US priest resigns after letter to Pope

Fr Thomas Weinandy (CNS/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

After publication of his letter to Pope Francis questioning the Pontiff’s teachings, Fr Thomas Weinandy has resigned from his position as consultant to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, CNS reports.

The Capuchin Franciscan priest is former executive director of the US Bishops’ Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs, serving in the post from 2005 until 2013. He expressed loyalty to the Pope but at the same time told the Pope that “a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate.”

He released his letter to several Catholic and other media outlets on Wednesday.

James Rogers, chief communications officer for the USCCB, said Fr Weinandy had resigned from his position, effective immediately.

“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 Fr Weinandy as his service to the committee comes to a close,” Mr Rogers said in a statement issued Wednesday.

In a separate statement, USCCB president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said the departure of Fr Weinandy as a consultant “gives us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church.”

“Throughout the history of the Church, ministers, theologians and the laity all have debated and have held personal opinions on a variety of theological and pastoral issues,” the Cardinal said. “In more recent times, these debates have made their way into the popular press. That is to be expected and is often good.

“However, these reports are often expressed in terms of opposition, as political – conservative vs liberal, left vs right, pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II. These distinctions are not always very helpful,” he added.

In his letter, Fr Weinandy outlined five areas of concern where he said confusion may result among the faithful, including an unease with the Pope's “manner” of teaching in his 2016 apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

“To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it,” the letter said.

It added that the Pope also “seems to censor and even mock” those who uphold traditional church teaching on marriage as “Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigourism.”

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Priest resigns as consultant to doctrine committee after letter to pope (CNS)

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