A Franciscan and Pope Francis

Last week Thomas Weinandy, OFM, Cap., made public a letter that he had written Pope Francis at the end of July. In the letter Weinandy expresses his concerns over various aspects of Francis’s pontificate. Here’s how Weinandy sums up his concerns toward the beginning of the letter:

Your Holiness, 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.  This fosters within the faithful a growing unease.  It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace.

Weinandy then goes on to offer some examples of the words and actions of Francis that have troubled him. You can find the complete letter here together with Weinandy’s explanation of his motivations.

Weinandy has written a number of books on theological topics. Does God Suffer? and Does God Change? The Word's Becoming in the Incarnation, both published in 2000, are perhaps his best known. He has taught at a number of Catholic academic institutions in the US and from 1991 to 2005 taught at the University of Oxford. From 2005 to 2013 he was the Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the USCCB. In 2013 Pope Francis awarded him the Pro Pontifice et Ecclesiae medal. Weinandy is also a member of the International Theological Commission.

After he made his letter to the Pope public, the USCCB asked Weinandy to resign from his position as a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine. (The USCCB statements on the matter are here and here.) I think that this was an unfortunate move. Weinandy is obviously an accomplished theologian and a true vir ecclesiasticus. I hope that the bishops will reconsider.