nor, frankly, would someone like Card. Burke be so supportive to them were they so.] But it would be only human if some of them, given the sort of treatment they are being given, had now started to do an audit of what options they had. Is there some faction in Rome deliberately trying to provoke a schism? [I don't think that category is appropriate in the case of the FFIs.  But...] And are there people behind the scenes labouring to ensure that an atmosphere is created in which the regularisation of the SSPX is rendered permanently impossible? [The answer to that, Fr. Hunwicke, is YES.] Let us pray that the Holy Father’s reform of the Curia is rapid and radical.  [I wouldn't be so eager, given who may be put in charge of the reform.]

One of the most important initiatives of Vatican II was the encouragement it gave to the work for ‘Unity’. In my view, there would be something demonic in an ‘Ecumenism’ which was preoccupied with bodies deeply sundered from Catholic Truth while at the same time ecclesial divisions closer home were carefully tended, nurtured, extended, and deepened. If not demonic, then certainly hypocritical. [No.  You got it right the first time.] It would be like loving all men, especially those a long way away, while fostering domestic hatreds in ones own household. [Which is exactly what Screwtape recommend that Wormwood foster in his "patient".] When the Ordinariates were set up, we experienced this mindset: some who had always been so rhetorical in their advocacy of Unity suddenly turned very nasty about an example of Unity actually happening.

I simply do not believe that our beloved Holy Father knows the half of what is being done in his name.

Neither do I.  But some who are close to the Holy Father do.

Again, I urge people involved in this to consider something I have learned through the years I have fought many battles for traditional Catholic identity and have obtained many scars.

I redirect your attention to Fat Man’s Rules of the House of God.

Fr. Hunwicke, and many other priests, know that this Rule applies:

VIII. THEY CAN ALWAYS HURT YOU MORE.

When you are in the hands of high ecclesiastics, you had better steel yourselves to the fact that when the pain starts, they are just getting started.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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39 Responses to Fr. Z on Fr. Hunwicke on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

  1. Therese says:

    We expected a fight and we got one.

  2. excalibur says:

    ….. would someone like Card. Burke be so supportive to them were they so.

    Father, perhaps you have stumbled onto something here. Burke as the ultimate target. Not putting words into your mouth, but possible. [I did not say that Card. Burke was the "ultimate target".]

  3. Legisperitus says:

    Volpitine: “From here you will witness the final destruction of Tradition and the end of your insignificant rebellion.”

  4. RJHighland says:

    I just get the sense that everybody is going to heaven except those that hold firm to the Traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. You can do just about anything you want, believe what every you want, worship how ever you want except the Traditional form of Worship and catechesis of the Catholic Church. If your a traditionalist we will watch every word you say and every action you take. If you challenge Vatican II or criticize the Novus Ordo you are toast, repent and sign these documents or you are done here. Criticizing the modern Church is akin to blaspheming against the Holy Ghost in these folks eyes. In reality you are blaspheming the “Spirit of Vatican II” now is that a sin or a corporal work of mercy? Was the Novus Ordo Missae an out growth of the “Spirit of Vatican II”?

  5. James C says:

    Clearly the way the FFI celebrates the Novus Ordo smacks of crypto-Lefebvrism. It’s similar to how Archbishop Lefebvre himself always celebrated the Novus Ordo! ;-)

    What a farce. The FFI would be in better shape today if their founder were a child molester and their leadership covered it up, or if most of them (like, say, the Sinsinawa Dominicans) wanted to “move beyond Catholicism” or even Jesus. Think about that for a moment.

    The Progressive Politburo is still in charge, and newly emboldened now that the Benedictine muzzle has been lifted. We must be as ever innocent as doves and wily as foxes in our continuing implementation of the Church’s Marshall Plan.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. I can assure you, Father, that crypto-lefebvreanism is a direct quote from Fr. Volpi, along with “traditionalist drift,” which were both cited as the primary reasons behind the actions that are being undertaken as regards FFI. [Thanks. "traditionalist drift"... pretty scary! The next thing you know, people will start putting together spiritual bouquets!]

  7. Imrahil says:

    There is no such thing as an ideology of Lefebvrism; or, if there is, it makes out only a little part of what the Lefebvrists stand for, and is not unilaterally shared by them.

