Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate news

I had placed this entry under password protection after urgent pleas from someone in the FFIs.

Enough of the news is out and around now so I am putting back into public view.

The goal of the group of Friars who are presenting the petition is to have the Extraordinary Form as their preferred mode of celebrating and administering the sacraments without closing the door on the Ordinary Form.  In other words they want to use both forms of Roman Rite.  However, in parishes it will probably wind up that most of their Masses are in the Novus Ordo, simply because of the circumstances of those parishes.  Because their liturgical life and many of the other aspects of their religious life are strongly “pre-Conciliar”, they will be guided by the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“, which dicastery has competence.

I am sure that you will join me in praying for swift and positive reception of their petition.


ORIGINAL POST Published on: Oct 23, 2013

Since I am in Rome as I write, I was earnestly asked, implored, to post a prayer request.

I was informed that some 200 members of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have petitioned the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” this week to establish a separate institute which would use the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Good idea or not, I suspected that something like this was bound to happen.  The divide seemed pretty deep and the conviction of those who desire the older forms is a powerful motivation.

A lot of prayers are needed if such a thing is to take place, and a lot of elbow grease.  This is a new era.  I suspect that there will be resistance in the Congregation for Religious.  No band of traditional-leaning worker bees, they.  Who knows how Pope Francis will take this, given that he had some involvement in the imposition of an overseer for the Friars while they were having their internal fights.  If a very large percentage want to have their own branch of the Friars, wouldn’t that be persuasive that there was a misstep?

This is also what results when communities can’t resolve their internal problems: fracture, which is sad but sometimes good in the long run.

So, stop and say a prayer or two.  Perhaps the St. Michael Prayer and the Memorare.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. q7swallows says:

    Done. With the kids.
    And will continue.
    Admittedly, as lovers of the EF, our sympathies are with the FFI petitioners.

  2. Dorothy says:

    Thank you for this news, Father. I’m not at all surprised. Ever since the announcement of the commisariamento, I have been praying for the situation to be resolved in accordance with the Lord’s will, for the good of the Church and of souls. I will continue to pray most earnestly.

  3. wolfeken says:


    So, will all of the Head-In-Sand types, who in July and August said that the TLM ban was necessary for unity within the order, finally realize the lunacy of the pope’s ban?

    First they said the TLM opponents in the order were a majority, and that was revealed to be grossly wrong. Then they said the pope had nothing to do with the ban on the TLM, and that was revealed to be wrong. Then they said that the pope’s ban would be great for discipline and unity within the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

    So far, I don’t think traditionalists have been wrong about much since March. Just sayin’….

    [So, do you think you will pray for a positive outcome to this petition?]

  4. LA says:

    What a lio!

  5. wolfeken says:

    I will absolutely pray for 1) a positive outcome; and 2) for my center-right friends to stop acting like shady defense attorneys for every crazy action and word we have seen come out of Rome since March.

  6. I had to revise the number upward from 150 to 200.

  7. Choirmaster says:

    Well said, wolfeken, I was thinking much the same thing.

    This situation reminds me of the bishops who would “implement Ecclesia dei adflicta now that Summorum pontificum is in effect.”

    I personally do not believe this is the right solution. The Pope Emeritus was clear, in his letter to the world’s bishops, that his type of division is the opposite of the intent of the Holy Father and the motu proprio. We have abandoned, in less than a decade, the goal of unity, a unity which begins simply within the Roman Catholic Church. We have gone in reverse of the paradigm that no priest [otherwise unimpeded] need permission from anyone to celebrate the sacraments according to the Extraordinary Form.

  8. Choirmaster says:

    And, yes, I will pray for a good result. One in which the FFI stay together and the two forms of the Roman Rite can coexist in the manner proposed by Pope Benedict XVI.

  9. Joseph-Mary says:

    We shall see how this goes. Those faithful to the founders are being sent out all over the place–exiled, some could say.

  10. rbbadger says:

    It’s all terribly sad to see. I will pray for a good result.

  11. lucy says:

    I have a question about this matter in general. I’ve been wondering a long while now why Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote SP. I love it, don’t me wrong. But, being an intellectual, he knew that division would occur. I have to wonder why. I hope you can shed some light on my question, Fr. Z.

