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Father Weinandy: The Errors of Amoris Laetitia
Cannot Be Passed Off as "Authentic Magisterium"

Father Gruner Was Right

by Christopher A. Ferrara
February 27, 2018

By now, the whole of the informed Catholic world is aware of the Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy’s historic address on the errors of Amoris Laetitia (AL) and the catastrophic impact of Pope Francis’ relentless promotion of them. Signaling rising opposition to this wayward Roman Pontiff’s agenda among faithful Catholics who can no longer be caricatured as a “fringe element” in the Church, even EWTN has prominently featured the full text of the address here (see also here).

Therein Fr. Weinandy, who is no less than the former secretary of the USCCB’s doctrinal commission, methodically demonstrates how Francis’ approved “implementation” of AL, which he dares to call “authentic Magisterium,” is attacking all four marks of the Catholic Church: her oneness, her holiness, her catholicity and her apostolicity. This text is essential reading for every Catholic, and it will loom large in the history of this ecclesial crisis.

Here, however, I would like to focus on only one point Fr. Weinandy develops. It is the same point on which Father Gruner always insisted, and which I have repeatedly stressed on these pages: that merely labeling an erroneous teaching “authentic Magisterium” does not make it so, and any attempt to make it so is essentially an attempt to defraud the Church.

Rather, to be “authentic Magisterium,” a papal pronouncement must conform to what the Church has constantly taught, which is not subject to reversal in the name of “development.” The Pope is not the Magisterium. The Magisterium, rather, precedes any particular Pope and must be followed by him, not bent to his personal will.

As Fr. Weinandy explains (paragraph breaks added):

  • “Furthermore, to appear to sanction an interpretation of doctrine or morals that contravenes what has been the received apostolic teaching and magisterial tradition of the Church as dogmatically defined by Councils and doctrinally taught by previous popes and the bishops in communion with him, as well as accepted and believed by the faithful, cannot then be proposed as magisterial teaching. 
  • The magisterium simply cannot fundamentally contradict itself concerning matters of faith and morals. While such teaching and confirmation may be enacted by a member of the magisterium, such as the Pope, such teaching and confirmation is not magisterial precisely because it is not in accord with previous magisterial teaching.”
  • “To act in such a manner, the pontiff, or a bishop for that [matter], is acting in a manner that places himself outside the magisterial communion of previous pontiffs and bishops, and so is not a magisterial act.
  • “To act in a magisterial manner one has to be, including the pope, in communion with the entire ever-living magisterial tradition. In the matter of faith and morals the teaching of no living pope takes apostolic and magisterial precedence over the magisterial teaching of previous pontiffs or the established magisterial doctrinal tradition.
  • “The magisterial and apostolic import of a present pontiff’s teaching lies precisely in its being in conformity with and so in living communion with the abiding historical magisterial and apostolic tradition.

Exactly so. For if it were otherwise, the Church would be a kind of gnostic sect whose members would be compelled to believe whatever the “Oracle of Rome” labels “authentic Magisterium.” The Faith would have no fixed, immutable and objective content. That is not the papacy but rather the Protestant caricature of it.

Father Weinandy’s conclusion is devastating: “That Pope Francis’ ambiguous teaching at times appears to fall outside the magisterial teaching of the historic apostolic ecclesial community thus gives cause for concern, for it, as stated above, fosters division and disharmony rather than unity and peace within the one apostolic Church. There appears to be, as a consequence, no assurance of faith.”

Never has the Church witnessed such a spectacle. It bespeaks the coming of dramatic consequences for the Church and the world as the vainglory of men confronts the ineluctable will of God. Such is the prophetic warning of the Third Secret of Fatima.