Why? Undoubtedly due to the same complaint against the Friars: a “crypto-lefebvrian and definitely traditionalist drift” in the community. In other words, the Sisters are being investigated because they assist at the Traditional Mass and are suspected of adhering to the Traditional Faith. Thus, being Catholic is now apparently dangerous, subversive, and “crypto-lefebvrian” to the Congregation of Religious.
Fr. Volpi had already desired the investigation of the Sisters ever since they had the audacity to publicly refute his spurious accusations against them. Now, with this latest move of Cardinal Aviz, Fr. Volpi gets his wish.
Who is Cardinal João Braz de Aviz?
According to a January 2011 report by Vatican journalist John Allen:
Bráz de Aviz is not a member of a religious order and sources in Brazil say he’s not written or spoken widely about issues in religious life. He’s seen as closer to some of the new lay movements in the church, especially the Focolare, an Italian group emphasizing ecumenical and inter-religious unity…
Despite Benedict’s 2007 motu proprio authorizing wider celebration of the old Mass, the journalist said, Bráz de Aviz did not grant permission “easily,” and in general “the traditionalists didn’t seem to have an easy life while he was in charge.”
Couple this with the following lines from a July 2011 report from Allen:
With striking candor, Bráz refers to a breakdown in trust between the Vatican and many religious orders because of "some positions taken previously." The reference is to his predecessor, Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rodé, who repeatedly decried a “crisis” in religious life following the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), related in part to what Rodé regarded as excessively liberalizing currents in some communities.
Without denying that there are problems, Bráz said, his main aim is to “rebuild trust” by approaching issues in a new way – “without preemptive condemnations,” he said, “and by listening to people’s concerns.”
Although the Cardinal is building zero trust with the Sisters since his henchman Fr. Volpi has preemptively condemned them, the Cardinal did find time to build trust and listen to the concerns of the heretical nuns of the LCWR. A Huffington Post article on Wednesday sported the following title: Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz Acts As Peacemaker Between U.S. Nuns And Vatican.
In addition, as Allen’s January 2011 report stated, the Cardinal is heavily involved in the Focolare movement. Focolare describes its purpose as follows:
to work cooperatively to build a more united world, following the inspiration of Jesus’ prayer to the Father ‘May they all be one’ (Jn 17:21), respecting and valuing diversity. It focuses on dialogue as a method, has a constant commitment to building bridges and relationships of fraternity among individuals, peoples and cultural worlds.
Once again, Christ’s prayer is used unashamedly to promote a false unity already condemned by Pius XI. As the late Pontiff said in Mortalium Animos:
…Those who favor this view constantly quote the words of Christ, "That they may be one... And there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 17:21, 10:l6), in the sense that Christ thereby merely expressed a desire or a prayer which as yet has not been granted. For they hold that the unity of faith and government which is a note of the one true Church of Christ has up to the present time hardly ever existed, and does not exist today.
…There is but one way in which the unity of Christians may be fostered, and that is by furthering the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it; for far from that one true Church they have in the past fallen away. The one Church of Christ is visible to all, and will remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it.
Is Focolare “furthering the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it”? Consider the words of Focolare foundress Chiara Lubich taken straight from Focolore’s official website:
Our dialogue is the dialogue of life, the dialogue of a people which is already Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed… of a people who are already all united and who are a people… they are the Christian people of the year 2000, of our times. We realized that this is our way of being involved in ecumenism, that is, of awakening the Christian instinct of Christians, joining everyone together because the bottle is almost full, joining everyone together and bringing ahead this people….But what people do we intend? The Christian people. The people… we are this people, we are this people.
When I spoke with the focolarini the other day – there was Lesley and Callan [Anglicans] – I said: “Who will ever separate me from Lesley and from Callan? No one, because Christ has united us! Jesus in our midst has united us. No one can separate us!”
A New Liturgy for a New Faith
When one takes a moment to contemplate the state of the Church today, it is chilling. We now have a Cardinal Head of a Congregation of Religious who is close to a Vatican II “lay movement” whose founder spoke heresy and blasphemy. But not only this, her words are proudly displayed on the movement’s own website as representing its mission! And this “movement” is not only recognized but has been lauded and praised by John Paul II and his successors, including Pope Francis as recently as February.
In addition, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz reportedly ignored the Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI which recognized the right of every priest to say the Traditional Mass. The Cardinal also criticized his predecessor at the Congregation of Religious who rightfully recognized the breakdown of religious life since Vatican II due to liberal currents.
Yet this is the same Cardinal who is ordering an investigation into an order of nuns who have been one of the few success stories in the wasteland of the Conciliar Church. Why? Because they show affection towards the Church’s own Traditional Faith and liturgy. The very Faith and liturgy the Cardinal himself opposes. Thus, what faith and liturgy does the Cardinal adhere to?
