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"Total War" Against the Franciscans of the Immaculata? The Unspeakable "Blemish"

(Rome) No other order has suffered such dramatic consequences on the change of pontificate in late winter 2013 as the Franciscans of the Immaculate. In July, the Order was placed under provisional administration by order of the Congregation for Religious with papal approval. Although the Order actually exactly corresponds to what Pope Francis wishes, namely evangelical poverty, missionary zeal and new evangelization, of which the Franciscans of the Immaculate are one of the only orders, against which the new pope has proceed with drastic measures.

So dramatically that even a progressive Vatican expert like Marco Tosatti has now asked what should have these poor friars have only arranged, yes, done wrong, to deserve such a harsh punishment? He could not fine an answer because he could not find a "crime", with which to burden them. He therefore published a letter that describes the radicality with which the Order is being rebuilt. The question remains: Why did you destroy a thriving Order?

Young, Poor, Missionary and Evangelizing, but with a "Blemish" ...


The answer is in fact to look at a whole different level and observe the punished innocently. It immediately arives at the level of intrigue. As a cold as well as brutal coup by a minority in the Order. This was possible but only because this minority has been heard by the Congregation for Religious and in his turn heard by the Pope. The Order had a major "flaw." The "flaw" was that under the leadership and guidance of Pope Benedict XVI. they rediscovered the traditional rite and implemented it internally within the Order. The pastoral care of the Order was bi-ritual, internally it was old ritual. All in perfect accordance with the applicable rules and the canon law.
The Order is one of the few orders that have numerous vocations and can be described as a flourishing religious family in both the male and the female branches. The cons discovery of the liturgical riches of the Church makes the Franciscans of the Immaculate more to a unique phenomenon in the Catholic Church. Franciscan, missionary, flourishing and altrituell. Was unique to the Franciscans of the Immaculate, that a New Order was changing to the Old Rite. It was a combination that didn't only win the Order friends in the Vatican. With the rediscovery of the ancient liturgy, the Order began to intensively study the Second Vatican Council and of its examination and interpretation took place, working in the light of the ever valid tradition.

The Order Followed Benedict XVI. and discovered the Old Rite


A "flaw", which was all the more serious, because the Order had numerous vocations. A "blemish", that certain church circles of little friendliness and probably envious, did not dare to criticize under Pope Benedict XVI.. All the more uninhibited and with incredible haste they struck after his resignation. And Pope Francis gave them leave. For none of the other orders were effected in the change of pontificate more dramatically than for the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
Let us hear so what Marco Tosatti wrote in the newspaper La Stampa on Wednesday:

"We received a letter from a layman who is close to the Franciscans of the Immaculate, a small Order, which is under an acting manager (a highly debatable matter), and he complained of a special hardness posed by the new management. Based on many years of experience, we know of the cruelty in dealing with fellow brothers in church circles toward those other circles inferior to nothing. But just as Pope Francis, who signed the provisional administration, demanded in his interview with the chief editor of the Civilta Cattolica an attitude of Compassion 'and softness'. He was as one of those in the Church, who entered the field hospital after a battle and said, I see clearly that what the Church needs today is the ability to heal wounds,' because, 'Nevertheless, there are people weary of authoritarianism '.

Each reader should decide for themselves whether in fact the authoritarianism plays a role in the Franciscans of the Immaculate and arrogance among the Sisters. What have these poor men done? Have they speculated in money, sexually abused minors or maintained an immoral lifestyle? So here's the letter. "

Letter from a layman who is close to the Franciscans of the Immaculate

Little is known about how things went on after the Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate was placed under provisional administration. Therefore, a brief summary is necessary.

After Father Stefano Maria Manelli, the worthy and pious founder of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (FI) was placed under charges that he had led the brothers away from their founding charism, without explaining this to date, of which the father is said to have concretely carried anyone away; then, the priests' celebration of the old rite was prohibited, a ban that applies to this day, and has been followed in the Order with absolute and faithful obedience; after which the brothers, who are faithful to the charism of the founding fathers, were hastily charged in summary proceedings and removed, and all those brothers who support the "new" line were promoted in the various monasteries around the world, then without a visible reason, the General Procurator Father Apollonio, Director of the Theological Seminary and Guardian of the Cloister Roma-Boccea was dismissed and sent to Portugal, as the Order's Superior of Florence was dismissed and sent to Austria; then Father Settimio Manelli and Father Siano, were dismissed as Rector and Vice Rector of the Order Seminary and sent to Africa; then they were replaced by two brothers of the "new" line, one of which does not even have a degree; then Father Budani, who was in the middle of completing his studies of the canon law to end overnight and without possibility of completing his studies was sent to Africa; then, after Founder Father Stefano Manelli was deposed as Superior General and exiled and even though he has met all instructions and guaranteed absolute obedience, even his closest relatives are forbidden to visit him, and it is forbidden to make phone or receive phone calls and any contact with the outside world is denied to him ... after all, now it's the Apostolic Commissioner, the Capuchin Father, Fidenzio Volpi, with the assistance of Father Alfonso Bruno, who is the new powerful man in the Order, and it's all-out war against the laity who are in continuing connection to the Order.