  12. Choirmaster says:

    On second thought, now that I’ve read my last post over and had time to reconsider, maybe the “separate institute” is a good idea.

    After all, any idea where I have to suggest something like “coexist” can’t be good!

    There seem to be two schools of thought among us traditionally-minded Catholics: the first is one of separate structures (parishes, schools, seminaries, and prelatures) that are dedicated exclusively to the pre-conciliar forms and formulas, the other is one of mixture and diversity where the pre-conciliar forms and formulas are available simply as “another form” from your average local parish in your ordinary territorial diocese.

    Theoretically, I believe in the latter, where the Church is simply the Church (in it’s local, visible forms) and life goes on while the EF is available as a matter of course. Practically, I am beginning to come around to the idea that it may, indeed, be better to have all of those distinct structures in-place and functioning, albeit prolific enough to be available to the vast majority of Catholics. In this case we see what a risk it is to the EF to treat it as an option available among many within a particular institution, whereas we perceive less risk of fighting, trouble, resistance, or altogether loss of the EF where it exists as an official charism of a particular institution.

    God’s will be done, but maybe this “separate institute” is the way to go. Just as the Novus Ordo would not be “allowed” within a hypothetical new “FFI Institute of the EF”, so the Vetus Ordo is not permitted within the FFI at large.

    However, what I am worried about in this latter scenario, I would expect the Novus Ordo silly-side of the Church to “die on the vine” while the “hard-identity” wing, complete with canonical structures in place, would persist and even flourish. While this would mean my “side” wins, I would much rather it wasn’t a contest and there were no losers.

  13. theophilus says:

    I am pretty certain it will not be granted. …. and then what

  14. OrthodoxChick says:

    Prayers said. We have the FFI in Griswold. It’s not close enough to me to be able to become my regular parish, but it’s also not so far from my home that it would prevent me from getting there from time to time in order to be supportive of them. I would love to be able to attend the EF there.

  15. anilwang says:

    Choirmaster says: “The Pope Emeritus was clear…that his type of division is the opposite of the intent of the Holy Father and the motu proprio.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately the Church has missed an opportunity to fully implement Pope Benedict XVI’s vision of elevating the typical NO to the point where those faithful to the EF wouldn’t mind going to a typical NO mass and people who attend the NO would not mind going to an EF mass once they got over the issue of Latin. If that were to happen, then the war against the EF would not have happened, and the resistance to the point of breaking off would not have happened.

    As it stands now, the Protestantized version of the NO is the expected nor and any priest that tries to do the NO the way Vatican II actually intended will likely face more resistance than he would have just gone with the EF. At least with the EF, the “enemies” are on the outside and are from the left. With a true Vatican II NO, the “enemies” are outside in both the right and left and from some in the parish itself.

    I am and will definitely pray for the friars, but I’ll also pray for wisdom on the part of Pope Francis to read and try to understand Cardinal Ratzinger’s book “The Spirit of the Liturgy”. If he does, he’ll see that a lot of the themes he harps on about WRT, “the church being closed in on itself”, “sacristy Catholics”, “clericalism”, “humility”, and “the culture of the temporary” are core aspects of the EF (and to a lesser extend a reverant NO) specifically addressed by Cardinal Ratzinger and that a key way to achieve what he says he desires is to continue the “reform of the reform”.

  16. theophilus says:


    I dont think Pope Benedict foresaw division. He sincerely believed they could live side by side where the ordinary was more common. The Greek Orthodox also have the divine liturgy of St John on most feasts, and then a few using that of St Basil. They are not in competition. The are forever part of the Deposit. When as Card Ratzinger he visited, I think the Canons Regular of St John Cantius?, he remarked with joy that there were societies which used both.

  17. boko fittleworth says:

    200 members of the FFI? Out of how many?

  18. theophilus says:

    Fr Z says:
    If a very large percentage want to have their own branch of the Friars, wouldn’t that be persuasive that there was a misstep?

    Or it could be looked at in the opposite light. That these people are so extreme they want nothing to do with the NO. It has not even been six months. So this kind of reaction may confirm the perception of rigidity.

  19. Legisperitus says:

    boko fittleworth: According to Wikipedia there about 400 professed members of the FFI.

