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Father Weinandy calls on the Catholic faithful to pray “in fear and trembling” that Jesus might “deliver us from this trial.”
By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, 10/8/19
The Catholic Church is heading toward an “internal papal schism” whereby Pope Francis effectively leads two opposing factions, Capuchin theologian Father Thomas Weinandy has warned.
These are divided, he said, into one loyal to the papacy yet critical of this pontificate, and the other supportive of him due to his tolerance of ambiguous teaching and pastoral practice.
“This is the real schism,” observed Father Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. bishops’ doctrinal committee, in a commentary published today in The Catholic Thing.
It is a situation “ever growing in intensity,” he added.
A member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, Father Weinandy began by clarifying that he believes when the Pope refers to contemporary schismatics in the Church, he means his American critics.
But he pointed out that the “overwhelming majority” of those critics “would never initiate a schism” as they wish to remain faithful to the Pope, even if that means being critical of him.
The Capuchin also believes that the German Church would also not go into schism, despite their bishops’ wish to take their faithful down a “binding” synodal path contrary to the universal tradition of the Church.
They would not break away, he believes, because they would lose their Catholic identity, something they could not afford, and will, in any case Father Weinandy believes, be allowed to pursue ambiguous teaching and practice as it is “in accord with Francis’ own.”
Placing the German situation in the broader context of such controversies as Amoris Laetitia, advancing the homosexual agenda, refounding the Pontifical John Paul II Institute, and an Amazon Synod “teeming” with participants sympathetic to such ambiguous teaching, Father Weinandy said the Church finds herself in a situation “she never expected.”
On the one hand is a “majority of the world’s faithful” loyal to the Pope because “he is their pontiff” but “critical of his pontificate,” and on the other is a “large contingent” of the world’s faithful who support him because he “allows and fosters their ambiguous teaching and ecclesial practice,” he noted.
“What the Church will end up with, then, is a pope who is the Pope of the Catholic Church and, simultaneously, the de facto leader, for all practical purposes, of a schismatic church.
“Because he is the head of both, the appearance of one Church remains, while in fact there are two,” he observed. ….