Priest Sacked For Criticising Bullying And, Apparently, Prideful Pope Francis…

Somebody forgot to say that prayer!


NewsCatholic ChurchWed Nov 1, 2017 – 5:27 pm EST

U.S. bishops ask theologian to resign after letter criticizing Pope

November 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A former doctrine chief for the U.S. Bishops was asked to resign as their consultant after telling Pope Francis in a letter his papacy is marked by “chronic confusion,” and that the pope teaches with “a seemingly intentional lack of clarity.”

That lack of clarity “inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,” the priest wrote.

Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy said as well the pope’s manner “seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine.”

And he told Francis that believers are scandalized – not just by his appointment of bishops who not only “hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them” – but also by the fact he seems “silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice.”   

As a result, Weinandy told Pope Francis, many among the faithful “are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

Because of the letter, “the USCCB asked him to resign from his current position as consultant to the bishops, and he has submitted his resignation,” Catholic World Report (CWR) revealed.

“In making such a request, the USCCB, it would appear, reinforces Fr. Weinandy’s very point about fearfulness and lack of transparency” in the Church, CWR noted.

Weinandy, a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, also criticized Francis, along with some of the pope’s advisors, for calumny against those attempting to interpret Chapter 8 of his controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition, and also for the pope’s resentment of criticism – and the fear that has created within the episcopate.

He also told Francis his papacy has given “license and confidence” to those with “harmful theological and pastoral views,” inviting them to emerge from their previous cover of darkness.

In recognizing the darkness, Weinandy wrote, “the Church will humbly need to renew itself, and so continue to grow in holiness.”

Father Weinandy’s letter is dated July 31, the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the pope’s Jesuit order, CRUX reports, and made public Wednesday.

After receiving a response to the letter in mid-October from Holy See Deputy Secretary of State Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, the reply dated September 7 and confirming Weinandy’s letter had made it to Pope Francis, Weinandy provided the text to Crux and other media outlets.

Weinandy was the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices from 2005 to 2013.

He had a hand in the 2011 USCCB review of Fordham theologian Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s book Quest for the Living God, which condemned the book as “undermin[ing] the Gospel” and misrepresenting “authentic Catholic teaching on essential points.”

Pope Francis named Father Weinandy to the International Theological Commission in 2014. The Commission is the primary advisory body for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Francis also awarded Weinandy the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal in recognition of service to the Church in 2013.

Weinandy told CRUX he did not write his letter in any official capacity and that he alone is responsible for it. He did not want the letter associated with the USCCB or the American bishops, saying “its publication will be news to them.”

He was somewhat critical of the filial correction of Pope Francis issued in late September by a group of Catholic clergy and lay scholars.

The correction charges the pope with “the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions.”  Weinandy said he was not invited to sign the letter, had only heard rumors about it, and he wouldn’t have signed it if he’d been asked, stating, “I don’t think it was theologically helpful, or presented in an effective manner.”

Still, after telling the pope his July 31 letter to him was written “with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office,” and recognizing him as the Vicar of Christ, Weinandy first addressed the “chronic confusion” of the Francis pontificate, citing “the disputed Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.”

“The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love,” Weinandy told the pontiff.

“Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate,” he said. “The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions.”

“I need not share my own concerns about its content,” Father Weinandy said of the exhortation’s eighth chapter. “Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that.

“The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching,” he said. “In Amoris Laetitia, your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.”

“To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,” he wrote. “The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it.”

Weinandy protested Pope Francis’s proclivity for insulting his critics, denouncing this as unbecoming for the pope.

“You seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism,” he said. “This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.”

Weinandy also made note of the fact that Francis’s closest allies also partake in this behavior, and how this suggests that his teaching does withstand examination.

“Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions,” added Weinandy. “Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by ad hominem arguments.”

Francis’s manner “seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine,” Weinandy said, writing to the pope, “Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life.”

“But it is precisely Christian doctrine,” he said, listing a number of the Church’s central beliefs, “that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel.”

He went on to state, “faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them.”

“What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice,” he continued. “This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being.

“As a result,” Weinandy stated, “many of the faithful, who embody the sensus fidelium, are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

He told the pope his actions and words too often seem intent on weakening the unity of Body of Christ.

The final concern Weinandy addressed was transparency, reminding the pope that he’d frequently encouraged people, in particular bishops at the two Synods on the Family from which Amoris Laetitita generated, to speak their mind without fear of what the pope may think.

“But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent?” Weinandy questioned. “Why is this?”