  20. Legisperitus says:

    … “are,” obviously.

  21. Robbie says:

    This is a sad situation. The Vatican should never have taken these rash and harsh actions. Stripping the FFI from the ability to say the TLM was a direct contradiction of SP. If a few whiney members of the FFI didn’t want to say the TLM, then they should have been allowed to say the NO. Regardless, the FFI should not have been barred from saying the TLM.

    Early in the process, it was noted this likely had more to do with Cardinal Aviz than the Pope. That may be the case, but the Pope still followed the flawed advice (my view) of the Cardinal and moved in a way that, regrettably, seemed to confirm the fears of many on the right. Whether the Pope dislikes the TLM or not, he should realize his decision has created dissention. It seems a stretch to me the Pope can expand the Church to the peripheries while the base is in question.

    This situation can be rectified very easily, though. All the Pope need do is say the FFI is free once again to say the TLM. As yet, he hasn’t and it certainly makes one wonder why.

  22. LadyMarchmain says:


  23. With as much respect as I can summon for the Chair of St. Peter’s sake, the decision of Pope Francis to countermand, at least informally, Pope Benedict’s motu proprio in the case of the Franciscan Friars regarding the right of every Priest of the Latin Church to say Mass according to both Forms proper to his Rite is a travesty and is the real cause of this potential division. I will pray ardently for an amicable solution to the current threat of a split, but I will pray that the Lord’s will be done in that solution all the more, and the Lord’s will as expressed in immemorial sacred Tradition and witnessed to in the Magisterial document of the previous Holy Father is that every Latin Priest be allowed in justice to offer the organic and ancient Form of the Roman Rite, our patrimony and our legacy for all generations. The really interesting outcome, as someone on this thread already mentioned, would be if Rome and all her Congregations turn a cold shoulder to the over half of the FFI who are initiating this move. The injustice of such an outcome would only add to the already-existent perversion of sacred Tradition and the Magisterium that the decision to delimit the use of the ‘Vetus Ordo.’ Heaven help us, really, when legitimate authority wields their power to destroy, rather than preserve, sacred Tradition.

    Oh, and Lucy, the primary, driving reason why Pope Benedict wrote Summorum Pontificum is because *he was compelled in conscience* to acknowledge *the objective and inalienable licity* of the the Missal of John XXIII. His motu proprio is more than merely a canonical solution; it represents an admission of the inviolability of sacred Tradition, and the place of the sacred Liturgy as being as it were the beating heart of Tradition, it’s summit and highest expression. You can really see this angle in his writings as Cardinal Ratzinger, especially in ‘Spirit of the Liturgy,’ which he wrote only about five years prior to ascending to the Apostolic See as Pope of Rome. Implicitly present in this acknowledgement of a previously existent fact about the traditional, organic Liturgy of the Church of Rome is a certain tentative admission that mistakes were made in the process of the Pauline Reforms under Paul VI. This is due to the fact that when one reads the documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially Sacrosanctum Concilium, one thing stands out as incontrovertibly true: the Council did not mandate, and did not even hint at, the creation of two Forms of the Roman Rite. What the Council *did* suggest was that the Reform of the Roman Rite which *had already been occurring under the Roman Pontiffs between St. Pius X and Bl. John XXIII* should be quickened in pace and continued for the good of all the hearers. Paul VI’s pontificate, therefore, should have seen conservative, traditional reforms along the lines of those already suggested or done by Pius XII and Bl. John XXIII; instead, as Benedict XVI has borne witness to, the fact of the matter is that he created a new Form of the Roman Rite, displacing the Old with the New and creating a de facto culture in the Latin Church which despised the Old Form, all but eliminating it, and replacing it with the New Form almost entirely. All of these issues can be seen in Cardinal Ratzinger’s works; I would highly recommend purchasing ‘Spirit of the Liturgy’ especially and reading it through. That should give you some valuable insight into Benedict’s thinking, which led to SP.

