Charges dropped against founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

You all will remember the plight of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI). They have been under the heavy boot of the Congregation for Religious for a long time now.

In the horrid mix were also awful allegations that had been made against the founder of the FFIs, Fr. Stefano Manelli.

I just read a story which says that all the allegations and charges against him have been investigated by civil authorities and shelved by civil authorities. They dropped it. HERE

Now it remains to be seen whether or not the Congregation will in any way change its tune, or whether they will continue to make of the FFIs an example to take the heart out of traditionalists, Catholics driven mercilessly by libs to the peripheries.

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17 Responses to Charges dropped against founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

  1. robtbrown says:

    My understanding is that Fr Angelo Geiger and Fr Peter Damian Fehlner, two of the original five who requested Roman intervention, have returned to the Conventual Friars.

    Both are very good men. I heard Fr Fehlner preach a few years ago at the Marian Shrine in LaCrosse, WI, and he was superb. Superb. From what I’ve been told, they wanted the edge taken off some of the Traditionalists in the FFI. After their initial request Francis was elected, and Cardinal Braz de Aviz saw an opening. Some problems needed pruning, but a Trimmers’ Guillotine was used, and a flourishing tree was damaged.

    Some time ago Fr Geiger said he had on good authority that the rumors about Fr Volpi’s very bad health were incorrect. A month later Fr Volpi was dead.

  2. Sword40 says:

    They may have been “very good” priests but look what happened as a result of their dissatisfaction.

    The “can of worms” was opened and an evil action took place. Sort of gives me a case of distrust toward the Vatican. What is the future of the FSSP or the other traditional societies? This kind of makes the SSPX look pretty good.

    Still praying for a “Just” outcome.

  3. robtbrown says:

    Sword40,

    The FFI has not been a Traditionalist order. The founder was trying to move it in that direction and certain priests, probably neo cons, objected.

    I said that the request for an intervention was made during BXVI’s papacy. No one thought BXVI would resign–or be succeeded by Francis.

    Braz de Aviz created a mess. The irony is there were priests whose request gave him the opportunity then left the FFI.

  4. asburyfox says:

    If Fr. Geiger and the other 5 didn’t like the FFI moving towards tradition, in theology and a more exclusive use of the TLM, they should have left the order at that time. But because of the complaint of merely five friars including Fr. Geiger, the FFI was essentially destroyed. A traditional order were the vast majority of friars were happy and content completely destroyed and dismantled. After this destruction, Fr. Geiger leaves anyways. What a disgrace.

  5. robtbrown says:

    asburyfox says:

    If Fr. Geiger and the other 5 didn’t like the FFI moving towards tradition, in theology and a more exclusive use of the TLM, they should have left the order at that time. But because of the complaint of merely five friars including Fr. Geiger, the FFI was essentially destroyed. A traditional order were the vast majority of friars were happy and content completely destroyed and dismantled. After this destruction, Fr. Geiger leaves anyways. What a disgrace.

    The FFI was not founded as a “traditional” religious order. It was founded as a neo-con order.

  6. cl00bie says:

    The monastery near us, is flourishing. They have always been faithful sons of the Church, and I can attend either Extraordinary or and extraordinarily beautiful Ordinary form of the Latin Rite there.

  7. acricketchirps says:

    I don’t think the expression neo-con, used as a noun and an adjective in these comments, really communicates any useful information–unless without my knowledge “neo-con” has become an ecclesial term of art.

  8. asburyfox says:

    robtbrown,

    If Summorum Pontificum had been around in the 70’s, the order would have been founded as a traditional order with exclusive TLM use.

    The fact is that the order was moving towards exclusive use of the TLM. The friars were content with Fr. Manelli and the direction of the FFI. They were all happy with the drift towards tradition. Except for Fr. Geiger and the five. Fr. Manelli as superior, along with his leadership council, and the friars of the order had the right to decide for themselves the direction of the order. If Fr. Geiger didn’t like the changes or direction, he was free to leave. Instead his actions led to the destruction of the order.