    What there is are traditional Catholics who have certain opinions, who are allowed to the Catholic, frequent the Sacraments at a certain structure who lacks canonical existence and sometimes counteracts Canon Law, one of which actions in the past once resulted in excommunications.

    As to the said opinions (and it is only opinions, not practices, of which ideologies and -isms are formed), they are for some part in concord with what the Magisterium actually says, and some others, rather little ones, they disagree, though never to my knowledge where Donum veritatis does not say a theologian can differ. They sometimes also disagree with me (which implies that I have to hold them erroneous), but of that I am not speaking here.

    It is true that they have formed a certain distrust of the fallible Magisterium. They uphold that it is to be obeyed, though that there can be exceptions, which is what Donum veritatis says; but they distrust it. But that is a general feeling, and not an -ism.

    There may, after all, also exist some real ideological attitude peculiar to them. But this only makes part of the general thing that is called Lefebvrism, does not determine it, as we would suppose for an ideology. And these peculiarities are not universally shared by them, at least not in a formed, precise, ideological way.

    And certainly if there is any such thing at all, rejection of the New Mass by not going there belongs to it. Now the FFI do go there, even celebrate it. That pretty much sums it up.

  8. iPadre says:

    Talking of oaths. Maybe all bishops, priests, deacons, Catholic educators and anyone involved in ministry in the Church should take the Oath Against Modernism, with strong repercussions for those who break it.

  9. Eriugena says:

    In addition to the other bans being imposed on the FFI, they are now also being banned from acting as Chaplains to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate. What sort of madness is this? The face of a Dominican Sister lights up when a Dominican Friar comes to hear their confession. Same for a Discalced Carmelite Nun when an OCD Friar comes by. What sort of spirituality are they hoping will come along when the only people to hear the confessions of Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate are diocesan priests? And this is all ordered by a Religious from that formerly magnificent branch of the Franciscan family, a Capuchin?
    No disrespect to the secular clergy, but living a life according to the Holy Rule is something completely different…

  10. Bosco says:

    “If I were a man, my lords, who heedeth not the taking of an oath…I had no occasion to be here at this time, as is well known to every body, as a criminal…” – St. Thomas More

  11. jeff says:

    I think that at least some of Rome’s tolerance for trads lies in the latent threat of joining the SSPX. I feel it is my duty to at least keep this threat open for these modernists in the curia as it is the only language that they understand.

    If Rome tomorrow ordered all eastern rites to go novus ordo there would be a schism with a faction joining the eastern orthodox and everybody knows it. Does this latent threat of schism mean all eastern rite catholics are crypto-schismatics? Of of course not!

    [When you say "Rome", be a little careful. There is great sympathy and desire for traditional expressions of our Faith among the younger clergy. It is more... prelates and mid-level types of a certain age that are the real obstacle.]

  12. lana says:

    James C: “Clearly the way the FFI celebrates the Novus Ordo smacks of crypto-Lefebvrism. ”

    I am not sure what you are talking about. I recently attended a ‘Day with Mary’ and the Mass was celebrated Novus Ordo, and it was all in the usual manner. The secular priests in this area are already very reverent, black and red priests, so I did not see any difference. The hymns were mostly Latin, was the only difference. There was nothing about it or any of the preaching that suggested any issue or problems with the Novus Ordo or V2.

  13. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “Criticizing the modern Church is akin to blaspheming against the Holy Ghost in these folks eyes.”

    Except RJ, “these folks” would *never say* “Holy Ghost”, now would they?

    Might we put it this way? “Criticizing the modern Church is akin to blaspheming against the *Spirit of Vatican II* in these folks’ eyes.”

    MSM

  14. robtbrown says:

    This entire situation is an example of why Curia reform is needed. The present structure isolates the pope from the Heads of the Congregations, and that makes the Congregations too independent.

    At any rate, the AP has picked up the story.

  15. C. says:

    This “Oath” sounds less like an oath and more like a proposed statement of faith.

    Does a Papal Legate really have the authority from the Apostolic See to impose a statement of faith on anyone, other than the statements of faith approved by the Apostolic See (nicene, apostles, etc.)?

    But if it is an oath, then under canon 1200.2, “An oath extorted by malice, force, or grave fear is null by the law itself.”