  24. While I will pray for a peaceful solution to this crisis (and get my community to pray too) may I point out that one could say of Franciscans what Brendan Behan said of Irish Republicanism “The first thing on the agenda is the split”. The Franciscan family has more branches than any other religious order because there were always reforms and splits. Up until Leo XIII and the Union of 1897 there were scores of Franciscans and even now we have OFM, OFM Conv, OFM Cap, TOR, Friars of the Renewal, of the Immaculate…. There’s a branch of Capuchins associated with the SSPX and if you visit Assisi often enough you’re sure to run into some the many reform groups that come and go. We are always arguing about something. In the late Middle Ages it was poverty. Today it’s tradition.

    I hope this does not put people off from discovering the beauty of the EF.

  25. Geoffrey says:

    “And, yes, I will pray for a good result. One in which the FFI stay together and the two forms of the Roman Rite can coexist in the manner proposed by Pope Benedict XVI.”

    I too, pray for this outcome. The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite must not have a “ghetto” existence.

  26. Fr_Sotelo says:

    The devil must be so happy to see such division in such a good group devoted to Our Lady. Only she can obtain miracles of unity for them.

  27. Joseph-Mary says:

    The Order did offer both forms of the Holy Sacrifice but the EF was to be the Mass of predilection; and the OF was not outlawed. That was not good enough for some who never wished to offer the EF. Things should have gone differently though—like through the general council next year. Now we come to this suggested split where it might be one or the other instead a both/and situation. Those who wish to follow the founders will go one way and those who want to have it their way will go another. As brother mentioned, there are many branches on the Franciscan tree and it started in the time of St. Francis.

  28. RJHighland says:

    This is not surprising to me. Once you start regularly assisting in the TLM not only on Sundays but in daily mass and you start craving a deeper faith than can be offered in a Novus Ordo Parish, it is nearly a different religion. For these friars that started celebrating the TLM daily more than likely started seeking the older breveris and yerning for the old ways. It is vertually impossible to leave the TLM and go back to a Novus Ordo parish or a Novus Ordo mentality. In my area they are nearly two completely different mindsets in worshiip and way of living the faith. If Pope Benedict XVI was the Pope of Unity what shall we call Pope Francis. Pope Benedict’s hope was that the old ways would rub off on the Novus Ordo I fear Pope Francis is kicking traditionalist back to the back of the bus and does not want the old ways to be implamented in the Novus Ordo. I pray for these brothers who have fallen in love with the old ways they are experiencing what traditionalists delt with when the Novus Ordo was forced upon our ancesters.

  29. James Joseph says:

    None of this stuff makes sense given the devotion that St. Francis himself had to the holy Eucharist and rubrics, and gold and silver and silk, and everything else beautiful and dignified.

  30. RJHighland says:

    One other thought. I would think they should be allowed to split. It would be a great test of which branch bares fruit and which one whithers. If their are 400 brothers and it seams a pretty even split this would be a perfect baring fruit test. The fruit being the one that draws the most vocations over the next several years. Divy up the chapels/parishes evenly and let it roll.

  31. robtbrown says:

    Fr Sotelo,

    In so far as this was inevitable with vernacular liturgy and Paul VI promulgating not merely a new missal but a new rite, the Devil’s happiness goes back more than 40 years.

  32. robtbrown says:


    1. You say you are “pretty certain it will not be granted”. Why?

    2. If you don’t think Benedict foresaw division, then you don’t know enough about him. He wanted every parish to have at least one Sunday mass using the 1962 Missal every week. But he was very aware of the situation throughout the Church and knew that was not likely to happen.

    3. Why should you or anyone else care about whether someone is perceived as rigid? Where in the catechism is there such a prohibition?

  33. guans says:

    For the sake of His sorrowful passion,
    Have mercy on us and on the whole world.
    Jesus, I trust in You.

  34. Robertlee says:

    I am deeply saddened that the internal discord within the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate has resulted in this request to create yet another Order. I never understood why there were so many different groups within the Franciscan community in the first place. Don’t they all pray to the same God, his Immaculate Mother and support His church? As I write this I become angrier and less saddened.
    This matter could have been so easily resolved. Let parishioners decide how often a Latin mass should be said. Let the presiding priest, in consultation with his friars decide this for each friary, Rome should not dictate that a Latin mass MUST be said or MUST NOT be said. Surely, the church has more important issues that require attention.

