There Is Chaos, Confusion, and Turmoil Within the Church, and Pope Francis Is the Cause

 

So writes Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., a highly regarded and accomplished American theologian who is former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission.

Fr. Weinandy recently made public a three-page letter he had sent to Pope Francis on July 31, 2017. The letter expresses Fr. Weinandy’s concerns about several aspects of the current pontificate:

  1. A chronic confusion marks this pontificate, manifested most prominently in the seemingly intentionally ambiguous Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia
  2. The Pope’s manner demeans the importance of Church doctrine
  3. The appointment of bishops who scandalize believers with dubious teaching and pastoral practice.
  4. Rather than promoting and strengthening unity, the Holy Father allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church that can only lead to theological and pastoral confusion
  5. Though often speaking of transparency within the Church, the Holy Father resents criticism and this gives prelates who object the impression they will be marginalized or worse if they speak out.

Fr. Weinandy ends his letter thusly:

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.

Our faith is indeed weak, highlighted by the silence of the bishops and their actions. For after publication of this letter, the United States Conference of Bishops, asked Fr. Weinandy to resign from his current position as consultant to the bishops, and he has submitted his resignation. This reinforces item #5 above.

The letter is an eye-opener as is Fr. Weinandy’s note of explanation on why he wrote the letter.

All the angels and saints, pray for us.

There are 36 comments.

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  1. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Once She returns to orthodoxy, what do you suppose the Church can do about Francis’s bishops? Early retirement?

    • #1
  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    And, yes, I’ll say he had to write! Requesting such a specific sign and receiving it? You’d have to worry about ending up like Jonah in the belly of the fish if you tried to wiggle out of that!

    • #2
  3. Mike-K Member
    Mike-K
    @

    I am sorry that Malachi Martin is no longer with us to chronicle this Pope’s lunacies. His novels, which I suspect were all roman a clefs, were wonderful entertainment. Francis and what happened to Benedict would make a good novel.

    • #3
  4. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Mike-K (View Comment):
    I am sorry that Malachi Martin is no longer with us to chronicle this Pope’s lunacies. His novels, which I suspect were all roman a clefs, were wonderful entertainment. Francis and what happened to Benedict would make a good novel.

    Is this pope the last pope according to Malachi or is another one coming?

    • #4
  5. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Fr. Weinandy:

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

    A new, little reformation (w/o a schism)?

     

    • #5
  6. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    He’s a horrible pope who lets his political ideologies influence what should be inflexible theological positions.    I feel sorry for devout Catholics in this one respect.

    • #6
  7. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    And, yes, I’ll say he had to write! Requesting such a specific sign and receiving it? You’d have to worry about ending up like Jonah in the belly of the fish if you tried to wiggle out of that!

    I’ll say. When reading his note of explanation I was thinking that he was awful bold in his request. But that’s the Gospel for a true believer: Mt 7:7. Fr Thomas “Mustard Seed” Weinandy.

    • #7
  8. AQ Member
    AQ
    @AQ

    I just returned from my husband’s RCIA class. It’s tiny – 4 catechumens from a mid-size parish.  The priest has yet to attend.

    But the leader – a middle age lay Catholic – is a gift from God.  He teaches straight out of the Catechism, uses plain language and common experience to explain the topics, and doesn’t interject politics, his personal emotion, or trendy jokes into the discussions.

    I don’t know how the Church will survive this attack against (and from) the very highest guardians of the Gospel, but tonight I have hope that Christ’s work will go on.

    • #8
  9. Painter Jean Member
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    I seem to remember Pope Benedict saying that the Church would become smaller (or maybe he said that when he was Cardinal Ratzinger?). And I think that’s likely to be the case…But we have it on good authority that she will survive!

    • #9
  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The Church is no more than a political husk to forward liberalism of ambitious men.  Let it die in peace.  The true believers must now make their own way in the darkness.

    • #10
  11. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The Church is no more than a political husk to forward liberalism of ambitious men. Let it die in peace. The true believers must now make their own way in the darkness.

    Sorry, FJG, but if the Church as a whole was that weak that a communist pope would ruin things, then it would have never made it out of the Middle Ages, much less the Roman persecutions.  Popes were assassinating people, the Borgia popes managed to scandalize Renaissance Italy (a pope sleeping with his daughter)   The church has survived being hunted by a world superpower, the 30 years war, and numerous tyrants trying to exterminate us.

