The Iron Fist of Francis
... or Pontiff — or “Pontiff as Generalissimo”?
who Lavishes Mercy on all ...
Critics of His Radical Agenda
happens when you disagree with Pope Francis ...
especially about things historically engraved in the Church and
clearly enunciated in the Gospels? We present you with a vignette.
On the 31st of July 2016 Father Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.
— a learned advisor to the US Bishops Advisor Committee —
presented Francis with the following letter which must first be
read in the context that prompted him to write it:
July 31, 2017
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola
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
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.
What is the Aftermath
embodies Francis’s typically iron-fisted,
autocratic, and paranoid response to any criticism of him
or what he utters — even if it is contrary to the teaching of
The Pope’s Response:
as an advisor to their Committee on Doctrine after he
published a letter strongly critical of Pope Francis.
The US bishops’ conference has announced that Fr Thomas
“After speaking with the General Secretary of the Conference
today, Father Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., has resigned,
effective immediately, from his position as consultant to
the USCCB Committee on Doctrine,” the bishops said in a
“The work of the committee is done in support of, and in
affective collegiality with, the Holy Father and the Church
in the United States,” they added. “Our prayers go with
Father Weinandy as his service to the committee comes
to a close.”
In a separate statement, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston,
president of the US bishops’ conference, appeared to suggest
that Fr Weinandy’s letter was not sufficiently charitable
towards the Pope.
“As bishops, we recognize the need for honest and humble
discussions around theological and pastoral issues. We must
always keep in mind St Ignatius of Loyola’s ‘presupposition’
to his Spiritual Exercises: …that it should be presumed
that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put
a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to
“This presupposition should be afforded all the more to
the teaching of Our Holy Father,” the cardinal added.
The announcement came the same day that Fr. Weinandy
published his letter saying many Catholics are losing confidence
in Francis’s pontificate.
He accused the Pope of fostering a “growing unease” and
“chronic confusion” through guidance that seems “intentionally
ambiguous”, especially regarding Amoris Laetitia.
He also said Pope Francis was promoting bishops who “seem
not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian
belief, but who support and even defend them.”
This is the typical response
of Francis to any criticism of every type and in every form:
with informed (largely Traditional) Catholics
that he extends to every religious
group outside the
Church. Lutheran female Archbishop of the Church of Sweden
accepts homosexuality, abortion, contraception, and female
Antje Jackelén is warmly greeted by Francis — Traditional Catholics
are angrily and dismissively relegated to insignificance.
pope did not force Father Weinandy’s resignation. The US
Right. And the moon is made of green cheese.
Much more of this rancorous intolerance toward those in his own
House that he may abolish all distinctions with those without
— and who will not enter — and which is increasingly evident in
Francis’s papacy remains to unfold, we fear, to the great detriment
of the Church and to the salvation of souls — for which She exists.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.”
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