Yesterday in the comboxes there was a link to an article in the Catholic World Report on the persecution of the Friars of the Immaculate which painted a fairly rose colored picture of the situation. Rorate Caeli responds with a report from what they describe as a very well-informed source:
Michael J. Miller, writing for Catholic World Report, wishes English-speaking readers to hear the “other side” of the Franciscans of the Immaculate controversy, namely, the Commissioner’s side. Unfortunately, he has done so by uncritically repeating arguments, some of which were answered months ago, and others more recently.
Perhaps the first point he makes that is worthy of comment is the matter of the survey or questionnaire that was apparently the principal means by which the Apostolic Visit was conducted. It is surprising that anyone would trot this out again three months after it was debunked, but there it is.
For those who missed this the first time, we summarize: the percentage of friars who chose each of the four possible responses was not presented in a straightforward way like A, B, C, D. Instead, the public was given A, B/(100%-A), (C+D)/(100%-A). The fairly obvious intent was to boost the apparent percentages of those who thought that there was some problem, and especially to associate as high a percentage as possible with option D (a Commissioner is needed). Despite requests by the public to have separate figures for C and D, and to know how many friars responded (since it was certainly not all the friars), no further information was forthcoming. Since it was not, we are unable to determine the total who responded A, B, or C, that is, those who thought that if there were problems, they could be resolved by the Institute itself in a General Chapter.
Releasing manipulated data was a PR disaster, as Fr. Alfonso M. Bruno implicitly recognized by distancing himself in a letter to La nuova Bussola Quotidiana published 28 September. He wrote: “It is of no importance, for the purpose of this evaluation [as to whether or not a Commissioner was necessary] what the proportion among the various responses was.” So why were the percentages published in the first place?
to read the rest. Who knows who is telling the truth? Of course when these type of matters are dealt with in secrecy, with very heavy handed tactics being employed, that conflicting accounts come out is not unexpected. What I do know for certain is that whatever problems existed in the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, the measures taken against them are unprecedented since Vatican II, during a period when many orders within the Church have “distinguished” themselves by constant dissent from Church teaching. That the orthodox Friars of the Immaculate are the recipients of firm Church discipline in such an environment seems to me like a very sick joke.