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Clear signs the Franciscans of the Immaculate are dying February 10, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, Papa, persecution, religious, sadness, scandals, secularism, the struggle for the Church.

Dying may be too strong a word – gravely wounded, seeing their former growth reversed, experiencing a collapse of vocations, steady flight – might be more appropriate terms.

German site Katholisches, via Tancred at Eponymous Flower, is reporting that the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFIs) have had to close a major cloister in Teramo, capital of Abruzzo, which was acquired several years ago from a collapsed Dominican order (and don’t think jealousy from dying orders has not played a role in the plight of the FIs!).  Even the FIs Apostolic Commissioner Fidenzio Volpi had to admit this closure was due to the flight of men from the formerly flourishing order:

The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are leaving Teramo, the capital city of the Italian region of Abruzzo. As the religious house of Teramo announced in a statement, the closing on February 11th of the Monastery of Teramo is “based on a decision of the Apostolic Commissioner,” Father Fidenzio Volpi.

As a reason, a “decline of Brothers” and the “departure of some religious” were mentioned. In both cases, these were direct consequences of the provisional administration of the Order which had been blooming till July 2013.  The “decline” is due to resignations, which were triggered by the radical intervention of members appointed by the Commissar appointed by the Roman Congregation of Religious because the original charism of the Order was destroyed. The “departure” means forced displacements and exile of the friars by the Commissar.

On October 6, 2007 Bishop Michele Seccia of Teramo had entrusted the parish and convent of San Domenico to the young Franciscans.  In 2008 the  Marian lay community of Missione Immacolata Media Trice and the Third Order were established. Since the same year, the Fathers have celebrated the Traditional Rite since the implementation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, not only the convent’s, but public worship, such as the  Office and Vespers. In a pastoral concern for the parish,  the Mass was celebrated in both the traditional and the new Rites. [Are those FFI cloisters most strongly associated with the TLM being targeted for closure most of all?]

In 2005, the Dominicans had abandoned the monastery for lack of vocations.  It was originally established in 1287.

Well, I’d say the intervention of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is going about as planned.  Less than ten years ago, the FFIs were growing so rapidly they were occupying many ancient cloisters abandoned by other poisoned, dying religious groups.  Now they are having to abandon many such locales.  I pray for the eventual relaxation of this highly repressive intervention and the eventual restitution of this order.  I fear it is going to be a very long haul, however.

Nevertheless, I do believe in Fr. Stefano Manelli’s sanctity and the sanctity of the order he founded. I believe it was desired by God, as was the order’s turn towards Tradition.  So blessed, it will return.  But the suffering and struggle in the interim will be intense.  Especially when the opposition to those aspects which so allowed it to flourish are so intense and so deeply rooted in ideology.

The plight of the FFIs is another thing it would be nice to see a devout bishop speak out on.

An interesting corollary.  One of the main points of attack for this intervention against the prior orientation of the FI order was its focus on poverty. There have been numerous reports already that the strong emphasis on the need for evangelical poverty has been significantly softened under the new administration. I was reading at lunch James Larsen’s argument that the perversion of the original orientation of the Franciscan order towards a total embrace of poverty was one of the early causes of the eventual fall of Christendom.  His argument was fairly convincing (if way too long for me to read on the internet), but was largely out of my depth, so I sort of had to take his claims at face value.  Nevertheless, there has long been division within the many Franciscan orders over the degree to which they must embrace Saint Francis’ vow of total poverty.  I think it is more than slightly revealing that this issue has come up yet again in the contemporary context, with regard to the persecution of this order.

Anyone have any comments on Larsen’s arguments?


1. Dismas - February 10, 2015

Yeah, Buddy. I’ll get back to you once I study Larsen’s arguments, although it might be after the Three Days of Darkness.

Regarding the FFI I guess my opinion is worth as much as the next one and I don’t have a horse in that race, but I might just be inclined, if I were them, to join the ranks of the excoriated “imperfect communionists” and wait this one out from the safety of a “non-approved” position. On the other hand, I suppose there is merit in allowing yourself to be crucified by the anti-Catholics driving the boat.

2. Michael - February 10, 2015

The Society will, no doubt, see a rise in vocations. The silver lining.

