(Rome) Since last June, the Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have been assigned the Salesian priest Sabino Ardito, a canon lawyer, as the new Apostolic Commissioner. Yet there is still a demon in the Order, says Messa in Latino. Father Alfonso Bruno was responsible and the ultimate beneficiary of the palace coup against Founder Manelli.
Alfonso Bruno, the father with a penchant for self-expression, already belonged to the old leadership the order, where he was responsible for its media presence. At that time he was only one among several. Then came the dismissal of Minister General Father Stefano Maria Manelli and the whole Order leadership by the Vatican. Alfonso Bruno was the one who made the news public through his media contacts and thus - at least initially - of the urgency of a radical intervention.
Press Releases, Legal Letters and Ads
Apostolic Commissioner Father Fidenzio Volpi was then appointed, who was ran like a bulldozer over the Order. The first official act of the Commissioner was the appointment of Father Alfonso Bruno as Secretary General of the Order and thus his right hand. Excepting the Commissioner, who belongs to the Capuchin Order, Father Alfonso Bruno has since been at the top of the Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and completely alone.
The decisions by which the clear-cutting was done were signed by Commissioner Volpi. Partially also by the Secretary General, in part he remained in the background, as he had done well in advance of the palace coup against the Founder, who embodied the Order's charism and the Old Rite. But his handwriting appears on the endless flood of corrections, warnings, notifications, which were all issued since the coup in July 2013, against those who expressed criticism of the actions of the Holy See and the Commissioner.
"Disinformation on the Internet"
The most recent example is the correspondence of a lawyer, which the Catholic website Riscossa Cristiana received by electronic mail on August 4th. In the letter, the editor and writer are required to delete two articles. The lawyer acts in the name of Father Giulio Maria Scozzaro. Both articles dealt with the issue, as well as the title of the second article: "The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and the Disinformation on the Internet".
The items were manifestly defamatory and would severely damage the honor of his clients.
The first article reported the facts about the dismissal of Giulio Maria Scozzaro on 4 October 2007 from the Order of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate by the then General Superior Father Manelli. It was a decision that was confirmed by the Congregation of Religious on 8 April 2008 after Scozzaro raised opposition against it. "Facts can not be libelous," said Cristiana Riscossa in response to the lawyer.
In the same article, Scozzaro's publication on his internet blog was criticized, which can also be read there as before. Therein Scozzaro vehemently attacked Order's founder and his now deposed Superior General, Manelli.
Volpi's Reintroduction of Dismissed Manelli Brother
However there is something now new that has became public, it was at the time of publication unknown. Initially in the context of the contested articles the lawyer submitted, was a decision of 11 February 2015 where the late Commissioner Volpi annulled the Scozzaro's dismissal from the Order and has readmitted him into the Order.
Volpi's amazing justification, which made Manelli's decision null and void from formal legal reasons, is that the dismissal is supposed to have never been legal. Amazing because Scozzaro had lodged an appeal against his dismissal to the Congregation of Religious and confirmed this after examining the case of dismissal. Volpi's decision bears his signature and that of Alfonso Bruno. "Does Commissioner Volpi, have the right or the authority to annul an order whose validity has been confirmed by the religious congregation?" Asked Riscossa Cristiana .
As an aside it should be recalled that Father Scozzaro could appeal against his dismissal appeal to the Congregation of Religious. Founder Manelli and the deposed general leadership could not have prevented it by objecting to the provisional administration. Pope Francis had approved the drastic intervention in a form that made any appeal impossible.
The second article referred to the collected signatures at that time in support of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and of the Roman Rite. "A report on a petition is also hardly libelous," said Cristiana Riscossa. Also in this article, the facts of the early dismissal of Father Scozzaro was also reported.
"What can you say about the behavior of a priest and religious who don't directly seek contact and admonishes by using worldly means and threatening legal action? For this I will ask the new Apostolic Commissioner for clarification, as well as the bishop of the diocese where P. Scozzaro is still incardinated. "
The corresponding letter was sent on August 10 to the Apostolic Commissioner and to the Congregation of Religious. The Commissioner immediately acknowledged receipt.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Corrispondenza Romana
Image: Corrispondenza Romana