  16. catholicmidwest says:

    This is not about secular clergy, nor is it about laypeople. I understand that the possibility of someone being told they can’t celebrate the TLM worries some people, but this is not about that. This is an internal matter regarding a religious congregation, which is something else entirely. A lot of people talking about what they don’t understand can cause you more problems than the difficulty itself.

  17. lana says:

    What is ‘the modern Church’? The modern Church is the eternal Church, which is Christ Himself, Who is being criticized.

  18. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Jeff wrote: “If Rome tomorrow ordered all eastern rites to go novus ordo there would be a schism…”
    Yes, no doubt. And that reminded me: all the eastern churches in union with Rome (and the Anglican ordinariate) are allowed without hindrance to keep their traditional liturgical patrimony, their link to their past, their respective liturgical language, their vestments and devotional customs.
    Only Roman Catholics are discouraged and in some places prevented from following the (continuously valid and never officially abrogated) traditional Latin rite as instituted for centuries.
    Which suggests that for many of the adherents to ‘the spirit of Vatican II’ the cohabitation of two different Roman liturgies – sanctioned by the previous Holy Father – is a constant nagging reminder to them that the NO has not ‘conquered’. We must be wary of openly inflaming the debate: that would be counter-productive.
    Perhaps, as Fr Z says, the biological solution will take care of the matter. Although given the demographic of the church’s hierarchy, it may be some time a-coming.

  19. Robbie says:

    It’s a sad situation, but the comment about “some faction in Rome deliberately trying to provoke a schism” caught my eye. Something not too dissimilar appeared in the letter Volpi wrote. I don’t have the direct quote, but he suggested the FFI has become the battleground between different currents in the Curia who oppose the pontificate of Francis.

    Now, I have no idea what that means, but has the FFI become a flash point between the left and the right in the Curia? Is there a “war” brewing? Has it really come to this after just nine months? I certainly hope not. Provoking the conditions for s schism is a horrible idea, whether it comes from the right or the left. Regardless, it’s sad to read about these actions in light of previous actions taken against other groups.

  20. benedetta says:

    I agree with Fr. Hunwicke. Second Vatican matters. If one falsely teaches that it somehow grounds or justifies things which are foreign to those truths which believers have always held in the Church and always will, there is verifiable, widespread damage to the faithful that needs to be attended to. Those who instrumentalize or manipulate Second Vatican, under a pretense of support for the council or the church, in order instead to realize an agenda that is foreign to the Gospel are in effect and in fact denying the very important role of and the essential truths of Second Vatican, not to mention the holy teachings of the Popes who have shepherded us during and since that Council, in several significant ways. One being the denial of full participation of the laity and denial of the laity’s legitimate aspiration to the universal call to holiness from Second Vatican. Just to name one.

  21. Jack Orlando says:

    Just what is “crypto-Lefebvrism” Could it be these points?

    “1. All of Vatican II, because of its heresies and ambiguities, must be thrown in the trash can. We do not want and will not accept Magisterial clarifications. We don’t care if it is only “pastoral”. We want it trashed.

    “2. We have the right to determine when there is an emergency situation in the Church.

    “3. We have the right to reject directives from the Holy See, even if they come directly from the Pope, and forget Pastor aeternus

    “4. Quanta Cura is infallible .

    “5. The crisis in the Church that came after Vatican II was caused by Vatican II. Do not tell us that this argument might be post hoc

    “6. The Novus Ordo must be trashed, and we really hate the new lectionary. The only legitimate Mass is the 1962 Mass.

    “7. The four-week cycle of the Liturgy of the Hours must be trashed.

    “8. The only acceptable theology is Scholastic. The Patristic Revival, beginning in the 19th Century, must be trashed. Historical-critical Catholic Bible scholarship, beginning in the 20th Century, must be trashed.

    “9. The doctrine of the Paschal Mystery must be trashed. We do not care if Sts. Paul, Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the writers of Hebrews and Revelation, and the Fathers teach this doctrine.

    “10. Jews, Protestants, and Masons must be called the enemies of the Church.

    “11. These demands are non-negotiable.”

    Correct me if I am wrong. I am not trying to be polemical. I think what Lefebvrism might be needs a definition that distinguishes it from mere Traditionalism.

