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US bishops part ways with priest who criticised Pope Francis

Fr Thomas Weinandy (Youtube screenshot)

The US bishops’ conference has announced that Fr Thomas Weinandy has resigned as an advisor to their Committee on Doctrine after he published a letter strongly critical of Pope Francis.

“After speaking with the General Secretary of the Conference today, Father Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., has resigned, effective immediately, from his position as consultant to the USCCB Committee on Doctrine,” the bishops said in a statement.

“The work of the committee is done in support of, and in affective collegiality with, the Holy Father and the Church in the United States,” they added. “Our prayers go with Father Weinandy as his service to the committee comes to a close.”

In a separate statement, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the US bishops’ conference, appeared to suggest that Fr Weinandy’s letter was not sufficiently charitable towards the Pope.

“As bishops, we recognize the need for honest and humble discussions around theological and pastoral issues. We must always keep in mind St Ignatius of Loyola’s ‘presupposition’ to his Spiritual Exercises: …that it should be presumed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it.”

“This presupposition should be afforded all the more to the teaching of Our Holy Father,” the cardinal added.

The announcement came the same day that Fr Weinandy published his letter saying many Catholics are losing confidence in Francis’s pontificate.

He accused the Pope of fostering a “growing unease” and “chronic confusion” through guidance that seems “intentionally ambiguous”, especially regarding Amoris Laetitia.

He also said Pope Francis was promoting bishops who “seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief, but who support and even defend them.”