Browse Our Articles & Podcasts

The Little Flower of Fr. Thomas Weinandy

Anyone who has had to wrestle with grave questions on morality, theology, or vocation knows how stressful it can be. The regular ways of Providence, which permit that we undergo mental and emotional agony in order to arrive at a satisfactory possession of virtue or knowledge, can be rough. Wrestling with Providence feels like being on the edge of mental and emotional dissolution; it raises questions of actions that must be followed that will knowingly cause interpersonal alienation. It is combat with an angel.

This is why the little story of Fr. Thomas Weinandy’s proposal to God, and the exact unfolding of his request, is so extraordinary.

Not that there aren’t dozens like it in its material detail. Oftentimes faithful Catholics seek a definitive answer to a perplexing problem through some providential gift, as the parade of “voices” and reasoning’s filter through the conscience on primal questions. But what is so extraordinary is the fairly nondescript and unknown character of Fr. Weinandy as a professional theologian being thrust out into one of the strangest situations in ecclesial history: the advent of Pope Francis.

I have known professional theologians, and they aren’t always the most charismatic bunch. One finds them reserved, slow to act, meditative, and often safe in their proposals and conclusions. So a professional theologian like Fr. Weinandy seeking a sign at 1:00 A.M. in Rome must mean something serious.

It makes sense. He was considering writing about the pontiff in a public way, and not to profess satisfaction.

It is hard enough to write publicly about more daring theological topics simply because public declarations can lead one into a maelstrom – not to mention the fact that many of these questions last more than a lifetime, so no one wants to get caught being precipitous. Yet here he is, it’s 1:00 in the morning, and the simple theologian is in the seat of Christendom, laying down some detailed requests.

At 1:15 AM I got up and went outside for short time. When I went back to my room, I said to the Lord: “If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign. This is what the sign must be. Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then I am going to Saint John Lateran. After that I am coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine. During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time and would never expect to see in Rome at this time. That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain. Moreover, that person has to say to me in the course of our conversation, ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

Normally, such requests would be bordering on tempting God and, in my experience, doomed to going unanswered. Our good God tends to insist on using reason and the normal channels of communication to follow His will. Yet Fr. Weinandy laid out an impossible scenario: meeting someone outside the typical countries of origin and common relation, who can’t have been seen in a long time, on a specific day, on a specific trajectory of movement, who must repeat a phrase named by the good priest himself!

If any of these conditions were not met, Fr. Weinandy would return to his position in U.S. Conference of Bishops as a competent, if relatively unknown, theologian watching over doctrine. If not, he would return among his confreres at table, say his Mass, read his books, and go about his business.

Well, look now, folks: here comes the good padre on his basilica tour, forgetful of his request (probably because it was so detailed and well nigh impossible), and, like the scales falling from Saul’s eyes, his prayer becomes flesh-and-blood reality. “An archbishop appears between two parked cars.”

I had not seen him for over twenty years, long before he became an archbishop. We recognized one another immediately. What made his appearance even more unusual was that, because of his recent personal circumstances, I would never have expected to see him in Rome or anywhere else, other than in his own archdiocese. (He was from none of the above mentioned countries.) We spoke about his coming to Rome and caught up on what we were doing. I then introduced him to my seminarian friend. He said to my friend that we had met a long time ago and that he had, at that time, just finished reading my book on the immutability of God and the Incarnation. He told my friend that it was an excellent book, that it helped him sort out the issue, and that my friend should read the book. Then he turned to me and said: “Keep up the good writing.”

Keep up the good writing!

There it is. A supernatural organizing of events for a bewildered middle-aged Franciscan, who will be known for a long time after he has gone to meet his King and his Queen and his seraphic Founder.

What I really want to underscore here is that this little story, combined with a powerful public letter to the successor of St. Peter, is really an important gift to all who struggle with the unknowing and the inability to act in the current crisis of faith in the Catholic Church. Here is, yes, a theologian, but not a radical one. Father Weinandy isn’t on message boards, nor does he write articles for more traditional sites. His role with the Conference of Bishops demanded a more or less middle-of-the-road guy – not one who would cement and seal opposition to a pope! Yet it is precisely because of who he is, where he was, what he was asking, why he was asking it, and how that this average Franciscan confirmed many of his brethren in the Faith. It was as if the charism of St. Peter touched down on him for a moment.