  22. James C says:

    Lana, I was being ironic. Calling an order that regularly celebrates the Novus Ordo “crypto-Lefebvrite” is beyond ridiculous. When was the last time you’ve seen an SSPX priest even *consider* participating in a Novus Ordo? It’s like a Stalinist trumped-up charge, and no label is more effective at bringing the hammer down than “Lefebvrist”. It’s the ultimate four-letter word among progressives.

  23. Priam1184 says:

    @Jack Orlando My only quibble with your 11 points is that the ‘historical critical’ method of biblical scholarship has done mountains of damage; so much more harm than good and with so little real evidence to back up most of its claims, even if you do put the word ‘Catholic’ in front of it.

    Father you’re 100% right in your little sidebar comments about the Holy Father’s fevorini: all of these hard to identify groups of ‘Christians who do this’ and ‘Christians who do that’ which can essentially be taken to mean ‘whatever Christians the listener doesn’t like’ by those in Francis’ extensive audience. This is not helpful, and frankly I would kind of like to give the pope a good swift kick in the shin underneath the table when he starts talking like that.

  24. Gratias says:

    These accusations of “ideologies” are a shallow tactic, because no definitions are ever used. In Argentina the accused of acting because of ideologies are simply those people that do not agree with the Peronista government. [Ouch.]

    There is Mercy for all that are far from the Church and none for those that are trying to keep the Faith for future generations. The Spirit of Vatican II is not the writings of the Post-Conciliar Commisions suggested to Pope Paul VI by the Progressives in the Council, it is the texts of the Council itself as Benedict XVI explained.

  25. lana says:

    Thank you for the clarification, James C. I now see the “;)” later on. I couldn’t get past the first sentenc.

  26. Xmenno says:

    I must say, that when I became Catholic 12 years ago, if I had known the extent of the political fighting and liturgy warring and theology arguing in the Church, I would have run as fast as I could in the other direction. Sometimes a nice little protestant church split seems downright homey and fun compared to this stuff. The matters discussed in this blog sometimes seem so far from Christianity that it would be unrecognizable as such. I find it very difficult to believe that a Church inhabited by the Holy Spirit can be so mean and nasty to its fellow members. It is getting harder and harder to “sell” this faith to my catechumens and candidates as an unchanging and universal.

  27. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Xmenno – This is nothing, compared to the days of the Arians and semi-Arians, or the days of anti-popes excommunicating anti-popes. Maybe that’s not a comforting thought, but things can be annoying and scandalous without actually being all that bad on the grand scale. I’m a gloomy person, so it cheers me up to think that things could be so much worse!

  28. Supertradmum says:

    This is about the NO and about Vatican II. And it is about creating a climate which would further marginalize the SSPX and create both panic and more paranoia.

    It seems to be to be pushed by one man who got his way-

    To me the saddest part of this is the stopping of the acceptance. I mean, that is like fighting the Holy Spirit, Who Is calling so many good trad men.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    oops problems with the net –the acceptance of VOCATIONS…sorry

  30. Netmilsmom says:

    I’ve asked this question and perhaps it is a stupid one but why can’t both Charismatics and Traditionalists who celebrate the TLM both be given their own rites under the Pope?
    We just had Charismatics pull a coup d’état in my traditional parish. I seriously have nothing against the Charismatics but I don’t choose to worship their way. With their own rite, they can. With our own rite, we wouldn’t have to worry about praise music added to our traditional NO or slipping in to our TLM.
    Am I on the wrong track? Is this something that is impossible in The Vatican?

  31. lana says:

    xmenno1, this even happened in apostolic times, with St Paul warning Christians not to fall into factions, or to cause scandal by their disagreements.

    with the internet, this takes on a whole new dimension.

    Thank you for the reminder and call to charity.

  32. Sonshine135 says:

    Were I Fr. Hunwicke. I would have finished off by asking when other orders that have been hostile to the EF Mass will be forced to take an Oath recognizing it as a valid form of the Mass. This really has me heartbroken. The Franciscan Friars are the last order the daggers of the Vatican should be pointed towards. Look at the Nuns on the Bus and LCWR, who are so often pointed out here. They preach of things that are in no way Catholic. As a Catholic who prefers the Tridentine Mass, it really makes me believe that Rome doesn’t care if my soul receives salvation. It makes me wonder if the SSPX isn’t right after all. The Pope could end this tomorrow if he wanted to, yet here we are.

