New Appeal From Fr. Weinandy To the Pope: With This False Mercy the Church Is Destroyed

New Appeal From Fr. Weinandy To the Pope: With This False Mercy the Church Is Destroyed


Sandro Magister – 2/24/18

Everyone remembers Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy for the open letter he sent to Pope Francis last summer, and which he himself made public on November 1 on Settimo Cielo:

> A Theologian Writes To the Pope: There Is Chaos in the Church, and You Are a Cause

Today, Saturday February 24, he returns to the fray with the conference that he gave this morning in Sydney, organized by Notre Dame University of Australia.

In it, Fr. Weinandy describes and denounces the attack of unprecedented gravity that some of the “pastoral” theories and practices encouraged by Pope Francis are carrying out against the “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic” Church and in particular against the Eucharist that is “source and summit” of the Church’s very life.

Settimo Cielo offers here below to its readers, in four languages, the crucial passages of Fr. Weinandy’s indictment. But those who mar wish to read his conference in its entirety, in the original English, can find it on this other webpage:

> The Four Marks of the Church: The Contemporary Crisis in Ecclesiology

Fr. Weinandy, 72, is one of the most widely known and esteemed theologians, and lives in Washington at the Capuchin College, run by the Franciscan order to which he belongs. He is still a member of the international theological commission that supports the Vatican congregation for the doctrine of the faith, having been appointed to it in 2014 by Pope Francis.

He has taught in the United States at various universities, at Oxford for twelve years, and in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

It’s his turn now.



by Thomas G. Weinandy

Granted the post-Vatican II Church was rife with divisions – disputes over doctrine, morals and the liturgy. These disagreements continue still. However, at no time during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI was there ever any doubt as to what the Church teaches concerning her doctrine, morals, and liturgical practice. […] Such is not the case, in many significant ways, within the present pontificate of Pope Francis.

Challenge to the Church’s Oneness

[…] At times it would appear that Pope Francis identifies himself not as the promoter of unity but as the agent of division. His practical philosophy, if it is an intentional philosophy, seems to consist in the belief that a greater unifying good will emerge from the present bedlam of divergent opinions and the turmoil of the resulting divisions.

My concern here is that such approach, even if unintentional, strikes at very essence of the Petrine ministry as intended by Jesus and as continuously understood by the Church. The successor of St. Peter, by the very nature of the office, is to be, literally, the personal embodiment and thus the consummate sign of the Church’s ecclesial communion, and so the principle defender and promoter of the Church’s ecclesial communion. […] By seeming to encourage doctrinal division and moral discord within the Church the present pontificate has transgressed the foundational mark of the Church – her oneness. How, nonetheless, does this offense against the Church’s unity manifest itself? It does so by destabilizing the other three marks of the Church.

Challenge to the Church’s Apostolicity

Firstly, the apostolic nature of the Church is being undermined. As has often been noted by theologians and bishops, and most frequently by the laity (those who possess the “sensus fidelium”), the teaching of the present pontiff is not noted for its clarity. […] As seen in “Amoris Laetitia”, to re-conceive and newly express the previously clear apostolic faith and magisterial tradition in a seemingly ambiguous manner, so as to leave confusion and puzzlement within the ecclesial community, is to contradict his own duties as the successor of Peter and to transgress the trust of his fellow bishops, as well as that of priests and the entire faithful.

Ignatius [of Antioch] would be dismayed at such a situation. If, for him, heretical teaching espoused by those who are only loosely associated with the Church is destructive to the Church’s unity, how much more devastating is ambiguous teaching when authored by a bishop who is divinely charged to ensure ecclesial unity. […]

Moreover, […] to appear to sanction an interpretation of doctrine or morals that contravenes what has been the received apostolic teaching and magisterial tradition of the Church – as dogmatically defined by Councils and doctrinally taught by previous popes and the bishops in communion with him, as well as accepted and believed by the faithful, cannot then be proposed as magisterial teaching. […] In the matter of faith and morals the teaching of no living pope takes apostolic and magisterial precedence over the magisterial teaching of previous pontiffs or the established magisterial doctrinal tradition. […] That Pope Francis’ ambiguous teaching at times appears to fall outside the magisterial teaching of the historic apostolic ecclesial community thus gives cause for concern, for it, as stated above, fosters division and disharmony rather than unity and peace within the one apostolic Church. […]

Challenge to the Church’s Catholicity

Secondly, […] the universality of the Church is visibly manifested in that all of the particular Churches are bound together, through the college of bishops in communion with the pope, by professing the same apostolic faith and by preaching the one universal Gospel to all of humankind. […] This mark of catholic oneness is also presently challenged.

