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The core of what troubles me about the action against the Franciscan of the Immaculate July 31, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disconcerting, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, persecution, priests, religious, sadness, scandals, shocking.

Boniface at Unam Sanctam Catholicam almost always posts gold, and I think he’s made another important contribution with his latest post.  The point of the post is really about the “shoot the messenger” phenomenon that occurs on Catholic news and blog sites whenever there is some scandal.  The effect is that those reporting on the scandal, bad news, disconcerting events, etc., get blamed for the event themselves, by those who I guess would rather not face reality…….or something……rather than the, errr, ummm, upsetedness getting directed at those who caused the actual scandal.

But let me not get sidetracked, at the beginning of his long post (you think I’m long!), Boniface outlines his concerns over the action taken against the Franciscans of the Immaculate and their being denied freedom with regard to offering the TLM.  The issue is precedent, and it’s a very important one (emphasis in original I add comments):

As I see it, the real issue is that this establishes a legal corollary to the principle of free celebration of the EF laid down by Benedict XVI. While Benedict XVI stated, “Anyone can celebrate the Extraordinary Form without permission of the ordinary (or with the permission of their superior)”, Pope Francis has added the proviso, “Unless there is a good reason to require permission.” There may not have been a legal “contradiction” of Summorumbut there has been a drastic interpretive shift in how it is applied. In his decree regarding the Franciscans, Pope Francis has established that the provisions of Summorum can be set aside in particular cases if Rome judges there is good reason. We can debate the merits of this approach, but what is not debatable is that this is a new approach, one that Benedict did not seem to envision when he issued Summorum Pontificum. [Some may argue Rome always had the right “with good reason” to block the TLM in certain conditions, but now there is a concrete example. That does make a difference, a significant one.  We will have to see what develops in the coming months, but I maintain that this is still a shocking act, a massive swing of the pendulum from what should have been free, unfettered ability to offer the TLM, to one where there are clearly strings attached. We cannot at this point tell how tight those strings are.]

If this is not a general attack on Summorum, then why is it troubling? Simply because it puts the existence of the EF Mass back under the aegis of authorities who can now suspend it if they feel there is just cause, and what sorts of “just causes” may potentially be brought forward in the future, no one can tell[Indeed. Even the FFI spokesmen, and some who have come by this blog, have claimed the TLM was not the real issue. Then why was it denied them?  Even if the TLM had important “symbolic value” in this dissension, which has also been reported, it seems there could have been myriad other ways in which to deal with this “problem,” without blocking the ability to offer a truly glorious Mass. And as much as I appreciate Novus Ordo Masses offered Ad Orientem, with incense, Roman chasuble, etc., it is still not the same!  It did not take me long assisting at the TLM to realize that there is simply a massive difference between the TLM and the Novus Ordo.    In the case of the Franciscans, the mere allegations of disunity by one faction was enough. Now that the principle is established that the freedom granted in Summorum can be set aside for pastoral reasons, the question becomes how broad or narrow will these reasons be interpreted in future cases. It creates a precedent that strengthens the hands of every bishop who would like to extinguish celebration of the EF. [Exactly.]

This is a very significant act, which, while focused on one religious order, has implications that apply to the entire Church.  Yes, the investigation was begun under Pope Benedict, but I can’t believe he would have taken this course of action, which would have militated against two of the most important preceding acts of his pontificate.  Investigation of religious orders by the Vatican is a regular event in the life of the Church. There are frequent dissensions and disagreements. Sometimes orders split.  But none of that means that this particular course of action, with these broad implications, taken together with a great deal of rhetoric which indicates a certain antipathy towards “traditional” or “restorationist” practices of the Faith, is without implications for the broader Church.

Another brief point not made by Boniface: there is also the aspect of how the decision was made. By affixing his name to the decree, Pope Francis has insured that there can be no canonical resource to the former leadership of the FFI’s, or those others within the order who feel negatively affected by this decision. That is also rather unusual, and has often been overlooked. As I pointed out in another post, such a step is usually reserved for truly disastrous situations, such as the relevations regarding Fr. Maciel.  It is unusual to take such a step in this manner, making it utterly final.

A commenter I know personally stated that I must be having a bad week, with this news. It’s funny, these things do affect me, but I don’t think they come even close to causing a “bad week.” Or, at least, this one didn’t. It’s concerning. I think it’s very important. But I have a great deal going on in my life, of which this blog is only a small part.  The Faith is the most important aspect of my life, and while I may be a bit troubled, overall, I’m feeling quite fine.


1. TG - July 31, 2013

I wonder why the lesbian nuns can still get away with teaching their new age practices. One of the things that really gets me angry is how orthodox priests always get punished and liberal ones get away with everything. It has happened to many of the saints so maybe it’s God’s way of testing obedience. I see your concerns.

2. Barb - August 1, 2013

The devil has planted his minions in and out of the Church; destruction and confusion is the name of the game. Sometimes you just have to wonder where the Holy Spirit is in all this mess. But as the previous poster stated, maybe God is testing us.

3. TG - August 2, 2013

Tantamergo, I know you blogged something about the Capuchin Francision friars. You said they were liberal, I believe. I have Masses said at a website Seraphic Mass Association which is run by Capuchin friars. I figured they were like Padre Pio and they have novenas. I just wondered what societies you would recommend to offer Masses for my deceased family. I do this every month but want to make sure the association I am supporting is orthodox in Catholic beliefs. This website is really good because you can choose the date of the Mass, etc. Let me know or email me.

tantamergo - August 2, 2013

I’m not sure what the website is, but when I say the Capuchins are liberal, that does not mean every single Capuchin is, nor even every monastery. But most are. I know one Capuchin who offers the TLM and is devoted to the traditions of our Faith and he has been badly persecuted.

For an order to offer Masses for the deceased, I would suggest the Benectines of Clear Creek, but I believe they ask for a stipend for each Mass offered (I think it’s $10.)

4. TG - August 2, 2013

I figured you didn’t mean every single one but as a group. Kind of like most democrats are liberal. I will check out Benectines of Clear Creek. Seraphic Mass Association has a great website and the ease of offering a Mass is so convenient for me. They used to ask for a stipend of $5 but it’s $10 now. Like I said earlier, the fact they offered novenas made me think they were orthodox since novena devotion is not a liberal thing. Thanks for answering.

tantamergo - August 2, 2013

Even some very liberal groups perform some traditional devotions. It’s a sign, but it doesn’t always mean they’re really orthodox. in their belief and practice.

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