Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, Pope Francis and Rorate Caeli:

FFI Ordination from NLM.

Disappointed that Rorate Caeli are again, spinning against Pope Francis. In what has become a typical reaction from a blog I have long trusted and admired, Rorate Caeli are trying to suggest that Pope Francis is moving against Summorum Pontificum by suggesting that Pope Francis has severely restricted the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate from celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass, and has "imposed the Novus Ordo on all their priests".

However, the Order themselves tell us:
This is an unfortunate instance of an overeager journalist sensationalizing something he can only speculate about.
The restrictions on our community are specific to us and have been put in place for reasons specific to us. Pope Francis has not contradicted Pope Benedict. The visitation of our community began under Pope Benedict and the Commission was recommended by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz who was appointed to the Congregation by Pope Benedict.
What is being reported in the press and what has actually transpired within our community over the course of a number of years are two different things.
Many of us—I would hope most of us—Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, welcome the Holy Father’s intervention into our life and trust fully that Holy Mother Church knows exactly what she is doing, even when the journalists do not. We entrust ourselves to her care, just as we do to the Immaculate.
Please pray for our Institute.
Father Paul Nicholson explains that the restriction has been placed because there has been a division within the community over the proper place of the Sacred Liturgy and how it should be celebrated. And further, the division is sharp. The community is divided as to what is the actual charism; the founder added to the ancient rite after Summorum Pontificum was published July 7, 2007. But some members have been troubled by what they see as a new emphasis in a different direction of the original charism.

Similarly, over at The Absolute Primacy of Christ, they report that the fact is that Pope Francis has not forbidden the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite to the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate. Simply put, after personally examining our situation and praying, he has decided that the ordinary form of the Sacred Liturgy for the FFI will be that of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite. He clearly states that each priest/friar and even community can request to make use of the Extraordinary Form.

Pope Francis is not “anti-Tridentine Mass” nor is he forbidding us in the future from offering the Holy Sacrifice in the Extraordinary Form. But he is offering a juridical solution in an internal dispute.

Further as TAPoC points out, there is nothing more traditional than obedience and reverence to the Pope, and this is exactly what the Franciscans of the Immaculate will offer.

In order to understand what's going on in its proper context, it is well worth reading article 3 of Summorum Pontificum, as it provides the relevant background regarding the Extraordinary Form, religious communities & the role of superiors:
Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or "community" celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.
I am disappointed that there is an element who seem determined to read something bad into everything Pope Francis does. I don't think this helps anyone, although it does demonstrate just how much pain there is over the liturgy. I am of the opinion that the reform of the reform must continue. We need to re-institute the requisite reverence into our liturgy or see it die as it is perceived as meaningless. I love both forms of the Roman Rite as long as they are said with reverence, and I embrace the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as our heritage and something beautiful and valuable. CC Father commented to me that the response of the FFI was beautiful:
Heartening to see the spirit of docile obedience. Our Lady would approve, I think.
While I understand Rorate Caeli being concerned, I just wish they wouldn't be so quick to panic and feed others' pessimism & suspicion.


  1. Perhaps you might want to revise your assessment in the light of the actual declarations made by the FFI motherhouse in the last few days.

    The FFI's own official statement claims that PCED had approved their internal arrangements regarding the Vetus Ordo in 2012; why the sudden change?

    The FFI's own official spokesman openly speaks in his interview with Vatican Insider. He traces the problem to the desire of some FFI friars to eradicate the Vetus Ordo, and explicitly declares that the current restrictions placed by Pope Francis deprive them of the rights given by Summorum Pontificum.

    I'd like to see how you'll explain these away.

  2. Augustinus, I don't know any of the background to this, and neither, I suspect, does anybody outside the Order, but what is common ground is that the use of both rites within the Order is causing significant problems of discipline. To counter that, lawful authority has imposed a solution which has been accepted loyally and prayerfully by the members of the Order, however it might go against what they might have wanted, and disloyally and unprayerfully by a group of the faithful who a) seem to be spoiling for a fight with Pope Francis and b) treat the Old Rite as the shibboleth of orthodoxy.

    The unity of the brethren has been confirmed, and if the FFI isn't acting out public disunity while a formal investigation is being carried out, what right has anybody else to do so? If you aren't a member of the FFI, this isn't your fight; if you are, this seems not to be a fight.


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