A close look at the words of his number two man, Archbishop Carballo, is telling:
José Rodríguez Carballo mentioned as an important point of religious life fidelity to Vatican II: "For the consecrated, the Council is a point that cannot be negotiated." And he affirmed that those who search into the reforms of Vatican II all the ailments of religious life "deny the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church."
He explained that in the Congregation for Consecrated Life, they are "particularly concerned" with this matter: "we are seeing true deviations." Above all because "not a few institutes give not only a pre-conciliar, but even an anti-conciliar formation. This is inadmissible, it is to place oneself outside of history. It is something that worries us greatly in the Congregation."
In addition, examine one of the demands made on the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate by Fr. Volpi:
The Novus Ordo as an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church and therefore of Franciscan tradition (without prejudice to what is permitted by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, once the current disciplinary decree of veto, ad hoc and ad tempus, is revoked for the Institute), and the documents of the Second Vatican Council, in accordance with the authority accorded them by the Magisterium.
Thus, the Congregation’s faith is the Second Vatican Council and its liturgy is the Novus Ordo Missae. For the Congregation requires both to be accepted on the level of Catholic dogma for priests to remain in the Institute. Meanwhile there are numerous priests and religious in various institutes today who deny true Catholic dogma rather openly without a fear in the world from the good Cardinal’s Congregation. One of these, the LCWR, the Cardinal defends.
As Professor Roberto DeMattei pointed out, the Franciscan Friars made a grievous mistake in obeying the previous invalid decree of Fr. Volpi (purportedly approved by the Pope) which dared to forbid them the right to say the Traditional Mass; a right irrevocably granted to all priests by Pope St. Pius V and recognized as such for half a century. Obedience to this unjust and null decree was no doubt motivated by the best of intentions on the part of the friars. Yet, as Archbishop Lefebvre once said, “…it is a master-stroke of
Satan to get Catholics to disobey the whole of Tradition in the name of obedience
The Congregation’s Denial of the Holy Spirit
Further, it is the height of arrogance and dishonesty for Archbishop Carballo to say that denying the reforms of Vatican II is the equivalent of denying the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church. First, many of the so-called “reforms” of Vatican II were never even called for by Vatican II. Second, any so-called “reforms” of a non-infallible pastoral Council that contradict the teachings of previous Popes and the 2,000 year old Faith must be denied under penalty of mortal sin.
Ironically, it is the Archbishop himself who denies the Holy Spirit’s presence in the Church for 2,000 years. For the Holy Spirit does not guide a Rite of Mass from the Last Supper to the 1500’s, have it irrevocably canonized and mandated by a Sainted Pope, and then decide to substitute it for a man-made ambiguous ecumenical “rite” by committee concocted in the year 1969. Either his Excellency believes that the Holy Spirit of the Traditional Mass and Faith is the same “yesterday, today, and tomorrow”, or he believes in a new “spirit” which came upon a new Church at the “New Pentecost” in 1965.
As for Fr. Volpi, he demands that the Franciscan Friars perjure themselves by “personally subscribing” and “formally accepting” an outright falsehood. It is an undeniable historic fact that the Novus Ordo Missae is in no way an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church or of the Franciscan tradition. In fact, it is instead a clear break with that Tradition. Of course, Fr. Volpi doesn’t understand this because he has a false notion of Tradition which he shares with his Neo-Catholic brethren.
In case Fr. Volpi is reading, Tradition is not created by the Pope, it is not bound by the Pope and it is not bound by the times. The Pope is instead bound by Tradition. Vatican I and all of Church teaching is extremely clear: the highest duty of the Pope and Bishops is to faithfully safeguard the Deposit of Faith by faithfully passing it on inviolate in the same meaning and same understanding as it has always had. No Pope has the authority to change or add one iota to it. This is Catholic dogma and to deny it is to deny the entire Catholic Faith. For if one iota of Catholic Faith can change or transform, then the entire Catholic Faith falls apart.
Do Cardinal Braz de Avis, Archbishop Carballo, and Fr. Volpi abide by this most basic of Catholic truths? Or do they instead abide by the following ideas of Focolare luminary Fr. Silvano Cola?
…The considerations we will make may sound like a criticism of the past. However, they should not be regarded as negative. Obviously with time a new consciousness emerges and with it a new type of behavior which automatically seems to deprecate former ways. My intention in this article is not to criticize the past. All that was done in the past was perhaps the best for those times, for those people, in that situation and for the collective consciousness of that historic moment. At present the collective consciousness of humanity seems to have matured, resulting in a new step forward. This requires a change in the way we read the Gospel ...........we preserve what is still useful to assist those who are unable to change their own ways of thinking and consequently unable to change their way of acting. At the same time we should allow for the possibility of something new, even if small, which is more adapted to the maturity of today's collective human consciousness.....
I think the persecuted Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate have a right to know.