By a letter dated 27 November, he forbade any activity of the lay members of the Mission Immaculate Mediatrix (MIM) and the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (Tofi). He refused that the Tertiaries to wear their robes.

Is it resolving alleged internal difficulties claimed f a thriving religious community with such incredible hardness and such Stalinist purges? Or its charisma be destroyed instead, which was not only able to arouse increasing number of vocations and to attract and expand the Order on all continents, but was, until yesterday, praised and promoted by the highest ecclesiastical authorities. Just think that the now outlawed Father Manelli and Father Lanzetta, were once welcome until a few months ago by cardinals and bishops and were welcome in the columns of the Osservatore Romano Publications were even open to them
.
Eponymous Flower

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Attack Against Franciscans of the Immaculate Because "Crypto-Lefebvrian, Anyways Traditional"


(Rome) The Apostolic Commissioner, the Capuchin Father Fidenzio Volpi OFM Cap from the Congregation of Religious, with the approval of Pope Francis, instead of the Order leadership, with sole decision-making power at the head of the Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate set (FI), has given the real reason for the drastic intervention in the life of the Order for the first time.

The progressive Vaticanist Mario Tosatti had published a few days ago in the daily newspaper La Stampa a letter from a member of the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, in which the radical approach of the Commissioner has been criticized (see separate report "Unrestricted War" against the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception? The Unspeakable "Blemish" ). The interventions affect not only the male religious branch, but also the Third Order, which was completely paralyzed by Father Volpi.

Commissioner Confirmed for the First Time What Observers Suspected from the Beginning


The Apostolic Commissioner responded with a letter to Tosatti's publication. In it, he explained for the first time the actual reason for the actions of the Vatican against the Order and its founder. The Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception is alleged to have "drifted" in a "Crypto-Lefebvrian, anyways traditionalist" direction. Even Tosatti reads from the extensive letter, in addition to several minor matters, what "the real problem" is.

The Commissioner stated thus confirming what was immediately clear to observers by the prohibition of the traditional rite and in the decree made by the Religious Congregation. The tough measures are directed against the rediscovery of the traditional rite and against the defense of the Church's tradition. Commissioner Father Volpi does not distinguish between "Lefebvrian" and "traditionalist", and thus, not even between the canonically unrecognized Priestly Society of St. Pius X and the canonically recognized Ecclesia Dei communities. Obviously, an attachment to tradition is for the Commissioner basically a "problem". A direction that is not only displeasing to the Capuchin, but must be fought. And he has done so with great zeal since last August. Obviously, it was this aversion that qualified him for the task of the Apostolic Commissioner.

De Matteis "Prediction" Came True

Already in August wrote the well-known historian Roberto de Mattei:

In the coming days and weeks we will know better the plans of the Commissioner, Fidenzio Volpi, but their rough lines can already be guessed: isolate the Founder, Father Manelli; decapitate the heads in the General Council of the Order faithful to him, deport the "traditionalist" brothers to the periphery, give the reins of the Order to the dissidents; entrust the novitiates to Fathers who are not under suspicion of "traditionalist" sympathies; sterilization of the publications and the Franciscan writings that deal in particular with "controversial" issues within the Church "controversial": avoid Marian "maximalism," an "exaggerated" rigor in moral teaching and especially any criticism, be it ever so respectful of the Second Vatican Council, plus opening of the Order for "ecumenical dialogue" with other religions; restriction of Vetus Ordo to special exceptions; in short, the destruction of the identity of the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception, which is even worse than their removal.


The public response by Father Mario Volpi Tosatti confirmed in black on white, the fears expressed immediately by de Matteis and others. It also reveals what the Congregation of Religious has moved under Cardinal Prefect João Braz de Aviz and apparently Pope Francis, to smash this thriving Order of pious men. An Order that, a few months ago, had access to Pope Benedict XVI.

