Trump & Jerusalem: A Moral Move, A Politically Smart & Valuable Move…

Comment:

Well, do you agree that in publicly recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moving the U.S.A. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,  President Donald Trump has made a “moral move, a politically smart move and a politically valuable move” – or is he making things worse in the region?   After listening to the potted history on the video, doesn’t it seem odd that the media seem to be united in criticising Trump for this “moral, smart and valuable move”? Or, is it actually the case that no matter what he does, Trump will be criticised… A case of his not being able to do right for doing wrong?

Pope Francis: Vicar of Allah?

From the Fatima Center…

December 5, 2017

Pope Francis made headlines recently for his championing of the Rohingya. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it is one that Muslim refugees from Myanmar use to designate themselves. The term is rejected by the Buddhists of Myanmar, as it suggests that the Muslims are native to their country, a claim they deny, insisting that they are intruders from neighboring Bangladesh.

While in Myanmar, the Pope avoided use of the term, but readily adopted it once he had crossed into Bangladesh to meet the Rohingya of the refugee camps. For this supposed act of courage, the Pope was lauded for his shunning of diplomacy in favor of plain-speaking and justice. Apparently, it did not occur to the adulatory media that courage in this matter was only possible while the Pope was in Myanmar, where he carefully avoided its use. He was in no danger among the Rohingya.

Wearing a Yankees’ cap at Fenway Park requires courage. Wearing one at Yankee stadium makes you one of the gang.

While aboard his jet during his return trip to Rome, the Pope, as is his habit, addressed the international press corps that travels with him, chronicling his acts of courage. He explained he did not use the word Rohingya in public addresses in Myanmar because, “They already knew what I thought.” The “they” he is referring to are presumably the political and religious leaders of Myanmar, whom the Pope supposes are so familiar with his views that he need not spell them out. But, as St. Thomas More reminded the court that tried him, the maxim of the law is “Tacet consentire” — silence implies consent.

In any event, once among the Rohingya and safely out of Myanmar, the Pope was bold enough to break his silence and pronounce the term. The Pope told the press corps, “I wept. I tried to do it in a way that couldn’t be seen.” Not to presume too much, but we might suggest to the Holy Father that to keep his weeping secret, it would be best not to announce it to the media. Reporters are terribly indiscreet and very likely to, well, report.

The Pope said he wept over the suffering of the Rohingya, whom he credits as being the blameless victims of persecution, based on their self-declaration and anecdotal accounts.  In an astounding act of presumption, the Pope then appropriated the right to speak in the name of their alleged persecutors:

“In the name of all those who have persecuted you, who have harmed you, in the face of the world’s indifference, I ask for your forgiveness.”

Did the Buddhists of Myanmar commission the Pope to speak for them? Did they admit wrongdoing and confess their guilt and express a desire to seek forgiveness through the agency of the Pope? If not, why should Francis speak in their name? Indeed, why should he presume to speak in anyone else’s name unless he has permission to do so?

But the Pope not only takes upon himself the unwarranted ambassadorial role of speaking for the alleged miscreants of Myanmar, he goes on to apologize in the name of the whole world. Whatever may be happening along the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar apparently imposes a moral obligation on the rest of mankind, an obligation we have failed to meet by our “indifference.” The Pope, then, believes it incumbent upon him to acknowledge our failure to the Rohingya and ask that they forgive us.

We might express some skepticism about the probable success of the Pope’s plea, as Muslims have not been notable for their readiness to forgive those who slight them or their religion. Mohammed was not known for his willingness to turn the other cheek, and “Live and let live” is not an attitude that informs the spirit of the Koran.

As for our supposedly sinful “indifference,” just what are we — the world — morally compelled to do, in the Pope’s estimation? We are not eyewitnesses to what is taking place. We cannot tell which stories are true, which are fabricated, whose claims are legally or historically justified and who initiated violence in particular instances. In short, the “world” — you and I — are in the dark about what is going on in this part of the world. And we are under no obligation to become informed.

Are we obliged to patrol the streets of our own cities, righting wrongs, like a superhero? The idea is absurd. How much more absurd is the notion that we must be engaged in conflicts in distant lands, deciding whose claim to justice is the more credible? And even should we become so engaged, what precisely does the Pope propose that we do? Mount crusades for Rohingya Rights?

