Another ugly development in the matter of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

I saw this at Rorate:

The latest chapter in the ‘visitation’ of the Franciscans of the Immaculate

The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata reported last Friday that the 81-year-old Fr. Stefano Manelli, founder and first Minister General of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, was forbidden from going to Frigento (Avellino) on May 1 in order to visit the grave of his parents and to celebrate Mass.

His parents, Settimio (d. 1978) and Licia (d. 2004), became “Servants of God” in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

According to ANSA, the ban was decreed by the Apostolic Commissioner Fidenzio Volpi.

So, let me get this straight.

The old priest wanted to visit the grave of his parents, whose causes are underway. He wanted to say Mass, which sounds like what most priests would want to do.

The Kommisar would not let him.

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  1. MikeCGannon says:

    I have tried to remain positive throughout this whole affair and give Volpi and the Curia the benefit of the doubt, but the longer this goes on and the more details emerge, the more strongly I am reminded of St. John of the Cross and the nine months he spent imprisoned in a lightless cupboard, after being kidnapped by his Carmelite confreres who were less than enthused about the Teresian reforms. We can only pray that the current passion which the FFI is undergoing leads to a purification and strengthening of the order, as it did for the Discalced Carmelites!

  2. LeeF says:

    I wonder if there is more to this, as in were conditions offered and declined by the good father. Such as visit to the graves only or visit with only a private Mass, or visit plus public Mass with no mention of the situation/visitation of the FFI, i.e. under gag.

    The interview with the Abbot of Fontgombault over at Rorate is a much happier story, especially with their virtual takeover of another monastery that was dying off, albeit with a presumably short-term bi-ritual situation. Of course they seem to lack the internal discord that furnished the excuse for the visitation of the FFI. Too bad the good Abbot isn’t the visitator there, as he would be more trusted.

  3. Know what? When stuff like this happens to your religious order, you KNOW you are on the right track.

    I can’t think of a single good religious order/saint who hasn’t suffered from the Church more than anyone else.

    St Louis de Montfort’s bishop that made him dismantle the Calvary is just one example. The bishop who kept putting the Helfta nuns under interdict is another.

    Bishops … hmmm … seems to be a theme emerging here …

    On the other hand, there are some religious orders which do need to be disciplined because there is misrule there, and if they have a reputation for orthodoxy, then it’s easy for good people to think that the bishop and/or CICLSAL is the Bad Guy. But you can have both misrule and orthodoxy in the one house or in the one congregation, believe it or not. I saw it first-hand.

  4. ad Deum says:

    See Remnant TV on youtube for the info on Fr. Volpe and FFI. SAD.

  5. SimonDodd says:

    The reform of the reform of the reform.

    And meanwhile, for all the hullabaloo, the LCWR has to date been given no more than a stern finger-wagging at which they will shrug and ignore.

  6. Vecchio di Londra says:

    We must all pray more, and harder.

  7. pseudomodo says:

    Where are the Chimps Throwing Faeces now that we need them!!

    (it’s green, it’s sustainable, it’s biodegradable)

  8. ” He wanted to say Mass”

    Might we infer from the refusal of permission that it was a TLM he would have said?

  9. Brian2 says:

    I don’t know man. I want to jump up and down and complain about Volpi and the treatment of FFI; because from everything I heard and read, they are doing great things. But then I remember everything I heard and read about the LC and Maciel before the #$#@ hit the fan, or the Society of St. John, and so on. As Machiavelli says, everyone is given to see, but few to touch, and therefore it is easy to conceal your misdeeds from the people. Maybe there is something going on. Maybe not. I don’t know, but I do know that we have been suckered by the vibrant orthodoxy of religious orders before. My view is a wait and see approach. Once bitten, twice shy

  10. vandalia says:

    Sure. And according to press releases from the LCWR, all they do is sit around praying the Rosary and knitting socks for poor children in Ethiopia.

    By the way, I have a Basillica in Rome that I can sell you for $100.

  11. Bob B. says:

    Reminds me of how St. Pio was treated.

  12. Joseph-Mary says:

    May 1st was Fr. Manelli’s birthday–age 81. There are NO charges against him: no heresy, no hidden family, no sexual abuse, nothing. Only that he has been holy and faithful. And obedient.