Different Ways of Handling: a Comparison


As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005, he personally went and decided against Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ (LC). Benedict XVI. said about Maciel that he revealed "a very serious and objectively immoral behavior that is confirmed by indisputable testimony" and "sometimes in the form of real crimes" and expressed "an unscrupulous life without true religious sentiment". Yet Benedict XVI. did not proceed against the Order, which had distinguished itself in many ways. Due to the commotion in the Order about the Founder and Superior General, and to allow a new beginning, he placed the Order under provisional administration. For this purpose he appointed Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, who accompanied the Order in a fatherly way to start anew. A path that will be successfully completed in early 2014.
As Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope in 2013, he agreed to a decisive action by the Congregation of Religious against the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate to (FI). Neither the Order nor its founder, Father Stefano Manelli were guilty in any way. They had not committed neither shameful crimes, as Marcial Maciel had, nor spread heresies, caused confusion or violated in any other way against Church doctrine and order. It was the alignment of the Order, although recognized in the Church and legitimate and encouraged till February by the previous Pope which do not fit anymore. A direction that has now been referred to the Commissioner responsible, disparagingly, as a "crypto-lefebvrian, anyways traditionalist". Not a Cardinal, but a simple Capuchin, was used by the Congregation of Religious as Commissioner, not a fatherly friend of the Order, but a declared opponent of tradition.

Commissioner Volpi also want to put hand to the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception


Even against the female branch, the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, the Commissioner would like to proceed, although the decree of appointment says nothing about that. Father Volpi has accused the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of being traditional and even more "unruly" than to be the male branch. In reaching this conclusion, the Apostolic Commissioner came to it because the female convents immediately expressed the desire to cling to the Old Rite. The female branch of the Order has insisted on its independence since the announcement of the decree against the male branch. Father Volpi has even accused the CDF last October, and even Cardinal Prefect Braz de Aviz, of not pushing hard enough against the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, because the Commissioner has not been extend a grant of jurisdiction. Eponymous Flower

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Franciscans of the Immaculate Require "Permit" to Say Mass: Life Under the Commissar


(Rome) "It takes a permit." A letter from a Franciscan of the Immaculate describes the life subject to approval, that the brothers have to lead, since they were placed under provisional administration.
In 1990, the Order was recognized at the diocesan level and 1998 by Rome, the Orden internally moved from the Old Rite under Pope Benedict XVI. f to the Old Rite and for pastoral care it was specified by the Pope as bi-ritual, since 11 July 2013 it has been under provisional administration by the Congregation of Religious. Acting Administrator is the Capuchin Father, Fidenzio Volpi, "a skilled and proven man of power (who is known to move between the internal equilibria of the Superior Conference of Male Religious Communities of Italy - CISM ), with mephistophelian smile and biting repartee, " said Messa in Latino .

"We Are no Longer Able to Print and Disseminate Our Own Books"

The Franciscan of the Immaculate Conception described in his letter that he passed by the office of Order internal publishing, Casa Mariana, in Frigento recently. "My heart beat. I felt in me an unusual emptiness and dismay at the thought that we can no longer write for our own publishing house, and are not even allowed to distribute the books of our own publishing company in our convents.
I look at the house. In there are our books. Many of them we have written, and much more contributions to our religious journals: Fides Catholica , Annales Franciscani , Immculata Mediatrix ... Many books have been translated by us from Latin, others we have from Italian, the language most used in the order, translated into other languages.

That is our life inside, years of study, sweat and sacrifice. The Apostolic Commissioner has ruled that we are no longer authorized to use them. What sin do they represent?

"But it Needs a Permit"

I took courage and rang the bell at the door. A sister opens and I ask her about the new liturgical calendar of the Order, because we didn't have one in the monastery.

"I can not give you one Father, you know that it requires a permit," replied my sister, kind and understanding.

What could be sinful about a liturgical calendar?

"But it needs a permit."

Exactly the permit.

Whose?

"From the Apostolic Commissioner of course!"

"Our Life is Made by Applications, Special Permits'"


Since we have been under provisional administration, our life is governed by applications for "special permits" to the Commissioner. You are to provide a copy in writing and are granted permission only by expressed personal validation .
A permit is needed to use the books of the Order from the Order's own publishing house and be able to impart them. Any "public dissemination" is prohibited.

A permit is required to celebrate the Holy Mass in the traditional Rite.
A permit is required to use the Roman Ritual for the Old Rite.
A permit is required for the Liturgy of the Hours to celebrate it in the Vetus Ordo.
A permit is required to celebrate the Holy Mass with the Sisters of the Order, for both the Old and the New Rite.
A permit is required to conduct a meeting of the lay community of the Order or of the Third Order.
A permit is required to carry out a "Day for Maria" (a day of prayer, which is performed by the Order on pilgrimage or in parish churches and is open to all).
A permit is required to visit our Founder. It is strongly advised not to make such a request at all, which is actually not approved anyway.
A permit is required for any initiative in the Order. "

Even more permits are needed of the founders of religious orders:


"Our Founder even needs explicit permission to be treated at the hospital. He needs an explicit authorization in order to move from one convent to another. He was blamed on the official website of the Order publicly for the fact that he had at first dared to visit the convent of Teramo. In reality, the Apostolic Commissioner had even given the permission to do so." A grueling guerrilla war.

[a href=" Post by donkath on 3 minutes ago Franciscans of the Immaculate Require "Permit" to Say Mass: Life Under the Commissar (Rome) "It takes a permit." A letter from a Franciscan of the Immaculate describes the life subject to approval, that the brothers have to lead, since they were placed under provisional administration. In 1990, the Order was recognized at the diocesan level and 1998 by Rome, the Orden internally moved from the Old Rite under Pope Benedict XVI. f to the Old Rite and for pastoral care it was specified by the Pope as bi-ritual, since 11 July 2013 it has been under provisional administration by the Congregation of Religious. Acting Administrator is the Capuchin Father, Fidenzio Volpi, "a skilled and proven man of power (who is known to move between the internal equilibria of the Superior Conference of Male Religious Communities of Italy - CISM ), with mephistophelian smile and biting repartee, " said Messa in Latino . "We Are no Longer Able to Print and Disseminate Our Own Books" The Franciscan of the Immaculate Conception described in his letter that he passed by the office of Order internal publishing, Casa Mariana, in Frigento recently. "My heart beat. I felt in me an unusual emptiness and dismay at the thought that we can no longer write for our own publishing house, and are not even allowed to distribute the books of our own publishing company in our convents. I look at the house. In there are our books. Many of them we have written, and much more contributions to our religious journals: Fides Catholica , Annales Franciscani , Immculata Mediatrix ... Many books have been translated by us from Latin, others we have from Italian, the language most used in the order, translated into other languages. That is our life inside, years of study, sweat and sacrifice. The Apostolic Commissioner has ruled that we are no longer authorized to use them. What sin do they represent? "But it Needs a Permit" I took courage and rang the bell at the door. A sister opens and I ask her about the new liturgical calendar of the Order, because we didn't have one in the monastery. "I can not give you one Father, you know that it requires a permit," replied my sister, kind and understanding. What could be sinful about a liturgical calendar? "But it needs a permit." Exactly the permit. Whose? "From the Apostolic Commissioner of course!" "Our Life is Made by Applications, Special Permits'" Since we have been under provisional administration, our life is governed by applications for "special permits" to the Commissioner. You are to provide a copy in writing and are granted permission only by expressed personal validation . A permit is needed to use the books of the Order from the Order's own publishing house and be able to impart them. Any "public dissemination" is prohibited. A permit is required to celebrate the Holy Mass in the traditional Rite. A permit is required to use the Roman Ritual for the Old Rite. A permit is required for the Liturgy of the Hours to celebrate it in the Vetus Ordo. A permit is required to celebrate the Holy Mass with the Sisters of the Order, for both the Old and the New Rite. A permit is required to conduct a meeting of the lay community of the Order or of the Third Order. A permit is required to carry out a "Day for Maria" (a day of prayer, which is performed by the Order on pilgrimage or in parish churches and is open to all). A permit is required to visit our Founder. It is strongly advised not to make such a request at all, which is actually not approved anyway. A permit is required for any initiative in the Order. " Even more permits are needed of the founders of religious orders: "Our Founder even needs explicit permission to be treated at the hospital. He needs an explicit authorization in order to move from one convent to another. He was blamed on the official website of the Order publicly for the fact that he had at first dared to visit the convent of Teramo. In reality, the Apostolic Commissioner had even given the permission to do so." A grueling guerrilla war. Eponymous Flower

 

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No Immemorial Mass of All Ages for the Franciscans of the Immaculate, Either

Edit: we just received another, more recent update on the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Remember when all those people were saying that the FFI would have the option to say the Mass if they sent in requests? All the requests have been ignored. As the following shows, there are two hermeneutics at work here. One which opens new religious houses and the other which closes them.