Personally, I don’t think enough attention has been given this Little Flower of Fr. Weinandy. Sure, Michael Sean Winters was apoplectic in his response to Fr. Weinandy’s letter, and some other priest, who was in his position in the USCCB before him and whose name I forget, wrote a point-by-point rebuttal, but they seemed ineffectual and powerless before Fr. Weinandy’s story and logic. That is because their position lacked that element of beauty and love that Divine Providence wafted our way when the bishop said, “Keep up the good writing.” The aforementioned writers lack the unction that only God can give. For me, it is as if St. John Capistrano came back and grabbed the flag and started charging.

There you have it: God speaking to, first, the good padre and then to the beleaguered and vilified minority of Catholics who question the current pope’s ways and means.

Not that reason and the facts weren’t there before for all the good people who are fighting it, but what a golden little gift the good Fr. Weinandy has given us in his preface to his open letter. And what a letter it is.

92 thoughts on “The Little Flower of Fr. Thomas Weinandy”

  1. Fr Weinandy’s appeal to God for a providential sign would be written off as naive piety if it were not that he is a highly credentialed theologian. And a man of great faith. Certainly he was aware it would be immediately attacked by clerical persons of lesser faith, lesser loyalty to Christ, and men of much lesser courage. Moral cowards. Fr Weinandy was convinced he had to rebuke the person occupying the Chair of Peter. With good intention although it bordered on insubordination. Would it cause more harm than good? So he appealed to Our Lord for guidance. A sign that seemed impossible to fulfill. Similar to Gideon asking God to cause the fleece to be soaked when dry, and dry when the ground was moist before going into battle against high odds (Judges 6:40). Fr Weinandy like Gideon received God’s sign and went into battle.

      • I used the term in the sense that the Roman Pontiff is owed reverence and respect of his words at times complete assent as the supreme authority of the Church. And Fr Weinandy had to courage to state the truth. That the Pontiff is leading many into grave error and sin. To some it’s a form of insubordination for him to challenge the Pontiff.

        • There is much in your thoughts, Fr. Morello. For myself, the Pope, though he is the Pope, is a manifest heretic squared and none of us ‘owe’ him anything except the backs of our hands. When the supreme authority of the Church throws the words of Our Lord to the gutter and substitutes his own, his authority is null and void. We can’t have it both ways here. Either Bergoglio serves Christ or he serves Satan.

    • We all look for guidance when we encounter difficult circumstances and it would be fair to say that many of us may ask for Gods help and look for a sign of encouragement. As in opening the page of a holy book that contain the gospels etc, and directing one’s eyes to His Word. But often when we do this, His Word does not
      seem to incorporate our particular need and the tendency then is to jump to another page/section within the book. I have had the tendency to do this myself and I suspect also that many others do so. But in doing so I have sinned (Offended God) as I have acted like a presumptuous child, in displaying lack of trust/faith before our Father in heaven and this self-will infringes upon this teaching

      “You shall not tempt the Lord your God”

      From the article

      “If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign. This is what the sign must be”.

      You cannot demand of God, to do so is to commit blasphemy.

      Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then…..

      Here we have presumption of one’s own will/rights before God “you do not know what tomorrow will bring”

      Moreover, that person ‘has to say’ to me in the course of our conversation,

      ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

      Here we see arrogance and assumption.
      I see no bases for a providential sign, quite the opposite and anyone who preaches such, leads the flock astray

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

      • That this battle continues to rage, without clear resolution, is doing incalculable damage.

        But, this has been my exact experience with Catholicism, since 1989.

        Business, as usual.

        • Thank you for your comment Karl

          Yes, the battle continues to rage, without a clear resolution and will continue to do so, until The Truth the inviolate Word (Will) of God, as given in the Gospels is confronted by all Christians (Conservative and Liberals) as in the serving of the Truth, as the gift of love can only be accepted in
          Trust and Humility (St. Bernard- Humility a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself.)