    The Church is something bigger than Catholics or Orthodox or Lutherans or Baptists.  It is founded and led by the Creator of the universe, and not even the gates of Hell will prevail against it.  Ambitious liberals only pave the road to Hell.

    • #11
  12. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    I’m Lutheran as are most of my co-workers and friends (good northern Michigan stock), but we all want to see a healthy Catholic church as we seemingly rush towards a war of civilizations.

    We’re frankly shocked and amazed that this man ever became Pope.  For him to say you don’t even need to believe in God and still ascend to Heaven..?!  It’s simply beyond the pale.  I don’t know the rules, is there any mechanism for removing a pope?

    Surely many Catholics are asking that very question.

    • #12
  13. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Curt North (View Comment):
    We’re frankly shocked and amazed that this man ever became Pope. For him to say you don’t even need to believe in God and still ascend to Heaven..?! It’s simply beyond the pale. I don’t know the rules, is there any mechanism for removing a pope?

    I’m Protestant, and I have no inside knowledge of the political structures of the Catholic Church.  But I view a healthy Catholic Church as very important to the world.

    I have often wondered about Curt’s question – “How did this lightweight ever become Pope?”  You go from Pope John Paul, to Pope Benedict, to – THIS?  Plus, Pope Benedict didn’t die, he resigned – the first time a Pope had done that voluntarily in, what, 750 years or something?

    So a strong, conservative Pope steps down to open the door to someone who appears intent on fundamentally changing the church and principles that Benedict spent most of his life building?  Why would he do that?  Very odd, very unusual.

    If I were a conspiracy kook, I might smell something funny in this remarkable turn of events.  It looks more like a coup than a succession.

    But I’m not a conspiracy kook.

    On the other hand, I just don’t understand.

    • #13
  14. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Curt North (View Comment):
    I don’t know the rules, is there any mechanism for removing a pope?

    The short answer is no. But as Pope Francis cosmically says: time is greater than space, so time will remove him.

    • #14
  15. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Peter Kreeft tells a joke about a medieval Jewish merchant and his friend a Catholic priest during a time of corruption in the papacy and the hierarchy. The priest has been catechizing his friend and the merchant is persuaded to become Catholic, but he wants to wait until after his business trip to Rome. Knowing the conditions inside the Vatican, the priest wants to baptize the merchant before he goes, but he refuses. After the merchant returns, he tells the priest he’s ready for baptism.

    Surprised, the priest asks, “You still wish to be baptized?? Didn’t you see the corruption and foolishness of the hierarchy while you were in Rome?”

    The merchant answers, “Oh, yes, I saw it. But, I figure any institution run by such incompetent and corrupt men which can last 1500 years must be divinely inspired and protected! I’m in!!”

    God did not intend for us to grope around in the dark. Jesus came to give us a (visible) church through which we might share the Gospel and work out our salvation. He gave us the sacraments so that, through our human senses, we might receive the graces that they signify. “The gates of hell will not prevail” is not a defensive posture — it’s a militant one.

    Be not afraid! Jesus I trust in you. I believe you love me. I believe your love can save the whole world!

    • #15
  16. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    So a strong, conservative Pope steps down to open the door to someone who appears intent on fundamentally changing the church and principles that Benedict spent most of his life building? Why would he do that? Very odd, very unusual.

    If I were a conspiracy kook, I might smell something funny in this remarkable turn of events. It looks more like a coup than a succession.

    It’s plain weird.  My initial thought was that in their rush to bring on a Pope from the “new world” they elected a guy who has no business on the throne of St. Peter, but when you factor in the retirement of Benedict, it’s about impossible to explain away with any logic.  Were the Bishops just that bad at assessing his character and true nature?  Or is this deliberate?

    • #16
  17. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The Church is no more than a political husk to forward liberalism of ambitious men. Let it die in peace. The true believers must now make their own way in the darkness.

    When we are weak, he is strong. He and his church will prevail.

    • #17
  18. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Stina (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The Church is no more than a political husk to forward liberalism of ambitious men. Let it die in peace. The true believers must now make their own way in the darkness.

    When we are weak, he is strong. He and his church will prevail.

    Maybe, but I will not be around to see it.   What is the point of a weak Church and a shepherd-less flock?

    • #18
  19. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Curt North (View Comment):
    It’s plain weird. My initial thought was that in their rush to bring on a Pope from the “new world” they elected a guy who has no business on the throne of St. Peter, but when you factor in the retirement of Benedict, it’s about impossible to explain away with any logic. Were the Bishops just THAT bad at assessing his character and true nature? Or is this deliberate?

