2 November 2017

Fr Weinandy

I very much regret that I have never met Fr Thomas Weinandy, whose letter to PF has just been published. He is a distinguished American theologian; he was in Oxford for a decade or two and his reputation was high when I came back here later than his return to America. He was Warden of Greyfriars, a Permanent Private Hall of the University, and for a time Chairman of the Theology Faculty.

The fact that the American Episcopal Conference, within minutes, sacked him from being a Consultor of their Doctrine Committee must indicate that America is awash with brilliant theologians. If that Conference really can so easily do without someone of his standing ...

It must also indicate that the USA Episcopal Conference is dominated by very little men. God bless the dear little fellows.

This cheap and vulgar ritual humiliation exemplifies the extent to which PF is presiding over a bully-boy Church in which midget bishops and minicardinals compete to defeat each other in the sycophancy stakes. Just as Tom Weinandy has, in effect, just said.

The young Weinandy was taught at Kings, London, by the great Anglican Thomist Canon Professor  Eric Mascall, which gives him a link with our great Anglican Patrimony. I like to think that his action redeems the honour of the American Church, just as the courageous lecture given in August by Fr Aidan Nichols redeemed that of the English Church. Nichols is an Oxford man (Cardinal College) and Weinandy is Oxonian by adoption, so I feel that dear S Frideswide Universitatis specialis adiutrix must be quietly satisfied that, despite the demonic spirit of secularisation at work in modern Oxford, some of her lads have turned out good during this unparalleled crisis in the Church Militant. Floreat Oxonia.


Mike Walsh, MM said...

Episcopaths, I call 'em.

Lepanto said...

According to Fr. Weinandy (see Vox Cantoris blog) the letter was sent only after he satisfied himself that it was Jesus' will that he do so. On the blog he details what sign he requested of Jesus and how it came about exactly as he specified. He also tells us that there are those in the hierarchy who are alarmed but fearful of protesting. Nice to know that they are there but not so nice to know that they permit themselves to be intimidated into silence - what kind of leaders are they?

armyarty said...

I think that having a standing episcopal conference is a very bad idea, and that it is at odds with the Constitution of the Church, as established by God.

Such bodies tend inevitably to activism, change, partisanship and, it appears, obfuscation and heterodoxy. They tend to issue an enormous number of statements on all kinds of issues, some of which would be better left unsaid.

Just look at the Anglicans- they took the leap from erastianism to synodalism, and went from the frying pan and into the fire- all in living memory.

God intended the Catholic Church to be ruled by Bishops, under the Pope. When that model is deviated from, predictable results will follow, just as they do in any politically fueled bureaucracy.

GOR said...

Once again this points up the atmosphere promoted by the current regime in Rome: attack the faithful ones while promoting dissidents. Faithful Catholics are maligned but Luther is held in high regard.

The USCCB has learned the lesson well. So much for mercy, humility and dialogue. The hypocrisy is palpable.

Anonymous said...

Algar of Leicester planned to do her wrong,
Sent his men to seize her, Frideswide's faith was strong -
In an instant blinded then his sight restored,
They knew both the wrath and mercy of the Lord.

Banshee said...

The USCCB annual meeting is coming up soon, and the US side of EWTN traditionally televises it. (They hold it in the daytime.) If you can get a US livestream in your neck of the woods, it may be interesting to watch it.

Fr. Weinandy's sign from God was a good part of the story, enough that a usually liberal source felt they needed to print it. Apparently, unusually specific requests do sometimes get unusually specific answers.

Ray Kinsella said...

Amen. Dr Weinandy exemplifies not alone outstanding scholarship, and standing, but also what I have always felt was a defining attribute of Christ in His Ministry--courage. It's a sad day that scholarship and integrity is met by the worst manifestations of organizational politics.Pope Benedict is emphatic in proclaiming that Christ will not leave His Church To founder: the Spirit will reanimated it.

thomas tucker said...

So demoralizing to have such bishops in the USA. And to think that they actually thought Pope Francis was serious when he called for open discussion. They have obviously learned otherwise and have tucked their tails. And, they are content to allow heterodox priests to espouse their heresies openly at parishes, meetings, and conventions.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

St Frideswithe = patron saint of Oxford, I presume?

Patti Day said...