Pope Francis’ espousal of synodality has been much touted – the allowance of local geographical Churches more self-determinative freedom. […] As envisioned, however, by Pope Francis and advocated by others, this notion of synodality, instead of ensuring the universal oneness of the Catholic Church, an ecclesial communion composed of multiple particular Churches, is now employed to undermine and so sanction divisions within the Church. […]

We are presently witnessing the disintegration of the Church’s catholicity, for local Churches, both on the diocesan and national level, are often interpreting doctrinal norms and moral precepts in various conflicting and contradictory ways. […]  The Church’s mark of oneness, a unity that the pope is divinely mandated to protect and engender, is losing its integrity because her marks of catholicity and apostolicity have fallen into doctrinal and moral disarray, a theological anarchy that the pope himself, maybe unwittingly, has initiated by advocating a flawed conception of synodality. […]

Challenge to the Church’s Holiness

Thirdly, this brings us to the fourth mark of the Church – her holiness. This mark is equally under siege, most especially, but not surprisingly, in relationship to the Eucharist. […]

To participate fully in the Church’s Eucharist, […] one must embody the four marks of the Church, for only in so doing is one in full communion with the Church so as to receive communion – the risen body and blood of Jesus, the source and culmination of one’s union with the Father in the Holy Spirit. […]

The first issue […] pertains specifically to holiness. While one must profess the Church’s one apostolic faith, faith itself is insufficient for receiving Christ in the Eucharist. Referencing Vatican II, John Paul II states that “we must persevere in sanctifying grace and love, remaining within the Church ‘bodily’ as well as ‘in our heart’” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 36). At the beginning of the Second Century, Ignatius, made this same point – that one can only receive communion “in a state of grace” (Ad. Eph. 20). Thus, in accordance with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Council of Trent, John Paul confirms: “I therefore desire to reaffirm that in the Church there remains in force, now and in the future, the rule by which the Council of Trent gave concrete expression to the Apostle Paul’s stern warning when it affirmed that in order to receive the Eucharist in a worthy manner, ‘one must first confess one’s sins, when one is aware of mortal sin’” (ibid.). In accordance with the doctrinal tradition of the Church, John Paul, therefore, insists that the sacrament of Penance is “necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice” when mortal sin is present (ibid. 37). While he acknowledges that only the person can judge his or her state of grace, he asserts that “in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved” (ibid.). John Paul intensifies his admonition by quoting Canon Law. Where there is “a manifest lack of proper moral disposition,” that is, according to Canon Law, when persons “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin,” they are “not to be permitted to Eucharistic communion” (ibid.).

Here we perceive the present challenge to the Church’s holiness and specifically the holiness of the Eucharist. The question of whether divorced and remarried Catholic couples, who engage in marital acts, can receive communion revolves around the very issue of “outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm,” and, therefore, whether they possess “a manifest lack of proper moral disposition” for receiving communion.

Pope Francis rightly insists that such couples should be accompanied and so helped to form properly their consciences. Granted that there are extraordinary marital cases where it can be rightfully discerned that a previous marriage was sacramentally invalid, even though evidence for an annulment is unobtainable, thus allowing a couple to receive communion. Nonetheless, the ambiguous manner in which Pope Francis proposes this pastoral accompaniment permits a pastoral situation to evolve whereby the common practice will swiftly ensue that almost every divorced and remarried couple will judge themselves free to receive Holy Communion.

This pastoral situation will develop because moral negative commands, such as, “one shall not commit adultery,” are no longer recognized as absolute moral norms that can never be trespassed, but as moral ideals – goals that may be achieved over a period of time, or may never be realized in one’s lifetime. In this indefinite interim people can continue, with the Church’s blessing, to strive, as best as they are able, to live “holy” lives, and so receive communion. Such pastoral practice has multiple detrimental doctrinal and moral consequences.

First, to allow those who are objectively in manifest grave sin to receive communion is an overt public attack on the holiness of what John Paul terms “the Most Holy Sacrament.” Grave sin, by its very nature, as Ignatius, Vatican II and John Paul attest, deprives one of holiness, for the Holy Spirit no longer abides within such a person, thus making the person unfit to receive holy communion. For one to receive communion in such a, literally, disgraced state enacts a lie, for in receiving the sacrament one is asserting that one is in communion with Christ, when in actuality one is not.

Similarly, such a practice is also an offense against the holiness of the Church. Yes, the Church is composed of saints and sinners, yet, those who do sin, which is everyone, must be repentant-sinners, specifically of grave sin, if they are to participate fully in the Eucharistic liturgy and so receive the most-holy risen body and blood of Jesus. A person who is in grave sin may still be a member of the Church, but as a grave-sinner such a person no longer participates in the holiness of the Church as one of the holy faithful. To receive communion in such an unholy state is, again, to enact a lie for in such a reception one is publicly attempting to testify that one is a graced and living member of the ecclesial community when one is not.

