|The Commissar and the Franciscans of the Immaculate|
(Rome) The Apostolic Commissioner of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate urges the Italian bishops not to incardinate priests who want to leave the maltreated Order. It even comes to threats. The background is an alleged "conspiracy" by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate for the "downfall of Pope Francis," from which the Commissar wanted to save the Church leader. What followed was a written slugfest between Father Volpi and a leading bishop.
For the last 16 months the Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate was among the most flourishing religious orders of the Catholic Church. The young Order, canonically erected in 1990 , was astonishing in its completely opposite trend. While other orders bemoaned a shortage of young people, the Order grew up in the West at an impressive pace. In an effort to return to the roots of the Franciscan Order and to follow the original rule of the order, the Order discovered the treasures of the Church, went to the traditional rite the tradition of the Church on its own. With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. its fate was thus sealed. The visible figurehead of the Benedictine reform of the reform, which had become an Old Ritual Order, had lost his patron.
Commissioner Volpi invited by Pope Confidant Galatino to Bishops' Conference
Since July 2013 provided the Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception has been provided with a provisional administration. The religious congregation continued with the approval of Pope Francis under a Capuchin Father Fidenzio Volpi. The Apostolic Commissioner came to enforce his policy sanctions in the autumn General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference in part, after some bishops had shown willingness to include the brothers and priests of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate i in their dioceses.
After this provisional procedure became known there was a written exchange between the website Nuova Bussola Quotidiana (NBQ) and Commissioner Volpi.
We initiated a report by Matteo Matzuzzi last 25 November. Matzuzzi is Vaticanist the daily newspaper Il Foglio .
Episcopal Head Shaking Morning "Pope \ earl"
Matzuzzi reported on the "orientation" of many bishops around the world for the morning sermon by Pope Francis on 21 November in Santa Marta. It was the "Pearl of the Day" that triggered the helpless shaking of the head among the bishops. Pope Francis accused priests and parish secretaries who were supposed to have published price lists for the sacraments on church doors. According to Vatican Radio , the "pearl" spread, and made more than one bishop a squirm in his chair. "So it gives the impression as if we were only baptize when we see a donation in an envelope," said Matzuzzi quoting an Italian bishop.
There may be black sheep everywhere, but the reality in the Church from Cape Town to Svalbard, from Vladivostok to Porto is clear. The fees are minimal and are entirely subsided in case of need. In many parts of the world where there is no government-driven church tax as in the Federal Republic of Germany, the clergy is even denied their livelihood from these offerings.
In the afternoon of the same day there was a public clarification by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the President of the Italian Bishops' Conference: "The sacraments are to be paid in any way. The duties of the faithful are a form of contributing to the material needs of the Church." The statement was immediately read by observers as a response to the Pope's morning talks if Cardinal Bagnasco did not mention the pope by name.
Who would not have understood it, was better taught contrario by the speaker of the Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Domenico Pompili as he briefly stated: "Each statement made by the President of the Episcopal Conference as a counter to Pope Francis are misleading ".
Episcopal Anger at Argentine Pope
That something is not working in the relationship between the center and the edges, is but certain. This was evident a few weeks ago, when the Pope confidante, Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, who wrote, as the synods' Special Secretary, the controversial gay passages of the interim report for the Synod of Bishops, who resoundingly trumpeted Bishop Mario Marini of Fielsole at the election of the Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference. The only 30 percent of the vote against 70 percent of Bishop Maini in the decisive second round wasn't even close, not even for an honorable defeat, but for a man like Msgr. Forte, who feels called for higher things, it was a crushing rebuff.
The situation was very embarrassing for some, was why yet begun during the bishops' meeting, the play down "incident"."You wanted new faces precedence," was the embarrassment formula.
Anyway: One possible promotion for Fortes is one of the great Archdiocesan chairs with the dignity of Cardinal, which are open in 2015, namely Florence and Bologna, is a bar quite high. In 2011, Forte was discussed for the Archdiocese of Milan. Benedict XVI., however, appointed the then Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola. Forte was discussed as a possible Patriarch of Venice, but Benedict XVI, which not only was Benedict irritated by Fortes fierce opposition to the corrected translation of the words of consecration in the vernacular. (Pro multis - for many), so Francesco Moraglia was chosen instead, who himself chose a meaningfully strong coat of arms, which is virtually identical to that of St. Pius X, who himself was also Patriarch of Venice. Pope Francis has not created Patriarch Moraglia a cardinal yet, although traditionally the Patriarchal chair is connected to the cardinalate. It's a set back that has been associated with Moraglia's understanding of the Church.
Not enough: in the first round by the way, Bishop Mariano Crociata of Latina received 27 votes. Crociata, who in 2013 was Secretary of the Bishops' Conference was then replaced by Pope Francis overnight by Bishop Nunzio Galatino Cassano all'Jonio. Bishop Crociata asked his brother Bishops, not to give him any more votes, because that could be interpreted as an affront to Pope Francis. But some of the bishops intended to be demonstrative with their vote.
Galatinos Franciscan Officiate and the Invitation to Commissioner Volpi
The newly appointe, without consultation with Cardinal Bagnasco, Secretary General Galatino, fills his office so that he could be imposed as the President of the Bishops' Conference and immediately maintains contact with the Vatican. Exactly, in the opinion of observers, this was whatthe Pope wanted with Galatino's appointment: A major reorganization of the Episcopal Conference, without dismissing its president, and thus attracting too much attention. Galatino is the bishop who snidely commented on the Pro-Lifers who work against the outrageousness of the mass murder of unborn children at abortion clinics and hospitals and pray the rosary for the right to life of every human being.