          Taken from a running discourse, given in the link below

          “Yes! We do Michael, and that also includes calling (Reminding) our spiritual leaders to give
          account of themselves, when they deceive the laity.
          Many hope for divine intervention to deal with the chaos within the church at this present moment in time. But it could be said that God has already intervened, as our Lord Himself has placed before these men of power, the elite within the church, who in their own hubris ensnared themselves, by crystalizing their own hypocrisy before God and the whole church, in such a way that cannot be misunderstood by all. In endorsing…….”
          Please consider continuing in the link below

          kevin your brother
          In Christ

      • It may be as you say Kevin but that is also an assumption on your part. Even the Blessed Mother questioned the Angel Gabriel’s announcement. And the Angel gave her a sign. That her kinswoman Elizabeth thought sterile was with child. Many of the saints have asked God of a sign of His favor. St Therese of Lisieux asked God to give her a sign of her vocation of love by requesting the alleged notorious murderer Pranzini convert. At the last moment before the Guillotine he seized the attending priest’s cross and kissed it. A request for a sign may indicate human frailty but God may not take offence. Although St John of the Cross states there are instances when God obliges us but is nonetheless offended by the request. We simply can’t make a definitive judgment in the case of Fr Weinandy. Except that If God did intervene to allow the several highly unusual events He must have had strong reason.

        • A request for a sign when God has initiated contact within an individual, as in when the Blessed Mother questioned the Angel Gabriel’s announcement and then gave her a sign, as with other saints, this is understandable as who in they fallen nature, is perfect in faith. As in; “you would say to this mulberry bush………

          There is a great difference between someone ‘requesting’ a sign form God, than giving God
          your own agenda for Him to perform for you that includes
          “Moreover, that person ‘has to say’ to me in the course of our conversation,

          ‘Keep up the good writing”

          Are you real, in that you see humility in this statement?
          Error must be refuted not to do so is to collude with it.

          kevin your brother
          In Christ

          • Kevin accusing me and others of collusion in error, your having already judged and condemned Fr Weinandy who has more knowledge, faith, and courage than most of us–and evidently yourself based on what you’re saying here–and condemned us all is beyond bizarre. You have a serious misunderstanding of an honest, humble relationship with Christ and what doing his will means. You’re as condemning of others as is Pope Francis toward anyone who disagrees with him on non binding utterances and suggestions, or who even make legitimate requests for clarification. I sense an affinity with the Pontiff’s agenda of permitting the sacraments for D&R and other ‘irregulars’. Tell me if I’m wrong.

          • Thank you for your comment

            I will not labour on the points I have made in regards to Fr. Weinandy as the
            Truth bears witness to itself; and as Jesus says “If you are of the Truth you will hear His voice”

            “I sense an affinity with the Pontiff’s agenda of permitting the sacraments for D&R and other ‘irregulars’. Tell me if I’m wrong”

            This is a deflection and unbecoming of a man who wears the mantle of Jesus Christ also I
            have a feeling you already know my opinions on this matter as I have submitted them
            on this site and crisismagazine com; on several occasions. Perhaps you would tell
            me if I am wrong!

            For anyonewho has not read my posts, the link below will lead you to my opinion of Amoris laetitia ; from my post in the link

            “(The Joy of Love) is causing great discord within the Church I believe the remedy to this
            discord can be found in an honest response to this question

            Is an act of humility too much to ask?

            I have read

            “At this moment in time the church has two sails that are blowing in the
            opposite Amoris Laetitia direction causing great discord within the Church. On
            the Right: an extreme conservative wind wanting to blow our boat back to the
            becalming out-of-date swamp of pre-1962. On the Left: an extreme liberal wind
            wanting to blow our boat into rapids where faith and morals are thrown

            But we can go forward in UNITY OF PURPOSE by hoisting a third sail one of
            Humility, the true (only) sail that the Holy Spirit blows upon, bringing
            arrogance to its knees and folly does not have to be appeased….”

            Please continue in the link


            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • Kevin you’re locked into a mindset. There’s no point in dialogue now. I’ll keep you in my prayers that the Holy Spirit will open your mind to the truth that there is no third option. The Truth of Christ is exclusive.

          • The Truth of Christ is the ONLY sail that keeps the Church on the right course and moving in the right direction. However, due to the gake from hell we’ve been off course for a long time.

            I am surprised, Kevin, at your apparent failure to recognize your own fallibility and lack of humility.

