Cardinal Müller Warns of Schism…

From La Croix International: Cardinal Müller ‘bitter and concerned’ with Church’s direction – 29 November, 2017… 

Cardinal Müller 

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller / Alberto PizzolI / AFP
“There is a front made up of traditionalist groups as well as a number of progressives, who would like to see me lead a movement against the pope, but I will never do it.”

These were the words of Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to Massimo Franco, columnist at the Italian daily Il Corriere dela Sera, in an interview published on Sunday, November 26.

Müller, who has previously distanced himself from a series of pontifical moves, revealed that he was both bitter and concerned with the direction the Church is taking.

Insisting that he believed in “the unity of the Church”, Cardinal Müller nevertheless called on Church authorities “to listen to those who have serious questions and fair complaints”.

“We must not ignore them or, worse, humiliate them,” he emphasized.

“If not, without intending it, the risk of a slow separation may grow and lead to a schism by a section of the Catholic world that feels disoriented and disappointed,” Cardinal Müller warned.

Schism looming? 

The history of Martin Luther’s Protestant schism 500 years ago should indicate the kind of mistakes we need to avoid,” he said.

Although he had previously harshly criticized his dismissal as the head of the Congregation for the Faith, he revealed several new aspects of this in his Corriere interview.

Pope Francis reportedly said to him that “certain people have told me anonymously that you are my enemy”.

“After forty years of service to the Church,” he lamented, “gossips are making such absurd comments, creating doubts in the mind of the pope when they would have done better to visit a psychiatrist.”

Reaffirming his loyalty to Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller claimed that the pontiff’s “real friends are not those who flatter him” but “those who assist him with the truth and with theological and human expertise”.

He had severe words for the “detractors” whom he blamed for his departure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Refuting the notion of a plot against the pope as “an absolute exaggeration”, he admitted that significant “tensions” exist in the Church at present.

“I believe that the cardinals who expressed their doubts on Amoris Laetitia or the 62 signatories to a letter making critical comments about the pope, including some which were excessive, should be listened to and not swept aside with the back of the hand as if they were Pharisees or malcontents,” Cardinal Müller said.

What is needed is “free and frank dialogue,” he added.

Instead, he feared that people within the pope’s “magic circle” are “worried primarily about spying on perceived enemies, preventing open and balanced discussion”.

In a sign of his good faith, Cardinal Müller recently issued a public defense of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the family, which has crystallized the various conflicts.

“To classify all Catholics as ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ of the pope is the greatest evil that they cause to the Church,” Cardinal Müller insisted.

“People are perplexed when they see a well-known journalist, who is also an atheist, claim to be a friend of the pope, while a Catholic bishop and cardinal like me, is defamed as an opponent of the pope.

“I don’t think that these people are in a position to give theology lessons on the primacy of the sovereign pontiff,” he said.

Compared to Benedict XVI’s pontificate, the Church now seems “weaker,” Cardinal Müller continued.

“There are fewer and fewer priests yet we are offering answers that are more organizational, political or diplomatic than theological and spiritual,” he said.

“The Church is not a political party based on power struggles. We need to discuss existential issues about life and death, the family, and religious vocations and not always ecclesiastical politics,” he added.

“Pope Francis is popular and that’s a good thing. However, people are no longer receiving the sacraments. And his popularity among those Catholics who enthusiastically quote him, unfortunately, does not change their false convictions,” the cardinal insisted.

It is now necessary to go beyond the notion of a Church as a “country hospital”, Cardinal Müller said, citing an expression popularized by Pope Francis.

He said, instead, that the world needs a “Silicon Valley” Church.

“We need to become the Steve Jobs of the faith and transmit a powerful vision in terms of moral and cultural values,” the cardinal claimed. [Emphases added]     Source – La Croix International

Comment:

Is the Cardinal over-egging the crisis?  Or do you agree that we are in danger of schism? 