  35. Elizabeth D says:

    Yikes. Yes I’ll pray for that. I have no doubt that the restrictions were an extraordinarily poor way to deal with the situation. And do they not understand that exiling some leading friars to various places was not constructive? I would imagine that led some friars on the fence to take sides with the more traditional group. It is really sad and difficult to understand how it was handled. I would love to have these friars in my local area–either the more traditional ones or the Novus Ordo only ones. But it would be especially lovely to have the traditional ones. A traditionalist Franciscan community in my diocese has thus far failed to get off the ground.

  36. disco says:

    According to Wikipedia they only have 305 friars, so if two-thirds want the Extraordinary Form bad enough to secede, why did it come to this in the first place?

  37. Geoffrey says:

    “Once you start regularly assisting in the TLM not only on Sundays but in daily mass and you start craving a deeper faith than can be offered in a Novus Ordo Parish, it is nearly a different religion.”

    Not for everyone. Learning about the extraordinary form made me see the ordinary form in a different (better) way. Mass is Mass.

  38. Phil_NL says:


    I do think (cannot prove, but that’s the nature of these things) that more is at stake here than simply a OF vs EF dispute. It pretty much has to be a leadership issue as well, all we do know points in that direction.
    First of all, the amazing speed – certainly by Vatican standards – at which an administrator was named. If it was just a form-of-Mass issue, his Holiness could simply have told the superior of the FFI how he wanted to have the problem solved and be done with it. Clearly, that was not an option, and that such an internal issue should make its way to the Holy Father is already a red warning light that the governance of the FFI can’t have been smooth.
    Secondly, the petition for a new organization. That’s pretty much the nuclear option, as I daresay that is most likely the most extreme course of action many of the FFI’s members will regard as consistent with their vows. Now if it were just about the EF, then Pope Francis’administrator would be the place to go. He’d be well advised to give this serious thought; it seems over half the FFI (and probably more, given that that’s the level of support for a more radical option) would welcome such a move. Moreover, should he deny it, one can be quite sure that it would be done only after consultation with the Holy Father, who would then almost surely come to the same conclusion would there be any ‘appeal ‘. The only reason I see to try to sidestep the governance of the FFI is such a way would be that there is a near irreconsible breakdown of trust in the leadership of the friars.

    Of course, I’m just reading tea leaves, and may be doing it wrongly, but every time I read about this issue, I’m strengthened in my conclusion that the ruckus within the FFI over the form of Mass is a manifestation of a deeper issue, and not the prime cause of the mess.

  39. Fool_for_Christ says:

    Although my contact with the FFIs is limited, what little I know might be helpful in this discussion. First, it seems to me that the biggest blow for many of the members of the FFI was the removal of their Founders. One article I saw used the analogy of “decapitation”. So the ones faithful to the Founders, especially the younger vocations, sort of became orphaned in July. So the abrupt removal of the Founders, their Council and all of the regional Superiors, not to mention formation directors and professors, has been an ongoing lightning storm for the FFI.

    Second, the group that is presently petitioning Ecclesia Dei is not asking for an exclusive use of the 1962 Missal, but a preferential one in pastoral situations (so both forms of the Roman rite – EF and NO, but preferring the EF where possible and appropriate) and exclusive use of the EF in terms of the daily conventual Mass and the Divine Office of the communities. Clearly these friars have grasped the importance of “Save the Liturgy, save the world!” I would presume that the Founders signed the petition – so these are friars who want both their Founders and the EF back.

    The two community solution strikes me as a true remedy. Both groups could move on in peace. I remember one FFI seminarian, now a priest, telling me a few years ago how in one of their houses they used to divide into two groups to pray the Divine Office (EF in one place and NO in another). While Liturgy may not have been the only threat to unity, certainly this is what precipitated the division. As I see it, the embracing of Summorum pontificum (one Roman rite with two forms) can be done in one of two ways as a community:
    1) preference for the NO (conventual Mass/Office) or
    2) preference for the EF (conventual Mass/Office)

    I know friars on both sides of the coin, holy men, and can honestly say that none of the FFIs are modernists (like the LCWR), and none of them are traditionalists (like the SSPX). Actually, the FFIs tend to be a pain in the neck to both the modernist and the traditionalist because they stick with the Church, even when it is difficult.

