Concerning Recent Reports from the Blogosphere on the State of the Franciscan Friars of the ImmaculateWednesday, February 18th, 2015
The first point to be made is that the sources for recent the “reports,” are not responsible news outlets but bloggers, all of them, except one, are pseudonymous or anonymous. They have provided no evidence, that is, they have made purely hearsay allegations, or otherwise claimed to have “evidence” from which they have quoted excerpts without producing the document or its context. All the sources for these reports are clearly biased against the Commissioner and the Holy See and the bloggers in question are working in concert (Rorate Caeli and Correspondenza Romana, for example, regularly repeat and support each other’s reports).
Again, no reputable news outlet has taken responsibility for such “reports.” As far as I know—at least in the English-speaking world—no responsible news outlet has even repeated these stories emerging from the blogosphere. Please consider that when real journalists publish information from anonymous sources, the reporter takes personal responsibility with his real name, and the organization attempts to confirm the information by evidential reporting of independent sources. Nothing like this has ever been attempted by these bloggers. On the contrary, as already mentioned, there is an incestuous relationship between the various bloggers and their sources, and there has also been the habitual refusal to accept personal accountability for the damaging information that has been released.
During the recent Advent season one such “report” was made by Rorate Caeli about the Commissioner forbidding a novena of Masses and preventing one of our contemplative communities from providing itself financially. (more…)
I am pleased to post here an essay of one of our friars, Fra José Maria Barbin on the subject of the imagination and Marian Chivalry. I am thoroughly in accord with his insights and am grateful for his contribution.
In conjunction with I can heartily recommend also the teaser videos of Kevin O’Brien and Joseph Pearce on Tolkien. The ETWN production, and the talents of Kevin and Mr. Pearce, make looks the $10 that they are asking look like robbery.
And now. . .
The Beautiful Struggle: “Sanctifying the Imagination”
G.K. Chesterton puts these words on the lips of Father Brown in the detective story The Dagger with Wings. Truly, the priest-investigator was on to something. Benedict XVI denounced what he dubbed the “dictatorship of relativism.” Pope Francis warns us not to fall into the pit of “aesthetic relativism” (Evangelii Gaudium 167). We must never allow the abuse of reason and imagination to make us “forget their origin.” Father Brown was truly on to something—perhaps on to something mysteriously deeper than anything we imagine.
It is crucial to examine the indispensable role (more…)
No not relativism. Just an update 1.) to apprise the reader of my status, namely, that I did not fall off the face of the earth. and 2.) to disabuse whoever has eyes to see of the unreality of the latest “news” or “reporting” on the status of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Just because people say things does not make it true.
First, thanks to all those who have been praying for me. I made it to the end of the semester at the Angelicum still standing. I have one more final, but most of the stress is now behind me. I hope to blog at least a couple of times during the break.
Second, Rorate Caeli has posted a video by one of our former friars, which by all accounts is a fairly nice vocation video for the Institute as it stands now, but it has been posted with a predictable interpretation and broadcasted further by others.
Indeed, I couldn’t agree more. May we have the grace to correspond to our vocation. But I don’t think any of the friars, including most who would like to see things the way RC wants to see them, would presume they are the ideal, or that the Church is without many other fine religious communities and holy religious.
After all is said and done, after everyone has had their say and shouted from the rooftops what they speculate might be reality—though they are convinced that their opinion is more than that—there remains only one thing to do, especially for vowed religious: obey the Church. Anything else would be a patent absurdity—a contradiction for sure, but not the sign of contradiction.
I kindly ask Rorate Caeli to link to this post, in the interests of truth, and also out of justice, since the footage does not belong to Rorate Caeli, but has its origin in the Institute and was the work of a friar still present in the community.
Remembering all the readers of this blog at the altar. We celebrated Mass St. Mary Major’s today, in which Basilica is kept the relic of the crib of Bethlehem. God bless you all. and Merry Christmas!
—St. Maximilian Kolbe
The Immaculate is a living ideal, a pattern of life to be replicated by our external comportment, and more importantly, by our interior lives. She lives enthroned, not merely in paradise, but in the hearts and minds of those who truly love Her. In this way She is alive and active in and through us, influencing directly the choices we make as a Mother who loves and nurtures us. This we must remember every time we think of Her. Here we will find true enlightenment and our feet will be led into the way of peace (Luke 1:79) to “the summits of our desired holiness,” to peaceful rest and blissful union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But to achieve this our thought of Her must be prayerful and profound. This is only made possible by humble meditation and prayer.
Thinking about the Immaculate
St. Maximilian Kolbe was a man who during his whole life meditated and contemplated in this fashion. He was consumed by a truth in which he believed with all his mind and heart. Often he spoke of his love and zeal for the Mother of God in terms of a “fixed ideal,” and for love of Her he wished to live, work, suffer, be consumed and die.
Now, St. Maximilian was not an idealist, not a man chasing after a dream. Nor was his ideal some abstract principle formulated by philosophers, rather it was a person, (more…)
The blog Rorate Caeli has leveled a new accusation against the authority of the Institute of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. In a recent post there, the blogger makes the accusation that the Apostolic Commissioner, Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, with the approval of Pope Francis, has engaged in the purposeful destruction of the Institute.
The latest “evidence” shown for this is Fr. Volpi’s alleged prohibition of a yearly Christmas Novena of Masses that had been offered in one of our contemplative houses for some time previously. The blogger quotes an unnamed source, which he claims to be one of our former seminarians.
