A former head of the US bishops’ committee on doctrine was forced to resign as an adviser to the US bishops’ conference last week after publishing a letter criticising Pope Francis.

Fr Thomas Weinandy, a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, accused the Pope of causing confusion. He was asked to resign from his bishops’ conference role on the day the letter was made public.

“A chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate. The light of faith, hope, and love is not absent, but too often it is obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions.

“Too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine,” he said. “Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life.”

Of Amoris Laetitia, Fr Weinandy wrote: “Your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching. To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.”

He accused Pope Francis of seemingly trying to “censor and even mock” people with traditional views on divorce and remarriage by suggesting they were “Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism”.

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