(Rome) A letter from the Apostolic Commissioner of the Franciscans of the Immaculate laid bare last week what has been long suspected. The dismissal of the Order's founder Father Stefano Manelli, as General Minister and the entire Order’s leadership was carried out with the approval of Pope Francis for a reason, Pope Francis' really sharp criticism. He repeatedly admonishes that he does not to see the Church as an ideological battleground. The Apostolic Commissioner Father Fidenzio Volpi wrote to the daily La Stampa that the action was taken because it is “ Crypto-Lefebvrian, anyways traditionalist”. The attitude of the Commissioner can be recognized in the formulation. Obviously, they came across some curial representatives who noticed that the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception sought a canonical recognition of the Society of St. Pius X.. Meanwhile, there are suggestions that about150-200 brothers, who were loyal to Father Manelli and his charism, want to start a new order. A request has already been sent to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Meanwhile, to the health of the 81 year old Founder, Father Stefano Maria Manelli, who was almost completely isolated from the outside world, has deteriorated dramatically. For this reason, we are publishing the following guest commentary of "Cordialiter".
For the Health of Father Stefano Maria Manelli
Readers have recommended prayers for Father Stefano Maria Manelli (FI) , who needs them really badly. The health status of the founder of the religious family of the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception is serious and it seems like the time is approaching to leave this world of misery and enter into eternity for him.
In the 90s, my grandfather gave my father a little book with the title: "The Great Promise of the Sacred Heart", whose author is Father Manelli. Also, I wanted to read it and asked my father about it. The book impressed me deeply. It addresses the key question of the eternal salvation of the soul, of mortal sin, the existence of the devil, the concrete possibility to end, because of a mortal sin, in eternal damnation, of the apparitions of Fatima. The reading of this document caused a spiritual sensation in me because I was until then, used to the usual shallow sermons and religious instruction, which were focused on a kind of life advice entirely on people and their daily lives, which are as sweet as sugar and serve only to stun souls. Of the last things , nothing was never spoken, because God is so infinitely merciful, that he has actually long since abolished hell, would not even be limited to very bad villains as Adolf Hitler, who would otherwise not be so accommodated. If minds differ about Joseph Stalin.
For the good people who actually all go to heaven, it is completely pointless to seek a spiritual life, because at the end of both a penitent souls like St. Francis of Assisi and the souls of those who spent a lifetime wallowing in numerous vices and abominations, experience the same promotion.
At that time I was a boy, but by the writings of Father Manelli it was clear to me that this patronizing view of religion is just a scam. It is quite true that God is infinitely merciful and can forgive any sin, but he is also infinitely just, so the forgiveness of sins requires sincere repentance.
This booklet did my soul so much good. I wanted this instruction to deepen, but was convinced that the author must be dead long ago. And anyway, that priests like him had died out long ago. Only years later did I learn that this zealous servant of God lived and worked and was the founder of a religious community, who had enjoyed a good reputation and whose brothers thought of him as their religious father.
I sat down at the desk and wrote a letter to one of the monasteries of this order, I basically addressed it to the brothers.To my great surprise, I received a reply, not from anyone, but a handwritten letter from Father Stefano Maria Manelli personally. It was not just a courtesy reply with the usual friendly phrases. It was a letter of great spirituality with numerous spiritual references, recommendations and instructions. A letter which comparable those those which St. Francis de Sales wrote, whom I got to know later.
Some time ago I finally had the chance to meet Father Manelli personally and exchange a few words with him.
The Franciscans of the Immaculate were thrilled with the 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, I was excited about their joy and their decision a year later, internally to fully adopt the traditional Rite. I was then convinced then that the faithful who came to the Masses of the brothers in the Old Rite, did not only for aesthetic reasons, but the Mass locations entrusted to the Order’s Mass\developed an intense spiritual direction themselves. Today you can see in not a few churches, the faithful after Mass stampede even before the priest has left the sanctuary. The Franciscans of the Immaculate stopped the faithful to persevere a little after Mass and give thanks to God, as the fine manual of asceticism, as well as Pope Pius XII., recommend. And so it embraced the faithful also. Much misery lies in the widespread error even among priests that believers of this and that "today" would no longer accept. Not infrequently, it is concealed behind a lack of willingness to give instruction. The fact is that the faithful may be instructed willingly and gratefully, often eagerly if this instruction attended by their shepherds.
So we pray to Mary Mediatrix Gratiarum, the Mediatrix of All Graces, to assist Father Stefano Maria Manelli in this crucial hour of his life. The Founder understood his life as a life of penance, he offered to accelerate the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In this spirit, a loyal and faithful heart, he will sacrifice the recent adversity. The world does not like to understand. Let us pray for him and for his spiritual sons.
Introduction / Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmailcom