What kind of commitment does your religious profession entail? Are you bound in obedience to the Provincial? Do you have to promise to yield to the local bishop’s authority? Did you commit to support the Franciscans financially even if there is no financial transparency? Aren’t you worried about getting more closely linked to them, when they might not yet have gotten their act together about the sexual abuse crisis?
Even if there was a spiritually rich local community, because of problems of governance in the church at all levels, I would be nervous at the prospect of associating myself to the church more closely in a formal way. (Comment posted by Claire)
I would like to make two points before I address this. First, Franciscans are fond of saying that if you meet one Jesuit, you’ve met them all; but if you meet one Franciscan, you’ve only met one Franciscan. (I don’t know yet how fond they are of saying this when an actual Jesuit is present.) The point is that Franciscans have a tradition of rugged individuality. So please note that what I say is always my personal opinion and that I am not speaking for the Order. (Although now you can see that Secular Franciscans are allowed to have personal opinions.) Second, I have never been a joiner. I hate joining groups of any kind. The last group I joined voluntarily was the Cub Scouts when I was a child, and I’m still having second thoughts about that. Maintaining the illusion of my complete independence has always been very important to me all of my life. People who know me well were astonished that I joined a religious order. One person, an old high school friend who became a priest even blurted out something not altogether priestly when I told him my plans.