    To prohibit an old priest from offering Mass and visiting his parent’s graves on his birthday is simply cruel and unusual.

    But all of this is nothing new under the sun. It happened to St. Joseph Calasanz, it happened to St. Mary MacKillip, St. Jean Jugan, and even St. Alphonsus was deposed as superior of his Order. This IS the stuff of saints. Father Stefano will be exonerated at some point in time, I hope while he is alive, and the Franciscans of the Immaculate will be restored as he would direct. They are NOT modern Capuchins! They are the only priests not allowed to offer the TLM. And, lets face it, the TLM is the future for the growth of the Church.
    Ave Maria!

  13. DetJohn says:

    Fidenzio Volpi is a Sly Fox.

  14. Henry Belton says:

    I am in regular contact with some FFI fathers and brothers. With such communication I have come to doubt most of the media reports, including those posted on Rorate.

    Please pray for the Pope, Fr Volpi, and all the FFI.

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  16. Genna says:

    Then for justice’s sake it should be made clear why the FFI has been placed under this interdict. For mercy’s sake Fr. Manelli should have been allowed to visit his parents’ grave and to say a private Mass.

  17. Woody says:

    As I mentioned in response to an earlier article by Fr. Z on this subject, it appears that the Council is the big issue. See this from Rorate today:

    Query for Father: just reading history of the Church and the periods of corruption in the past, is it not clear that while the Holy Spirit is always with the Church, he permits some bad things to go on for a while? Thus, why is the questioning of some parts of the Council necessarily a denial of the presence of the Holy Spirit with the Church, as Fr. Carballo seems to say?

  18. Lavrans says:

    Where is this “mercy” I’ve been hearing so much about these days?

  19. Woody says:

    And did not Pope Benedict himself, long may he live, as Cardinal Ratzinger not say, in his book (I am going from memory here) Principles of Catholic Theology, that some councils were just a waste of time (if memory serves, the citation was to ca. p. 386)?

  20. Woody says:

    p. 378 is evidently the correct citation to this point by Cardinal Ratzinger.

  21. Sonshine135 says:

    Also, Pope Benedict XVI admitted that some of the fruits of the Council had led to the Hermeneutic of Rupture in his letter to the Curia in 2005. Just another thought.

  22. Glennonite says:

    Fr. Z:

    Could you outline the situation; I’m not understanding what’s going on here. Maybe you’ve already explained this, but I’m quite in the dark.


  23. Gabriel Syme says:

    This episode is a great example of the two faces and double-speak of the Bergoglio pontificate.

    He speaks of mercy and condemns legalism. But it is the very opposite of these sentiments which is practiced.

    Volpi was selected by Francis and does nothing without his approval.

    The FFI should reject this transparent and unjust treatment and align themselves with the SSPX.

  24. Gabriel Syme says:

    @ Woody

    Hi there

    ” why is the questioning of some parts of the Council necessarily a denial of the presence of the Holy Spirit with the Church, as Fr. Carballo seems to say?”

    Questioning the Council is not a denial of the Holy Spirit. Fr Carballo is telling desperate lies in an attempt to curtail criticism of the great Vatican II scheme. I don’t say that to smear him, I say it because its true.

    He probably didn’t even put much thought into the comment beforehand. They would say anything, if they thought it would prevent criticism of the council. Anything.

    It seems that “Catholics” can reject infallible teachings, make-up their own teaching authority etc – essentially do anything, other than criticise the great Vatican II scheme.

    No mere mortal or pastoral council is above question or criticism. People everywhere should raise their voices in protest at this charade. It is because of a lack of criticism that Church leaders, including Francis, act and speak with impunity when trampling on Catholicism and Catholic sensibilities.

    The Church has no future, other than tradition. In my diocese – the one which Fr Z said produced the “most cold and negative” response to Summorum Pontificum – the Bishop recently announced plans to close half the parishes, due to lack of priests and falling numbers.

    But its clear that the obstinate modernists would rather that *every* parish closed, than admit fault with Vatican II and its implementation.

    If the trends continue, I would be confident of personally outliving the diocese. Fortunately, there is a growing SSPX Church in town which will continue to serve Catholics in the area, when the diocese finally goes under.

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