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.