Bishops of Scotland: Anti-Catholicism Rife – Please Review “Hate-Crime”

Press release from the Scottish Catholic Media Office…

Catholic Church suggests Hate Crime review, offers opportunity to consolidate rather than separate legislation.

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Church comments come in response to the Scottish Government’s Review of Hate Crime legislation, chaired by Lord Bracadale:

http://www.gov.scot/About/Review/Hate-Crime-Legislation

The review is charged with considering whether existing hate crime law represents the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice..

Commenting on the review, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan who submitted a detailed response on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said:

“This process is an opportunity, ultimately, to ensure that the legislation is just and that every group is protected. This does not have to be a “zero sum game” where one group “wins” and another “loses” but rather could be an opportunity to rationalise and simplify legislation. A desirable outcome would be a single aggravation such as section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. Applied to all protected characteristics equally, it would be a simple and straightforward “message.” which would foster harmony in that all groups would be treated equally in the eyes of the law.”

Mr Horan added:

“It is important that any legislation, preserves judicial discretion recognising that Scotland has a Criminal Justice System populated by highly trained prosecutors and Judges. They are best placed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual cases and should be free to do so in the absence of their decision being “politicised” by legislation which creates a perceived “scandal” where none exists.”

The Church response also highlights Scotland’s long history of anti-Catholicism and urges Government recognition be given to the historic roots of present conflicts. Pointing out that for over twenty years successive Scottish Governments have dedicated significant resources into programmes and projects designed to tackle the symptoms of sectarianism. The submission adds, that in the same period the growth in such funding has been matched by an increase in religious hate crime.

The response notes, that “an opportunity exists to acknowledge that anti-Catholic sectarianism is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other types of religious hate crime in Scotland. Instances of anti-Catholicism outnumber all other type of religious hate crime combined, in a country where Catholics represent only 16% of the population. This is a product of the Reformation Parliament of 1560 and its condemnation of Catholic doctrine and worship including the ban on the celebration of all Catholic sacraments. No other religion or belief has ever been so proscribed in Scotland, the legacy of this proscription continues to the present day. A recommendation by this review, that the Scottish Government consider issuing a collective, retrospective apology could go some way towards building, repairing and renewing bonds between communities harmed by historical wrongdoing. It could also be the first step in addressing historical iniquities.”  ENDS

Click here to read the full text of the Church’s response to the Hate Crime review 

Comment:

We can’t speak for lapsed Catholics, but it is simply not possible for a truly practising Catholic to be filled with hate and that’s what defines bigotry.  Many of us, myself included, count members of non-Catholic communities among our families and friends.  There is no way that I can even begin to comprehend what it must be like to hate someone for any reason – let alone on account of their religion.  Christ told us to go out into the whole world and convert – not kill, not hate. He explicitly told us that it is just not possible to love God if we hate our neighbour (1 John 4:20). 

The fact is, though, that there is much hatred directed against Catholicism, and it is sadly true that anti-Catholic behaviour is tolerated in Scotland –  to the point where it is effectively institutionalised.  Below, a short video clip showing an annual public demonstration of this institutionalised bigotry – the Orange Walk(s) which take place throughout the summer.  These events, which are permitted by the local political authorities and supported by the police, testify to the tolerance of anti-Catholic sentiment and behaviour by the powers-that-be in Scotland.   The participants sing offensive songs – some of the lyrics of one of the most popular Orange songs  is placed under the video, to give a flavour of what goes on during these marches, although the one on film below is relatively mild. 

As you watch, ask yourself if such a hate-march would be permitted against Muslims. Ask, yourself, too, if the Editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer was right to invite the Grand Master of the Orange Lodge to write a column in the paper a few short years ago…  Is that really what Catholics want to take home and leave lying on the coffee table?  Albeit in the name of fostering ecumenical relationships? Howzabout the Grand Master cancels the annual Orange Marches in the name of ecumenism?  