The Pope's confidant, Galatino, was also appointed by Rome as the Apostolic Commissioner of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate has invited Father Fidenzio Volpi for Autumn Plenary Assembly of Bishops. The real purpose of the bishop's invitation was more apparent during the breaks. Commissioner Volpi approached and targeted certain bishops and urged them not to incardinate brothers of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in their diocese who want to leave the Order because of radical upheaval. The procedure of the Commissioner is very unusual because incardination is constantly taking place in many dioceses around the world. The Commissioner's foray is therefore aimed specifically against the priests entrusted to him. They have been denied in Rome for more than a year, the new foundation as an Old Rite Order. Commissioner Volpi will prevent the brothers leaving the Order or from being incardinated into dioceses. In other words, the impression that arises is that Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate should be forced to remain in the Order, to force them to accept the realignment.
The intention becomes clearer, if one takes into account that Bishop Galatino as Secretary of the Bishops' Conference called upon the Bishops of Italy with an official letter, that no Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are to be incardinated. If appropriate requests are made, the bishops should immediately inform Commissioner Volpi Commissioner of it.
Commissioner Volpi's "Clarification" That Explained Nothing
Matzuzzi's article drew a counter notification by the Commissioner himself, who relied on the press law. Participation in the conference of bishops was justified by the Commissioner with his role as General Secretary of the Superior Conference of male religious orders in Italy. He says he did not speak to the bishops in order to address the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate addressed, but he had raised that subject on this occasion to the bishops. It belongs to the "wise practice" of the Church that a responsible religious will be contacted by the bishops before incardinating former members of religious orders, especially when it comes to a priest. If Bishop Galatino is to have asked the bishops, says Volpi, to align themselves with this practice, then it would fall to his responsibilities as General Secretary of the Episcopal Conference.
Thus Commissioner Volpi gave an unsolicited clarification, however, without clarifying anything. It was replicated by the chief editor of NBQ, Riccardo Cascioli.
Cascioli wrote to the Commissioner that no one had doubted that he was invited to the General Assembly of the Bishops' Conference, but that it posed questions about the reasons for the referral, "especially regarding your behavior towards some bishops".
Cascioli opposed the spread of Volpi's impression that he belonged, as General Secretary of the Superiors Conference, of his own motion for the Episcopal Conference or that such participation is an established practice. But neither the one nor the other is true. "That explains," said the NBQ-Editor in Chief, "which is why many bishops were amazed when they had to take notice of your presence at the meeting without having it exlained to them beforehand. I am sure that there was a justified reason for your presence, but unfortunately your writing does not clarify on this."
Not "wise practice", but "hard pressure"
Cascioli continues: "It may be that the bishops will be approached to you as well (I have no reason to doubt it, of which we have not spoken). We have criticized, however, that you have approached with intimidating demeanor and talk to bishops, to cause them to reject requests for incardination by the Franciscans of the Immaculate. It's a statement that you do not deny in your reply. Apart from that, it is apparent now by several witnesses. That raises the question of the extent the powers of the Commissioner of an Order actually reach. We know of no case that is comparable. "
Cascioli then shredded Volpis assertion that it is a "wise practice" of the Church, to contact the appropriate religious superiors before incardinating a former religious. Be that as confirms the NBQ-editor, but what Volpi and Galatino in the case of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate do have nothing to do with the consultations of the Church's practice, but is exercising "hard pressure", to extend "threats against bishops" in order "to prevent some brothers from finding refuge in a diocese or other religious order." There is no alternative, that Volpi's motto is, "either by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, according to Commissar Volpi or nothing." Also it was "an unprecedented procedure that even according to the canon law, it contradicts the basic right to freedom of conscience," says Cascioli.
Dogged Action Against the Order and the "Plans" to Overthrow Pope Francis
This exacerbates the issues that have already found no satisfactory answer: "Why this harshness up to this day, that neither the reasons for the provisional administration were explained about this blooming Order in the Summer of 2013, nor a time frame for the provisional government."
The official internet site which is controlled by the Commissioner of the Order offers no help to find answers to the open questions. Helpful on the other hand, is a blog that says of himself, is close to Commissioner Volpi. The blog describes itself "in accordance with the provisional administration of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate" and published an arid invective against the article by Matteo Matzuzzi.
In another entry from November 17, however, the anonymous blogger explained why Commissioner Volpi is so "concerned" that no Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate be incardinated in dioceses: "The very purpose of seeking incardination seems clear: it is about the creation of a platform, perhaps off shore, like the Archdiocese of Lipa in the Philippines and a Catholic minority diocese as in England, for the consecrated priests and former seminarians of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate to newly gather in the hope of a revolution against the current management of the universal Church."
To this Cascioli's response to Commissioner Volpi was: "In other words, the blog says, you would act in concert with whom you were invited to the meeting of the Episcopal Conference to Assisi, because a plot to overthrow Pope Francis was in progress, whom the clerics and former seminarians of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, were together with some bishops, who were to include in their dioceses. However, this would be really laughable, if it were not someone close to you who has spread an unofficial declaration of your whole approach. I hope, therefore, that you will want to clarify this account and also the blog that speaks on your behalf ". Signed, Riccardo Cascioli.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: MiL / CR / Chiesa e Postconcilio / Osservatore Romano
image: MiL / CR / Chiesa e Postconcilio / Osservatore Romano