Second, and maybe more importantly, to allow those who persist in manifest grave sin to receive communion, seemingly as an act of mercy, is both to belittle the condemnatory evil of grave sin and to malign the magnitude and power of the Holy Spirit. Such a pastoral practice is implicitly acknowledging that sin continues to govern humankind despite Jesus’ redeeming work and his anointing of the Holy Spirit upon all who believe and are baptized. Jesus is actually not Savior and Lord, but rather Satan continues to reign.

Moreover, to sanction persons in grave sin is in no manner a benevolent or loving act, for one is endorsing a state wherein they could be eternally condemned, thus jeopardizing their salvation. Likewise, in turn, one is also insulting such grave-sinners, for one is subtly telling them that they are so sinful that not even the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to help them change their sinful ways and make them holy. They are inherently un-savable. Actually, though, what is ultimately being tendered is the admission that the Church of Jesus Christ is not really holy and so is incapable of truly sanctifying her members.

Lastly, scandal is the public pastoral consequence of allowing persons in unrepentant manifest grave sin to receive Holy Communion. It is not simply that the faithful members of the Eucharistic community will be dismayed and likely disgruntled, but, more importantly, they will be tempted to think that they too can sin gravely and continue in good standing with the Church. Why attempt to live a holy life, even a heroic virtuous life, when the Church herself appears to demand neither such a life, or even to encourage such a life? Here the Church becomes a mockery of herself and such a charade breeds nothing but scorn and disdain in the world, and derision and cynicism among the faithful, or at best, a hope against hope among the little ones.

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12 comments on “New Appeal From Fr. Weinandy To the Pope: With This False Mercy the Church Is Destroyed

  1. Perhaps, I think we need to thank God for someone like Pope Francis, as if it takes a Pope like that to make such priests wake up to the fact that there is a real problem in the Conciliar Church, well, then thank God. I think, the problem with have conservative modernists like JPII and Benedict XVI is that they continue to deceive under the guise of their conservative facade, at least this Pope is upfront a modernist and openly stands for what he believes. This seems to be working it’s effect to waking people up.

    Do not be deceived the modernism of the previous conciliar Popes was just as evil if not far worse!

    • Yep…and if you really have the sensus Catholicus, you can find error in most things the previous Conciliar popes say — even when they are being quoted as paragons of orthodoxy.
      ” John Paul, therefore, insists that the sacrament of Penance is “necessary for full participation in the Eucharistic Sacrifice” when mortal sin is present (ibid. 37). While he acknowledges that only the person can judge his or her state of grace, he asserts that “in cases of outward conduct …etc.”
      Since WHEN is “the person” the *only* judge of his or her state of grace?
      “There is a way which seems just to a man, but the ends thereof lead to death.” (Prov. 14:12)
      “He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool: but he that walketh wisely, he shall be saved.” (Prov. 28:26)
      “You have ploughed wickedness, you have reaped iniquity, you have eaten the fruit of lying: because thou hast trusted in thy ways,” (Osee 10:13)
      “And to some who trusted in themselves as just and despised others, he spoke also this parable:” [of the publican and the Pharisee in the temple] (Lk 18:9)
      To say that “the person” is the only judge of his own conscience is a direct contradiction of the Word of God, which recommends a healthy distrust of the strong tendency of original sin to justify itself.
      Even in the context of the sacrament of confession, “the person” is not the only judge of his own conscience. The priest has a duty — not indeed to pretend to judge the internal state of soul of the penitent — but certainly to judge the external facts of the objective sinfulness or unsinfulness of the penitent’s actions as confessed, and to lead sinners away from the self-justification that we are so often enslaved to, and to thus help the sinner judge himself. So we can say the priest is a coadjutor judge of the sinner’s soul.
      Thus does Fr. Weinandy’s quoting JPII not only not serve as a corrective for Francis’ approval of excusing sin and sacrilege, but, ironically, actually shows how JPII’s laxist doctrine serves as the *foundation* for Francis’ ravings.
      Here’s the thing that JPII couldn’t see: If “the person” is the sole judge of his conscience, and all of us are persons, there is NO SUCH THING as PUBLIC sin.
      Think about that for a bit.
      ALL sin is a private matter, for we all are more or less aware of “the ideal” behavior we should be adhering to, and no one else knows how aware we are of that “ideal”, AND therefore no one else has a right to judge how well we are adhering to it.
      How can Francis NOT conclude that sinners should be left to judge for themselves whether they are worthy to receive Communion?
      In Francis’ view, the problem with JPII, and anyone else who has a sense of the public consequences of sin, is that such people haven’t learned to grow up, and lighten up. Their being scandalized by the actions of others is their own fault; they need to lose their pharisaical self-satisfaction; they should just go on doing the best they can, and leave others to the mercy of God. You see, we aren’t *approving* adultery by letting objective adulterers receive Communion, we’re just acknowledging what JPII said: Only the “sinner” himself can judge his own sinfulness.
      Thus does Modernist logic work itself out.
      And thus we have the irony — for the umpteenth time — of people of good intention using as weapons in defense of Tradition the words of the Modernists that are destroying it.
      Satanas ridet.
      Well did St. Pius X say in Pascendi: “But it is pride which exercises an incomparably greater sway over the soul to blind it and lead it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as in its own house…”
      What is it if not pride that leads one to “trust in his own heart”, and set himself up as the only judge of himself?
      At least Modernists practice what they preach.

