Pope’s Theological Advisor Resigns, Accusses Him Misleading The Church On Doctrine

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After making public a letter he wrote to Pope Francis accusing the pontiff of sowing “chronic confusion” and teaching in an “intentionally ambiguous” manner, a former chief of staff for the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine has resigned as a consultant to the same committee.

The conference announced the resignation in a statement on Tuesday, the same day the letter by Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy was published by media outlets.

“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’ statement said.

“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. Our prayers go with Father Weinandy as his service to the committee comes to a close,” it said.

Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, who was a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, criticized the Pope for “demeaning” the importance of doctrine, committing “calumny” against some of his critics, and appointing bishops who “scandalize” believers with dubious “teaching and pastoral practice.”

The missive (see full text below) was sent to the Holy Father on July 31, the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, but only made public on Nov 1st.

Father Weinandy, who did not hold back in sharing his concerns with Pope Francis about his pontificate, began the letter underlining his “love for the Church and sincere respect” for the Petrine Office, and stating that Pope Francis is the “Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock.”

He stressed the Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to the Pope, to “dispel error, not to foster it,” and that only the light of truth can free mankind from the blindness of sin.

But he pointed out to the Pope that he seems “to censor and even mock” critics of Chapter 8 of his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, who wish to interpret it in accord with Church tradition, committing a “kind of calumny” that is “alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry.”

Elsewhere, he warned against the Pope’s concept of synodality, criticized him for resenting criticism (leading to silence from bishops), and censured Francis for being silent in the face of some bishops’ erroneous teachings and pastoral practice.

He closed by saying he believes the Lord has allowed all this to happen to show “just how weak is the faith of many within the Church,” and that ironically this pontificate has shed light on those who “hold harmful theological and pastoral views. Read full text of his letter here.


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