The Rule of St. Francis is very clear. The friars will obey the pope WITHOUT questions. The laity may learn something here (my comment).
Those brothers who are priest have no special privileges in the order. The ordained brothers cannot decide to celebrate the EF, without the consent of the superior who must consult with all the brothers. The FI superior did so (my comment)
Summorum Pontificum is being interpreted very globally. However, such an interpretation is not healthy, because every religious community has its rules, statues and customs. Summorum Pontificum says that a regular priest (one who is a religious) may celebrate the EF sine populum, without permission. Here is the glitch. The Rule of St. Francis says that no priest may celebrate mass without the permission of the superior. The Rule trumps SP, because SP accepts that the major superior and the particular law have authority. Pope Benedict never said that it was his intent to overrule every religious founder and make this permission part of the statutes of every religious order.
When there are friars who are unhappy with something in the order, they have the right to appeal to the pope, because he is the highest ranking superior of the Franciscan Order. For reasons that are NONE OF OUR BUSINESS Pope Benedict, not Pope Francis, began an investigation and Pope Benedict, not Pope Francis, named a Capuchin Franciscan Friar to oversee the Friars of the Immaculate for the time being. This is not new. The Capuchins have frequently been called in to oversee other Franciscan communities when there are issues to be resolved, because they are very stable and very faithful to the popes.
This is not a matter of politics or inclusion. Such terms are offensive to more than 1.7 million Franciscans around the world. This is a matter of a branch of the Franciscan family needing to settle some questions among themselves. A Franciscan community functions like a socialist democracy, but with Christ at the center. It is all for one, and one for all. When this does not happen, the community must regroup.
The Franciscans of the Immaculate have given us a beautiful example of obedience and humility that we should all follow.
Humility: As our holy Father Francis said 800 years ago, “I am what I am before God, nothing else.” A friar is what he is before God. Before God he has no rights above those of his brothers and none before the authority of the pope, even if the pope is a nutjob. He must acknowledge his place and bow before the pope and before his brothers. This is acceptance of who he is, the little one.
Obedience: Our Seraphic Father warned us that even if he commanded something that is wrong or any other superior, including the pope or local bishop, unless it’s contrary to the 10 Commandments, we must obey, because what pleases God is obedience, not precision. God cares very little whether we get it right or wrong. But he cares a great deal that we conform to the obedience of His Son.
Finally, the friars have said that the rest of us are to keep out of their business, are not to comment on it, are not to appeal to Rome on their behalf and that they will not acknowledge any attempt on our part to allege to speak in their defense. This is an internal matter and they ask that we respect that.
Some people in the blogosphere are saying that this affects the lay faithful who are attached to the TLM, especially those who are attached to the FI houses. From the point of view of a Franciscan, this is not so. We have no obligation to perform any specific ministry. We were not founded for any specific ministry. We have houses that have no priests and they exist just fine without a TLM. The friars attend mass at the local parish or they hire a priest to come in and celebrate mass for them. Then they go about their business.
In other words, the desire of the faithful for the TLM is understandable. But the same group must also understand that there is an 800 year tradition of doing what is best for the fraternity first, whereas there is not an 800 year history of the TLM. We’ve always used whatever mass was available and adapted it to our needs and customs. The argument that this was the mass of St. Francis does not hold water. Francis didn’t care as long as the friars celebrated the mass according to the laws of the Church. There were many forms of the mass in his day and the provinces did not have a common form. Nor did they feel that they needed one, because this is really a Benedictine custom, not a Mendicant custom.