A moment’s reflection on this Theater of the Absurd that the Pope scripted in his most recent and entirely unnecessary papal trip should make plain to anyone with common sense that nothing the Pope said or did has any connection to the governance of the Catholic Church and the safeguarding of its doctrine, which is the Pope’s designated job.
Why Myanmar and Bangladesh? The Catholic populations in these countries is marginal (about 1 percent in Myanmar; about 0.2 percent in Bangladesh). This dispute is between Muslims and Buddhists, neither of which acknowledge the authority of the Roman Pontiff in any area of life. Why should the Pope travel to the far reaches of the non-Christian world to insert himself in a regional dispute where he exercises neither jurisdiction nor acknowledged moral authority?

Both Buddhists and Muslims reject Christ and the claims of the Catholic Church. Indeed, for Muslims, the Pope is an infidel, leader of the Dar-Al-Harb – the world of war that must be conquered for allah. But the Pope has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the incompatibility of Islam and Christianity and is ever intent on showing compassion for Muslims. If only Francis were as eager to show compassion for members of his own persecuted Church in Muslim nations, or even Europeans maimed and killed in Paris and London to the cry of “allahu akbar!”

But the plight of the Rohingya draws the Pope halfway around the world, where he weeps and apologizes for all of us for the sufferings of a group of Muslim refugees to whom we have supposedly shown a sinful “indifference.” When will the Pope weep for us? When will he weep for Catholics who have been victims of doctrinal confusion and contradiction? When will he cry over the destruction of our liturgy? When will he tear his robes and lament the hideous perversion of his own clergy and the criminal cover-ups of his own bishops? When will he turn a tearful eye to Europe, bereft of Faith, its culture in tatters, Muslim rape gangs roaming the streets of its cities, mosques replacing churches, the bells of the Angelus being drowned out by the cry of “allahu akbar,” calling ever-multiplying numbers of Muslims to prayer – in Rome, in Paris, in Berlin, in Madrid, in Brussels, in London?

We need no apologies from the Pope in the name of supposed oppressors of the Rohingya. We are not edified by his hidden tears, later broadcast to the media, that he shed in Bangladesh. We need no empty words of condemnation or “sorrow” about the atrocities that have become a regular feature of modern life.

How wonderful it would be if useless words were no longer spoken by the Pope. How wonderful it would be if the Pope were to say: “I know little about climate change or environmental science or international economics. I cannot intervene and decide who is right and wrong in the many armed conflicts that perpetually erupt around the world, nor is it my duty to do so. I have no advice to give Buddhists or Muslims except this: turn to Christ and His Church. In our doctrine is truth. In our Lord is peace. In our worship is love. Come inside. Be with us and be saved.”

If the Pope were to do this, how many souls might be drawn to the Church? If the Pope were to use his power for the purpose intended by Our Lord, to strengthen his brothers and sisters in the Faith, the crisis in the Church would end. The Holy Father is the most powerful person on God’s Earth, but only as the Vicar of Christ, not as the vicar of the environment, or the vicar of economic equality, or the vicar of immigration, or, Heaven help us, the vicar of allah!

If the Pope really wants peace, for the Rohingya as well as for the rest of us, he has it in his power to bring it about: He can consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, along with his bishops. Were he to do this, there would be an end to much weeping, both public and private.   Source – Fatima Center

 

Comments invited…  

Concern Over Pope Francis Grows: Schism Looms – Cardinals MUST Act!

From One Peter Five…

Pope’s Letter on Argentinian Communion Guidelines for Remarried Given Official Status

A letter from Pope Francis praising episcopal guidelines that would allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion in some cases while living in a state of objective grave sin has now been added to the official acts of the Apostolic See, conferring official status on what was formerly considered by many to be merely private communication — and raising the stakes on the Amoris Laetitia debate significantly.

Of the guidelines issued by the bishops of the Buenos Aires region that would open “the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist” in “complex circumstances” where “limitations that lessen the responsibility and guilt” of couples who will not make the commitment to “live in continence” despite living in an objectively adulterous situation, the pope said in his letter that “The document is very good and completely explains the meaning of chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia. There are no other interpretations.”