Light a candle and say a prayer in thanksgiving that Fr. Weinandy sent and then allowed the publication of this letter.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

This is as easy and as fun as shooting Jesus Fish in a barrel of car decals.

The good Father Weinandy was canned for bravely standing-up for the truth - the truth the USCCB promotes in their Religious Liberty Educational Program for high schoolers:

...And this is love, that we follow his [God’s] commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love” (2 John 6). We too should read, note, and practice the Ten Commandments and live as many virtues as we can, especially faith, hope, and love so that we can approach threats against religious liberty with critical judgment and courage in action.

To take to heart the advice of Pope Francis: “Let the Risen Jesus enter your life, welcome him as a friend with trust: he is life! If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms. If you have been indifferent, take a risk: you won’t be disappointed. If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid, trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.”


To be fair to the Bishops, this is their plan for High School students and so it would be unfair of us to think it ought apply to them.

ABS could have highlighted other instructions from the educational series but he had to stop because Just War

Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm. said...

An excellent post, Father! May I ask permission to repost it on my blog https://musingsofanoldcurmudgeon.blogspot.com/, with attribution and a link?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

J-MW: Please do.

Ray Kinsella said...

Amen. Dr Weinandy exemplifies not alone outstanding scholarship, and standing, but also what I have always felt was a defining attribute of Christ in His Ministry--courage. It's a sad day that scholarship and integrity is met by the worst manifestations of organizational politics.Pope Benedict is emphatic in proclaiming that Christ will not leave His Church To founder: the Spirit will reanimated it.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Sadly, the bully-boy culture seems to be an outgrowth of the seminary system - not as imagined by Cardinal Pole and his episcopate, but as actually implemented by the counter-reformers. That this was still the case several decades ago, I can testify to from my experience in a traditionalist seminary. I also noted that a certain trad superior in a certain place which shall remain nameless exemplified the worst of bullying clericalist culture.

I certainly hope that things have improved.

Woody said...

I am buying Fr. Weinandy’s book, Jesus the Christ. Perhaps this kind of thing is a good way to show support, even though the royalties no doubt go to his order or some other worthy cause and not to him personally. He has a lot on Amazon, some at quite high prices.

Woody said...

And I cannot resist this additional comment: I remember well when the Fr. Maciel scandal broke for the Legion of Christ, the first corrective action taken was the rescission of the special promise ( in addition the three vows) not to criticize the superior general (Fr. Maciel, of course). So freedom to criticize was considered an essential element of religious life then, but maybe not now, eh?

Long-Skirts said...


My church she is a Catholic
But some like Luther’s view
Or say it doesn't matter that
Hank killed some Saints, a few.

He also had oh, several wives
And took some of their heads
But Church of England called him first
That stallion of all beds.

Carthusians, smarthusians
In habits hung around
Quiet not like Campion
Beth brought that braggart down.

And merry, Margaret Clitherow
Oh, what a cheeky dame
Hiding priests behind her skirts
Liz crushed her little game.

Then Thomas More, oh what a bore
They pleaded some did cry,
"Let horny Hank play his bed prank
Just nod and wink an eye!"

Some Bishops say, "That's long ago.
Those times are of past scene."
Now, “Who are we to judge?” They ask
“Just make sure you go green!”

And on some Altars relics,
Rigid, martyred by Hank's lust –
Bishops bent with sin’s intent
Will burn us ash to dust.

Anonymous said...

Lepanto asks about "those in the hierarchy who are alarmed but fearful of protesting", as Weinandy calls them, "remarkably silent".

I wondered about that at times but I found a few passages of wisdom (like picking up grains of sand at the beach) in Cardinal Sarah's two recent books that could be relevant. He mentions the fine line he walked when serving under Sekou Toure's dictatorship in Guinea. Some wished he would speak out more; some even wondered if he was complicit. I encourage all to read or re-read relevant passages, but the gist was that martyrdom may come but in the meantime it may be necessary to employ the cunning of a serpent in faithfully living one's vocation, rather than marching straight off to martyrdom. He also cites the example of Bishop Wojtyla in Poland.

Unknown said...

With every passing day it is harder for this father of six to raise his children as good Catholics when the Pope, most of the hierarchy and the majority of the clergy, are working for the Enemy and cannot be trusted.