  2. I agree completely, Vinent. You wrote almost verbatim what one of my best traditional Catholic friends stated five years ago. Uncanny, that.
    A consequence of the argument is the unimaginable scope and depth of the task that lies ahead: Actually going about the business of educating the 99% of baptized Catholics (NO, Neo-Kathlyx and “conservatives”) who regard V2 as “Catholic”, requiring assent, and normative – some hundreds of millions souls.
    That’s three generations of those who originally surrendered in the 60s and their progeny. One solid pope could begin to do it but he would be up against vast hordes of indoctrinated liberals in the clergy, pew squatters and flaks, like EWTN/Catholic Answers groupies, etc. A daunting task, to be sure. And the rest of the world would go insane once such an effort began. Vatican II was the visa it demanded be carried about by Catholics by which to tolerate their existence and movement in society. Once that visa expires many new “heavily armed heathen, Zionist and globalist border crossings” will be constructed.
    V2 was infinitely more than a completely failed experiment ginned up by liberal clerical insurgents. It was the Revolution of 1517, of 1776, of 1789 and of 1917 reprised in doctrinal garb.
    American and French history, replete with continuous victory after victory against the Church, will not easily allow any resurgence of authentic Catholic Tradition to expose the moral and spiritual corruption implicit in their own respective unfoldings within society.
    V2 was and remains the most ingenious weapon ever devised by anti-Catholic partisans. It not only made inevitable the theological madness of Francis and his monstrous inner circle, it positively brainwashed generations of baptized Catholics, making them, at best, secular and suicidally “tolerant” protestants.

  3. Excellent synopsis by you two gentlemen ! Agree Totally!!

  4. Skipper, if you have yet to, do yourself a favor and listen to the two hour version on YouTube of a conference by Canon Gregory Hesse, STD, STL who spent 15 years as a theologian at the Vatican.
    He provides a grad school level examen of the heresies and blasphemies in the V2 documents and adds incredible biographical details I had never known of before. You will be glad you took the time. It’s entirely worth it!

  5. NIN, as the Mod Squad would say, “Solid, man!”

    Excellent response. Language re-engineering has infected EVERYTHING it has touched. Which is why the Mod Squad in sunny Nuovo Roma uses it at every opportunity.

  6. GPM, I have listened to Canon Hesse, about a year ago . He was excellent ! My wife and I listen to religious podcasts at dinner. Some are better than others but she likes to listen to them ! I will mention to her, that we should listen to Canon Hesse again ! Thank you for the recommendation!

  7. Interesting! That’s when I listen to them as well. A touch of monastic practice in that. Readers are used during various meals in refectories, reciting selections from holy writ while monks or nuns eat in silence.
    Although with Gregorius Magnus, it would be hard to not burst out laughing over one’s bowl of lentil soup with a side of hardback. The Canon had a delightful sense of humor! 😉 I pray for his eventual canonization, in fact, daily.

  8. Breakfast and Dinner , religious readings are done on most days ! And you are correct living here is like a monastic existence! Have not been tonsured yet ! Did Friday and Gannon make it to Roma OK . We have a major problem In Brazil 🇧🇷, with some wacko Bishops ! It seems at one of their Novus Ordo Ecumenical Love 💕 Fests called a Mass , there were many Protestant women ministers concelebrating the Mass with these bishops and all receiving Communion! These South American Heretics are really pushing the envelope! The Military has taken over parts of Rio , so it is almost impossible to get operatives in and out of Brazil. Our only choice is to HALO( High Altitude Low Opening) some operatives over the Amazon, have them meet up with friendly tribes and hope the piranhas or head hunters do not find them until we can start to take out these rogue bishops ! I was hoping Friday and Gannon could give us an insider SitRep of the Vatican’s plans ! We need to know if this abuse of the Holy Mass is coming to Church in the US soon ! Back to the Monastery before I have to check in to CTU for the week !

  9. LOL! Joe and Bill arrived in sunny Nuovo Roma but their scriptwriter was too busy to give them anything to say, today.
    I have a relative who did a few HALOs. Simply the coolest guy I know! He was in the Civil Air Patrol before college and went on to great distinction as an Airborne officer and other “exciting” activities in a highly decorated career.

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