  9. Joseph-Mary says:

    It is a shame that a civil court must determine the innocence of a cleric but that was what was needed here. One day the FFI will rise again and bloom as never before with its holy and unique charism completely restored. This is not the day however. For now those who are left must pray and wait and trust in the Immaculate and her Divine Son who will bring good out of the evil that has been inflicted.

  10. Nan says:

    robtbrown, you missed out. Fr Peter is a wonderful confessor.

  11. robtbrown says:

    asburyfox says:

    If Summorum Pontificum had been around in the 70’s, the order would have been founded as a traditional order with exclusive TLM use.

    Were If’s and But’s candy and nuts . . .

    I have great sympathy with their inclination toward the 1962 Missal, but the lack of a consensus made for organizational problems. And keep in mind that those groups that exclusively use it are under the Ecclesia Dei Commission, not the Congregation of Religious.

    I do think, however, that the effect of Amoris Laetitia on Catholic neo-Conservatism will be considerable.

  12. robtbrown says:

    Nan says:

    robtbrown, you missed out. Fr Peter is a wonderful confessor.

    I went to Confession at the Shrine, but he wasn’t in the box.

  13. asburyfox says:

    robtbrown,
    There was consesus in the FFI. 5 or 10 disgruntled friars did not change this fact. Less than a dozen friars do not dictate the direction of an order where there was consensus in the majority. We are talking about the leadership and the vast majority of friars being in agreement. There was absolute consensus. So a couple of individuals took it upon themselves to destroy the order and consensus among the friars.

  14. gaudete says:

    Can we please seperate three things here?
    1) some – not all – charges have been dropped. As the link explains, those criminal charges regarding moral misconduct in the sense of commandments 6 and 9 have obviously been dropped;
    2) not dropped if I read the news correctly are the financial charges and respective civil and penal investigations (regarding the accusations the founder had written over all FFI property and rights to relatives of his outside the FFI;
    3) both above mentioned points have in principle nothing to do with the spiritual decision to change the way liturgy is celebrated. Only if that was done to flee from the competence of the Congregation for Religious and their investigations as to 1)+2) and to hide under Ecclesia Dei’s wings, then that would matter here. And then the objection of those few brothers should not be dismissed lightly assuming it was based on merely liturgical grounds.

  15. robtbrown says:

    asburyfox,

    Huh?

    Vast majority is not even a consensus, much less an absolute one–especially when some veteran priests disagree with the policy.

    Once again: The FFI is not under Ecclesia Dei. Even with it being under the Cong of Religion, there would likely have been more just outcome if BXVI were still pope. The strategy of this papacy seems to be to keep the 1962 Missal away from non Ecclesia Dei groups.

    I do think that any of the priests who initiated the request (1) for intervention, then left, remind me of the 1970s liberals who pushed for changes in their orders, then became laymen.

    (1) Fr Fehlner is the only one I am certain who left. I have heard that about Fr Geiger but have seen no proof.

  16. asburyfox says:

    And keep in mind that those groups that exclusively use it are under the Ecclesia Dei Commission, not the Congregation of Religious.

    That policy itself is wrong and illegal. Summorum Pontificum stated that the old rite was never abrogated and always allowed. Therefore, the use of the old rite and sacraments is the right of all Latin rite priests in the universal Church. Cannot be quarantined to Ecclesia Dei.

  17. robtbrown says:


    That policy itself is wrong and illegal. Summorum Pontificum stated that the old rite was never abrogated and always allowed. Therefore, the use of the old rite and sacraments is the right of all Latin rite priests in the universal Church. Cannot be quarantined to Ecclesia Dei.

    Whether or not what you say it true, it is about as effective as a dog howling at the moon. The pope is the highest tribunal. There is no appeal above the pope.

    What we have is a clash of rights: The right of a priest to use the 1962 Missal vs the jurisdiction of a diocesan bishop or the pope over liturgy.

    Re Ecclesia Dei:

    By virtue of the faculties granted by the Supreme Pontiffs, the Pontifical Commission exercises the authority of the Holy See over various institutes and religious communities which it has erected which have as their “proper Rite” the “extraordinary form” of the Roman Rite and observe the previous traditions of the religious life.