          • Thank you for your comment Mike44R
            The Truth of Christ induces humility in all those who acknowledge It within the heart as we all fall short of God’s Word/Will/Truth in our fallen nature. The Holy Spirit blows on humble hearts (Sails) as He leads us home to our Fathers house in heaven.
            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • Apparently you do not acknowledge Truth because you are too busy looking at and admiring yourself in the mirror to see it or to learn and gain wisdom through the generosity of your betters!

          • Thank you for your comment MIKE 44R
            Your statement above is a reflection/mirror of your own heart
            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • You are suffering from a sin of (false) pride. On what basis, what credentials, do you accuse both priests (Frs. Weinandy and Morello) of error? What is your background in biblucal studies and the various branches of theology. I possess an advanced degree in theology with a minor in biblucal studies and even I would not dare to be so arrogant as to PRESUME I was more comoetent and correct than an ordained servant of the Most High. Not only are you presumptuous, arrogant, prideful and judgmental, but you also lack common courtesy and respect. I strongly urge you to get down on your knees and beg God’s mercy and forgiveness for these faults and to give you the strength and will to correct them. Having committed these sins on a public website, you owe both priests a sincere, public apology AND were I your confessor I would not absolve you until I had seen evidence such an apology had been made.

          • Mike44R
            Please see my post to Hudson Link below.
            From my post
            Would you or anyone else who reads this, dare to have the audacity to approach God in such a manor?
            Perhaps you may consider answering this question ‘honestly’, I say perhaps, because I would not want to lead you into sin.
            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • Your “thank you”, like your signature is as phony as the century is long.

            Right and wrong! If you knew right from wrong, you wouldn’t be condemning and passing judgment on others. You’ve attenpted to evade my question – answer it! What are YOUR CREDENTIALS?

            If you had bothered to read the comments

          • Mike 44R Thank you for your comment

            My opening “thank you” is a sign of respect, that I generally give to all with whom I debate with

            I have no worldly credentials what so ever, leaving school at fifteen unable to read or write, today I would most probably be classed as dyslexic.
            To cite academic qualification in that you are better than another in a moral discourse, shows lack of intelligence.

            I have read your comments and you disagree with what I am saying but you have not answered the question I requested of you

            “Would you or anyone else who reads this, dare to have the audacity to approach God in
            such a manner?
            And in reply to your question to me,

            “You don’t want to lead me into sin!?”

            Refers to the question above that also included this sentence in my original post

            “Perhaps you may consider answering this question ‘honestly’, I say ‘PERHAPS’, because I
            would not want to lead you into sin”

            For me to confront you and ask you for a direct honest answer, I believe would have put you on
            a spot, as in the eyes of those read our comments etc and in doing so, to save
            face you may be tempted to answer my question dishonestly, as there is only one
            answer possible for a Christian. If you did answer dishonestly, you would commit a very grave
            sin, so I inserted “PERHAPS” giving you in effect a way to save face and avoid a sinful situation.

            I am sorry that I have aroused animosity and anger within you, it was not my intention to do so, but it is fair to say if you take part in a debate we are often confronted with opposing opinions.

            To make spiritual progress I would ask myself this question, why does this particular person
            create such feelings of animosity (We have all been there) within my heart, do not shut this question out, as in THIS CONVERSATION IS CLOSED! But continue to search for the answer, if you do so, when you find it, you will be compelled to take a step forward on your own spiritual journey, a journey of development of the heart, as in a compassionate one, that is not to be found in academia.

            kevin your brother
            In Christ

          • Additionally, in seeking a specific sign from God (one that meets very rigorous conditions) is not presumption nor “tempting God” or putting Him to the test. Rathet, it us seeking firm cinfirmation that it is HIS will and not one’s own that one proposes to do – for we all, at one time or another, are tenoted to think that our will is actually God’s. Paul tells us (I forget where) to test the spirits to determine whether sonething is from God or the enemy. I believe Fr. Weinandy’s request of God was this type of testing for ONLY God could arrange things to occur in precisely the manner the good priest requested. Ge who knows all knew from all eternity that Fr. Weinandy would face this dilemna and make this request abd gad already set things in motion to fulfill it long before tge request was made. Rather than beibg offended, I believe Gid was pleased at Fr. Weinandy’s humility, kack of trust in his own judgment and his deep and sincere trust and confidence in God.

