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Father Volpi Backs Out of Agreement;
Persecution of Franciscan Friars Continues

by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 26, 2015

As this column reported on February 18, Father Fidenzio Volpi, the hatchet man who has dismembered the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate on the orders of Pope Francis, agreed to pay compensation of €20,000 and issue a statement for publication in various forums admitting that Father Stefano Manelli, founder of the order, and his family members were not guilty of any misappropriation of the order's assets as Volpi had falsely alleged after-the-fact to justify his dictatorial "supervision" — that is, his destruction — of the order.

Volpi has now backed out of the agreement, which he signed, on the patently dubious grounds that news of it was leaked by the Italian language blog chiesaepostconcilo.blogspot.com, whose report, written under the name "don Camillo," alleged that Volpi had "admitted his crime of slander and was sentenced on February 12…" Seizing on the report's apparent characterization of the settlement as a criminal proceeding, Volpi declared in a published letter that "I have made known to the members of Fr. Manelli's family my intention to no longer comply with the terms of the agreement signed on February 12, 2015, which I consider no longer valid on account of a severe failure of compliance by the counterparty."

How the report by "don Camilo" justifies Volpi voiding the agreement is not explained as don Camilo was not "the counterparty" to the agreement. Nor, apparently, does the agreement require "the counterparty" to keep its existence confidential, and Volpi does not allege any breach of required confidentiality.

In another bizarre twist to the ongoing and never-justified persecution of the Friars, Volpi announced: "I have therefore instructed my lawyers to prepare a lawsuit for the crime of defamation through the press against those responsible…" So Volpi, the representative of "the Pope of Mercy and Compassion," whose letter piously invokes "the heavenly protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary," has lawyered up and is going for blood in the Italian court system. Could this situation be more ridiculous?

Volpi's credibility problem continues with his letter backing out of the agreement. He ludicrously characterizes the agreement to pay the Manellis the rather substantial sum of €20,000 as a kindly gesture "'pro bono pacis' and in the fraternal spirit of our Seraphic Father…" Please! He was looking down the barrel of a big money judgment so he paid up without a fight. He also agreed to pay the other party's attorney fees.

The settlement, Volpi now claims, "did not involve any acknowledgment on my part except by way of a clarification." Nonsense. This was no mere "clarification." He was required to eat his words about the Manellis and publish in many places an admission that they had not been involved in any impropriety, as he had earlier falsely alleged.

The settlement, writes Volpi, "had the sole purpose of avoiding further civil proceedings before the Court of Rome, with consequent additional costs to the Institute." If Volpi were innocent of any wrongdoing, why would he want to "avoid further civil proceedings" that would only clear his name?

Volpi's pretense that, in signing the agreement on which he now reneges, he was merely trying to avoid "additional costs to the Institute" is laughable. He had already robbed the Institute of all its goods by what he calls "the subtraction from the Institute of the capacity to use the temporal goods conferred upon it that are necessary for the accomplishment of our mission." By "our mission" he means the destruction of the order, including the closing of its seminary and its houses of formation and worship, in order — prepare to laugh out loud — "to restore among the Franciscans of the Immaculate the original charism that has characterised the service the Institute has rendered to the Church."

This truly insane affair — the brutal destruction of a flourishing religious order for no reason other than its "definite traditionalist drift" — is symptomatic of the most acute phase yet of the post-conciliar crisis in the Church. But I fear there is far worse to come. And no doubt what will come has already been foretold in the Third Secret.