“The Sash My Father Wore” Lyrics
Sure I’m an Ulster Orangeman, from Erin’s Isle I came
To see my Glasgow brethren all of honor and of fame
And to tell them of my forefathers who fought in days of yore
All on the twelfth day of July in The Sash My Father Wore.
Chorus:
It is old but it is beautiful, and its colors they are fine
It was worn at Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne. From my orange and purple forefather it descended with galore
It’s a terror to them Papish boys, The Sash My Father Wore.   [emphasis added].

 

2018 Marks 100 Years of Catholic Schools in Scotland But… What’s The Point?

From the Scottish Catholic Observer…  24 November, 2017…  

Challenge those who attack Catholic schools, Archbishop says

Archbishop Tartaglia said celebrations of the centenary of Catholic education in Scotland should include a robust defence of Catholic schools
The Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia is encouraging Catholics to get involved in upcoming celebrations to mark 100 years of state Catholic education in Scotland—and to challenge those who attack Catholic schools.

In a letter to headteachers and members of clergy from across Scotland, the archbishop described the centenary as an ‘opportunity to rejoice’ over the successes of Scotland’s Catholic schools and education. “2018 serves as an ­opportunity to rejoice in the academic, cultural, civic and social achievements of pupils who have attended Catholic schools in the last 100 years,” he said. “It is a chance to mark publicly the ways in which Catholic schools are not just good for Catholics, but good for Scotland.”

Negative voices

He spoke of the ‘positive contribution of Catholic schools’ to society in Scotland, which he described as being ‘well documented.’

“The continuing support of the Scottish Government and all of the main political parties is encouraging for the future of denominational schools,” he said. “However, while this is a time to reflect and thank God for 100 years of serving our local communities, we cannot be complacent that there is universal support for Catholic schools.

“We need to ensure that we continue to challenge the negative voices which exert pressure in the media and in the political arena, suggesting that there is no place for Faith schools in the public provision of education in a modern Scotland.

“What better way to do this than by marking this centenary as a celebration of the distinctive nature of our schools and by telling the story of the people and communities who have benefited from Catholic education in Scotland.”

Archbishop Tartaglia invited parishes, families, schools and communities across the country to ‘consider the ways that they can add to this story,’ as he revealed that a planning group has been set up to look at ­possible activities and coordinate events for the anniversary celebrations.

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has authorised the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) to ‘propose plans’ to be used in the centenary year that mark the education partnership between Church and state.

Contribution

In his letter, the Archbishop asked that headteachers and priests let parish councils, parent and pupil councils, pastoral planning teams and associated schools’ groups know about the SCES planning group.

“I encourage you to begin a discussion of how your local parish community can support and contribute to the events of this year,” he said, adding that SCES is welcoming submissions of archive material of local school history, stories and photographs of parishioners.

SCES have revealed a number of national events will take place across all of Scotland’s eight dioceses in 2018, while other celebrations will be organised at a diocesan and local level.

The launch of the centenary celebrations will take place in February next year, when a specially commissioned icon of ‘Jesus Our Teacher,’ created to mark the 100th anniversary, will begin its tour across the country, starting in Galloway Diocese.

Glasgow Archdiocese will mark Catholic Education Week, which runs from January 28 to February 2, with a high schools’ Mass in St Andrew’s Cathedral, while a Catholic Education Week dinner will take place at the city’s Central Hotel on February 2.

On March 3 a Catholic education open forum will take place in Argyll and the Isles Diocese and in April a ‘Leadership of Catholic Schools Conference’ will take place in Salamanca.

The Caritas Award ceremony will be on June 7 next year in Glasgow, a highlight in the year for Catholic schools, and a school pilgrimage along the St Andrew’s Way will take place from June 14-15.

Parents will have the opportunity to come together in August for the National Parent Gathering in Paisley and a planned pilgrimage to Rome led by Archbishop Tartaglia is on the cards for October 15-19. Open to all associated with Catholic Education in Scotland, prices cost £850 per person.

Also in October, the European Catholic Committee (CEEC) will visit Scotland and the Scottish Parliament will also mark the centenary.

