POPE FRANCIS IS WELL AWARE OF THE CRITICISM AGAINST HIM
The Vatican Insider blog of the Italian secular newspaper, La Stampa is a semi official blog of the Vatican and the pope is quite aware of it!
This this point/counterpoint post is fascinating:
Criticism to the Pope, back-and-forth from the USA
A theologian of the U. S. Episcopal Conference writes to Francis, publishes the letter and after a conversation with the secretary of the bishops he resigns. A colleague answers him by reminding him of the instruction of “Donum veritatis”
Pubblicato il 03/11/2017
Ultima modifica il 03/11/2017 alle ore 12:46
Father Thomas G. Weinandy, a seventy-one-year-old Capuchin theologian living in Washington, wrote an open letter to Pope Francis on November 1, 2017, published in the USA by Crux website, in Italy by the blog of the Vatican scholar Sandro Magister. The letter had been sent to the Pontiff at the end of July and the theologian had received confirmation of its receipt from the Substitute for the Secretariat of State.
Father Weinandy, member of the International Theological Commission and former chief of staff for the U.S Bishop’s Committee on Doctrine, opens with a profession of fidelity and submission to the Pope. The Capuchin explained that he had asked for an explicit sign from Jesus before writing the letter, and that he had received it while he was in Rome. After the profession of fidelity and submission to Peter’s legitimate successor, Weinandy writes down his criticism, starting with chapter 8 of “Amoris laetitia”: “I need not share my own concerns about its content. Others, not only theologians, but also cardinals and bishops, have already done that… The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it”.
Hence, the religious criticizes the Pope’s attitude towards doctrine, “Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth”. And he also attacks Francis on the episcopal appointments in the United States, in the name of the “faithful Catholics”, who “can only be disconcerted by your choice of some bishops, men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them”. Some websites thought of pointing out the name and surname of these bishops, forgetting that they had all been elevated to episcopal dignity and in some cases also promoted during the pontificates of the two immediate predecessors of Francis.
Father Weinandy also attacked the Pope about the “silence” of the bishops, “ But have you noticed that the majority of bishops throughout the world are remarkably silent? Why is this? Bishops are quick learners, and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it. 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.”
On the same day as the publication of the letter denouncing the “confusion” in the Church, the U. S. Episcopal Conference announced that “after speaking with the General Secretary of the Conference, Father Thomas Weinandy has resigned, effective immediately, from his position as consultant to the USCCB Committee on Doctrine. 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. Our prayers go with Father Weinandy as his service to the Committee comes to a close”.
The next day, 2 November 2017, another theologian, already executive director of the doctrine office of the American Episcopal Conference, took paper and pen to write a letter of reply: not to the Pope, this time, but to Father Weinandy. The letter was published by America magazine. Monsignor John J. Strynkowski, priest of the diocese of Brooklyn, begins by saying that he does not want to go into the “subjective conditions” that inspired his colleague Weinandy, but reminds him that the exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” towards which the Capuchin theologian expresses great concern, “is the fruit of two Synods and broad consultation throughout the Church, is widely recognized as an act of ordinary Magisterium, and thus enjoys presumption as having been guided by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Father Weinandy had written to the Pope that his guidance on chapter 8 of Amoris laetitia“at times seems intentionally ambiguous”. “I believe that the vast majority of bishops and theologians - Father Strynkowski replied – do not agree”. In fact, the pope does indeed open the door to the possibility that some divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can be admitted to the sacraments after careful discernment. Rocco Buttiglione, one of the foremost interpreters of the teaching of St. John Paul II, sees no contradiction, but rather continuity between “Familiaris Consortio” and “Amoris Laetitia.” And most recently Cardinal Gerhard Müller stated that there are conditions which open the way for those in second marriages to receive sacraments.”
Book cover of “Risposte amichevoli ai critici di Amoris laetitia” by Rocco Buttiglione
As for Father Weinandy’s observation that the Pope seems to undermine the importance of the Church’s doctrine, the theologian Strynkowski recalls the many homilies of the Pontiff “based on the Gospel”, which “ call us to a discipleship that is rigorous and uncompromising. Second, I interpret his criticism of those who make doctrine an ideology as a challenge for us to never isolate doctrine from its source in the mercy of God revealed in Jesus Christ”.
The letter of reply defines “a gratuitous assertion” which damages the unity of the Church, the statement made by Father Weinandy on the nominations of some bishops. “Unless you are willing - writes Strynkowski - to name these bishops and the views counter to Christian belief that supposedly they tolerate”. The reply also challenges the assertion that Francis resented criticism, Indeed, there has been much criticism of the pope - Strynkowski explains - but he has remained silent.
Finally, the theologian Strynkowski reminds his colleague of the “wise” advice about the job of a theologian, contained in the “Donum veritatis”, a 1990 document signed by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and approved by Saint John Paul II, in which paragraph 30 reads, “If, despite a loyal effort on the theologian’s part, the difficulties persist, the theologian has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments”.
In cases like these - the quoted paragraph concludes - the theologian should avoid turning to the “mass media”, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders servite to the truth.” This is an indication that has already been disregarded in the past, but which now appears practically buried.