In August of this year, this letter was added to the Vatican website as a papal document available for public reference. Concerns were raised that what had previously been viewed as only private correspondence — and thus, completely outside the realm of papal magisterium — was being given the appearance of an official papal act.

Others were quick to point out that the presence of such a letter on the Vatican website, while troubling in itself, did not grant the document any status, but only publicity. The concern, as I speculated at the time, was that the letter seemed likely therefore to find its way into the Acta Apostolicae Sedis  (AAS) — the journal of the official acts of the Apostolic See. Such a move would confer an official, and at least quasi-authoritative status to the document, in as much as the AAS “contains all the principal decrees, encyclical letters, decisions of Roman congregations, and notices of ecclesiastical appointments. The contents are to be considered promulgated when published, and effective three months from date of issue.”

As Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti reported yesterday, the addition of the letter to the AAS has now been confirmed*:

[T]he “private” letter of Pope Francis to the Argentine bishops was published in the October 2016 edition of Acta Apostolicae Sedis, after they had issued directives for the application of chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia (the chapter with the famous footnotes on giving communion to the divorced and remarried). Directives which, as has been noted and emphasized here, are anything but clear.
The publication of this letter in the Acta is accompanied by a brief note from the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, together with an official rescript from a papal audience in June 2017, announcing that the Pope himself wanted the two documents — the guidelines and the letter — published on the website of Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

The announcement can only serve to further fuel the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the controversial apostolic exhortation as well as the Pope’s way of doing things, which yet again appears to be a far cry from the clarity and straightforwardness that many of the faithful would expect [from the Holy Father]. He has given no response to the dubia Cardinals, no response to the letters, petitions and other initiatives written by scholars, theologians, and ordinary faithful people who have been confused by the deliberate ambiguity of the document. Yet, at the same time, he has given a veneer of officiality to one letter sent to one member of one bishops’ conference.

To what end? To obligate all to give religiosum obsequium [religious assent] to a magisterium expressed in oblique and ambiguous forms, or to respond without committing himself in a direct response which would express the mind of the Pope in an unequivocal manner to the doubtful and perplexed? One is given the feeling that the only thing this does is cause the simple believer annoyance with the Pope’s comportment, which may be defined as a “pretext” in the worst sense of that term.

You can view only the relevant section of the October 2016 edition of the AAS here (Spanish/Latin PDF). (The full edition is available here, but a word of caution – it’s a huge PDF document at nearly 1,200 pages and with a 300MB file size.)

Some outlets are already reporting that the presence of the Buenos Aires letter in the AAS elevates it to the level of “authentic Magisterium,” which would therefore require the aforementioned religious assent of mind and will (cf. Lumen Gentium 25). Others are not so sure. We asked for an assessment from Dr. John Joy, co-Founder and President of the St. Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies and a specialist in Magisterial authority. “It means that it is an official act of the pope,” Joy said, “rather than an act of the pope as a private person. So it cannot be dismissed as a merely private endorsement of their implementation of AL. It is an official endorsement. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the letter to the Argentine bishops is itself magisterial” and thus requiring religious submission of will and intellect. Such a requirement, Joy said, would only apply if the document intended to teach on matters of faith and morals.

Inasmuch as the letter was in praise of pastoral guidelines that were anything but concrete, this seems unlikely.

Dr. Joy pointed out that adding the letter to the AAS could, in fact, damage the credibility of Amoris Laetitia by potentially removing the possibility that it could be interpreted in an orthodox way through establishing, via its publication in the official acts of the Apostolic See, that the unorthodox interpretation is the official one.
Marco Tosatti says that even some who have been ideological supporters of the pope are allegedly losing patience with his brashness:

And further, if what we have learned from two different sources is true, this annoyance extends to the Vatican. A cardinal of great renown, a former diplomat, who has served an impressive career at the head of Congregations and in high offices in the Secretariat of State, is said to have reproved the Pope for his actions [as Pope], saying to him essentially, “We elected you to make reforms, not to smash everything.” News of this conversation — if it can be called a conversation — has spread through the Vatican, because it took place at a high decibel level, which carried through the fragile barrier of the doors and walls. The cardinal in question was one of those who supported the candidacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the conclave of 2013.