March 10 2014

The Stakes are High for the Franciscans of the Immaculate by Maurizio Grosso
Since the beginning of the external “commissioning” of the Institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, the new authorities have continuously repeated the same refrain: "Are you on the side of Father Stefano Manelli or on the side of the Pope?" ... "If on one side there is Fr. Stefano and on the other the Pope, whom do you choose?" It was an external commissioning which started out on the wrong foot, and it soon caused the capitulation of any undertaking for unity.

In the name of the authority enjoyed by the Commissioner, the Capuchin Father Fidenzio Volpi wished to pressure the brothers, not so that they might recognize their mistakes and thereby correct them, but so that they might embrace the new line of thought proposed by him and abandon fidelity to the Founding Fathers. The Friars have not yet been officially notified of the infamous "reasons" for the necessity of an external commissioner. Were there serious crimes? No. This was merely a "benevolent attention that expresses the maternal care of the Church.” Such were the words of those “in the know,” who have constantly repeated the same lullaby, which at times has been extremely contradictory.

One of the reasons given for the outside intervention is truly striking: the celebration of the Holy Mass according to the Vetus Ordo (VO). But it has recently and officially been admitted by the Secretary of the Congregation for Religious, H.E. Carballo that the Tridentine Mass was not the reason that the external commissioner was needed. ( see here ) Why then, after more than six months, is it still banned?

From very reliable information coming from the Sacred Palaces of the Vatican, it is a well-known fact that a mistake was made by the Congregation for Religious in rescinding from the Friars alone that universal permission given by the Summorum Pontificum. The formal approval by the Holy Father of the decree granting an external commissioner, particularly for the prohibition to celebrate Holy Mass in the VO, except upon re-authorization of the competent authority, was intended to verify if indeed there had been any abuse of authority by the Founder and Superior General in this matter. This was one of the accusations made by the five protesting friars, and repeated by the Commissioner himself, who knows "for a fact that Father Stefano Maria Manelli has specifically imposed Mass in Latin as the only permissible form of celebration in the seminaries and novitiates." ( Open response to a lay Franciscan of the Immaculate Conception )

Don’t give answers, just keep chanting the mantra

The Commissioner received numerous letters from the friars spontaneously and freely asking permission to celebrate, once again, the VO Mass. These were followed by no response whatsoever: a deafening silence. And with that came an altogether misleading and unfair answer: in the opinion of Fr. Volpi (or of the Congregation at the Vatican), the approval of the external commissioner in the specific form of a decree means the suspension sine die (with no appointed date for resumption) of the celebration of the Holy Mass VO, because whether one admits it or not, it is one of the main proofs of the Institute’s “traditionalist tendency” and “crypto-Lefebvrianism.”

Meanwhile, that aut aut (either this or that), “Fr. Manelli or the Pope,” hums on like a mantra. But this time it’s put down in writing. In his letter of December 8, 2013, the Commissioner once again said just that:

"... [M]any other friars identify the Institute with the person of the Founder, who is surrounded by a kind of aura of infallibility, and they see the intervention of the Church as a kind of abuse of what, in their opinion, would be untouchable and almost private property of the Founder himself. All this reveals serious errors in the ecclesiological sphere about the basics of religious life, and reveals a great spiritual poverty and a psychological dependence incompatible with the ‘freedom of the children of God’ ..."

Hence there was given the apparently convincing alternative: choose either the Church or the Founder. And with that, many friars as well as some lay people have fallen into this artfully contrived trap: a dilemma of false conscience, which has led many obviously to side with the Pope and the Church, that is, to be pro-Volpi.

It must be considered a false conscience, because never had the Founder claimed to make himself equal to the Pope or to replace the Church. As proof of this, there exists an almost endless chain of writings, conferences, spiritual retreats, for religious and laity, in which Fr. Manelli has always taught others to cling to the three “whites” of the Church: the Eucharist, Our Lady, and the Pope. The Institute of the Franciscans of the Immaculate was created and erected under Pope John Paul II. And in deference to another Pope, Benedict XVI, the General Council of the FFI decided to consider the celebration of the VO as preferential, but not exclusive. Finally, it is to Pope Francis himself that the Founder showed his obedience when it was decided that an external commissioner should examine the situation, and this, with the hopes that this obedience might bring forth even more abundant graces.

