(Rome) Father Fidenzio Volpi, with the approval of Pope Francis in July 2013, has surprised again and again as Apostolic Commissioner of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, although rarely in a positive way. The Apostolic Commissioner has changed his mind and withdrew his signature on the agreement with the family of FFI Founder Father Stefano Maria Manelli.
This past February 12 Commissioner Volpi and the family Manelli had agreed following a mediation in civil matters (mediazione civile). The blog Le pagine di Don Camillo, who first reported on the agreement, falsely wrote about a "patteggiamento", a specialized institution of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure, and has since apologized. Since 2010, Italy has recognized in implementation of an EU directive mediation in civil matters, which serves to resolve disputes wherever possible on a voluntary basis, without letting it come to a trial. The mediation takes place before court-appointed mediators at the registered office of the competent court.
FEBRUARY 12: The Admission of Guilt by the Commissar
This past February 12 at 11 clock before the Court Mediator at the District Court of Rome, the family members of Father Manelli and their lawyer Davide Perrotta as plaintiff on the one side and on the other side the Apostolic Commissioner Fidenzio Volpi and his lawyers Alessandra Böcklin and Edoardo Boitani as defendant. The mediation took place in the proceedings pending before the District Court of Rome, First Civil Chamber of litigation for defamation of Manelli family by Commissioner Volpi (see Commissioner Volpi admits a slander ).
At the end of the mediation, both parties signed an agreement with Commissar Volpi who apologized and explained that with respect to the family Manelli nothing applied to what he had written in his circular letter dated 8 December-2013. The Manelli family had "absolutely nothing to do with any unlawful act."
The obligations of the Commissar
This public apology would have until March 3rd according the agreement, to be published on the message news agency AGI and on the website of the Order immacolata.com. On the website it would have to be visible for at least three consecutive months in a clear presentation as other published notices on the issue. In addition, the Commissar was to have informed all monks and nuns, with his apology in a circular. Volpi undertook all attorneys' fees and agreed to pay the family Manelli a compensation of 20,000 euros. Everything by 3rd March. "Can there be even more guilt?" Said Riscossa Cristiana.
Volpi's admission is legally and morally significant. In addition to the legal question before a court of law, the Commissar admitted with having violated the Eighth Commandment. Thus, the credibility of the Apostolic Commissioner is badly hit. Many blogs have pointed this out following the mediation agreement.
February 18: The anger of the Commissioner and an incendiary letter
But that seems to have so annoyed the Apostolic Commissioner because of the damage to his image that is now breaking like porcelain. Referring to the report, he has withdrawn his signature to the agreement again. Instead of writing the court warranted apology, Commissar Volpi has sent an new urgent letter on the 18th February to all members of the religious order.
In the newsletter, he withdrew his admission and told the brothers and sisters of his "will" that he would "not to comply with the signed statement" because he "no longer considers it valid because of serious non-compliance by the other party." But Volpi does not say just what the "serious non-compliance" with the family Manelli happens to be. In the written mediation agreement (copy of the original document 1 )) of 12 February 2015, there is no statement obliging the family Manelli as the complainant in the proceedings. Unlike in the mediation agreement, the Commissar has now returned to his initial allegations and is shooting fire arrows at the family Manelli.
"Little credible" Justification of the Commissioner
The Commissar, as is evident from his incendiary letter, is incensed because the matter became public. "The fact that the news of the agreement signed by Commissioner Volpi would reach the public, was easily foreseeable," said Corrispondenza Romana. However, Volpi may have hoped that certain details, such as the payment of € 20,000 to the family Manelli, would not become known. In addition, the Commissioner was faced with new demands for his resignation. In the circular letter of 18 February he writes now that he has always been considered "innocent". He only agreed "pro bono Pacis" and "in a spirit of brotherhood seraphic" the agreement of 12 February, which was just for the sake of peace. "A statement of little credibility," said Riscossa Cristiana, given the clear and unilateral commitments into which he entered.
The fact is that Commissar Volpi has not been convicted by any court. The mediation was voluntary. "However, the agreement of 12 February exists and is signed by Father Volpi. The signature may indeed be withdrawn, so is no longer in effect," said Cristiana Riscossa.
Commissioner Volpi is receiving a monthly € 5,000 allowance for his provisional activity, according to Italian media. A message that has never been disowned. The sum is to be paid by the Order of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Soon, the Commissioner will have to stand trial. With his circular letter, he made it clear that he wants it to come to a trial in this dispute. There, too, the mediation agreement will play a role. The legal costs of the Commissioner shall be borne by the Order.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Corrispondenza Romana
Image: Corrispondenza Romana
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org