It would not be the first time such dissent has been reported from within the pope’s own camp. In March, The London Times reported that some of the cardinals who helped to elect Francis wanted Francis to step down out of fear that his agenda might cause a schism “more disastrous” than the one wrought by Martin Luther, and that the Church could consequently be “shattered as an institution”. That story indicated that at least some of the group had an interest in replacing the pope with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who heads up the aforementioned Secretariat of State.

Earlier this week, we also told you about a new book, The Dictator Pope, which alleges that many cardinals who helped elect Francis are experiencing “buyer’s remorse,” in part because Francis “is not the democratic, liberal ruler that the cardinals thought they were electing in 2013, but a papal tyrant the like of whom has not been seen for many centuries.”

It seems difficult to believe that just over a year ago, we were attempting to ascertain the veracity of the papal letter to the Argentinian bishops — which had been called into question nearly immediately after its publication — and we now learn that it was only the following month that it became an official act of the Apostolic See.

As reported in The Dictator Pope, the English Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor told journalist Paul Valley in 2013, “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.” Every day, we receive new evidence that this might have been a significant understatement.   Source – One Peter Five…

* Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino

Comment: 

Discussing this development after Mass today, one of our bloggers twisted my arm to post this thread because, he argued, next to the new Mass, this is the single biggest catastrophe to afflict the post-Vatican II Church.  Explain why you do, or do not agree…

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? 

Vatican Bans Sale of Cigarettes As All Hope For Return To Sanity Sanctity fades

The Director of the Holy See Press Office announced on November 9, 2017, that the Vatican City State is ending the sale of cigarettes.: “No profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

“Pope Francis,” explained Greg Burke, “has decided that the Vatican will cease to sell cigarettes to employees as of 2018”. 
The director of the Press Office explained the reasons for this decision: “The Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.”

In 2002, the smallest State in the world promulgated a law banning smoking in public places and workplaces; however, cigarettes continued to be sold at almost half the price for which they were sold elsewhere in the Italian republic. Only the 4,000 Vatican City employees were allowed to buy cigarettes at the State store, the Annona.

No matter the loss of profit that will result from the Holy Father’s decision: “Although the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives,” concluded Greg Burke.

With this decision, the Vatican is adopting the hygienism being promoted by world government organizations. Should we also expect them to forbid alcohol because it harms the digestive and cardio-vascular systems, butter and fatty foods because they are a source of cholesterol, and red meat because it can cause colorectal cancer? It might also be wise to forbid selling cars and motorcycles, because, according to the WHO, road accidents cause 1.25 million deaths every year.  Source   


 Comment:

One of these days, we’ll find the Vatican issuing a statement about the next world.  I’m convinced of it.  It’s got to come, surely?  So far, we’re hearing about the need to make this world a better place (environment), crime (capital punishment), the weather (climate change), our physical health (no smoking), and so I think I’m not scare-mongering when I say that, by the law of averages, at some point, some time soon, someone in the Vatican will, surely, mention God and/or the soul…   Who knows, maybe that “someone” will be Papa Francis!  Or, am I being an incorrigible optimist again?  

Nuclear Threat… Incredibly, Pope Francis Chooses Chat Over Consecration

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un (right) may receive a surprising phone call from Pope Francis.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has faced opposition to his reckless nuclear programme in countries across the globe – now including the world’s smallest.

The Vatican City is desperately attempting to open a dialogue between Pyongyang and the Holy See in order to avoid a nuclear war.

The Pope wants to speak to despot Kim directly, a high-ranking cardinal has revealed, in what would be a historic and unexpected intervention.

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, admitted he was not sure how this could happen but said dialogue was a priority.  

We are exploring the possibilities of speaking to [North Korea] directly – Cardinal Turkson.   Click here to read entire Newsflash

Comment: 

Why not “explore the possibilities” of consecrating Russia, as Our Lady requested, in order to be CERTAIN of achieving world peace?  Our Lady’s word is infinitely more trustworthy than anything North Korean officials will promise.  Why is dialogue a priority and not the Consecration of Russia

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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