In reality, Fr. Volpi has used the “choose between Fr. Manelli or the Pope” mantra as a means to justify always and everywhere his actions. Was it the Pope and the Church that wanted an oath to be sworn by the Friars to fidelity to Vatican II and the New Mass, completely separated from the doctrine of faith and morals? The very decision by Fr. Volpi to insist that this oath be taken, an action which was strongly criticized by his superiors themselves, proved to be in the end only a threat intended to gain allies for the Volpi-Bruno cause, even to the point of sending servants of the new line of thought here and there (in Italy and abroad) to collect pro-Commissioner signatures.

The time allotted for the campaign to collect signatures/oaths is up, and none of the canonical sanctions that had been threatened were actually adopted against those who did not sign. Never before has the Church seen in any profession of faith, or in any retraction of errors imposed by the Congregation of the Faith upon theologians in the odor of heresy, that which the Commissioner demanded from the Friars, who had learned from their Founder to obey the Magisterium of the Church, the entire Magisterium, according to the uninterrupted Tradition of the Church.

The Real Alternative

So what is at stake for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate? Not choosing between Fr. Stefano M. Manelli and the Pope (as Fr. Volpi and his followers would like), but choosing between Fr. Volpi and Fr. Manelli, which is like choosing between night and day. Yes, this is the real alternative: the only clearly true alternative.

When one speaks of Fr. Fidenzio Volpi’s ideas, one speaks of a religious life that is born today, which is updated in time by virtue of the times, with such a short memory as to forget that the Pope is not only the currently reigning one, but is every Pope, from the first to the last; that John Paul II was a Pope in the Church who wanted and approved the Franciscans of the Immaculate, without the need to become a "Religious Order," but simply a new "Religious Institute."

Fr. Volpi’s concept of a religious life is one that is modernized in a truly unusual way. The frightening crisis of vocations taking place, with the closure of religious houses, is not due to a progressive loss of identity of the religious; it is rather a "crisis of transformation." The crisis is not a loss, but an "exodus,” in which something is dying and something is being born. The old religious life is dying and the new one is being born. It’s not important that the numbers say otherwise, it is only important that the religious life be reborn as a new spirit and a new conception, one which frantically runs after the world, secularizing the few souls still remaining, and with adequate space to be given to the laity so as to overcome clericalism.

With the results and achievements of the past fifty years, this new cycle does not give much hope, if not for the excuse that we’ve entered into the post-religious era, "into the age of the laity." The theology of Fr. Volpi and his CISM (Italian Conference of Major Superiors) is a theology of hope without foundation. It is completely unbalanced, from foundation to phenomenon.

Fr. Stefano M. Manelli’s concept of the religious life is that he is simply trying to remodel the religious life according to the Saints, past and present, who are the incarnation in time of the only true religious life, that which starts not with the Council but with Our Lord Jesus Christ. Here, a return to the sources, so much desired, means a return to the genuine and unbroken tradition of religious life, always the same and for this reason alone, always new. With strict adherence to the rule, which, at one time, was also that of the Capuchins, with theological and liturgical maximalism, religious life does not experience an "exodus,” but its own perennial and continual freshness, with the flowering of vocations, with the opening of new missions and religious houses, with the enthusiasm of lay people, young and old, ready to challenge the future and put their lives on the line in order to stand with other religious, and thus contribute to the unique mission of the Church.

That enthusiasm for Fr. Manelli, which Fr. Volpi has found in many of the friars and lay people, is not idolatry of a person, but a preferential choice of the true Catholic perspective, that of the Saints, that of the unbroken Tradition of the Church.

To speak of Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, in the end, means to choose the Church in its entirety and understand correctly the development of a homogeneous charism, born under the guidance of the great Franciscan tradition, and matured gradually in the choice for that which is most perfect – always –even in the liturgy. The theology of Fr. Manelli is that of St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Pio of Pietrelcina: today founded on the tradition of the Church. A hope with a foundation: from phenomenon to foundation.

This is the real issue at stake: two visions of the same religious life; one that heads for death, and one that endures and blossoms. These are two ways of conceiving the Church; two opposing hermeneutics: one that closes religious houses, the seminary, the magazines, which prevents the apostolate, and even threatens the laity with excommunication; and another which is established in suffering: the dawn of a new morning for all, for religious and for the entire Church.

There are still many friars who pretend to understand. They deem it necessary to approach it all in a theological manner, counting on the binomial Volpi-authority of the Church. But they, too, will have to make a choice. Otherwise, someone else will choose for them: history. The Eponymous Flower
 
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