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Franciscans of the Immaculate case takes a strange and disconcerting turn July 29, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, asshatery, Basics, disaster, error, General Catholic, horror, persecution, religious, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, the return.

Rorate is reporting that an Italian blogger who has reported on the persevention against the Franciscans of the Immaculate has been charged by Fr. Alfonso Bruno, the new head of the FI’s after the sacking of their founder and former leadership, with a formal case of defamation with the Italian authorities.

Below, Rorate’s summation of the situation.  I’m not sure how confirmed all this is, but the case was reported by a major Italian daily.  Certainly, newspapers of all stripes make errors and are at times given to sensationalism, but at present there is no reason to suspect fabrication, exaggeration, or subterfuge:

By the senior religious correspondent of Italian daily La Stampa, the startling news: those responsible for the intervention on the Franciscans of the Immaculate, after silencing their innocent victims inside the Church, now use the Police to intimidate journalists and bloggers — and their family members ! — in Italy.
It is probably the most serious attempt by an ecclesial authority to make use of the police forces to limit the freedom of the press in Italy in living memory — the attempt is based on scraps of a couple of past posts, but the intent and likely result is obviously to intimidate the future activity of the media on covering some ecclesial activities. It is a shocking new chapter in the grotesque soap opera of the intervention in the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

So the web of persecution surrounding the Franciscans of the Immaculate spreads ever wider. You can read the actual report at Rorate.  I’d like to approach this matter from a slightly skewed angle, if you will.

I’m sure my readers are aware that there is an American priest of the FIs who has been deeply involved in this tragic and very unsettling persevention.  I used to read him regularly, before he began his jihad against his strawman caricature of traditional Catholics in late 2010.  He is certainly very busy writing and blogging hither and yon “(and also “visiting” many FI monasteries, to make sure they understand the new order of things and the powers that now be).  He has been striving to get his interpretation, which is that of the new leadership, of the “intervention” across in many venues.

But he seems frustrated.  He seems to feel that somehow his “side is losing the PR battle.”  And he seems quite exasperated with this.  He feels the “facts” are inseparably on his side, and that his small group saved this formerly growing, stable, and vibrant order from themselves.  Even at the cost of inflicting misery on many hundreds of his confrere’s and shattering that vibrancy, he seems quite invincibly convinced of his being in the right. What he cannot seem to understand is why he is having such a hard time selling his side of the story.

Well, the above, this kind of heavy handed repression is why!  I mean, who sues family man bloggers, other than trolls and thugs?  This is hardly the first time the nouveau leadership of the FIs has stooped to such tactics.  It has in fact been part and parcel of the new regime since its installation.    What have we seen in less than a year?  We have seen the founder locked up under house arrest, surely the most dangerous octogenarian on the planet.  We have seen the former leadership forced under pain of obedience to endure scattering to distant missionary apostolates very far from the center of events.  That certainly appears to be an attempt to get them out of the way.  We have seen ludicrous stories of malfeasance on the part of the former administration, and even some of their lay associates and family members, made up well after the fact.  Stories that have never been even remotely supported by any substantive evidence and, after having served their purpose of disparaging the reputations of certain individuals, have been quietly dropped.

What else have we seen?  We’ve seen the reputations of devout novices trashed because they asked uncomfortable questions of the nouveau leadership and the Pope, through completely fabricated and meaningless (but very revealing) claims that the individual in question “rejected Vatican II.” What would that even mean?  We have seen the same intervention inflicted on the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, even though there was never even a hint of “division,” nor of any moral or doctrinal problem.  Oh, but there was, maybe, a “drift.”  Heavens to Betsy, let’s call out the legions of modernist female religious to set them straight.  We have seen many dozens of priests denied the right to offer the TLM under Summorum Pontificum, a grave injustice that remains to this day. We have seen a formerly vibrant order shattered.  We have seen a mass exodus of devoted souls from this order, which used to be one of the few growing religious orders in the entire Church.

These are not the typical behaviors of those who have the might of right on their side.  These are not the normal behaviors of virtuous souls.  Perhaps the arguments haven’t convinced people, because they are fundamentally unconvincing!  Or maybe actions speak many times louder than words, and the actions speak of repression and a determination to inflict a certain vision on many unwitting and unwilling souls, no matter the cost-  the same vision which has resulted in so much chaos, destruction, and dissolution in so many other religious orders. Already we have seen evidence that the seriousness with which the FIs used to take their vow of poverty has already slipped a great deal.

Now, there are potentially charitable explanations for some of the items above.  But taken in totality, along with many other actions not mentioned, they stretch charitable interpretations beyond the breaking point.  And behind them all, is the strange fact that this most obedient (as their meek submission over the past year has so eloquently demonstrated) and doctrinally orthodox of orders has been singled out for this (what for all the world appears to be) savage treatment, while so many other far more problematic, heretical, and destructive orders have been able to continue on their merry way making chaos and slowly (or very quickly) killing themselves and religious life –  the heart of the Church – generally.

That is why you are having such a hard time convincing people.  The actions are just too repressive, the double standard too massive to ignore.

And the more you use tactics like suing bloggers, the more unconvincing will you be.



1. Pseudodionysius - July 29, 2014

I believe the technical term for what the Brunoites are doing is called “beclowning oneself”. I can’t recall the Latin translation of the English term, but in French it sounds like Inspector Clouseau and Inspector Dreyfus. I don’t know if anyone has developed an eye twitch, but I would be watching closely.

