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Fr. Manelli, founder of Franciscans of the Immaculate, cleared of any financial wrongdoing February 4, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in disconcerting, episcopate, General Catholic, Holy suffering, horror, martyrdom, persecution, religious, sadness, scandals, shocking, the return.

About the only public claim made against the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI) to justify the very heavy handed, seemingly unjust treatment they are receiving, was that there had been some mismanagement of funds and/or real estate, or that holdings had been transferred in an unseemly manner.  Now, even these accusations were directed at actions taken months AFTER the apostolic intervention began, so they could not have been the reason for it, but that was one of a very few things trotted out to try to explain this tearing apart of a solid, vibrant, growing religious order (those others being supposed “crypto-Lefebvrianism and “a definite, always traditional drift” – whatever those mean).

But now a correction has been published by the Apostolic Commissioner assigned by the Congregation for Religious to “reform” this order, Fr. Francisco Volpi, which states that Fr. Stefano Manelli, founder of the FFIs, had “absolutely nothing” to do with any possession or orders of transfer for real estate in the possession of the order:

The Apostolic Commissioner Father Fidenzio Volpi OFM Cap has published a correction. In it, he explains that the family of the religious founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, Father Stefano Maria Manelli,  has “absolutely nothing” to do with any possession or orders of transfer for  the  real estate of the Order.   This had been maintained in recent months, according to which the the Order was placed under the provisional commissioner Volpi, by the official Internet site of the Order:  http://www.immacolata.com. Father Alfonso Maria Bruno, who was appointed by Commissioner Volpi to head the FFIs after  the expulsion of the established leadership of the Order, was made the most powerful man in the Order. The lawyer for the family Manelli had threatened criminal penalties, and required clarification from Commissioner Volpi [on this matter of the alleged real estate dealings – sorry, some rough translation from the original German here] . This is now acknowledged that it was a libel, which was published by “someone” on the Internet platform.

To date, no reasons for the provisional administration of the Order have been announced, because the openly published reasons: maintenance of the traditional rite, numerous vocations, critical examination of the Second Vatican Council, the development in the Church since then, the unabridged explanation of the faith, and strict observance of the rules of the order, are clearly not offenses.   [Obviously, there has to be something more to it than just this list.  If so, the persecution is totally unjust.  But as I related at the bottom of this post here, there have been some private, behind-the-scenes allegations that there were more substantial problems. But even these, if fully true, do not in my mind anyway justify the excesses being engaged in against the FFIs at present]

Instead, the claim was brought into the world from the environs of Father Alfonso Bruno, [The author is sort of hedging – the allegations of financial improprieties emerged on the FFI’s own website, after Manelli and the rest of the prior leadership had been removed.  It was always ex post facto, an allegation that only emerged after the major steps to break the order had been taken, so it could have had nothing to do with the removal of the leadership]  that Father Manelli had to overwrite the Order property to his family members and thus gave the impression that the superior had possibly stolen from his own religious order. Apart from the fact that the alleged transactions had taken place only after the beginning of the provisional administration, [in fact, several weeks to a few months later] which gives more the impression of a mediated response, but could not be a reason for the provisional administration, it has now turned out to be slander, as Commissioner Volpi confirmed himself.

At the request of the prosecutor of the Manelli family, the false claim has now been deleted from the internet site of the Order managed by Father Alfonso Bruno. Instead, the complete correspondence between the Manelli family lawyer and Commissioner Volpi has been published at the request of Manelli family.

Interesting, an ugly libel was made, until evidence was produced the refuted it, and threats of legal action were made.  Wowzer.  Then the libel was retracted.  But as always in these cases, the damage has already been done to Fr. Manelli’s heretofore stellar reputation.

So, we are still left with “crypto-Lefebvrianism” and an “always, definitely traditional drift” (is that a crime?  Then I’m in trouble!) as the official reasons for the draconian intervention.  The under the table reasons that have not been publicized, but of which I have been told, would fit under “crypto-Lefebvrianism,” but certainly don’t merit to me the kind of severe intervention we’ve seen.

If you’re not already praying for the Franciscans of the Immaculate, please consider doing so!  They need our help in this worst of times.


1. Baseballmom - February 4, 2014

When is the Society of Jesus going to get this treatment…. Shall I hold my breath???????

2. Magdalene Prodigal - February 4, 2014

Yes, this is one of the first of the lies to be ‘retracted’. The numbers of those who ‘wanted’ a commissioner is another lie that has been refuted. To date there is still no evidence of heresy, crime, or schism whatsoever. The charge that a founder was ‘too authoritarian’ pales in what the commissar has done. As to ‘internal conflicts’….well there were certain ones driving that for the past several years. The malcontents could have left…

A place to pray and keep informed is: http://pray4thefriars.wordpress.com/

3. Magdalene Prodigal - February 8, 2014

Would you mind posting this new worldwide petition to help the FFI please?



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