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Today on the Feast of All Saints, I am republishing a post from Sandro Magister’s blog. In that post, Sandro introduces us to Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, a Capuchin Friar and one of the “most eminent” living theologians.

Fr. Weinandy in turn, wrote a letter to Francis, the bishop of Rome.

What is significant about this letter is the FRAMING. Framing is the manner in which one structures an argument. It is used as a common persuasion technique since a proper framing of an argument can leave the opponent without any good “avenues of escape”.

I don’t want to go into the finer points of FRAMING in this post, but a good way to look at it is as follows: Meaning depends on context. So control the context.

Notice those words?

So the manner in which Fr. Weinandy masterfully framed his position can be seen in the following passages:

  1. Our first observation is that Francis has adopted a post-Modernist strategy whereby he disregards the OBJECTIVE MEANING OF WORDS AND THEIR COMMON USAGE. And Fr. Weinandy calls him out.

Fr. Weinandy offers us this gem of a passage wherein he sets out his position by incorporating the formula: clarity=truth=work of the Holy Spirit.

To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it. 

Now who can argue with this. 

No. The better question is “How can Francis argue against that?”

He can’t say: “With a little less clarity, we get more truth”, now can he?

This framing also hurts Francis on a deeper level. Since it is Francis’ “god of surprises”, in fact his alter-ego, that is used as a proxy for the real Holy Spirit, under this framing, the clear distinction is drawn. And that distinction is that the attribute of CLARITY provides the distinguishing feature for why: “god of surprises” ≠ the Holy Spirit.

This “god of surprises”, who was being used as the justification for all of Francis’ heretical (material) and false musings, will now be juxtaposed against clarity=truth. In other words, every-time now that Francis brings out the “god of surprises”, the listener will automatically think: no clarity = not truthful = not Holy Spirit.

2. Next, Fr. Weinandy takes the baseball bat to the allusions to the “Pharisees” and “rigidity”. In this respect, he makes a very simple and straightforward observation:

Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul. Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry. Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions. Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by “ad hominem” arguments.

I say again: Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by “ad hominem” arguments.

Notice the framing here: mocking those who adhere to Traditional interpretation = inability to survive theological scrutiny = use of ad hominem (logical fallacy) arguments . 

A head shot if there ever was one.

From now on, each and every time Francis uses another one of his epithets at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, his listeners will automatically think that he is using them because his arguments can’t survive theological scrutiny.

And Francis will know what those FrancisFolks are thinking!

Brilliant!

On a deeper level, what Fr. Weinandy further implies in this passage, and for all to see, is that Francis’ JunkTheology™ is nothing more than gobbledygook, at times rising to psycho babble at best.

3. Most importantly though, Fr. Weinandy completely crushes the Francis “IDEOLOGY NARRATIVE”.

Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life. Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology. But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel. Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth. What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Here the framing is as follows: (JESUS + TRUTH) = DOCTRINE ≠ IDEOLOGY.

By inserting truth, and it’s origin, i.e. JESUS into the DOCTRINE v. IDEOLOGY equation, Fr. Weinandy makes the proper distinction between these two (meanings) terms and places them in the proper CONTEXT. What makes DOCTRINE DOCTRINE, is that doctrine contains TRUTH. IDEOLOGY has no such requirement. And that is by definition.

Another way to look at this passage is that Fr. Weinandy is telling Francis here “I know Catholicism, I am setting out Catholicism on these three pages, and your not Catholiclism”.

This is the knockout blow, folks!

4. And for desert, Fr. Weinandy goes after Francis’ violations of the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC). Here is that part:

(…) you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity. But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite. Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion. Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Wow…

After reading this letter, I will go as far as saying that this is a game changer. There is no coming back for Francis from this letter. Even if Francis doesn’t care for, or acknowledge this letter’s existence, the framing of the “FrancisJunkTheology in this letter is so masterful, that any reader or listener who comes into contact with it, will not be able to take Francis seriously, ever again.

WOW!

Concluding, in three paragraphs, or approximately 450 words, Fr. Weinandy lays waste to Francis’ Alt-bishopric of Rome. 

It is down for the count.

After this letter, the only question is: when will the College of Cardinals throw in the towel?

I will stop here. Please read the entire Magister post HERE. (emphasis added)

Below is Fr. Weinandy’s letter to Francis, the Alt-bishop of Rome.

I am posting it…

FOR THE RECORD!

Wow, what an All Saints Day this has turned out to be!

*******

July 31, 2017

Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Your Holiness,

I write this letter with love for the Church and sincere respect for your office. You are the Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock, the successor to St. Peter and so the rock upon which Christ will build his Church. All Catholics, clergy and laity alike, are to look to you with filial loyalty and obedience grounded in truth. The Church turns to you in a spirit of faith, with the hope that you will guide her in love.

Yet, 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. Allow me to offer a few brief examples.

First there is the disputed 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 main source of concern is the manner of your teaching. In “Amoris Laetitia,” 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. As you wisely note, pastors should accompany and encourage persons in irregular marriages; but ambiguity persists about what that “accompaniment” actually means. To teach with such a seemingly intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is given to the Church, and particularly to yourself, to dispel error, not to foster it. Moreover, only where there is truth can there be authentic love, for truth is the light that sets women and men free from the blindness of sin, a darkness that kills the life of the soul. Yet you seem to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of “Amoris Laetitia” in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism. This kind of calumny is alien to the nature of the Petrine ministry. Some of your advisors regrettably seem to engage in similar actions. Such behavior gives the impression that your views cannot survive theological scrutiny, and so must be sustained by “ad hominem” arguments.

Second, too often your manner seems to demean the importance of Church doctrine. Again and again you portray doctrine as dead and bookish, and far from the pastoral concerns of everyday life. Your critics have been accused, in your own words, of making doctrine an ideology. But it is precisely Christian doctrine – including the fine distinctions made with regard to central beliefs like the Trinitarian nature of God; the nature and purpose of the Church; the Incarnation; the Redemption; and the sacraments – that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures that they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel. Those who devalue the doctrines of the Church separate themselves from Jesus, the author of truth. What they then possess, and can only possess, is an ideology – one that conforms to the world of sin and death.

Third, faithful Catholics 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. What scandalizes believers, and even some fellow bishops, is not only your having appointed such men to be shepherds of the Church, but that you also seem silent in the face of their teaching and pastoral practice. This weakens the zeal of the many women and men who have championed authentic Catholic teaching over long periods of time, often at the risk of their own reputations and well-being. As a result, many of the faithful, who embody the “sensus fidelium,” are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.

Fourth, the Church is one body, the Mystical Body of Christ, and you are commissioned by the Lord himself to promote and strengthen her unity. But your actions and words too often seem intent on doing the opposite. Encouraging a form of “synodality” that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion. Such synodality is unwise and, in practice, works against collegial unity among bishops.

Holy Father, this brings me to my final concern. You have often spoken about the need for transparency within the Church. You have frequently encouraged, particularly during the two past synods, all persons, especially bishops, to speak their mind and not be fearful of what the pope may think. 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.

I have often asked myself: “Why has Jesus let all of this happen?” The only answer that comes to mind is that Jesus wants to manifest just how weak is the faith of many within the Church, even among too many of her bishops. Ironically, your pontificate has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness. In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew herself, and so continue to grow in holiness.

Holy Father, I pray for you constantly and will continue to do so. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the light of truth and the life of love so that you can dispel the darkness that now hides the beauty of Jesus’ Church.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.

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