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A ban on the extraordinary form? The background story on the Franciscans of the Immaculate

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 31, 2013

If you’re troubled by the news that the Vatican ordered a Franciscan community to stop celebrating the traditional Mass, consider:

The decree from the Congregation for Religious included two salient points. The restriction on the extraordinary form of the liturgy quickly commanded attention. But the other, more telling point in the Vatican decree was the appointment of a new superior for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate: a superior brought in from outside that community. That appointment was a crystal-clear sign that the Vatican regards this group as troubled. The ban on the traditional Mass was not imposed for its own sake; it was part of a plan to restore order in a fractious religious community. Before pronouncing judgment on the Vatican’s action, it would behoove us to learn more about the situation among the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.

To that end I strongly recommend this admirably balanced and charitable post by Dr. Taylor Marshall, who is an associate member of the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Baseballbuddy - Aug. 02, 2013 5:33 PM ET USA

    Situations like this have occurred since the beginning of the Church. Order must be maintained or chaos ensues. Taking a time-out seems to be the best route before proceeding with the regular use of the Latin Rite in this Franciscan order.

  • Posted by: tturner3998 - Aug. 02, 2013 1:59 PM ET USA

    Banning the traditional Latin Mass is not a solution to anything.

  • Posted by: jgmiller - Aug. 01, 2013 1:00 PM ET USA

    Thank you for addressing this. I think there is unjust panic about overriding Benedict. Instead there should be rejoicing that this is an indication of reform and action. My hope is more examination of the abuses of the EF. It is one thing to have permission, but abuses of Liturgy, whether OF or EF need to be corrected.

  • Posted by: wvcatholic - Jul. 31, 2013 12:46 PM ET USA

    There has been a very strong trend over the last several years. Starting with the invesigation of the LC, the visitation of the LCWR, the "resignation" of bishops around the world earlier than expected, highlighted by the resignation of two Archbishops from Slovenia. The icing on the cake is the reform of the Roman Curia. Mismanagement/disorder/organizational anarchy will not be tolerated. When viewed in this context, the actions by the Vatican (begun under Pope Benedict) become clear.