You will remember the hang-wringing and anxiety prompted by the restrictions on the use of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum placed on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate by the Congregation for Religious.
Reminder: The friars had been using the Usus Antiquior a great deal. A minority didn’t like that. They squealed to the Holy See. The Congregation imposed a Apostolic “Commissar” and restricted the friars right to use the older form, because the older form had become a point of division. That’s the basic sketch.
In a time when Pope Francis is calling for a less “clerical” attitude toward lay people, the Congregation’s move was deeply insensitive to the lay people who frequented the Masses celebrated by the friars. As a result, I suspect that the Apostolic “Commissar” will grant lots of permissions to the friars once things settle down.
I have news about positive developments.
First, the Apostolic “Commissar” granted permission to the friar who is chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate in Lanherne, England. Also, a permission was granted at the pilgrimage site at Campocavallo, Italy.
Also, a reliable source passed along to me (and I don’t have a way to verify this from a second source, so … take it as it is), that the restrictions on the use of the Usus Antiquior, established by the Congregation’s decree, were desired by Pope Francis to assure that:
1) there is no compulsion to use the Usus Antiquior;
2) this choice of the Usus Antiquior is not motivated by an ideological rejection of the Novus Ordo.
The Pope’s moves were not motivated by any animus against the Usus Antiquior. He is not against Benedict XVI’s legislation. Francis desires, once the above-mentioned conditions are verified, that permissions be granted to the friars who request to use also the Usus Antiquior. These points were made by the Holy Father to “a high-ranking Prelate in a recent personal conversation.”
I can only guess at the name of the Prelate.
So, if any of you are still out there on the ledge ready to thrown yourselves off to the pavement far below, breathe deeply and crawl back in through the window. You are going to be okay. It’s all going to be okay. As I have been saying all along, Francis is not going to abolish Benedict XVI’s provisions in Summorum Pontificum.
UPDATE 25 August:
I received a note today that helps with additional information (edited):
The friars near Binghamton, NY received permission to continue offering the Extraordinary Form in a parish. This has been a highly attended TLM in the area. An FFI priest will celebrate a Missa Cantata today. [Sunday]
The word is that after 30 August things will become clearer. Obviously neither the Decree nor Fr. Fidenzio are against the Extraordinary Form, since permissions have already been granted ad experimentum until 30 August.