          • I have had dealings with “kevinyourbrotherinChrist” on this list and have found him to be somewhat different from the holy Catholic he imagines himself to be. I say ignore him.

      • Please explain that to Gideon, with his wet and dry fleeces. Or Elijah, with his water-soaked sacrifice on Mount Carmel. Or to St. Ignatius of Loyola, allowing his mule to decide his fate. The examples are innumerable.

        • Thank you Hudson Link, for your comment
          I will cite Gideon as an example because as you say there are numerous others.
          Contact with Gideon had already been initiated by God when he ‘humbly’ (I stress humbly) made his request.
          I would be surprised if you were able to find any positive instants that were verified as coming from God, that express such arrogance as in the statements below.
          From the article
          Inserted in brackets for emphases (God)

          “If you want me to write something, you (God) have to” give me a clear sign. This is what the sign ‘must be”.

          When making a request to God, He can only be approached in reverence and humility
          You cannot demand of God and tell Him what to do, to do so is to commit blasphemy.

          “Tomorrow morning I am going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray and then…..”

          Here we have presumption of one’s own will/rights before God “you do not know what tomorrow will bring”

          Moreover, (God) that person ‘has to say’ to me in the course of our conversation,

          ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

          Here we see arrogance and assumption.

          I see no basis for a providential sign, quite the opposite and anyone who preaches such, leads the flock astray. For any to teach others to approach God in such a disrespectful manner, those persons would clearly be seen be contemptible of God.

          Would you dare to have the audacity to approach God in such a manor?
          Perhaps you may consider answering this question honestly, I say perhaps, because I would not want to lead you into sin.

          Can you defend the indefensible?

          kevin your brother
          In Christ

    • Many people who seek to be close and faithful to God and to the True Church He founded seek signs frim God concerning thngs rhey feel they should or are called to do. A great many of these ARE answered, sometimes in the negative and others in the positive. I knoe because, while not of the caliber of Fr. Weinandy, I am one of those who has twice receuved such answers to pleas for Divine guidance, the last of which has resulted in a blog that will go public on Christmas day.

    • What a beautiful and faithful comparison Father! God bless Fr Weinandy and all faithful priest. How much I loved reading this.

  2. And the extraordinary circumstances of Fr. Weinandy’s faith-filled petition obviously made a huge impact on Francis, too. Not.

    Fr. Weinandy’s courageous action is precisely the sort of prayer-stimulated ministry that Francis and his fanbois are always blathering about but neither understand nor truly believe. And why bring in Winters and the other guy? The beauty of Fr. Weinandy’s prayerful request rises above their naysaying and sneering. They have no true belief that God listens to us and answers our prayers which is why their first instinct was to put a turd in the punch bowl. They are activists whose agenda has no place for Divine intervention. They have no time for traditional Catholic devotions which is why Francis is always sneering at “rosary counters” and “fundamentalists”. All their talk about “faith” is nothing more than lip service. They’re Pharisees whose hearts are hardened, which enables them to blithely dismiss extraordinary tales like Fr. Weinandy’s with a wave of the hand, just as the Pharisees of old dismissed Jesus’ miracles.

    Ironic, no? Those who so readily toss around the accusation of “Pharisee” at defenders of tradition, are actually the true Pharisees. Francis, Winters et al., do not really believe in miracles. They especially don’t believe that miracles happen every day for those who truly believe and love God. They’re functional agnostics. A man of faith would not behave like the potty-mouthed Pope.

    • This good Franciscan Capuchin Fr. Weinandy was criticized by Fr. J. Martin S.J. just for questioning Amoris Laetitia. The Boston Diocese had to shell out 1/2 Billion Dollars for the church sex abuse cover-up.. The Frs. Shanley,
      Geoghan, and Cardinal Law bankrupted Boston’s diocese. How much more of this does does Martin want? We can only pay for so much of this. The former Franciscan Fr. Bruce Ritter almost caused Covenant House to fold. He may have been falsely accused of sex abuse, but left C.H.
      Thanks to generous donors, C.H. is still alive and operating in:
      Atlantic City
      Fort Lauderdale
      Los Angeles
      New Orleans
      New York City
      St. Louis
      Washington, D.C.

      Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
      Guatemala City, Guatemala
      Tegucigalpa, Honduras
      Mexico City, Mexico
      Managua, Nicaragua

      Amoris Laetitia wants the Catholic Church to accept the new idea a GAY marriage,
      Gay adoption, Gay surrogates, Gay annulments, Gay priesthood, Gay in-vitro.
      I hope Pope Francis understands that he’s opening a can of worms, if he continues to support Father James Martin S.J.
      Note to Fr. J. Martin S.J. Your promotion of the homosexual life is rotten to the core.
      Your advice for living the “free love” gay life will bankrupt the Catholic Church. To the groupies of Fr. Martin: My advice … If it looks like a SCAM, quacks like a is a SCAM!

    • Kiwi, one jaw-dropping fact that still makes me scratch my head is that Francis, when he was Cardinal Bergolio in Buenos Aires, actually PRESIDED over the Eucharistic miracle of 1996. It was scientifically shown to be human flesh. THAT makes my head spin. That Bergolio could end up decimating the Church’s perennial teaching on the fact that Christ is fully present — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity — and that RECEIVING the Eucharist unworthily is mortally sinful to the soul….. HOW COULD HE, after what he’s seen. Satan is the only answer I can come up with.

        • C’mon winslow, you know better. We can’t throw out allegations like that without concrete proof. God holds us to a higher standard than that.

          • Which allegation, Granny, that he’s a homosexual or that homosexuals are liars? Or both? As you may know I tend to hyperbole, but I can make a convincing case for both.

            I’ve been making those statements for quite some time. God hasn’t admonished me even once.

            Thanks for the link. I just read it and forwarded it to several people with the note, “I marvel that Cardinal Bergoglio was involved in this event.”

            Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas.

          • Winslow, there are many things we can project out into the blogsphere that we can make convincing arguments for. The bigger question is… Does this statement bring glory to God? Many things are best kept close to the heart for God to manifest in due time.

            Mary-Christ-Mass to you!

      • Can you please provide a reference or a link (hopefully in English) to Bergoglio’s presiding at a Eucharistic miracle? I have never heard anything about this before. Thank you.

        • I hope I didn’t confuse anyone. I did not mean to imply that Cardinal Bergolio was present at the Mass where the host was dropped. Rather, that he was the Cardinal of that diocese at the time and had the miracle investigated.

          “At seven o’clock in the evening on August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was saying Holy Mass at a Catholic church in the commercial center of Buenos Aires. As he was finishing distributing Holy Communion, a woman came up to tell him that she had found a discarded host on a candleholder at the back of the church. On going to the spot indicated, Fr. Alejandro saw the defiled Host. Since he was unable to consume it, he placed it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. On Monday, August 26, upon opening the tabernacle, he saw to his amazement that the Host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who gave instructions that the Host be professionally photographed. The photos were taken on September 6. They clearly show that the Host, which had become a fragment of bloodied flesh, had grown significantly in size. For several years the Host remained in the tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a strict secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.”

  3. Cameron, thank you for your article. By way of constructive criticism I’d say it was overly padded with flowery and unnecessary phrasing. Keep it cleaner and sharper in order to maximise your impact.

      • I love your gracious response but I too thought the article was very good and well written just as it was. It is really confoundedly hard to talk about religious matters, even for those of us who love God and love the faith. Things can get difficult right out of the gate. This article hit all the right notes, for me.

      • Well, if you’re actually new at this, you could have fooled me. That just makes your work that much more impressive. Kudos to you.
        And… “keep up the great writing!” 🙂

      • Cameron, as someone who has had many experiences of God supernaturally answering prayers as a way to confirm my path, I felt your article was excellent. Thank you!

  4. What I found so significant about Fr Weinandy’s contribution is that he does not come from the “traditionalist stable.” In fact friends of mine know him from his involvement in the Charismatic Renewal while he was teaching at Oxford. I hope that he helps to open the eyes of more “charismatics” as to what is really going on.

    I suppose one area in which traditionalists and charismatics do share common ground is belief in the supernatural and that God is a Father who speaks to us. Additionally the Holy Ghost is never at odds with the Father and the Son as the present incumbent of St. Peter’s See appears to believe.

