Father Thomas Weinandy, a Capuchin priest with an impressive academic pedigree, this week became the latest Catholic theologian to criticize Pope Francis when he published a private letter
he had written to the pope some four months ago. In his letter, dated July 31st and published this past Thursday (Nov. 1), the 71-year-old friar and former director of the US bishops’ secretariat for doctrine (2005-2013) accuses the current Bishop of Rome of causing "scandal" and "chronic confusion" among the baptized faithful. In perhaps the most scathing attack of its kind, he also indicts the pope — among other things — with intentionally promoting "ambiguous teaching", sowing disunity and committing "calumny" against doctrinally conservative theologians while giving "license and confidence" to those holding "harmful theological and pastoral views." He also accuses Francis of "demeaning the importance of Church doctrine" and being resentful (and vindictive) towards his critics. "To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth," says Father Weinandy. This charge of blasphemy is arguably the most serious, considering that Jesus is recorded in Mark’s Gospel as saying, "Anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mk 3,29).
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