For the first time, a second Catholic Education Week will be held in November, including a National Teachers’ Mass in Glasgow and a spiritual retreat for teachers.   [Emphases added]   Source – Scottish Catholic Observer

Comment:

Not a whisper in the above report about the reason why Catholic schools were built in the first place; not a hint of why the 1918 Education Act was necessary. The generic language used to describe Catholic education masks the fact that Catholic schools were built for the key purpose of teaching the Catholic religion, imparting the Catholic Faith, across the subjects of the curriculum – and have manifestly failed to do so since the introduction of content-free programmes of religious (non) education, and other novelties which have polluted Catholicism.   Informed Catholic parents in Scotland have now taken this “rule of thumb” (interweaving the Faith into all subjects) into home-schooling, given that the Catholic schools see their mission as excelling in “the academic, cultural, civic and social achievements of pupils” (see above, paragraph 2) and not, as originally, to see to it that students’ world-view is rooted in their Catholic Faith.  Even the image used in the Scottish Catholic Observer report has a pupil studying a Bible – not a Catechism.  Below, some  examples of the kind of material available to Catholic schools by using a sound Catechism – such as the excellent Baltimore series…

Hence, Catholic schools, like non-denominational schools, are now committed to catering for secular values – despite protestations to the contrary. Hence, as we have reported in our newsletter, we find “safe spaces” in Scottish Catholic schools for “LGBT pupils” with gender-neutral pupils, uniforms and language soon to follow, as the instances of such in England indicate.  Click here to read a previous post on this subject. 

 

Teachers who have taught in both sectors, say they see little difference between Catholic and non-denominational schools these days.  So, is the centenary of state Catholic schools in Scotland really anything to celebrate? Should we not, rather, be mourning the passing of true and traditional Catholic education?

The Tyranny of Transgenderism…

Comment:

More and more, day and daily, it is becoming clear that the sheer madness of “transgenderism” is taking hold in our society, and that anyone who questions it, or does not conform to this new and dangerous ideology, will be punished.

And, yet again, we are not being led by our shepherds; priests and bishops remain silent in the face of this onslaught of evil.  How many more teachers, like Joshua Sutcliffe, will have to walk on egg-shells in classrooms, not permitted to identify “boys and girls” but pretend that a boy or a girl in front of him is their “preferred” gender – or risk losing their teaching post.   The lunatics really are running the asylum.

Is there anything we can do?  All suggestions welcome…

Modern Catholics: Confusion Reigns.

Editor writes…

A friend of mine tells me that it was only when she read Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics that a light switched on in her head and she began to comprehend the gravity of what is going on in the Church.  Below, Chapter One of the Open Letter, entitled Why are Catholics Confused?

Who can deny that Catholics in the latter part of the twentieth century are confused? A glance at what has happened in the Church over the past twenty years is enough to convince anyone that this is a relatively recent phenomenon. Only a short time ago the path was clearly marked: either one followed it or one did not. One had the Faith–or perhaps had lost it–or had never had it. But he who had it–who had entered the Church through baptism, who had renewed his baptismal promises around the age of twelve and had received the Holy Ghost on the day of his confirmation–such a person knew what he had to believe and what he had to do.

 Many today no longer know.  They hear all sorts of astonishing statements in the churches, they read things contrary to what was always taught, and doubt has crept into their minds.

On June 30, 1968, at the close of the Year of Faith, His Holiness Pope Paul VI made a profession of the Catholic Faith, in the presence of all the bishops in Rome and hundreds of thousands of the faithful. In his introductory remarks, he put us on guard against attacks on Catholic doctrine which, he said, “give rise, as we regretfully see today, to trouble and confusion in many faithful souls.”

The same words crop up in an allocution of His Holiness Pope John Paul II on February 6, 1981: “Christians today, in large part, feel lost, perplexed, confused, and even deceived.” The Holy Father summarized the underlying causes of the trouble as follows:

“We see spread abroad ideas contrary to the truth which God has revealed and which the Church has always taught.  Real heresies have appeared in dogma and moral theology, stirring doubt, confusion, rebellion.  Even the liturgy has been harmed. Christians have been plunged into an intellectual and moral illuminism, a sociological Christianity, without clear dogma or objective morality.”