    • There are many of us who are not in the “traditionalist stable”, simply because we were born too late to have been exposed to the, well, traditions of Pre-Vatican II. However, we are orthodox Catholics, deeply sympathetic to the traditionalists, and hope to learn more about traditional Catholicism when our lives slow down a bit. In the meantime, we join with all Catholics who are frightened by this takeover from within of our Church. if I had wanted to be Lutheran, I’d have left the Catholic Church when I became an adult and become Lutheran. I am aghast that Pope Francis is transforming the Catholic Church into a Lutheran one. So, Fr. Weinandy, fight on! Traditionalists, fight on! SPPX, please don’t move too far away from us, because we need you to fight with us for true Catholicism! All orthodox Catholics, unite! And those dedicated to the Latin Mass, I beg you not to forget those of us unexposed to it, whose lives do not allow us right now to seek it out. (I am a single, working mother; my child is special needs; if I must attend only Latin Masses, we’ll not be able to go to Mass at all.) We need to stay united during this crisis. When it is over, God willing, the Latin Mass will once again be widely available. Until then, we need to unite.

      • Thank you! Thank you!
        Also, my parish has a newly assigned Parochial Vicar who worked at seminary with Fr. Weinandy and described him as Orthodox and faithful.

      • Well said. I am in a not too dissimilar situation in that I can only get to a TLM when I can get away from my parish at a weekend. I will pray that a traditional Mass will start in your locality soon – please do the same for me.

      • In many ways “traditionalist” and “orthodox” are synonymous, in others not – which is why I iften use the term “authentic.” My gripe with the cgarismatic renewal was the emphasis on the Holy Spirit, which in my experience virtually excluded and often disparaged mention of the other two Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity.

    • I also hope that the eyes of more charismatics will be opened as to what is really going on. This will be a lot easier if traditionalists approach charismatics with charity and a desire to genuinely talk, instead of immediately bashing them over the head, and telling them that they are the puppets of Cardinal Suenens.

      I actually heard Cardinal Suenens speak at a charismatic conference in New Jersey. I was with an evangelical friend, who instantly pegged him as diabolical. As she herself was Pentecostal, it certainly wasn’t for his views on the Holy Spirit. I also bought his tape on Mary and the Holy Spirit, and listened to it. It didn’t take long. It was blank.

      Suenens was by no means any kind of leader in the Charismatic Renewal. He hopped on the train, and tramped around as if he were the conductor, but in fact, we almost never heard anything about him. My naive reaction to his being there was “Wow! Gee! A real cardinal!”

      The major leader, at least in the United States, was Ralph Martin, who was the one we most listened to, read, and were guided by. It was years before I discovered that Suenens was supposed to be a leader in the renewal. In all the books and magazines I read, and conferences and retreats I went to, his name was never mentioned.

      Charismatics, by definition, are supernaturalists to the bone, and therefore, very poor soil for modernism. Which is why modernists quickly abandoned the movement. As did the go along to get along priests in most parishes, who did not want to annoy their liberal bishops.

      I have read the SPPX criticisms of charismatics. While some of it was merely insulting (charismatics are all liars because they deny accusations of wilful heresy, so don’t talk to them or listen to anything they have to say), or ignorant, or non-falsifiable (speaking in tongues is gibberish, but if it is an identifiable language, it is demonic), some of it was really well thought out and theologically accurate.

      My response to reading the valid traditionalist critiques was to become furious, and ask “where the heck were you then, when we could have used your guidance and help? You were judging, condemning, and rejecting, without even the semblance of a trial. You certainly never bothered to even let us know we were in error in some matters.”

      I’d rather have Torquemada any day. At least he was always fair, and when an accused was found guilty of material heresy, they were educated, and if agreeable, were sent back home.

      As a total traditionalist, I still find the reflexive attacks on charismatics painful and pointless. We believe in the supernatural, we believe that God is the Father who speaks to us, we genuinely believe that the Bible is the word of God, we can get through the Creed without crossing our fingers behind out backs, and we believe in whatever scraps of the true Magisterium of the Church anyone bothered to teach us.

      So, if you want to open the eyes of the charismatics, I cannot think of anything better that you could do. Provided that you get to know them first, and meet them in a spirit of compassion and love.