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  41. rssalazar says:

    I pray for the unity of Holy Mother Church. I pray for the Friars! I pray for the Holy Father.

  42. Carolan says:


    With respect to the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and that of St. Basil, the situation in the Orthodox Church is somewhat different. Both these liturgies are used by all Orthodox and they do not differ from one another so drastically as do the NO and the TLM. Except for the anaphora, they are identical except that the Liturgy of St. John is slightly shortened for daily use. This liturgy is used on most Sundays and weekdays. The Liturgy of St. Basil is used 10 times during the year: January 1 (the feast of St. Basil), the first five Sundays in Lent, Holy Thursday, Holy Saturday, Christmas Eve, and the eve of the Epiphany (unless Christmas or Epiphany falls on Sunday or Monday. The musical settings may vary from one another depending on the Orthodox jurisdiction, i.e., Greek or other Byzantine, Russian or other Slavonic, etc.; but these liturgies are used by all the various Orthodox groups.

    There is a story among the Russian Orthodox that Vladimir the Great while still a pagan, sought to know which was the true religion and sent his envoys to various countries to observe their religious practices. After visiting many, they journeyed to Constantinople and attended the Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Holy Wisdom or Hagia Sophia (about to be turned into a mosque by the way). Upon returning and relating their experience they are said to have told Vladimir that they “knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth…”

    And we have Marty Haugen!

  43. sw85 says:

    I will of course pray for their success.

    This is actually kind of a brilliant move on the friars’ part. The reason given for the intervention was that it was necessary to resolve a disciplinary issue internal to the FFI and to protect the minority of friars who didn’t want the EF foisted on them. If that’s true then a new congregation for the EF-lovers is the way to go, it makes all parties happy, in which case the Vatican has no choice but to approve it. If it’s not true then the Vatican’s refusal will be seen as an acknowledgment that the reason given for the intervention was, in fact, specious and that what was intended was an actual attack on the EF as such.

    This is not to say of course that the friars *intend* to put the Vatican in this position, but that will certainly be the effect.

  44. Deacon Augustine says:

    This makes me wonder whatever happened to that survey they were supposed to have conducted among all the members of the FFI. Wouldn’t that have revealed how many had a preference for the EF if it had been conducted in an open and unbiased manner? Wouldn’t that have spared the Holy Father yet another cause for embarrassment? Instead the instigators of this whole debacle among the rebels and in the curia now make the Holy Father appear to be a cause of disunity rather than its healer.

    It is such a pity that this has now descended to a question of “either/or” rather than “both/and”, and is indicative of gross mishandling within organs of the Holy See. [The new petition seems to be precisely about “both/and”, not “either/or”.] Other orders such as the Oratorians have shown that it is perfectly possible to have reverent devotion to both the OF and EF within the same institute. Surely this is the intent of SP and is reflective of a truly Catholic approach to the issue – an approach which is truly inclusive and not ideological?

    I hope that the Pope can get rid of these ideologues in the curia who want to foment division in the Body of Christ. He needs some real liberals in there who are prepared to see the flourishing of everything that is good, whether it fits with their personal ideology or not.

  45. Deacon Augustine says:

    Yes, Fr. Z, the new petition does seem to be about “both/and”, but the authoritarian interventions so far seem to have favoured the minority who wanted “my way or the highway”. It is ludicrous that a larger group should have to petition to be allowed to split away in order to find the more Catholic solution. The rebels should not have been allowed to impose their ideology on the rest in the first place. If they felt that strongly about it, they should have left and formed their own community rather than seeking to achieve a Vatican-sponsored coup d’etat.

    I obviously wish the petitioners well and will pray for their success, but the whole thing seems bass-ackwards to me. May the God who writes straight with crooked lines sort it all out for everybody concerned!

  46. jjoy says:

    I will keep the FFI in my prayers.

    The Franciscans have a long history of splitting off into different groupings. This still reminds me of the old joke about what are the two things the Pope doesn’t know? Answer: How many orders of Franciscans there are, and what’s in the mind of a Jesuit…..