Dismas - February 10, 2015

Sort of what I was alluding to. Maybe not the Society, but aligning themselves, as other communities have done (and undone.)

3. Maggie - February 10, 2015

There is hope. It lives in the friars that are persecuted and unable to leave. And it lives in those who got out in time: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/01/action-item-help-franciscan-friars/

As you know, no solemnly professed friar is able to leave; they are forced to remain and not seek another community. Unheard of!

Dismas - February 10, 2015

An unjust law is no law at all. Did I say that correctly?

Tantumblogo - February 10, 2015

Indeed it is.

4. BloodoftheMartyrs - February 10, 2015

Beware of prophesying ‘clear signs’ of (others’) deaths–especially when they are being murdered! BTW, any news on Fisher Moore College?


Tantumblogo - February 11, 2015

It was meant rhetorically, not literally. I think if you read to the end, you can see that I actually believe they’ll emerge from this suffering, because I think the FIs are blessed and desired by God.

5. lee faber - February 11, 2015

I think one of the greatest facts about the thirteenth century was that Thomas was not made dogma. Nor in the fourteenth. Nor ever, really. Also, I couldn’t find a place where Larsen demonstrated that Thomism alone, and not Bonaventurianism or Scotism, was the only remedy for the modern age. Simply restating Thomism doesn’t count; you have arguments.

6. Jacob James (@JacobtheTrad) - February 11, 2015

A founder bent on excluding the New Order of the Mass and promoting the Vetus Ordo in addition to holding crypto-lefebvrist ideas is a huge target. If such a society thrives, it it forces people to think and ask questions about certain novelties — ecumenism, religious liberty, Nostra Aetate etc.. Better to have a closed cloister than a society breeding truly genuine Catholics.

You may ask then, why does the FSSP thrive without being wholly molested for their traditional mass? This is not meant as an insult or to be denigrating, but It is certainly because they have signed documents permitting them to say the mass with certain conditions under Ecclesia Dei.

About Fisher More College…for now, it’s done. It is surrounded by unfriendlies who don’t understand its reason for its being. The Latin mass cannot be disassociated from true doctrine. The autonomous nature of the school (being truly independent, except for the sacraments)–not beholding to the bishop in respect to what it taught or who it hired, or donations, or to external forces wanting to penetrate.

Back to the FFI…Nobody anticipated the life that would come from the FFI. They are genuine in their zeal. The mass, the revival of truly Catholic thinking, and the austere/ascetic life gave the heebie-jeebies to the old guards. And so, having Crypto Lefebvrist ideas (the sins of the FFI) was considered a threat and must be controlled and blotted out.

To thrive inside the church under the banner of being traditional, one cannot be autonomous. For Ecc. Dei, the idea of being traditional must be stop at the sacraments. It would make a fool of the powers that be in the Vatican if a contrary spirit to Vatican II were given room to grow.

Tantumblogo - February 11, 2015

Very concise and well put. I do not disagree with anything you said. I think it’s all accurate.

But, where do we go from here? What is the way forward for the Church? Or are we awaiting literal divine intervention, like angels and trumpets and the Son of God coming in His glory?

7. Magdalene - February 11, 2015

That “Crypto Lefebvrist” accusation was a bald faced lie. Not one of the friars has gone SSPX or we would have it known all over the place. Nor was the accusation of financial misconduct true and was proven to be the case. Lies from disobedient ones! The fact of the matter is that the demonic division and dissent entered into some and they came to betray their founder and vow. And they have the upper hand because those things are rewarded at present. C. Kasper can tell bald faced lies that are publicly exposed and still get speaking engagements and have the ear of the pope. THAT is the sort that is rewarded at this sad time.

8. Br. Alexis Bugnolo - February 11, 2015

Larson’s arguments are based on exaggerations, if you want to know the truth about franciscan poverty, read the bulls of Popes Nicholas III, Clement V and Bl. Innocent X at https://franciscan-archive.org/documenta.html where you can find them in Latin and English translation. BTW, as far as I know, am the only friar in the world who observes these papal bulls, and I am eager to welcome and collaborate with any friars and benefactors who want this ancient true observance of the Rule of St. Francis to return. Our Lord promised St. Francis that so long as His sons are faithful to the Rule, He will sustain His Church in every trial. This observance ended c. 1970, its far the time for it to be restored.

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