I direct the readership’s attention to a post by my friend Fr. Ray Blake, the great PP of Brighton. He makes a great point about the Holy See’s treatment of the LCWR and treatment given to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.
Here is an excerpt, and you can read the whole thing there. We enter in medias res with my “art”:
Perhaps it is best illustrated by the different responses to LCWR and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the former initiated under Benedict and the latter under Francis.
The action against the LCWR has been one of ongoing dialogue, a clear statement of the problems, a firm but patient determination on the part of the Vatican to draw the American religious back into the life of the Church, even if the sisters flail around refusing to dialogue the Holy See still continues making its requests, gently increasing pressure on them, whilst ast the same time leaving them, the Leadership Conference free to do what it wants, whilst the vast majority of American women religious are completely unaffected.
The way in which the Franciscans of the Immaculate are being dealt with is in complete contrast, the Vatican Commissar has taken complete control over every aspect of the lives of individuals from novices to the founder. No one actually seems to know quite what the problem is, there are no clear complaints, except for ‘tendencies’ which frankly could mean anything. Their problems after all these months seem to be ‘thought crimes’. In contrast to Fr Volpi’s declining Capuchins or the LCWR the FFI’s were growing, were young, were faithful. Now the same terror is being applied to their female branch, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate.
The LCWR have ‘moved beyond Jesus’, the FFI seem just be marginally a little too trad , yet the velvet Benedictine glove is applied to the former and the iron fist of Francis to the latter. The way in which the LCWR is being dealt with promotes growth and inclusion whereas the way Fr Volpi is dealing with the FFIs seems destructive and violent. Whilst Francis continues to grow in popularity in the secular media I detect growing fears amongst many that the hand on the tiller of the bark of Peter is just too firm, too South American, with too much determination for change for the sake of change. Far from a papacy that is small poor and humble Francis’ is as big as any of the past.