Joshua said...

Isn't one argument for the celibacy of the clergy the freedom it gives them from earthly ties, so when persecution comes, rather than compromise to safeguard their wives and families, they may courageously bear witness unto death? Oh, wait, they prefer their ecclesiastical dignities and offices... What shitten shepherds!

Christopher Boegel said...

Godspeed Fr. Weinandy, and may he be surrounded by witnesses, throughout the Holy Church: Suffering and Militant and Triumphant.

Christopher Boegel said...

Godspeed Fr. Weinandy, and may he be surrounded by witnesses, throughout the Holy Church: Suffering and Militant and Triumphant.

Donna Bethell said...

Fr. Weinandy reports that he has been deluged with responses, all of them positive, many from the laity. God bless him.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

That argument is just as fallacious as every other one in favour of a requirement of celibacy, Joshua.

Unknown said...

Now we know why Albrecht was "bullied" at the traditionalist seminary.

Unknown said...

Thanks for explaining why you were bullied at the traditionalist seminary, Albrecht. Clear now.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

No Matthew, you don't know. That's a rash judgement.

As a seminarian, not having studied the matter, I supported the validity of the "law" of celibacy.

The reason for bad regimes of priestly formation is to be found in Part II of John Lamont's article "On the Formal Correction of Pope Francis": https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/02/article-on-formal-correction-of-pope.html

Here is a relevant paragraph:

"The corrupting effect of this conception of obedience is exacerbated by the fact that in a clerical system run according to this conception, the leaders all start off as followers themselves. In this capacity, they learn the skills of the slave for survival and advancement; flattery, duplicity, bullying and humiliation of those beneath them, and concealment. Their promotion from subordinate to superior does not depend primarily on their competence at the tasks they are supposed to perform, but on their capacity to ingratiate themselves with their superiors. Here again, the decline of the Church since the Second Vatican Council has exacerbated the damage caused by this understanding of obedience. When clerics were in charge of large and important enterprises – schools, hospitals, universities, parishes with thousands of faithful and extensive organisations – competence could not be dispensed with. This need provided a check on the harm done by a tyrannical understanding of authority, because the commands given by authority had to be effective, and the people giving them had to know what they were doing. Now that these important enterprises have withered away in much of the world, tyranny and servility have been given much greater scope in the clerical world."

Get the picture Matthew???

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

The truth chokes you, doesn't it, Matthew??

Unknown said...

I don't disagree with the paragraph you cite. As a matter of fact, as a member of a large multi-national corporation I have seen this same kind of thing at work. I am not sure what any of this has to do with clerical celibacy however; seems like a non-sequitur unless you can clarify. Happy to listen.

The point of celibacy, at least in part, is for the priest to imitate the spiritual perfections of Our Lord and be freed up to deal with the care of souls while not having to contend with things of the world (i.e wife, children, secular employment, etc.) So Joshua had some of this quite right, I think. And so we expect our bishops and priests to be prepared for anything when it comes to making difficult sacrifices. That is their role, and mine too as a layman, though in different context to be sure.

Choking, not choking, whatever that means to you. Maybe my comment was too harsh; if so, do accept my apology. Nonetheless, clerical celibacy is important, and if anything, ought to free one up to resist authority run amok. Maybe you can explain what you mean more clearly.

In fraternal charity.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...


The alleged requirement of celibacy in the Latin church does not rest on the practical consideration of time management, or the sentimental one of imitating Our Lord, but on the equally erroneous theoretical ones of either ritual purity perduring despite the repeal of the Mosaic law or the alleged inherent evil of sex.

Therefore the "law" and the accompanying prohibition of clerical marriage post-ordination - to shore up the "law", and the fantasy obligation of continence within clerical marriage so dear to the likes of Dr Ed Peters - although it lacks even a scintilla of evidence supporting it in the first 300 years or so of church history, are ultra vires papal jurisdiction, since they are based on, at the very least, ritual purity considerations.

Just as the papacy of Francis is divine punishment for ultramontane refusals to accept the finality of the definition of papal infallibiity of Vatican I, so the current, entirely foreseeable homosexualisation of the clergy is the divine punishment for the Latin church's imposition of an obligation of celibacy upon the clergy, contrary to Christ's will. And I say "foreseeable", because the mediaeval clergy who protested against this innovation in the tenth century predicted such an outcome. Thankfully, the pre-reformation clergy had a clearer view of their rights in this regard than their counter-reformed successors. And the climate created by the clerical culture I have criticised above made it possible for this abusive obligation to remain in place.

