…There’s a post up at Rorate Caeli today from FFI Father Paolo M. Siano (who has written for 1P5 here), originally published at Corrispondenza Romana and now translated into English. The piece marks the sixth anniversary of a meeting between the (then) General Council of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and the five friars who opposed Father Stefano Manelli, founder of the order. Fr. Siano writes:
Myself, along with other professors of the then FI Seminary and those in charge of formation, were invited by Father Manelli to take part in the event. The meeting, which lasted the entire day in two sessions, was shocking for the amount of vehemence and malicious attacks made against Father Manelli.
With hindsight we see now that those accusations were gradually deployed and developed in the mudslinging and the ecclesiastic, media and judiciary war conducted against Father Manelli, a war promoted and/or backed by some churchmen (even in the Vatican) friars, laity and a somewhat “Tridentine” diocesan priest. Over these past six years I have witnessed the objective devastation of my Religious Family (Friars, Nuns, Laity) the persecution (still going on) of our Founding Father and our authentic FI charism approved by Pope St. John Paul II.
My vocational future and that of other confreres, who like me defend the person and line of our Founders, is uncertain. In the light of various facts, I’m convinced that at least until the end of this Pontificate, we are liable to be monitored, obstructed and persecuted wherever we go and whatever we do or become. In the meeting of January 21st 2012, those three Italian friars essentially said this to us (I’m a witness to it): “If you don’t remove Latin from the Seminary (at that time, The Theological Seminary of the Immaculate Mediatrix) we will denounce you to the Congregation [CIVCSVA-The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life] where – as you know – the modernists [or progressives] are and who will have you put under a commissioner”. And that’s exactly what happened. We didn’t bend to the threat so the Visit arrived and we were put under the Commissioner.
The post goes on to relate more of the history of what has happened between then and now, and sadly, does not end on a happy note:
Appealing to the Vatican Authorities would appear useless. Our Sisters of the Franciscans of the Immaculate had appealed to the Apostolic Signatura against the CIVCSVA and probably they would have been proven right and gotten justice. However someone from “on high” instead of respecting the correct legal course, perhaps by spurring the Signatura’s sentence, has practically blocked everything, by accepting the CIVCSVA’s request and decreeing another external commissioning.
With knowledge and in conscience before the Divine Judgment, the God of Israel, we can no longer keep quiet and watch silently and passively at the triumph of injustice and speciousness which indeed cry out for vengeance in the sight of God. May God and Mary Our Blessed Mother, Co-Redemptrix, the New Ester, help us to bear this suffering for the good of the Church. We do not know what our future will be: whether it will be as FI, diocesan priests or be reduced to the lay state. Only an extraordinary intervention of Grace can save us. Otherwise “we will die” vocationally, but with honor, not as traitors.
If they’re going to go down, they’ll at least go down fighting. God bless them for that.
Read the whole thing here.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children.