“Bishops are quick learners,” he stated, “and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it.”

“Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you,” Weinandy told the pope, “and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises. Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.”

He attributed the current climate of confusion and chaos in the Church ultimately to Christ’s desire to expose the lapse in faith within the Church at all levels.

“Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” Father Weinandy said he often asks. “The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops.”

“Ironically,” he told the pope, “your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.  [Emphases added]


The full text of Father Weinandy’s letter to Pope Francis
July 31, 2017
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office. You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church. All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth. The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.
Yet, Your Holiness, a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate. The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions. This fosters within the faithful a growing unease. It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace. Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

First there is the disputed Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia. I need not share my own concerns about its content. Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that. The main source of concern is the manner of your teaching. In Amoris Laetitia, your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching. As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means. To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it. Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul. Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry. Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions. Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by ad hominum arguments.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine. Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life. Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology. But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel. Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth. What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Third, faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them. What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice. This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being. As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the sensus fidelium, are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity. But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite. Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion. Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern. You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church. You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think. But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent? Why is this? Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it. Many bishops are silent because they desire to be loyal to you, and so they do not express – at least publicly; privately is another matter – the concerns that your pontificate raises. Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops. Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.

Sincerely in Christ,
Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

Read above article at source here

Comments invited…

28 responses

  1. More clergy need to speak out as publicly as possible and not worry about the consequences in this life. They need to be more concerned about the consequences in the next life if they remain silent about this unprecedented crisis in the Church. God bless Fr Weinandy, and let us pray that many more Cardinals, Bishops, Priest and Religious will come forward in the forthcoming weeks and months. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for them. Obtain for them the grace to be courageous.

    • WestminsterFly,

      I completely agree with you, more clergy need to speak out and not worry about the consequences in this life because the consequences of not speaking out in the next life are very much more serious.

      Fr Weinandy spoke for so many of us in that letter. I was a bit surprised at his criticism of the Filial Correction though, but he’s entitled to his opinion.

  2. I think this letter is a more damning indictment of Pope Francis and his pontificate than any of the previously surfaced documents critical of That’s Amoris (Dubia, etc.). It is also a damning indictment of the USCCB, since they have asked Father to resign for actually telling the truth.

    (As if the USCCB, the spawn of Cardinal Bernardin, needed additional damning indictments…)

    • RCA Victor,

      I agree that this a more damning indictment of Pope Francis. That Father has spelled everything out so plainly for everyone to see. But, how many others will be prepared to put their heads above the parapet?

      The action that Father has taken, is what Soldiers of Christ should be doing. Standing up and defending the Faith.

    • RCA Victor,

      “damning indictment” – that is for sure. Pope Francis will be apoplexic and I think we can be sure that Fr Weinandy’s career hopes are not dashed, if he had any, LOL!

  3. I was delighted to read what Fr. Weinandy wrote. He certainly gave the Pope a real serve and whatever the Pope does about this there is no doubt whatsoever that the Pope is now fully aware of the division he has created within the Church. How he can possibly go on with this wrecking is totally beyond me. God bless Fr. Weinandy.

    • John R

      You have hit the nail on the head when you say that “there is no doubt whatsoever that the Pope is now fully aware of the division he has created within the Church.”

      There’s really nothing to add to that.

    • John R,

      Yes, I agree, the Pope is fully aware of the division he has caused, but….I think he is quite proud of that! Perhaps he thinks he is engineering some sort of Hegelian dialectic to bring an end to “rigidity” and “Church self-preservation,” who knows. What I do know is that his heretical, narcissistic agenda is straight out of the Catacombs Pact: https://www.pactofthecatacombs.com/the-document

      This incident isn’t going to slow him down at all, unless God has chosen an imminent time and place for him to meet a certain immovable object.

      I’m also sure he is going a-Pope-plectic over this we we speak.

  4. Read the story yesterday and thought it was wonderful of course Francis is correct in having him sacked after all we cannot have Pesky Rigid Catholics Priests telling the Truth. After all the talking ( got to keep the language clean ) and Kow Towing toward all those Lovely Non Lukewarm scarf wearing Lutherans we have a Priest hopefully several who know that this so called Pope is destroying everything he possibly can . Was at T L M last night and our Priest in his Homily at least said that he was dissapointed with the Reformation Glorification by some in our Catholic Church especially towards the Heretic Luther . As for Francis really he should not be getting bothered by such things to do with Catholicism at the moment, as he’s obviously to busy with all of these Protestant Reformation Celebrations Services.