Once again, I recommend Dr Heinz-Jurgen Vogels' "Celibacy: Gift or Law?" which deals with the main basis in jurisprudence concerning this question.

Joshua said...

I question the assertion that ritual purity lies at the root of the obligation of clerical celibacy. It seems rather daring to claim that such an obligation is beyond the power of the Papacy to impose and/or vary; what about binding and loosing?

Forgive me for noting that married ex-seminarians tend to be rather scoffing of the obligation of clerical celibacy, right down to accusing those who observe it of being homosexual.

I cannot believe that Christ's will has been contradicted by the Latin Church for a thousand years. It would be rather more appropriate humbly to quote the many Magisterial statements to the effect that clerical celibacy is an ornament of the church, than proudly to claim that the very requirement is somehow ultra vires.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Forgive me Joshua, for mentioning that I am not married. And it is quite clear that the words "homosexualisation of the clergy" do not convey the imputation that every single Latin clerica is homosexual - you are reading what you want to see into it.

Let me give you the same advice I, as a solicitor, used to give my clients while I was still in practice - assume nothing. You have assumed much, all of it false.

The canon law at Lateran II purporting to impose the law grounds it in ritual purity. Go to a seminary library and have a look at the text. So does the canon law of Ss Damasus and Siricius, purporting to impose an obligation of continence upon married clerks. As for binding and loosing giving the pope the power to do whatever he feels like doing, well that's absolutely ridiculous.

Christ gave His bishops and priests the right to marry - we know this from the fact that He did not prohibit it. If you argue that Christ willed a law of celibacy, or continence but forgot to mention it, well, you're basically an Arian. AS for the idea that popes cannot fall into disciplinary or administrative error - for such is implied in your statement "I cannot believe, etc.", well, by allowing married clerics in the East, are the popes disobeying the will of Christ??

Your response is basically a call for uncritical loyalty, not reasoned analysis of the exercise of papal administriative power.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...


Was the church disobedient to the will of Christ for the first thousand years?? I'm only using your argument, that's all.

And, are you, by the ultramontanism of the post-Vatican I type, trying to extend the reach of infallibility so as to clothe the "magisterial" statements you refer to with it??
I mean, you surely are not implying that statements of the kind that clerical celibacy is an ornament to the church, are de fide, are you?

Joshua said...

I must distinguish. Certainly I have no problem, rather the opposite, with the sort of wise dispensations from clerical celibacy that were accorded to various incoming ex-Anglicans, such as the exceedingly esteemed master of this blog. And likewise I have no issue with the ancient and venerable Eastern (both Catholic and Orthodox) discipline of a married clergy: that is their patrimony. But the western patrimony of an unmarried and therefore celibate clergy is a venerable tradition too, and one that would be a dreadful mistake to abandon. The notorious and repellent heterodoxy of those who would do so (I do not mean my fellow commenter Albrecht of course) is sufficient reason to reject such misguided attempts. Abuse takes not away the use: the evils found among the clergy must be driven out, for the love of God, but to reject clerical celibacy would be to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Furthermore, many things, such as the Sunday obligation, worshipping facing east, etc. are not mentioned explicitly in the Scriptures yet are Apostolic traditions: clerical celibacy or rather continency, which was progressively relaxed in the East to the extent that those clergy who were married could render the debt except for the night before their celebration of the Divine Liturgy, is one of these. I firmly reject Arianism: Christ is our true God, with the Father and the Holy Ghost! It is well-known that it is more perfect to embrace celibacy or virginity for the sake of the kingdom than to be married, for the former is a higher state than the latter, honourable and good though holy wedlock is. Surely you value monasticism and the life vowed to chastity? If so, extending that to all who would serve in the holy priesthood is but to ornament that most high calling with a higher degree of merit. No one is forced to be ordained; if the holy Roman Church has wisely imposed restrictions upon those to be ordained, then so be it.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

This debate has wandered rather far from Fr Weinandy ... I think the time has come to close it down.