    It was very deliberate. There are many evil, faithless bishops/cardinals in the Church. If you are interested you can read about their shenanigans here and here and here. These are evil people leading souls astray.

    • #19
  20. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The Church is no more than a political husk to forward liberalism of ambitious men. Let it die in peace. The true believers must now make their own way in the darkness.

    When we are weak, he is strong. He and his church will prevail.

    Maybe, but I will not be around to see it. What is the point of a weak Church and a shepherd-less flock?

    It is a humble vehicle in which God can show his greatness. Like a shepherd boy killing a giant with a sling shot.

    And God always preserves a remnant. There might be some chaff blowing away, but the wheat will be left standing and there will be room for more to be planted where the weeds once were.

    Though I may be discouraged at times, I refuse to despair. There is only one victor here, and I’m on his side.

    • #20
  21. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Steve Skojec writes further on this and includes the incredibly weak statement from the USCCB (an organization that is becoming more and more useless in my eyes) with this belly-laugher where he quotes LG 23:

    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a collegial body of bishops working towards that goal. As Pastors and Teachers of the Faith, therefore, let me assert that we always stand in strong unity with and loyalty to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful” (LG, no. 23).

    Pope Francis is the visible source of disunity in the Church today – even he has said of himself that he will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.

    Skojec writes:

    The reader is left to wonder how “dialogue” has become a euphemism for “suppression of any views different than our own”. How is it that those who speak most forcefully in favor of “tolerance” are always the last to practice tolerance toward those with ideas they find inconvenient? How is it that the President of the USCCB lacks the courage to simply state that Fr. Weinandy was asked to resign for speaking an unpopular opinion, regardless of its merit, and without consideration given to the fact that it was voiced respectfully and in the exercise of his conscience on a matter of grave importance — and about which he has the requisite theological competency to comment?

    When will the bishops man up?

    • #21
  22. Whistle Pig Member
    Whistle Pig
    @

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    When will the bishops man up?

    Most won’t.  The ones that do will suffer for it.  Fr. Weinandy’s letter speaks directly to the growing concerns that my wife and I have regarding Francis.  It may get worse before it gets better.  It’s been worse in the past.  We know how it ends.  (Hint:  The good guys win.)

    • #22
  23. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    If I were a conspiracy kook, I might smell something funny in this remarkable turn of events. It looks more like a coup than a succession.

    But I’m not a conspiracy kook.

    By traditional Christian understanding, not all conspiracies are initiated by human beings. There are movements within history guided by malicious intelligence. Our reassurance is that Satan’s horde is utterly powerless before God’s omnipotence. Thus, all terrors and temptations ultimately lead to the redemption of chosen souls.

    A bad pope is likewise powerless to upend the deposit of faith. The Church has been pruned before. From the painful fire will emerge hardened soldiers of Christ.

    • #23
  24. PedroIg Member
    PedroIg
    @PedroIg

    The interesting (and maybe unique) thing about the scandal of this pope is that it’s not one of personal vices as with the Borgia popes, mentioned in an earlier post, but one of disputing or muddying the clarity of doctrine and on some level, even an incompetence with regard to making logical arguments (e.g. comparing Catholics who question the wisdom of Amoris Laetitia to legalistic Pharisees).  A close friend and I agreed it would have done less damage to have a morally corrupt pope than a less than competent one who’s messing with longstanding doctrine.  We also questioned whether the whole Vatican apparatus/bureaucracy could be done away with.  Is most of it really necessary to preserve the Deposit of Faith?  I’ll leave that question for another post.

    • #24
  25. AQ Member
    AQ
    @AQ

    PedroIg (View Comment):
    The interesting (and maybe unique) thing about the scandal of this pope is that it’s not one of personal vices as with the Borgia popes, mentioned in an earlier post, but one of disputing or muddying the clarity of doctrine and on some level, even an incompetence with regard to making logical arguments (e.g. comparing Catholics who question the wisdom of Amoris Laetitia to legalistic Pharisees). A close friend and I agreed it would have done less damage to have a morally corrupt pope than a less than competent one who’s messing with longstanding doctrine. We also questioned whether the whole Vatican apparatus/bureaucracy could be done away with. Is most of it really necessary to preserve the Deposit of Faith? I’ll leave that question for another post.