Furthermore, according to this unnamed source the alleged prohibition of the novena has placed a financial burden on the community that threatens its very survival. The blogger then is careful to end the piece by exhorting his readers to pray for the poor friars, especially those in this isolated friary that has been allegedly deprived of this financial help.
Please note the following facts:
Novena of Masses
The Apostolic Commissioner of the FI has never prohibited (more…)
I have expressed my concerns about Catholic Internet culture many times before. Mostly it appears to be a problem with some bloggers, who seem to transform into a fiend returned from the dead as soon as they sit down in front of a computer. But I am of the opinion that the problem runs much deeper than just some mutant bloggers.
Now, I don’t want to generalize. I am probably just from the wrong side of the blogosphere, and aware of my own shortcomings, but where I come from this is a widespread problem. So if this does not gel with your experience just forget everything I am about to say and don’t bother to finish reading. But if, on the other hand, any of this makes any sense to you, then read to the end and assess.
In the Clutches of Interwebs
Recently in one of my classes we were commenting on the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter, Evangelii Gaudium, where Francis criticizes the way in which the new media is sometimes used in a manipulative fashion. One of the students, a priest, commented on how some of his former parishioners caused tremendous damage to others by posting on Facebook information harmful to others under their own names. The whole parish was adversely affected. (more…)
The latest conspiracy theory concerning the resignation of Pope Benedict goes like this: a group cardinals lobbying for Cardinal Bergoglio went to Pope Benedict and convinced him to retire because they had someone, very conservative (they said), waiting in the wings to take over. It was all set, they told him. He could go in peace. But then as soon as the resignation was official they sprung Bergoglio as the real candidate. And the rest . . .
As much as this satisfies the urge to have an explanation for something one does not understand, and while those who are likely to swallow this do so in reverence to Pope Emeritus Benedict, it paints him as a real chump—basically—as an idiot. Not to mention that in collaborating in this plan he would have executed a deed that would have resulted in automatic excommunication of all involved.
Needless to say, the point is to demonize Pope Francis.
This is not “news,” my friends, it is something quite different. Let it go.
First Things just posted an excellent post by William Doino, “The Pope’s True Agenda.” It is necessary reading, because it it is a well documented piece showing that Pope Francis doesn’t fit into any of the boxes partisans wish to put him in. He is not a liberal, nor a conservative, but a Catholic. Thank God for Bill Doino’s courage.
It strikes me as a bit ironic, especially among those concerned about orthodoxy, that even as people eschew labels and generalizations, they attempt to pigeonhole Francis. I recently read a post by a well-known theologian, who while admitting he ordinarily argues against the use of labels, decided to use the tags “liberal” and “conservative” just one time in defense of Francis.
I for one, have never argued that the labels are inappropriate in the concrete because they say something real. There are liberals and conservatives who are Catholic, and attempt to bend the faith to their party. This goes on all the time, and even those who say the labels are inappropriate do it.
This is really obvious when the social teaching of the Church comes up. Both liberals and conservatives have to do a dance to get around the parts they don’t like. It is the conservatives most of all who tend to be offended by the labels because they say they are for orthodoxy. Yet the labels continue to be useful so long as peoples’ behavior does not change.
And it is not just the liberals, and conservatives. There are other partisans, as we all know, who find their own excuses for sowing division. Pope Francis is not averse to the give and take of public discourse. He has called for the “conversion of the papacy” and has said:
But he is fundamentally opposed to the sowing of discord. This is why just yesterday in an interview he said, contrary to partisan views, the recent synod was not a parliament, and that while he had no problem with the content of the discussions being the subject of news, he did not agree (as a personal opinion) that the names of who said what ought to have been released. I interpret this as meaning he did not wish to see the formation of parties fomented within the synod, or to give partisan journalists and bloggers fodder for their already loaded canons.
Lest I be misunderstood, I must say once again that for me all this really does not touch upon the question of what Catholics are obliged to believe and what they may legitimately discuss. This has much more to do with the phenomenon of the information highway. Even for those who do not read blogs, news is instantaneously and information is regularly filtered through sources who can hardly be said to be objective. (I will treat of the problem of the Internet in the next post). It seems to me that there is much more heat than light in the new information democracy, and narratives are created and repeated that are too convenient for the agendas of the creators not be be seriously questioned. In my opinion Pope Francis’ repeated warnings against ideology are entirely warranted.
Perhaps everyone should calm down and read the Encyclical of Four Hands and Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter in a prayerful and trusting way. Perhaps we need to confidently entrust Pope Francis’ ministry, which he has received from the Lord, to the Immaculate Virigin. But I believe, most importantly, that we also need to entrust our own lives to Her as well, so that at the heart of the Church we might work to build in God’s way, rather than tear down in man’s.
Today, the First Sunday in Advent, November 30, 2014, Pope Francis released a message inaugurating the Year for Consecrated Life, which will end on February 2, 2016, the Feast of the Presentation. In the message the Holy Father outlines a program for reflection and action that should be a source of renewal for individual religious and their institutes. Please support Pope Francis and all religious in this endeavor by taking the time to read his message. I offer a few reflections of my own here.
Under the title of “aims” for the year, Pope Francis encourages religious to reflect on the past, present and future. The past brings us into contact with our origins, the inspiration of our founders and the nature of our charism. The original inspiration from the Holy Spirit was a response to the signs of the times, and was a seed that continued to grow and develop. (more…)