  33. lana says:

    After thinking about xmenno’s post, I am going to censor myself and stop commenting. Think, if this causes the loss of a single soul, how can we go on with a good conscience?

    We should follow the lead of the Holy Father, who said to the traditionalist journalist who had criticized him: ‘I know it was for love of the Church that you wrote that.’. We should always assume the best motives in others.

    Let us return the kindness and assume that Fr. Volpi and Pope Francis are doing what they really think needs doing, and just pray for a good outcome, which may or may not be according to our
    liking.

    Have a blessed Advent. My gift to Him will be a quiet tongue, and I hope in return for a peaceful heart.

  34. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Jack Orlando:

    I think that is a pretty good summary you’ve written. I shall borrow it for sure at one time or another. And the historical-critical method is only damaging when disconnected from the Catholic Magisterium. As long as the Church oversees the work of biblical scholars and they submit to the accountability of the Magisterium, there is mutual benefit.

    Lana, your words were excellent. St. Ignatius, St. Francis de Sales, and many others write about giving people the benefit of the doubt and not substituting a good intention with a bad intention. Even if Pope Francis and Fr. Volpi are making mistakes where the Friars are concerned, we do not have to demonize them as persons and take for granted they are out to “destroy.”

    As a priest, even when my superior makes poor decisions, that does not stop me from praying, from offering a devout Mass, from visiting the sick and needy, and from attending to the elderly, families, youth, and parish groups. My superior cannot “destroy” my work as a priest unless I let him by allowing him to discourage me and tempt me into retreating from the work I need to do to care for souls. In that case, I would be giving in to the devil, and so it is not the superior who is “destroying” my priestly work. There is much good work waiting to be done by the Friars, no matter what decisions Fr. Volpi makes and how unsound they might be in administering the religious order.

  35. Xmenno says: I must say, that when I became Catholic 12 years ago, if I had known the extent of the political fighting and liturgy warring and theology arguing in the Church, I would have run as fast as I could in the other direction. Sometimes a nice little protestant church split seems downright homey and fun compared to this stuff. The matters discussed in this blog sometimes seem so far from Christianity that it would be unrecognizable as such. I find it very difficult to believe that a Church inhabited by the Holy Spirit can be so mean and nasty to its fellow members. It is getting harder and harder to “sell” this faith to my catechumens and candidates as an unchanging and universal.

    What greater proof could you need that the Catholic Church is the true one, than the fact that her own children have failed to destroy her?

  36. discipulus says:

    A little off topic, I came across the following in an article on NCRegister, which I find very interesting.

    “Some have speculated that Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, may also be stepping down soon, an opening that would create another candidate for the red biretta”

    I would not be surprised if the situation with the FFIs is influencing his Eminence’s potential resignation, or transfer to a new assignment.

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/in-rome-february-will-be-a-time-for-cardinals/

  37. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Z,

    I wrote this note to a young traditional friend who is very upset about what has happened to the Franciscans, and I’ll post it here if you think appropriate. If not, please shelve. And God bless!

    Dear Friend:

