I haven’t posted for a very long time—a couple of weeks, in fact. That’s because we’ve been in Vienna visiting our son Joe and his family, who are now based permanently in the Austrian capital. It must be the most beautiful city I have ever seen, and probably the most interesting. But I must leave praise of Vienna for a later post, as today I want to tell you about the latest episode in the unjust treatment to which the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have been subjected. Their only offence, as far as I can see, is to combine Catholic orthodoxy with an ability to attract large numbers of vocations. You can read a lengthy account of the affair in the blog Eponymous Flower, but it has been well summarised by Fr Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham:
A common Protestant myth in mid-Victorian England concerned gullible young ladies who were also the heiresses to considerable fortunes. They were induced by cunningly persuasive Catholic priests, so it was widely believed, to join religious orders and to hand over the caboodle … after which, mysteriously, they very quickly died. Blessed John Henry Newman, a superb exponent of the Swiftian traditions of English Satire, once delivered a hilarious send-up of this jolly topos. Some things are best dealt with through satire; I rather like the hypothesis floated by Mgr Ronnie Knox to the effect that Satire is the purpose for which God created Humour. Satire is at the heart of the cultural identity of the Ordinariate.
What Victorian Protestant bigots absurdly believed about the Catholic Church is being metamorphosed into truth in this Age of Bergoglian Mercy. Circe and her wand are alive and well! According to rumours supported by various sources, Fr Manelli, Founder of the once vibrant young order called the Franciscans of the Immaculate, is being held under house arrest on Vatican orders, and denied normal contact with people outside the House of his incarceration.[I suspect that most readers will know about the merciless persecution to which that order has been subjected. I refer those who are unaware to the facts available on the Internet.]
According to recent reports on the Internet, Fr Manelli, who is well into his eighties, was recently presented with a demand that he swear an oath of obedience to the current occupant of the Roman See. Perhaps unwisely, he did this. Soon afterwards, he was presented with a demand that he hand over the assets of his foundation.
I understand that in fact, the ‘properties of the Friars of the Immaculate’ are held by lay trustees, since the Friars do not hold property. Is the intention now that Fr Manelli should use his influence to persuade these Trustees to hand the assets over??
Readers may well recall reports that the resignation of Fra Matthew Festing from the Grand Mastership of the Sovereign Order of Malta was secured by the same ruse of appealing to a sense of obedience to the current occupant of the Roman See.
Let’s hope the FFI trustees have the sense to tell Papa Francis’s emissaries to get stuffed, and keep hold of the caboodle until the Age of Bergoglian Mercy comes to a merciful end.
By the way, I think Father should perhaps have mentioned that although Jonathan Swift was responsible in large measure for the traditions of English satire, he was in fact an Irishman.