This confusion is seen everywhere–in conversations, in books, in newspapers, in radio and television broadcasts, in the behavior of Catholics, which shows up as a sharp decline in the practice of the faith as statistics reveal, a dissatisfaction with the Mass and the sacraments, a general relaxation of morals.

We naturally ask,  therefore, what brought on this state of things? For every effect there is a cause. Has faith been weakened by a disappearance of generosity of soul, by a taste for enjoyment, an attraction to the pleasures of life and the manifold distractions which the modern world offers? These cannot be the real reasons, because they have always been with us in one way or another. The rapid decline in religious practice comes rather from the new spirit which has been introduced into the Church and which has cast suspicion over all past teachings and life of the Church.  All this was based on the unchangeable faith of the Church, handed down by catechisms which were recognized by all bishops.

The faith was based on certitudes. The certitudes have been overturned and confusion has resulted. Let us take one example: the Church taught–and the faithful believed–that the Catholic religion was the one true religion. It was, in fact, established by God Himself, while other religions are the work of men. Consequently, the Christian must avoid all contact with false religions and, furthermore, do all he can to bring adherents of false religions to the religion of Christ.

Is this still true? Indeed it is! Truth cannot change–else it never was the truth. No new fact, no theological or scientific discovery–if there can be such a thing as a theological discovery–can ever make the Catholic religion any less the only means of salvation.
But now we have the Pope himself attending religious ceremonies in false religions, praying and preaching in the churches of heretical sects.  Television conveys to the whole world pictures of these astonishing events. The faithful no longer understand.

Martin Luther–and I shall return to him later in these pages–cut entire nations off from the Church, pitched Europe into a spiritual and political turmoil which destroyed the Catholic hierarchy over wide areas, invented a false doctrine of salvation and a false doctrine of the sacraments. His revolt against the Church became the model for all revolutionaries after him who would throw Europe and the whole world into disorder. It is impossible to make Luther, as they want to do now after five hundred years, into a prophet or doctor of the Church, since he is not a saint.

If I read La Documentation Catholique1 or the diocesan papers, I find there, from the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commission, officially recognized by the Vatican, statements like this:

“Among the ideas of the Second Vatican Council, we can see gathered together much of what Luther asked for, such as the following: description of the Church as ‘the people of God’ (a main idea of the new Canon Law–democratic, no longer hierarchic, idea); accent on the priesthood of all baptized; the right of the individual to freedom of religion. Other demands of Luther in his time can be considered as being met in the theology and practice of the Church today: use of the common language in the liturgy, possibility of Communion under two species, a renewal of the theology and celebration of the Eucharist.”

Quite a statement! Meeting the demands of Luther, who declared himself the resolute and mortal enemy of the Mass and of the pope! To gather together things requested by a blasphemer who said: “I declare that all brothels, murders, thefts, adulteries, are less evil than this abominable Mass!” From such an extravagant summary, we can draw only one conclusion: either we must condemn the Second Vatican Council which authorized it, or we must condemn the Council of Trent and all the popes who, since the sixteenth century, have declared Protestantism heretical and schismatic.

It is understandable that Catholics are confused by such a turn of events. But there are so many others! In a few years they have seen a transformation in the heart and substance of religious practices which adults have known from early childhood.  In the churches, the altars have been demolished or replaced by tables, which are often portable and disappear when not in use. The tabernacle no longer occupies the place of honor: most of the time it is hidden, perhaps perched on a post, to one side. When it remains in the center,  the priest turns his back to it during the Mass. Celebrant and faithful face each other and dialogue.  Anyone may touch the sacred vessels, which are often replaced by breadbaskets, platters, ceramic bowls. Laity, including women, distribute Communion, which is received in the hand. The Body of Christ is treated with a lack of reverence which casts doubt on the truth of transubstantiation.

