Fr. Weinandy criticized Francis for "demeaning" the importance of doctrine, and rebuked the manner in which he seems to censor and even mock the defenders of doctrine as "Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism."

International Theological Commission Member Rebukes Pope for his Scandalous Teaching

By —— Bio and Archives--November 2, 2017

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Fr. Thomas Weinand
Fr. Thomas Weinandy, a prolific author and highly accomplished theologian and member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission sent a letter to Pope Francis on July 31, in which he expressed deep concerns about the present pontificate. The letter was made public on November 1, the feast of All Saints.

While maintaining complete respect and charity for the person of the Pope, Fr. Weinandy criticized Francis for “demeaning” the importance of doctrine, and rebuked the manner in which he seems to censor and even mock the defenders of doctrine as “Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism.”


He tells the pope: “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.”

He made it clear to Francis: “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.”

In lamenting the errors of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, he stressed that the Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to the Pope, to “dispel error, not to foster it,” and said it is only the light of truth “that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul.” (John 8:32) 

Indeed, what could be more pastoral than to bestow the light of doctrine upon the faithful, that it might inspire and liberate them from the quagmire of error and confusion that is presently oppressing the Church. 

Fr. Weinandy’s main point of concern, however, was the pope’s manner of teaching. He told Francis, “In Amoris Laetitia, your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous,” adding that “To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.”

This opens an interesting door of discussion, since there seems to be a misconception today about Church documents that are ambiguous. The commonly held view is that if a point of doctrine is proposed ambiguously, where on the one hand it appears to be heretical while at the same time appearing orthodox, it can only be material and not formal heresy, since it doesn’t demonstrate full reflection and full consent of the will.

But actually, the exact opposite could be true. It could be argued that if doctrine is “intentionally” presented in an ambiguous manner, it would show to what extent people will go to hide their errors. It would be all the more deliberate, all the more “consenting” to error. Intentional ambiguity, more often than not, reveals an insidious attempt to deceive. It is the smoking gun of the devil.

This is not to be confused with unintentional ambiguity that involves a careless lack of clarification on a doctrinal issue. In such cases, the authors will quickly clarify their position so as to guard their reputation and not scandalize the faithful, but have we seen this clarification pouring forth from Rome concerning the many questions that have been addressed to the pope about the confusing errors in Amoris Laetitia?

In an interview with Crux concerning his letter to Francis, Fr. Weinandy said he is not afraid of reprisals but “more concerned about the good that my letter might do.” He said the letter “expresses the concerns of many more people than just me, ordinary people who’ve come to me with their questions and apprehensions,” and “I wanted them to know that I listened.” He also said, “I have done what I believe God wanted me to do.”

As a result, Fr. Weinandy, who was also chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, has now been asked by the USCCB to resign from his position. Catholic World Report  Another white martyr has been added to the Church.

In his July 31 letter, he told the Pope: “Many fear that if they speak their mind, they will be marginalized or worse.” Fr. Weinandy didn’t fear reprisals, but he faithfully did God’s work and rested his case.

May God richly bless and reward Fr. Thomas Weinandy for his genuine Catholic witness and love for the Church.

David Martin -- Bio and Archives | Comments

David Martin is the former moderator for St. Michaels Radio which is the one radio program of our time specializing in Catholic prophecy. He has also authored numerous articles on the Church and the Papacy which have appeared on various blogs and websites.

David presently resides in Los Angeles, California where for thirty years he has coordinated a Catholic ministry. He is a daily communicant in his parish church and strongly supports Benedict XVI’s aspiration to see the Traditional Latin Mass returned to every Catholic parish of the world.

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