Highest Court Confirms Judgment in the Case of the Franciscans of the Immaculata
Franciscans of he Immaculata Before the Commissar Came: Ordination of Nine Deacons in 2010
(Rome) The Supreme Court in Rome has confirmed that the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and the lay organizations related to the Order are guilty of doing nothing wrong. The confiscated real estate property must be returned to the lay organizations.
In late June, the rumored reason for the provisional administration of the Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate had dissolved into nothingness."Rumored" because was no reason was named for appointing an apostolic commissioner by the Vatican until today. Behind closed doors rumors were spread that it had allegedly been an irregular shifts of assets, including the suggestion that it might be someone who was enriched. It was a slander which was directed against Founder Manelli to discredit him. A court sentenced Commissioner Volpi to pay 20,000 euros compensation for the false claims.
When the Commissioner Came with the Prosecutor
After the first Commissioner, Father Fidenzio Volpi from the Capuchin Order, could not lay his hands on the real estate owned by the lay organizations affiliated with the Order, he summarily confiscated the real estate ownership by the public prosecutor. In June the competent Judicial Senate of Avellino established that no irregularities were present and ordered the release of the seized property.
Shortly before the verdict of Avellino, Commissioner Volpi had died and been replaced by the canon lawyer Fr Sabino Ardito from the Salesian Order. It had been hoped there would be a relaxation. But Father Alfonso Bruno was still a driving force in the conflict applies Father Alfonso Bruno in the Franciscans of the Immaculate, who had rebelled against Founder Father Stefano Maria Manelli. After the dismissal of the General Government under the Superior General, Father Manelli, Pater Bruno then became the Secretary-General and therefore became the right hand of the Commissioner.
Return of property ownership is legally binding
In any case an appeal was filed against the judgment of Avellino, on behalf of the Commissioner. The Second Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court in Rome has rejected the appeal, thus confirming the judgment of Avellino. The release and return of the seized property ownership to the lay organizations of the Order is now final.
Part of this property is also that of the religious house in Rome, where Father Alfonso Bruno is domiciled. "With the decision of the Supreme Court the last word in the matter," said Alfonso Rocco, the legal counsel of the Lay Association Mission of the Immaculate Heart.
A thriving religious order of tradition was unbearable to the Congregation of Religious
The order launched in 1970 by Father Stefano Maria Manelli is committed to tradition. Under Benedict XVI. the Order became, according to the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum was pastorally birituell and internally old ritual. Since the Order was not under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei for old rite communities, the Congregation of Religious made it an exception in the Church. Under Benedict XVI. it was regarded as an attractive model, which aroused the interest of young members of other religious orders, since the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, despite their strict habit, had a large following.
This combination of factors is thought to be in close religious circles as the real reason for the provisional administration. A thriving, tradition related Order, which grew in the midst of widespread vocations crisis, had become unbearable for many. But Pope Benedict XVI. held his protective hand over the young religious. Under Pope Francis and his declared aversion to tradition, the conditions were established to take action against the Order. Four months after taking office, the Order was placed under provisional administration.
The parents of the Founder are recognized as a servants of God. The beatification process is running.The Order was gagged by the provisional government, but not the lay organizations related to the Order. They continue to see in Founder Manelli their reference point. With the court ruling, their position relative to the Commissioner has been significantly strengthened.