    • Actually, I don’t think that Francis did have him sacked. His sacking was not from the International Theological Commission, which is an organ of the Holy See, but apparently from his position as a theological adviser to the USCCB, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The upper echelons of that Conference simply reacted, Pavlov’s dogs style, as they would react any dissent from the perceived prevailing power. That is just who they are: fit for nothing, especially not for spiritual counsel, and with the same mindset as one would expect to find in a lawyer specialising in tax evasion.

      Francis is many things, but stupid is not one of them. He will not sack this priest from the International Theological Commission. He will just wait until his term of office expires and then not allow its renewal.

  5. What a brave priest! That is one very powerful letter! He has really called out Pope Francis and nothing can be the same again for this pope. As John R put it, he now cannot deny the divisions in the Church that HE has caused!

    Bravo, Fr Weinandy. Surely there must be at least one such priest in Scotland? Or even in the whole of Great Britain? Sorry to say, I’m writing off Ireland, but would love to be wrong so if there is an Irish priest of the same calibre as Fr Weinandy, let’s hope he takes courage from Fr Weinandy’s example and makes a similar statement.

    • Fidelis I agree that we have to have more Clergy fight Francis and his cohorts but I think the thing is that we know how Ruthless this Pope is and if anyone is going to criticise him or his ” Reforms ” then they will be removed. So I think that the good Clergy have to be as Fly as him and fight from within. You will obviously like myself have spoken to Faithful Priests and asked them to speak out . I only know what they tell me and that is ” we have to follow the party line ” Some of our Priests cannot go this new form of Ecumenism but again have to follow the Party Line . Here’s praying and hoping that a few Faithful Priests can band together and criticise him in the one go . God Bless .

      • FOOF,

        Those “faithful priests” are no such thing. They are guilty, at best, of a false prudence and at worst, they are cowards. They are supporting the revolution in the Church; by their silence they are complicit in the damage being inflicted on the Church and thus, to souls. Read Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Souls and reflect on how much easier it would have been for him had he taken the line for which your “faithful priests” have opted.

        Explaining his alleged “disobedience”, Archbishop Lefebvre explains his actions: “If my work is of God, He will guard it and use it for the good of the Church. Our Lord has promised us, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her.
        This is why I persist, and if you wish to know the real reason for my persistence, it is this:  At the hour of my death, when Our Lord asks me, “What have you done with your episcopate, what have you done with your episcopal and priestly grace?” I do not want to hear from His lips the terrible words, “You have helped to destroy the Church along with the rest of them.”
        Open Letter to Confused Catholics

        THAT’s an example of what we term a “faithful priest”, a saintly bishop. Just think: if he’d opted to keep his head down and go along to get along, we – more likely than not – wouldn’t have the ancient Mass today. We certainly would not have had Summorum Pontificum because the hierarchy were not exactly running in fear of the likes of the Latin Mass Society and Una Voce, only too grateful for the odd weekday Mass, the crumbs from the table, grasped with breathless gratitude.

        So, we continue to pray for another Fr Weinandy, if not another Archbishop Lefebvre!

        • Do you not believe I want the same of course I do . We unfortunately live in different times now as far as communication go and any Priest not following the Party Line will soon be removed. I would rather have Faithful Priests in the inside than outside . That’s the first av heard last night of a Priest condemning Lutherans and I personally do not want him removed.

    • RCA Victor,

      I’ve not had time to read Christopher Ferrara’s article (will do so later) but I’ve seen that all over the internet, about Fr Weinandy asking for a “sign” from God before writing his letter – for goodness sake, as if his every word and action, just about, isn’t sign enough. Not impressed by that, I’m afraid. The first “sign” was when he stepped out onto the balcony so clumsily minus the papal stole and it’s been all downhill from there, with one sign after another that he required correction… Signs? Who needs signs? We need to exercise divine and Catholic Faith over this, as with everything else. I’m surprised – given his excellent letter – that Fr Weinandy didn’t seem to realise that the signs were already there… hidden in plain sight, so to speak…

  6. I know Father Thomas G. Weinandy only through his writings, in particular his important ‘Does God Suffer?’. He is a very serious theologian and, according to all that I have heard from friends across the pond, an extremely serious and faithful priest.

    His letter is as utterly devastating as his dismissal from the USCCB was utterly predictable.

    Well can I understand, first, his agonising about whether or not to write to the Pope, and, second, his asking God for a sign, which surely came! His was a truly prophetic gesture when prophetic gestures are at a premium. May he get a prophet’s reward in heaven.

