For the Record: Franciscan Friars & Sisters of the Immaculate status update — Bergoglio’s destruction nearly complete


For so many years now we have both broke and chronicled the news of Pope Bergoglio’s destruction of the Franciscans of the Immaculate — both the Friars (FFI) and the Sisters (FSI). So much has happened, often in the shadows, and has gone unreported.

Below are simple bullet points of what we’ve been told recently. They come from multiple sources both inside and outside the order. But all must be recorded for history, so we post it today. We do this, as we have for years, while facing both harassment and threats for doing so. It is worth noting that about half of the FFIs who called for the original visitation are no longer in the order. Like the Imperial Prosecutor accusing St. Bernadette, they now know they were wrong, and are hopefully repenting. Please see our notes below, as well as an educated prediction of what comes next for the order.

The original commissioner, the late Fr. Fidenzio Volpi, meeting Pope Francis the day the FFI seminary was shuttered.

The FSI (Sisters) were assigned a commissioner (Noris Adriana Calzavara of the Suore Rosarie di Udine) and two co-commissioners by a decree of the Congregation for Religious. Since the Congregation did not have its decree approved in forma specifica by the Pope, it was open to be challenged in the Signatura. The challenge resulted first in a reduction of the powers of the commissioners. It looked as though a further challenge would lead to the decree being be overturned altogether early this year.

However, before it was overturned, the Congregation went to Pope Francis and got his personal approval for a fresh assignment of the same commissioner. This was obviously very demoralizing for the sisters, who thought they were about to regain their autonomy.

The FSI have been ordered by their commissioner not to accept postulants for three years. The Sisters, which we are told numbered around 500 before these attacks, now amount to half of that.

The FSI are closing their House in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which ends their North American Mission as there will be not a single convent left in the United States.

The FFI (Friars) were forced to close and end their Australian Mission earlier in the year. We hear the Sisters may leave as well, but do not have solid enough reporting on this to say it’s 100%. But we feel compelled to report it if there’s any chance of exposure and pressure stopping the move.

About that same time of the Austrian Mission ending, Archbishop Ramon Cabrera Argüelles of Lipa, was “resigned” from his episcopacy. He was guilty of having approved a public association of the faithful made up of ex-FFIs, but since that’s not a crime, he was accused of — and apparently framed for — something unrelated.

In late January/early February, the FFI commissioners spoke of having the General Chapter of the Institute this past September. The Chapter would approve the new constitutions and elect the new Minister General, and the Congregation’s approval of this would end the period under a commissioner. Multiple sources tell us the principal targets of the reform appear to be the Marian Vow and poverty in common (i.e., the rule that not only individual members, but also the Institute as a legal person, are not capable of having property).

The Marian Vow has, in the view of many Friars, been eliminated in the new formula of profession promulgated with “dubious legality” and used in the professions in Italy in September of last year. The Friars did not vow to live in total consecration to the Immaculate (which comports three juridical obligations defined in their present constitutions), but vowed total availability to go to the missions in view of their consecration (which is the third of those obligations).

It was surprising to those who asked for a commissioner that the issue of the traditional Latin Mass has disappeared and been replaced by other changes they did not desire. Some sort of prohibition in this sense might be included, but it is clearly not the main interest of the commissioners.

The General Chapter has obviously not been held. It is reasonable to think that this is because it would not achieve the desired end (the gutting of the constitutions), although no reason has been announced.

The number of Friars interested in eliminating the Marian Vow could probably be counted on one hand, and perhaps on one finger. Therefore it is necessary (1) to significantly stack the deck in terms of voting members of the chapter, or (2) to convince those voting that the Marian Vow has not been eliminated, but merely clarified, or (3) to find Friars willing to vote for constitutions they don’t like but are willing to accept for secondary motives (exaggerated respect for the Holy See, fear of suppression, etc.)

Another possible (and likely) reason why the General Chapter has not taken place is that the commissioners have still not succeeded in getting control of the goods the Institute uses. These goods belong to non-profits, which are controlled by laymen, so that the Institute does not have effective ownership of anything. At the beginning of February, when the Congregation and the commissioners thought they could hold the chapter is September, Fr. Stefano M. Manelli was ordered to hand over ownership of the goods to the Institute, but he simply replied he has no legal power to do so.

While we can say the Sisters have been halved to 250 with some confidence, we cannot report on the current number of Friars, although we know of many who have left the order to another, or left for the world. We know of seminarians — some who were ready to be ordained to various positions the day after the seminary was closed! — who lost their vocations. There used to be a yearbook listing all of of the friaries and Friars, but the commissioners no longer publish them. They don’t even distribute a list of addresses and phone numbers for the friaries.

The Sisters’ future is linked with that of the Friars. Since their legislation is similar, if the Friars approve the new constitutions, the Sisters will be expected to pass similar constitutions.

FINAL NOTE: Our best, educated prediction for how this plays out is that the Friars refuse to approve the new constitutions. Most of them know what it would mean to approve them. And even some of the Friars who started this mess over their hatred for the TLM didn’t want the vows touched. And the Sisters will eventually refuse as well. When the commissioners and Francis finally decide there is no viable path forward for new constitutions, they will suppress the order in its entirety.

