Pope's crackdown on order alarms traditionalists

10:00 AM, Dec 14, 2013   |    comments
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - DECEMBER 14: Pope Francis leads an audience at the Paul VI Hall with children cared for at the Pediatric Dispensary of Santa Marta and their families and the volunteers on December 14, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. The children surprised the Holy Father with a small party ahead of his 77th birthday (December 17), giving him a cake and a sweater. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
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VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis may have been named Time magazine's Person of the Year, but he has come under scathing criticism from a growing number of traditionalist Catholics for cracking down on a religious order that celebrates the old Latin Mass.

The matter concerns the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, a small but growing order that was founded in Italy in 1990 as an offshoot of the larger Franciscan order of the pope's namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.

The Vatican in July took the order over and last week imposed remarkable sanctions: closing its seminary, suspending ordinations and requiring priests to accept the post-Vatican II Mass.

The case has become a flashpoint in the ideological tug-of-war going on in the church over Francis' revolutionary agenda, which has thrilled progressives and alarmed conservatives.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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