  47. The Cobbler says:

    Well, Pope Francis already knows what’s in the mind of one Jesuit (his own), so if intervening in the FFI helps him keep track of how many orders of Franciscans there are…

  48. If there is a split, it will be interesting to see where all the FFIs in the US go. Or where Fr. Stefano Manelli would go??

  49. irish-italian mom says:

    I am praying everyday for this wonderful Order.

    I think it would behoove everyone to remember that Pope Francis is not necessarily surrounded by friends in the Vatican, even though he keeps a smile on his face.

    I have some inside information. In the beginnings of the FFI, Pope John Paul II was having breakfast with a friend, (I think, if I recall correctly, she may have been a journalist); and she asked him, “Why are you suppressing that new, holy Franciscan Order?” Pope JPII said, “What Order?” She said, “The Franciscans of the Immaculate are being suppressed by the Vatican.” He picked up the phone and called Fr. Manelli and met with him and removed the ban. That was the birth of the Order.

    Pope Francis may not know that the rebel group in the Order did not have the numbers to oust Fr. Manelli and his General Council in the normal way (a General Chapter or an Extraordinary General Chapter). They knew the above story (everyone who is close to the FFI knows this story), and so they basically used it against him and the legitimate leaders of the FFI by going to his enemies in the Vatican. They were immediately given the power to do the damage they have done thus far. It is quite possible that Pope Francis does not even know fully what is going on behind his back. This is often the case with any big organization. I think it would be wise for everyone who is criticizing our Holy Father (not necessarily anyone on this blog, but others who do so elsewhere) to stop it and to PRAY for him to be guided by the Holy Spirit in his decision for this Order.

    It is Fr. Manelli’s leadership which is being rebelled against not because of his “style of governance” but because of his priorities: Holiness in the celebration of the Holy Mass first; dedication to prayer by ALL friars, even those who think they are too “busy” for prayer, second; and then, the apostolate, because then the friars will be able to give the people in their care something worthwhile which the world can’t give. That is the crux of the problem here. The rebels want to put the apostolate first and Fr. Manelli and his General Council (which has been unfairly dismantled) is immovable in their stance that it is GOD who is working in the Order, not Fr. Manelli, not the good guys and not the rebels. If God is put first in the Liturgy and in prayer then the fruit will be a thriving apostolate.

    The rebels were not given the grace nor the mission of founding an Order and therefore they do not have the grace nor the mission to realize what the Holy Spirit is doing here. Fr. Manelli believes that God wants us all (religious and laity alike) to see how our lives will flourish if we put the Liturgy and our prayer life FIRST and everything else second. And this Order has been showing us this by their example.

    My family and I started to know God better by the example of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. At that time, there was only the Novus Ordo Mass, which they celebrated so much more reverently than any parish with which we had been associated. When they started to celebrate the Vetus Ordo, we, at first, felt a little lost because we had never before been exposed to the TLM. But it was what Pope Benedict wanted and that was all Fr. Manelli had to hear. And so we bought missals and got chapel veils and we were amazed at how the TLM grew on us.

    Dietrich von Hildebrand, who some think should be a Doctor of the Church, said that the liturgy forms your personality. I, for one, have borne witness to this fact. I feel much more reverence toward God since attending daily Mass in the EF at the FFI friary. My insights into my sinfulness and my need for a deeper ongoing conversion are becoming more frequent, perhaps due to the times of silence in the Mass where I have time to reflect that up there is GOD ALMIGHTY and back here am I. And actually my whole family has been blessed by the TLM offered by the FFI (which was not offered by any other priest in the area).

    Now all that has changed. This is not to say that the rebels (most of whom I know personally) wanted anything evil. They wanted more converts and they felt that learning the TLM and spending long hours in prayer was a waste of their valuable time which they could spend doing creative evangelization. Creative evangelization is not a bad thing but it was not their call to do away with Fr. Manelli’s and the General Council’s wisdom to put the liturgy and prayer first and leave the flourishing of the apostolate to God. It was not their call and they went in an underhanded way and won the day. But if we all pray that Pope Francis sees this, then we could have our dear FFI, with the TLM and prayer AND apostolate back intact.

    God’s will be done.