2. Maggie - July 29, 2014

What about the defamation and calumny against the holy founders? What about the intimidation of faithful friars? So now one of the dissenters runs to the secular court!!!!! How Franciscan is that? He should be detached from what the lay people have to say if he were a holy friar. And the American friar you pertain to: he is busy defaming many others by name and numerous times as well. He is constantly trashing someone or something in his self-righteousness. The question can be asked: if these disobedient friars had not secretly worked to undermine the founders, would this have happened at all? If this is what the ‘new FI’ looks like, it will die because it has NO holy foundation.

Tantumblogo - July 29, 2014

I almost said something at the end. I have read most of Fr. Manelli’s works. They are really strong. I have never met him or seen him personally, but I know some who have, and all feel that he was as saintly an individual as they ever met. Many feel strongly he is going to be a Saint someday. His opponents…..not so much. So what I was going to write was that Fr. ——– and his allies may wind up figuring in the future bio of a Saint as one of those worldly tormentors so many Saints have to endure.

But then I thought that would be too presumptuous and catty.


3. Maggie - July 29, 2014

Meow indeed! You mentioned noticing in 2010 that something was happening. That is when I also noticed it. There was a cultivating. The joy that had always been so noticeable in the friars was ‘frayed’ somehow. There was an undercurrent that was remarked upon but hard to put a finger on what it was with the main discontent coming from where the highest ranking prelate was at the time. Yes, Fr.____.

4. Roman Watcher - July 29, 2014

Fr. Alfonso Bruno is not the head of the FI, the Vatican Commisionar Pd. Volpi, OFM Cap is….Fr. Bruno is the acting secretary general, I believe…

Tantumblogo - July 29, 2014

He’s the effective internal head.

Roman Watcher - July 30, 2014

A secretary general has no jurisdiction in canon law. There is no such thing in canon law as an “effective internal head”, except when you are trying to cover for a glaring factual error in a blog report…

Tantumblogo - July 30, 2014

Ummm…..that’s not the way I understand his role, Canon Law or no. He is not simply on the sidelines standing idly by while events transpire, which seems to be your point. That is most definitely not the case.

Tantumblogo - July 30, 2014

Seriously, I have had this explained in some depth, whatever his title, Msgr. Volpi is charged with setting direction,and Fr. Bruno with seeing that direction implemented. Call it what you want, a Secretary, a “head,” or a position with no “jurisdiction,” that’s what he does, day to day.

5. lyndairish - July 29, 2014

Who put Fr Bruno and his associates up to this wicked subversion of the Institute?

6. Amateur Brain Surgeon - July 30, 2014

The priest in question attacked me personally via an intentional misquote of a response made at Rorate Caeli (back when they took responses).

He was challenged by me to retract the false charge and correct the quote but he never responded.

You are not the only man who has quit reading his blog

7. Magdalen - July 30, 2014

Tantum, it gets stranger by the day!!! Now an item about a mason involved! http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/2014/07/troika-over-franciscans-of-immaculate.html

Tantumblogo - July 30, 2014

I saw that. I always have a little trouble with those German articles and the translations. The entire affair is most disconcerting. I’d like to see a little more on this angle, at least. Not that we need more information to be disconcerted and even scandalized by this ongoing tragedy.

8. x fi - July 30, 2014

My friends do not hate him. Our Lady has a plan and he is part of that plan. He is studying in Rome for a reason *hint. Shortly even this ugly episode will be swept away by Church events such as the hijacking of the Synod, God forbid. In the future he will help the American Church when the time comes and it is fast approaching…schism. Trust Our Lady and pray for him. I ask your prayers for the Sisters for they will take the brunt of the storm, it is they who the Devil is really after.

hint- brace yourselves however it appears …Our Lady is working her plan. Patience.

Tantumblogo - July 30, 2014

I’m not sure I said anyone hates anyone, simply that there is great suffering. I was unclear whether your first sentence was in response to something I said.

Aside from that, thank you for the helpful comment. I think I get most of it…….

Patience is something I definitely need help with. So sorry if I do not evidence that virtue well.

9. x fi - July 30, 2014

I am afraid there are no winners in this battle. It is my opinion that the Sisters will be the ultimate for the lack of a better word…sacrifice. However this will usher in what Fr. Manelli had prayed so long for, the 5th Marian Dogma.

I can understand your frustration yet
can you imagine the sufferings of those inside the Order?
Our Lady will triumph in the end. Try to look at this through supernatural lenses.

Tantumblogo - July 30, 2014

“can you imagine the sufferings of those inside the Order?”

I admit I cannot. I am humbled by their obedience, but goodness what a cross. So much suffering. But as you allude, there will probably be a lot of that going around shortly.

10. Maggie - July 31, 2014

x fi, ah I can sense that you have the heart of a true FI. I know some of them. I also cannot fathom the suffering of the holy ones because they do not speak of it. They do not complain or run to courts or blogs to defend themselves. The holy founders have accepted all of this with detachment and peace for they know that somehow this is in Our Lady’s plans. You mention that the wonderful holy sisters may be the ultimate sacrifice? Where will they go? Why? This Institute was one of the most holy in the world–which explains why the demons targeted it.

I do not hate Fr.______ but I do not like him much and was never drawn to him and, yes, I have met him. I have prayed for him. That he would be instrumental in a rebuilding would mean a conversion of heart for him. It would mean humility too.

But the possible prize of a 5th Marian Dogma! Yes, the holy founders and the holy friars and sisters and laity have long prayed for that and it will not come without great and painful sacrifice for it may well usher in the new era of peace. Who else but Our Lady’s dear standard bearers to offer that sacrifice to merit the grace of the Dogma.

Tantumblogo - July 31, 2014

I think you win the award for best comment of the week.

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