Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pope Acts to Restrain Franciscans of Assisi:

ASSISI, Italy -- Imams, rabbis, Buddhist monks, Hindu holy men and followers of Confucius have strolled the chalky white and pink stone courtyards of the massive basilica here. Anti-globalization activists with fists in the air and Communist atheists carrying Marxist texts have conversed with gentle Catholic monks.

Peace marches and conferences on economic development, bioethics and myriad other topics have unfolded, all under the auspices of the Franciscan monks who control the shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, the much-beloved and storied founder of the Franciscan order.

With a stroke of the pen earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI put the future of such varied -- some would say freewheeling -- events in question, according to Roman Catholic observers, both those who favor Franciscan activism and those who oppose it.