The Sacraments are administered in a manner which varies from place to place; I will cite as examples the age for baptism and confirmation, variations in the nuptial blessing, introduction of chants and readings which have nothing to do with the liturgy–but are borrowed from other religions or a purely secular literature, sometimes simply to express political ideas.

Latin, the universal language of the Church, and Gregorian Chant have generally disappeared. All the hymns have been replaced by modern songs in which it is not uncommon to find the same rhythms as in places of entertainment.

Catholics have been surprised also by the sudden disappearance of religious garb, as if priests and religious were ashamed of looking like what they are.

Parents who send their children to catechism discover that the truths of the Faith are no longer taught, even the most basic: the Holy Trinity, the mystery of the Incarnation, Original Sin, the Immaculate Conception. Hence the feeling of profound disorientation: is all of this no longer true, out-of-date, passé? Christian virtues are no longer even mentioned.  Where can you find a catechism speaking of humility, chastity, mortification? The Faith has become a fluid concept, charity a kind of universal solidarity, and hope is, above all, hope for a better world.

Novelties like these are not the kind which, in the human situation, appear at a certain moment in time, so that we get accustomed to them and assimilate them after an initial period of surprise and uncertainty.  In the course of a human life, ways of doing things change.  If I were still a missionary in Africa, I would go there by plane and no longer by boat–if, indeed, you could find a steamship company still in operation. In this sense, we can say that one should live in one’s own time; one is really forced to do so.

But those Catholics on whom they tried to impose novelties in the spiritual and supernatural order, on the same principle, realized it was not possible.  You do not change the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Sacraments founded by Jesus Christ; you do not change the truth revealed once and for all;  you do not replace one dogma with another. The pages which follow try to answer the questions you are asking yourselves, you who have known another face of the Church. I shall try also to enlighten the young people born after the Council and to whom the Catholic community does not offer what they have a right to expect from it. I would like to address myself, finally, to the unconcerned and the agnostics, whom the grace of God will touch some day or another, but who by then may find the churches without priests, and a teaching which does not correspond to the needs of their souls.

Then there is a question which, by all evidence, interests everyone, if I can judge by the attention it gets in the general press, especially in France. (The journalists are also showing some confusion.) A few headlines: “Is Christianity Dying?” “Will Time Work Against the Religion of Jesus Christ?” “Will There Still Be Priests in the Year 2000?” These questions I hope also to answer, not with any new theory of my own, but relying on unbroken Catholic Tradition–unbroken, yet so neglected in recent years that to many readers it will seem no doubt like something entirely new.

Comment:

It’s easy to see how Catholics became confused in the immediate aftermath of the Council, but now? Fifty odd years on, surely there must be a  sufficient number of Catholics with intelligence enough to have worked out that something is very wrong – and why. The question is, where are they and what are they doing to end the confusion in their neck of the woods… And, in a spirit of true Christian charity, is there any way in which we can help them?  If you are a modern Catholic, tell us about your confusion – we’re looking forward to hearing from you! 

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.

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Comments invited…

The Sexual Culture of Politicians Vs The Sexual Culture Of The People…

It’s fascinating to listen to the news broadcasters taking some very high moral ground this week, as they report lurid stories of  alleged sexual abuse of both men and women by Members of Parliament.  Everyone agrees that this is shock-horror stuff, posture amazement, and insist that it must stop.  It’s almost like watching one of the old interviews with Mary Whitehouse

Whatever happened to the whole “let’s ditch morality” thing, and “no more hang-ups about sex” – whatever happened to sexual freedom and liberalism? 

Comment:

Will it be possible to change the culture in Westminster, but not in the rest of the country? Should we really expect the politicians to live by a higher standard of sexual morality than that taken for granted in the wider (very) sexually permissive society, UK-wide?

Oh, and wouldn’t this be the ideal time for the Bishops to be speaking out – sort of “We [or, more accurately, God] told you that sexual permissiveness brings nothing but misery”  – wouldn’t that be something for the population of the UK to hear and ponder?