    I just want to say you have described the dire situation exactly.  We have been warned against and understand (and can defend against) personal corruption.  But that a Pope can teach error in doctrine … that is a corruption that calls into question Christ’s promise that the Church will prevail against the gates of Hell.

    • #25
  26. VUtah Member
    VUtah
    @VUtah

    Popes come and popes go. In my 58 years of life and as a Catholic there have been 6 popes. And there will probably be more before I die. I first recognized Pope Francis’ disconnect with what was going on in the world when he wrote Laudato Si. My sister and I were going to read it together but we didn’t get very far. I found his concern about the environment so completely out of whack of what I was seeing and reading about in our world. We have one group of people trying to annihilate another group all in the name of God and religion. All I could think was how could Pope Francis write about harming the environment when human beings (all made in the image and likeness of God) were being destroyed? After a few days, I just realized he’s the pope and he can write about whatever he wants. But I also don’t have to read it.

    • #26
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Yes, he’s the most political pope of my adult lifetime. He seems to take on all the wrong issues — either subjects far out side his competence (the environment) and matters of prudential judgment — or something already fixed in doctrine (marriage and the sacraments), in which he has no authority to meddle. His is a tragic papacy. It makes me feel bad for him, even though I’m angered by the destruction.

    I’ve been reading Pope Emeritus BXVI recently. Every thought is like a sparkling gem held up to the light, with the facets throwing off flashes of insight as you turn the construction over in your mind. By contrast, I find myself skipping over the meditations from Pope Francis in the Magnificat. I find them confused, and I don’t wish to think worse of him…

    I have to remind myself to pray for Pope Francis.

    • #27
  28. Painter Jean Member
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    Yes, he’s the most political pope of my adult lifetime. He seems to take on all the wrong issues — either subjects far out side his competence (the environment) and matters of prudential judgment — or something already fixed in doctrine (marriage and the sacraments), in which he has no authority to meddle. His is a tragic papacy. It makes me feel bad for him, even though I’m angered by the destruction.

    If you look at the way he is watering down doctrine, you get the feeling he knows he’s sailing pretty close to the wind. Remember, Pope Sixtus V died the night before his translation of the Vulgate was to be issued – since he was no Latin scholar, it was full of errors (St. Robert Bellarmine re-translated it, correctly). Maybe Pope Francis has that in mind? Certainly he’s doing it a dodgy way, by encouraging unorthodox practice, while the doctrine is ostensibly, officially unchanged. Smoke of Satan….

    I’ve been reading Pope Emeritus BXVI recently. Every thought is like a sparkling gem held up to the light, with the facets throwing off flashes of insight as you turn the construction over in your mind. By contrast, I find myself skipping over the meditations from Pope Francis in the Magnificat. I find them confused, and I don’t wish to think worse of him…

    I do the same – I could have written your paragraph above! I love reading Pope Benedict’s writing, more so than even St. John Paul ll. Crisp and clear.

    I have to remind myself to pray for Pope Francis.

    Yup, me too. It doesn’t help that I find myself just completely tuning him out. Out of sight, out of mind – and as a result, unfortunately out of my regular prayers as a result. I have to work on that.

    • #28
  29. Stephen Bishop Inactive
    Stephen Bishop
    @StephenBishop

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    The Church is no more than a political husk to forward liberalism of ambitious men. Let it die in peace. The true believers must now make their own way in the darkness.

    Sorry, FJG, but if the Church as a whole was that weak that a communist pope would ruin things, then it would have never made it out of the Middle Ages, much less the Roman persecutions. Popes were assassinating people, the Borgia popes managed to scandalize Renaissance Italy (a pope sleeping with his daughter) The church has survived being hunted by a world superpower, the 30 years war, and numerous tyrants trying to exterminate us.

    The Church is something bigger than Catholics or Orthodox or Lutherans or Baptists. It is founded and led by the Creator of the universe, and not even the gates of Hell will prevail against it. Ambitious liberals only pave the road to Hell.

    You don’t think the lay men new anything about those issues do you?

    • #29
  30. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    I love the Pope (that is, I will his good), but am not an admirer of Pope Francis. Because of my love for the Pope, I pray the Collect for the Mass for the Pope every day:

    O God, who in your providential design willed that your Church be built upon blessed Peter, whom you set over the other Apostles, look with favor, we pray, on Francis our Pope and grant that he, whom you have made Peter’s successor, may be for your people a visible source and foundation of unity in faith and of communion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

    St. Peter, pray for us.

     

    • #30

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