SYDNEY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Franciscan priest dismissed by the U.S. bishops for his orthodoxy remains undeterred from his calling to preach the Truth.
Father Thomas Weinandy, in an academic essay shared online this week, expressed his concerns about the state of affairs in the Church today:
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. Both recognized that what truly made the Church one is her unalterable apostolic and universal faith and her sacraments, especially the Eucharist, as fount and means of her holiness. ... Such is not the case, in many significant ways, within the present pontificate of Pope Francis.
This is not the first time Fr. Weinandy has brought up doubts about the current pontificate. Last year, the U.S, Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked the Capuchin friar to resign from the International Theological Commission following a public letter he wrote to the pope.
In the essay published this week, Fr. Weinandy continues his criticism of the state of affairs under the current Holy Father. His essay discusses the four marks of the Church — One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic — and shows how the Church's current state betrays her fourfold identity.
Father Weinandy writes about the Church's oneness: "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."
The holiness of the Church, Fr. Weinandy notes, flows from the holiness of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Since sacrilegious Communion has become so commonplace, and some in the Church are even trying to enshrine such sacrilege for the divorced and civilly remarried, the Church today is gravely lacking in holiness. Father Weinandy argues, "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."
He continues, "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."
The word "Catholic" means "universal." Father Weinandy claims the universality or Catholicity of the One True Church is being subverted by differing interpretations of Amoris Laetitia. He writes, "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."
"Thus," he continues, "what the faithful are instructed to believe and practice in one diocese or country is not in conformity with what the faithful are instructed to believe and practice in another diocese or country."
The essay states about the Church's apostolicity:
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. There appears to be, as a consequence, no assurance of faith.
Father Weinandy presented this essay at Notre Dame University in Sydney, Australia. It was in the context of an academic conference on ecclesiology.