While shocking, it shouldn’t be. The Bergoglian Destruction has been going on now for nearly five years. Heretical prelates and priests and failing orders thrive under this Pontificate — those who adhere to Christ’s Word and the Tradition of the Church are persecuted.

At least we have Advent, Christ is coming!

Ave Maria!

Watch this video of Franciscans of the Immaculate Seminary the day it was shuttered by Commissioner Volpi and Pope Francis 

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6 Responses to For the Record: Franciscan Friars & Sisters of the Immaculate status update — Bergoglio’s destruction nearly complete

  1. Thank you for posting this information. The new book “The Dictator Pope” describes in some detail how this pope started to wreck the FFI, and I was wondering what happened to them after that. I suppose it is inevitable that this pope “will suppress the order in its entirety.” That is sad, even tragic, but at least we now know for sure what is happening to this once-thriiving group.

    Even more tragic: “Heretical prelates and priests and failing orders thrive under this Pontificate — those who adhere to Christ’s Word and the Tradition of the Church are persecuted.”

  2. Mary Salmond says:

    While religious orders continue to decline in numbers, this is a sad state of affairs for the Franciscans who have been around for centuries. Are there other orders going through this same process? Thank you for this article as a reminder that turmoil exists among some religious orders.

  3. kathleen says:

    Dear Mary, the mainstream Franciscan Order is not the one we are talking about here. The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (FFI) are an offshoot of the Franciscans with a unique charisma of their own, based on the Church’s traditional Liturgy, piety and devotions. Their history (from Wikipedia):

    “The founders of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and the other branches of this Franciscan family are Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli and Fr. Gabriel Maria Pellettieri. Both are originally from the Conventuals of the First Order of Franciscans. Fr. Pellettieri was one of the first four original Conventual friars sent by the Minister General of the Conventuals to start the mission in the Philippines.[4] The F.F.I. started on 2 August 1970 at the Casa Mariana, Mary Most Holy of Good Counsel at Frigento in the province of Avellino, Italy….

    On 1 January 1998, Pope John Paul II elevated the F.F.I. to an Institute of Religious Life with Pontifical Right, while the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate was elevated to a Pontifical Right on 9 November 1998.”

    So, the AMAZING growth and success of this Traditional Order by 2013, only 15 years after its founding, was nothing short of a miracle.

    Then comes the rebellion of a handful of Modernists, haters of the TLM, who had somehow managed to infiltrate this traditional Order, and their complaints were brought before Pope Francis. He took their side, ignoring the glaring evidence that the FFI was doing nothing wrong or un-Catholic, subsequently placing a Comissioner of his own mindset into the Order to break them apart. (There is no other way to describe the steady destruction that followed this move.)

    Since 2013 we have published many posts informing our readers of this unfolding tragedy. See HERE, HERE, and HERE. There are others you can link to below these posts.

    There was once even a glimmer of hope HERE that Pope Francis would reconsider his harsh treatment of this holy, blooming Catholic religious order and put an end to their suffering, when he unexpectedly met the family of the founder at the presentation of an icon. PF was asked when a solution was going to be found for the Order… but his answering promise of,”Soon, soon”(Pronto, pronto), was not kept!

  4. GC says:

    kathleen, greetings.

    I have nursed a suspicion that the Bishop of Rome’s aversion to the friars is of a piece with his incomprehension of how the young now could possibly be attracted to the traditions of the Church, which he has clearly stated more than once. It’s just not on, apparently, and thus the control freak papal response and actions towards the friars.

    A video of the friars in the Philippines, to which they repaired in the 90s with some success. The response of the youth there towards the friars was very clearly positive. All of the friars there are south of 40, in clear contrast to fuddy-duddy toads here on CP&S.

    The video is from 2014 and there seems to be more than a little pro-Bergoglio sentiment. Did they know the chop was coming?

  5. Mary Salmond says:

    Kathleen: thanks I will check out all the HEREs. Quite a few. Your explanation and interpretation was more clear than the article, so I appreciated it.

  6. kathleen says:

    Hi GC,

    Sorry for the delay in replying; I managed to catch one of those horrible winter viruses going around that laid me low for a couple of days.

    What a heartwarming video – all those cheerful young faces! The Philippine Catholics are such a wonderful faithful people. It wasn’t as obvious in 2014 (as it certainly is now) all the shocking plans of attack Pope Francis held in store against doctrine and Tradition. That probably explains the “pro-Bergoglio sentiment” you mention.
    Hopefully the Philippines are far enough away from Rome (and the destructive methods of PF) that they won’t have suffered the chop as much as the Friars in the West. Do you know if this is so, three years later?

    Yes, I think PF’s aversion to the FFI has indeed something to do with his aversion to tradion and the Church’s beautiful Liturgy (ever ancient, ever new) something that he simply cannot hide. Apparently this fact is brought out well in the new book, ‘The Dictator Pope’.

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