Monday, 12 May 2014

The Franciscan Friars and Oliver Cromwell

The link between the two appears tenuous.

The FFI was not formed until  1998, some three hundred years after Cromwell ravaged Ireland using the phrase "Nits make lice" as a justification for the mass extermination of children and young people (especially).

The logic is good, the aim is bad; kill off the nits and the ideals and Faith of a nation never reach fruition to become the more dangerous lice.

My good friend, Mike Carroll (Ora Pro Nobis) reminded me of this when he commented on the scandalous fact that the founder of the FFI, Fr Stefano Manelli, has been forbidden to visit his parent's grave. See Fr Z on the matter HERE.

Here is an extract from Mike's comment:

..." If you look at the vocations video of the FFI it is not exactly portraying a dusty relic. It is very upbeat, modern, and really in a vein more befitting the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal i.e. the 'cool friars from the Bronx'. Somewhere in the mix of this came the rise of the Latin Mass and the powers that be don't like it and are panicking - because if a religious order that is portraying itself as vibrant and modern is turning to the Latin Mass then their Bugnini Novus Ordo experiment really is in danger..."

Here is the FFI's vocations video:-"

So, are the shocking attempts to shackle this Order part of a planned and cynical campaign to nip in the bud an aspect of the orthodox Faith that is attractive to the young?

So attractive, in fact, that vocations are booming and a considerable following of, mainly, young Catholic laity, beginning to emerge.

If this is the case, and, I suspect it to be so, it reminds me of another incident when a similar turn of events took place.

Step back to the early 1980s when all was in disarray and all hope on the verge of extinction.
Gradually, the order formed by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society of St Pius X, took on prominence.

Word of their existence spread slowly, no internet then, of course, and their very being was like a breath of fresh air to those of us who hungered for something more than a protestantised Mass, banal hymns and sermons on the sanctity of Ghandi.

But, in 1988, the more than reasonable request that the Society made, namely, to be allowed to select their own bishops rather than have Vatican stooges imposed upon them, resulted in Archbishop Lefebvre going ahead and consecrating his four good men and true; well, he got it right with three of them!

The result was the so called 'excommunications' but, more than that, for us poor grassroots laity, it meant that the bishops had received a clear and unequivocal signal that it was legitimate to bash the traditionalists - and bash us they did.

And one of their key moves was to ban any publicity or advertising of Tridentine Latin Masses that were scheduled.

Our own dear bishop actually stated that he did not want children attending such Masses (hence, of course, the reason why so many EF Masses were held at 6.30pm on a Wednesday).

"Nits make lice" was rearing its ugly head yet again.

More was to follow; young priests who were celebrating the old Mass were persecuted by their bishops and many left in a state of shock and despair.

I still pass one or two in the street today and they look unhappy and betrayed to the point of being furtive.

Because of our stance, we were dubbed as 'heretics' by our curate  - more was to follow; our children were isolated and ignored at their Catholic school and excluded from parish life.

We made the decision to never again attend a Novus Ordo Mass and so began a very strained period that lasted, in the main, until Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope.

Now that the same type of sinister moves are being made against the FFI we can, I think, expect more of the same.

It always used to be said that what was needed to re-vitalise the Catholic Faith in England and Wales, was a good dose of persecution.

So relish the fact that we are part of the re-vitalisation process and prepare for more to come.

And cling on to the fact that we are not suffering the fate of so many of our martyrs: death on the scaffold - not yet, at any rate.



  1. No one outside of the Pope and those 'powers that be' can select new bishops. It has been tried again and again. No go.

    ALL the young holy vocations to the FFI are scattered now and most are home with their families, no doubt looking for a faithful place to continue their journey to the holy priesthood. The thing is that there is NO other Order with the FFI charism which was unique, holy, and also faithful to the Holy Father. But he seems to have no use for them. This talk of a year dedicated to the consecrated life and the need for holy priests seems as relevant as the continued naming of now countless new saints that we can no longer keep track of. It does not mean much.

    1. M. Prodigal, well it was done in 1988 and now the so called 'excommunication' order has been lifted. I think that many of the order will head for the SSPX.