  50. Robertlee says:

    It’s no wonder that so many Friars want to leave the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. FFI is in complete chaos. Eponymous Flower reports that two of the best known members of the Order, Father Serafino Lanzetta Mary and Father Paolo Maria Siano were removed from their positions and sent to Austria and Africa respectively. Thank goodness, FFI doesn’t have a friary in Siberia! Meanwhile Father Angelo, one of the early dissidents has been rewarded with a sabbatical to the United Stated followed by returning to Rome to attend school. Nice deal. Father Angelo’s role in all of this troubles me greatly. He is clearly a highly intelligent priest. I listen to his sermons regularly. But yet he was deeply involved in the removal of Father Manelli and his entire management team. In another blog by Taylor Marshall Father Angelo is quoted as saying “that the FIs are sipping from the radical traditionalist cool aid”. Taylor Marshall continues by defining radical traditionalist as someone who believes:
    a) the denial of the Jewish holocaust
    b) the outright denial of Vatican 2 as a valid council
    c) rhetorical style of the Rorate Caeli blog
    d) the embrace of isolationist sub-culture of Catholicism or “Amish Catholicism”
    e) the denial the charismatic gifts and the charistmatic movement
    f) sympathy for the Bp Williamson’s style of traditionalism
    g) disdain for Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis
    h) the belief that Latin Mass Catholics are “A Team” and Novus Ordo Catholics are “B Team”
    i) Gnostic ecclesiology – that “traditionalists” form the one true invisible Catholic Church
    I have requested Father Angelo respond to all of this but he has refused.
    All of this is systematic of the problems in FFI. I wonder what a new survey within the Order would say about current morale. Not very high I assume. Such a survey would probably support the need for a NEW team leading FFI. God Bless the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. God Bless you Father Z.

  51. Nancy D. says:

    I will Pray for our Holy Father Benedict, because the election of pope Francis is not valid. (See page 117 of the book On Heaven and Earth.

  52. Joseph-Mary says:

    Nancy D must be a troll.
    The founders signed the petition which is essentially to be able to continue the direction they were going and to do it in peace and with the blessing of Ecclesia Dei which, in some way, they already had. Morale? The uncertainty and the demotion of those who are sons of the founders is disconcerting and the fallout has started. It actually started even before now as young men who have left the FI went to more traditional Orders because THAT is the direction for renewal in many ways.
    Those that have brought this on had cultivated a dislike of the founders for some time. They are gloating now. Superiors are being removed unless they were a part of those who were not with the founders. The enemy of souls has brought this! Dissent, disobedience, and division are the work of the enemy. And the behind the scenes machinations and loosening of discipline has borne its fruit. The Order will not be the same. It WAS the fastest growing Order because the focus was on the liturgy and the prayer life. Now what?
    There are many holy ones in the Order and now where will they find a home if the petition is not granted? And if it is granted, then how will things split up? Already vocations are backing out and not continuing for the uncertainty is great.

  53. irish-italian mom says:


    I think we have to keep in mind that the devil cannot do anything without God’s permission. Perhaps this whole situation was allowed for the purposes of the purification of the FI. What I mean by that is that Fr. Manelli is very wise and he has known about these rebels for some time. But, in imitation of Jesus, he has given them every opportunity to come around, to be obedient to their legitimate superiors, to be docile to the Holy Spirit, to be humble like Our Lady. He did not kick out those who he was well aware were against him. They kicked themselves out in a sense. They are ruling the day now. But God is not mocked.

    This Order is our Blessed Mother’s Order. Padre Pio, who was spiritual director of Fr. Stefano Manelli told him that he would one day be the Founder of an Order that would be on 5 continents and he told him to name the Order, “The Franciscans of the Immaculate.” This Order belongs to Our Lady. It could be that She is shaking the trees for all the rotten fruit to fall off.

    I believe that we must say many Rosaries for Our Holy Father to make the right decision with regard to these holy friars who want to continue with the wise and holy leadership of the founders. And we have to have a great deal of faith! And do penance!

    Ave Maria!

  54. Joseph-Mary says:

    Italian-Irish mom, I should like to meet you!
    I thank you for what you have written. Yes, I understand that the founders did see this coming and I read something that Fr. Stefano wrote or said some time back that led me to understand that. And, no, he did make those who were speaking and acting against him to leave. He allowed them. Our Lord did the same.

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