    • Prognosticum

      I agree with much of what you say about Fr. Weinandy, although I was disappointed in his opposition to the filial correction. Fr. Weinandy, while genuine, labours under the same misconception as other good clergy that a Pope should only be privately upbraided for his public scandal. This goes against the teaching of the saints, and even of Popes themselves.

      St. Paul left us the example to follow, which is that of public rebuke in the face of public papal scandal which threatens the faith/morals of the Church. I do not recognise this exagerrated respect of Fr. Weinander and others. The whole Church should be up in public arms over the dangerous statements and actions of Pope Francis.

      • Part of the problem, Athanasius, is surely the reverence traditionally shown by Catholics towards the person of the reigning Pope, in particular since Napoleon’s outrageous treatment of Pius VII, but more generally from the time of the serious implementation of Trent. For centuries the Church enjoyed by and large good Popes, and this reverence of the vast majority of Catholics was only reinforced with the rise of the mass media.

        While I very much agree that public correction of the reigning pontiff is legitimate — and I think that we will see more of it should Francis be succeeded by a liberal — I would hate to see the Church descend into the fray which characterises western political parties. There is too much opinion as it is.

  7. This is a bit of a sidebar, but related, I think, to the thinking behind That’s Amoris: I am reading Henry Chadwick’s translation of St. Augustine’s Confessions, and came across this puzzling statement in the translator’s Introduction:

    “As the couple [St. Augustine and his mistress] were entirely faithful to one another and as, for the Church (as is shown by a canon of a Council at Toledo in 400), cohabitation by persons not legally married was no bar to communion provided they kept wholly faithful to one another…”

    My initial reaction was, “Surely you jest!” But then I looked up “concubinage” in the Catholic Encyclopedia and found this (excerpted):

    “The meaning of the term in Roman law, and consequently in early ecclesiastical records and writings, was much the same; a concubine was a quasi-wife, recognized by law if there was no legal wife…For this legitimate concubinage the Roman law did not require the intention of the two parties to remain together until death as man and wife; the Lex Julia and the Papia Poppæa allowing both temporary and permanent concubinage. The former was always condemned as immoral by the Church, who excluded from the ranks of her catechumens all who adopted this mode of living, unless they abandoned their illicit temporal, or converted it into lawful permanent, wedlock. Permanent concubinage, though it lacked the ordinary legal forms and was not recognized by the civil law as a legal marriage, had in it no element of immorality. It was a real marriage, including the intention and consent of both parties to form a lifelong union. This the Church allowed from the beginning, while Pope Callistus I broke through the barrier of state law, and raised to the dignity of Christian marriage permanent unions between slave and free, and even those between slave and slave (contubernium).

    The Council of Toledo, held in 400, in its seventeenth canon legislates as follows for laymen…after pronouncing sentence of excommunication against any who in addition to a wife keep a concubine, it says: ‘But if a man has no wife, but a concubine instead of a wife, let him not be refused communion; only let him be content to be united with one woman, whether wife or concubine’ (Can. “Is qui”, dist. xxxiv; Mansi, III, col. 1001). The refractory are to be excommunicated until such time as they shall obey and do penance.”

    So my second reaction was, “Perhaps Pope Francis is attempting to revive this ancient Roman practice, or use it to justify AL” – a practice which, according to the same article, was later condemned by the Church after the Roman concept of legitimate concubinage disappeared.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04207a.htm

    • RCAVictor,

      Fundamental here is your penultimate paragraph: ‘But if a man has no wife …’. In Amoris Laetitia, Communion seems (or seems not, depending on your interpretation) to be authorised in situations of concubinage deriving from the repudiation of a legitimate marriage.

  8. I think the phrase “Sin against the Holy Spirit” is accurate and bishops and priests should reflect on this and consider the four last things.

    • Charles McEwan,

      I doubt if many bishops and priests ever reflect on the four last things, if they believe in them at all. Listening to homilies, especially at funerals, they all speak as if everyone goes straight to heaven, the deceased is “looking down” on us right now and usually laughing of course. It’s ridiculous, but I don’t know what these men believe it. It’s not the Catholic religion that I was taught.

      • Margaret Mary,

        I agree. Having been to one or two funerals with the Novus Ordo Mass, it definitely seems to be a celebration of the deceased persons’ life. And as you say, everyone goes to Heaven. Heaven help these Bishops and priests if they do not reflect on the last four things.

  9. Here is an Italian priest who was silenced for 9 months, and now threatened with “double excommunication” (????), for telling the truth about That’s Amoris (posted on Rorate Caeli with English dub-over):

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