    Don’t buy into the hysteria of this crackdown on the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate. And if you’re reading Rorate and taking them with a vestige of seriousness, by the way, you are in serious need of being debriefed and deprogrammed from the “Francis hates tradition” narrative.
    Yes, the actions of Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, OFMCap. are harsh, but many religious orders, including the liberal ones, back in the day, had harsh actions taken by superiors. This is why their current members tend to be angry liberals in their old age. Just because the whip was cracked on them before you were born or there was such a thing as the internet doesn’t mean liberals and dissenters haven’t been made to suffer in the Catholic Church. I won’t name names or gory details, but I am a priest with two uncle priests, one who was a Jesuit (rip) and one who is in another diocese. I know something of the inner workings of the Church.
    Secondly, whenever groups of priests or sisters are suffering because of the actions of Church authority, we tend to go into panic attack mode. All the beautiful preaching, homilies, retreats, and books and articles which we have issued with sage spiritual advice is thrown out the window as we focus on the present crisis. It is as if some of us are paralyzed and without any options to work through the crises which we have counseled others through in ministry.
    In panic attack mode, people in the Church get swept up; they are recounting every action with the most intense drama, and assigning the most sinister motives, to the “bad guys” and forecasting the worse doomsday scenarios. This is what we do in the Church. The structure of authority and the way it is perceived to punish, attack, etc. gives off the aura of a North Korean gulag. Is it ever, ever, as bad as it sounds or is described? No. It actually isn’t if God graces us with some needed perspective.
    Reality check. If the superior (who acts in consultation with counselors, btw, never alone) shuts down a seminary, a house, transfers guys in a way we think is unfair, sequesters a former superior, or limits our liturgical abilities or positions of influence, it is sad. But is it really the end of the world? Is it really the “destruction” of our way of life?
    Remember this. We always have a roof over our heads. Always. We always have food on the table, and it isn’t usually too bad. We always have clothes on our backs. Always. Unless you know of priests or sisters who have been forced to run around naked. We always have healthcare provided for us when we get sick.
    Outside the rectory door, or the convent, or the monastery, there are people who need us and wait for us from the morning till the wee hours of the night. There are potential suicides, there are post-abortive women, there are drug and sex addicts, there are recovering divorcees or people in the middle of a wrecked marriage, there are people with dead parents, dead kids, or dead loved ones. I’m just getting warmed up.
    Do you see where I’m going with this? The people just outside our door do not stop and all of a sudden have a great, happy life. While the superior or bishop is freaking out and doing weird things there is still so much ministry to do for the needy and hurting.
    Yeah, I won’t lie. Sometimes my bishop or my superior screws me over and I feel pretty shitty and go to my room and cry. Then I cry some more and maybe eat half a gallon of ice cream. Maybe I have to call another priest and go bitch or cry on his shoulder. Maybe I have to talk to a good spiritual director who keeps me real. Then I have to put on my big boy panties. Then I have to step out the door and I have people, always always crowds of people, with far worse things happening to them.
    There are always people at my door, right outside, who WOULD LOVE to go home where they have a roof, where they have food in the cupboards, where they have the heating bill paid, where they can put on clean clothes and go see a doctor because they are sick, or even dying. THEY WOULD LOVE, to be able to have my problems.
    If I need to be distracted from the evil, evil wicked satanic diabolical superiors who just fired me from my teaching job at the seminary and transferred me to a parish, all I have to do is go visit the parish youth group my first evening in the parish. There’s no youth group, you said?? Great!! I just found a job to distract me from thinking of the wicked satanic superior who took me out of seminary work. My job now is to go out to the streets and find out why there are no youth meeting in my parish and hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ!
    Oh, poor me and my hard luck life in the Catholic Church (sarcasm). Why doesn’t Pope Francis punish the Jesuits and force them to say the Tridentine Mass! Yeah, tell that stupid Pope to do his job right! Make those liberal nuns put on a full length, black wool, habit with a wimple and if they won’t do it kick them in their holy arse or lock them in a room till they make 10 CD’s in Gregorian Chant! Yes, that will teach those damn dissenting liberal nuns who have never suffered the persecution of the Novus Ordo Church!
    Please do yourself a favor and calm down till reason prevails. Yes, the Franciscans are in crisis. No, it’s not fair to them. Yes, there are plenty of mediocre people in ministry who don’t deserve to have it as easy as they do. However, I seriously doubt that Pope Francis is either that pathetically stupid or that monstrously cold-hearted to not care about their problems. I doubt that he is blindly uninformed and careless to not be kept abreast of what Fr. Volpi is doing. And I trust that there are details the Pope knows about which we do not.
    As for Rorate Caeli, their idea of the end of the world is that some of the Friars are prohibited from saying the Tridentine Mass. Oh please! There are nuns who are kidnapped in Syria and only God knows what their captors are doing to them or what is happening to them. In fact, there are people everywhere with very serious problems and Rorate is screaming about whether Summorum Pontificum is being obeyed by Pope Francis.
    That is really rich. It is no wonder that so many see Rorate as nothing else than a blog of wannabe Christians whose every idea is rife with scorn and disdain for the Novus Ordo.
    And their recounting of this Franciscan problem is getting more soap opera-ish, drama queen-ish, and amateurish by the minute. God bless, Fr. Angel

  38. Cavaliere says:

    A very nice letter Fr. Sotelo and the same advice could be written to many others outside the clergy.