    2. And if I recall correctly, St. Athanasius did it also.

  2. Not death on the scaffold, but death by a thousand cuts.

    1. Genty...isn't that an Islamic punishment?......I see what you mean!

  3. I suggest that causes for the canonisation of the holy women Scylla and Bergenia be recommended to the Holy Father.

    1. Physiocrat...well we are certainly between Scylla and Charybdis!

  4. I am not a traditionalist. Just a middle of the road ordinary Catholic in the pews (2/3s back) who has, now in retirement, looked around and realised the appalling mess, the shambolic chaos the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ on Earth, has been allowed to get into in the post Vatican 11 decades.

    I’ve never been to an FXXP Mass or indeed talked to any of them. I understand some of them are a bit rigid. But they are Catholic, in doctrine and culture, which is more than I can say of many parishioners I can think of. (Have to be careful here, in case my wife sees this. She enjoys her after-(N.O.)-Mass coffee chats with her friends!).

    The hostility to Traditional Catholicism within the “Old Guard”, silently resentful under Benedict, is blatently out in the open again. I have had to, how shall I put it, “counter” some recent examples of this. A false hope on their part that Pope Francis might not be a Catholic?

    Yes, the disgraceful and unworthy clamp-down, persecution, on that excellent body of priests, the FFI, and now increasingly, on young priests, few though they are, who are being “lent” upon, simply because they would like to say the Catholic Mass of Ages, the Mass of their ancestors, going back through sixteen centuries and more of Catholic worship, could be the saving of us all yet.

    What we must, not, repeat not, do is to in turn become silently resentful but rather to cry out our objections from the rooftops!

    1. Jacobi, you strike a strong chord. The FXXP (SSPX) are the guardians of the liturgy and, when you attend one of their Masses you are entering a new depth of reverence.
      I like your "crying out loud from the rooftops" comment.

  5. I think that since Benedict XVI said in Sumorum Pontificum, that TLM wasn't banned and more importantly, couldn't ever be banned that no one will ever be able to put it back in the box. We will probably get it rough for a while, but it's out now and will stay out. Though it may become difficult to find sometimes. Hang on to that, it might help through the dark days to come.

    1. Chloe, you are right but some of us have been here before and it is unsettling. I am hanging on in there!

  6. Oh well there are four paths:
    - punch Volpi in the face but that is not the correct position

    join the western orthodox but i ehar they too are having troubles
    - stay and fight with prayer ,fasting and attending the Latin mass
    and faithfully live as aChristian i,.e a new recusant
    -join the SSPX

    1. Gervase, tempted by the first but, I suspect that the fourth option will be forced upon us.God bless.

  7. Thus far we haven't seen a spread of this persecution, like that of the FFI, to other groups of Latin Mass Catholics. The FFI is just one of many that love real Catholic worship, not just the Latin Mass but the whole thing with all its reverence and love for God. Thankfully we have not yet seen ANY persecution of these other groups. Yes I believe that it will become MUCH harder to start a Latin Mass community through the diocese but if we truly love our faith, we can move close to a FSSP or other Latin Mass group and enjoy the many graces that go along with it. I know it is hard but we must keep our faith.

    For me the only way I am able to keep my faith is to stick with my FSSP parish. The NO parish I attend tastes (spiritually) like wet toast, while the FSSP parish tastes like my favorite ice cream. It builds me up and helps me love God ever more as well as my brother Catholics. Perhaps I am spiritually weak but even Saint Peter needed the help of the Holy Spirit. May God bless our holy Latin Mass priests and help true Catholicism return.

    1. Ah, but Gary, the persecution is everywhere...young priests banned from celebrating the Latin Mass, orthodox young men refused entry to seminary....and bishops cracking down on their priests and deacons who blog. God bless.

  8. "We made the decision to never again attend a Novus Ordo Mass" Well that says it all, (ignoring the split infinitive) so you are right and the rest of the Church is wrong. Oh dear I feel very sorry for the Bishops trying to lead us all, and I mean all, on our spiritual journey. The fact is that huff and puff on theses websites as much as you like 90% of the Church and probably clergy will politely ignore you. God Bless you all

    1. Simon Peter, I have not seen any evidence of "the bishops trying to lead us all".
      You must have very low expectations. And the choice as to which Mass one attends is open to us all. You appear to have chosen the Novus Ordo, I have chosen the old rite - do you object to that? And, if so, on what grounds.