Pope Francis has instructed that the Franciscans of the Immaculate may not celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. No more Latin Mass for the FIs – without permission.
Readers of my blog know that I am an associate member of the Franciscan of the Immaculate’s MIM. I’ve been a fan of the Franciscans of the Immaculate for awhile now.
So what’s going on?
The order’s founder is Father Stefano Manelli. He is a man known for his sanctity. He received his first Holy Communion from Padre Pio in 1938. He is also the author of one of my favorite books on Mary, Devotion to Our Lady. I give out copies of this book.
Over time Father Manelli has gravitated toward the Latin Mass of 1962, the Latin Breviary of 1961, and to Msgr. Brunero Gherardini’s reading of Vatican II.
Here is my subjective, non-authoritative, outsider’s interpretation of the facts:
1. Fr Manelli has been using his moral authority as founder of the order to privilege the Latin Missal of 1962 and the Latin Breviary. The Italian FIs generally followed their founder’s lead.
2. Certain FI voices (especially in America) disagreed with this traditional trajectory. They held that the order had been founded with the Novus Ordo. According to them, it was irresponsible to have religious friars and sisters formed in the Novus Ordo and the vernacular Liturgy of the Hours to then be asked to make the move to the Latin texts.
3. Father Angelo Mary Geiger of the FIs in the United States has expressed his concern that the FIs are sipping from the radical traditionalist cool aid. In case you don’t know what “radical traditionalism” looks like, here’s a snap shot:
a) the denial of the Jewish holocaust
b) the outright denial of Vatican 2 as a valid council
c) rhetorical style of the Rorate Caeli blog
d) the embrace of isolationist sub-culture of Catholicism or “Amish Catholicism”
e) the denial the charismatic gifts and the charistmatic movement
f) sympathy for the Bp Williamson’s style of traditionalism
g) disdain for Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis
h) the belief that Latin Mass Catholics are “A Team” and Novus Ordo Catholics are “B Team”
i) Gnostic ecclesiology – that “traditionalists” form the one true invisible Catholic Church
I really don’t think that most people attending the Latin Mass are all that close to the radical traditionalism expressed in the points above. However, I do believe that when Father Angelo threw pasta on the wall, some of it did stick.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you freak out, despair, and write a blog comment on how Pope Francis is “persecuting” people.
1) We’re dealing with Franciscans. Infighting, replacing the founder (St Francis himself!), and papal interventions are almost essential part of the Franciscan’s perennial charism. The story isn’t over. This could take a few decades.
2) Before you vent, go pray the Rosary and drink a cold beer in your backyard. This is not the end of Summorum Pontificum. Relax.
3) From what I know, the Latin Mass is a symbolic chess piece in the FI civil war – for both sides. The pope has taken this piece off the game board. This may be temporary until things are settled. Which leads me to…
4) The FIs could go back to the Latin Mass. In the new rule, they can still ask for permission from competent authorities for pastoral reasons. I have no doubt that they will do this. Let’s see what happens. My bet is that the Holy See is afraid that love for the Latin Mass is being positioned as fidelity to the Founder of the the FIs. Once this association is dissolved, I can see the FIs being free to employ the Latin Mass as before.
5) If you love the Latin Mass, remember that Latin Mass PEOPLE are the greatest enemies of the Latin Mass movement. I love the Latin Mass. However, if I were Pope Francis and read the comments at Rorate Caeli, I’d be tempted to shut it all down. It looks sinful and disgusting from the outside. Keep a lock on your lips. Stay out of traddy online forums/blogs. Pray more. Complain less.
Remember the words of Saint Paul:
“And do ye all things without murmurings and hesitations; That you may be blameless, and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Phil 2:14-15)
Pray for the FIs. I imagine that many are in need of our friendship and support.
I’ve said a lot here. I imagine that the comments will be lively. Please be civil, friendly, and Catholic.
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