Rorate Caeli

USCCB official challenges Francis, fired immediately -- U.S. bishops prove his point

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is a house more divided than one could possibly imagine. The pro-life office on the second floor may as well be in the catacombs. Employees from throughout the USCCB proudly display their Obama for President and other pro-abortion politician bumper stickers in the parking lot. The international justice and peace branch sets the tone for the building, aligned with the far-left wing of the Church. This month's big issue is the annual collection for the Campaign for Human Development.

Although some offices within the USCCB have miraculously been staffed in recent years with right-leaning clergy and laymen (the USCCB's government relations director position is currently open to applicants...) leadership will always side with the center-left in the organization.

Father Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap., was the executive director of the USCCB's Committee on Doctrine from 2005 until 2013. Since then, the theologian has been a consultant to that office. Awarded the Pro Pontifice et Ecclesiae medal by Pope Benedict XVI, and appointed a member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission, Father Weinandy is arguably one of the most respected theologians in the United States.

But he dared to challenge Pope Francis, resulting in his forced resignation from the USCCB the same day his concerns were made public.

The concerns were compiled in a 31 July 2017 letter he wrote to the pope, observing "a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate" by communicating with "intentionally ambiguous" guidance. Not ambiguous by any means, Father Weinandy wrote, to Francis: " 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."

Of course, Father Weinandy never received a response from Francis.  Mind you, this is the same pontiff who made the time last month to personally rebuke Robert Cardinal Sarah within days of the cardinal claiming his office was still in charge of liturgical translations. Public statements and responses -- or not -- from Pope Francis are always intentional.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, the current president of the USCCB, issued a statement on the forced resignation, complaining criticisms of this pope "are often expressed in terms of opposition, as political -- conservative vs. liberal, left vs. right, pre-Vatican II vs. Vatican II."  As if Pope Francis was not a consistent liberal, on the left, despising anything pre-Vatican II.

What is clear from the USCCB's removal of Father Weinandy is the leadership of the Church is not concerned with dogma, tradition or natural law. Its main priority is the image and agenda of Jorge Bergoglio. And what few good prelates exist are scared to speak for fear of being removed from Vatican offices, stuck in far-off dioceses or never being made a cardinal. As Father Weinandy wrote: "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."