Rorate-Caeli has a long piece by an insider on the FFI thing that I found almost impossible to follow. Way too much inside baseball for someone like me who is following the story without too much attention to detail.
We could all think of Orders, Congregations and Institutes where members have written against magisterial teaching. Occasionally there has been some intervention from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in rare cases an individual has been suspended from teaching in the name of the Church. We all remember the furore over the polite and carefully worded report on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The negotiations with the SSPX broke down over the nuance of an expression concerning the level of acceptance of Vatican II.
In the case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (who have not contradicted magisterial teaching on faith or morals) their superior has been removed, their seminary has been closed, and their members are now to be asked to take an oath agreeing that the modern Roman rite is an “authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church.” I hope that I am not being intemperate in describing this as rather harsh. I certainly don’t recall others, whether liberal or traditionalist being asked to swear to such a specific question of fact. There are after all library shelves full of books by liturgical radicals arguing precisely the opposite: that the Novus Ordo was a a liberation from the encrusted barnacles of tradition and the opening of a bright new future for creative liturgy. Will they be administered an oath in which they must swear that it is an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition?
It would be reasonable to require those in communion with the Church to accept that the modern rite is, in itself, a valid rite for the celebration of the Eucharist. (Otherwise you would have to say that the Masses of Blessed John Paul, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis were all invalid.) The question of whether it is an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church is surely a legitimate matter for debate within the wider discussion of the hermeneutic of continuity or rupture. Famously, Cardinal Ratzinger described it as a “banal on the spot product”: are we not allowed any longer to agree with him?
He makes some interesting points. More at the link.
In my experience it would seem the groups that get the harshest criticism and treatment are the ones that criticize the hierarchy for not being Catholic enough. Those who criticize the hierarchy for not being progressive enough seem to have a whole lot of leeway. Just sayin’.