      • I am only an orthodox Catholic because I was a charismatic first; I remain charismatic in some ways. It gave me a chance at believing when I absolutely needed it. The regular Church of whatever stripe was not particularly helpful when I was flat on my face in ignorance and sin. Re-identification as Catholic only came later, after God used the Holy Spirit to put back some life into me via the charismatics of several faiths, Catholic included, but not exclusively. I get Fr Vinandy’s reasoning – it is humility and holiness that allowed him to be so audacious – we should all be so “naive”.

        • I wonder how many other charismatics are reading traditionalist blogs, and keeping their mouths shut about it for fear of being ostracized. This is the first time I have ever said I was charismatic, and I’ve been reading and commenting on trad blogs for a few years now.

          I became a Catholic in the early 1970’s. My choices were charismatics, or modernists. Econe did not yet exist, nor any Latin Mass that I knew of.

          I certainly had not taken the drastic step of becoming Catholic only to not believe what I believed. And had read enough Scripture, and personally witnessed enough miracles of healing, to detest modernism. Charismatics had faith. Modernists didn’t.

          I remember some years ago when the old paper format of Crisis magazine did a fairly hostile story on the charismatics at Steubenville. By the next issue the editor was howling at the readership to stop sending him letters about it, and said that he had received more upset responses from more readers than he had ever had on any story before.

          In fact, his readership was substantially charismatic, and he had no clue.

          • The charismatic experience allowed me to believe what I had always been taught. Simple as that. Like you, I had no use for an adult Catholicism which was so clued out on what God was actually like that it would turn its back on His marvelous moments of grace, moments of beauty, moments of clarity in order to follow some man-made agenda straight out of the Garden, and I do mean out, of the Garden of Eden. I have the great privilege of teaching young people who have some connection to Catholicism (it’s a Catholic School, after all). I try always to let the students see that God is as real as sand between your teeth, as necessary as toilet paper (not trying to be crude here), and as magnificent and awe-inspiring (not to mention knee-knocking) as we all fear in our most unvarnished moments, by reference to my own experience of Him when I can. They have no need and no time for a God who cannot knock you for a loop when that is what you deserve and you know it. I have tried to bring the raw power of experience that the charismatic experience has afforded me, not in charismatic experiences, but in pulling, cajoling, dragging, pushing, shoving them through the doorway of faith, or at least a doorway that could go there – like the signs in the Vatican museum that (used) to say “this way to the Sistine Chapel”. Good works have little meaning as long as you have the power to define what is good, except in one’s own eyes. Charismatics sincerely seeking the Spirit to adore the face of God and not in pursuit of novelty and personal privilege get that. No surprise at what you say; always considerable consternation that others don’t get that they get that. Unh.

          • My wife and I belonged to a Charismatic community in the NY Hudson Valley in the 1980’s. It was quite orthodox/traditional. It disbanded in the very early 1990’s.

            Its memory is precious to me.

            It was more Catholic than any parish of my adult experience.

        • Yes, I am orthodox because I was first a charismatic – totally agree. I still consider myself charismatic, but since the movement has died down, there’s not much opportunity to meet other charismatic believers. I, too, find the insults disturbing; there is absolutely no reason for Catholics to judge and criticize each other over this. The love for neighbor, the warmth and concern I found in the Charismatic Movement was exactly what I needed at that time in my life, and it brought the heat and passion of the love of Jesus for us into reality for me. It’s not for everyone, but Jesus through His Holy Spirit was certainly present at our meetings.

      • Yes I knew of Ralph Martin, Steve Clarke et al back in the day. I was evangelized through an outreach of the “Sword of the Spirit Community” in London in the early ’80’s – Ralph Martin being one of the international leaders. It was an “ecumenical” outreach so I returned to my anti-Catholic Presbyterian roots with a vengeance and with charismatic “baggage” in tow.

        As the Holy Ghost led me to the Catholic Church I quickly became aware of how the leadership of the movement lacked solid theological foundations back then. That was only natural as it was primarily a lay-led movement inspired by their contacts with Pentecostalism and many of the clergy who got involved were ecumaniacs and quite relativist in their approach to other Christians. It really needed some orthodox Catholic input to keep it on the straight and narrow. The nominal association with Suenens probably didn’t help in that regard

        I was very quickly introduced to the divisions between trads and charismatics though via my wife’s family. Her parents were big-wigs in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Asia, and her aunt and uncle used to host Archbishop Lefebvre when he visited their part of the world – one weird family for a former disciple of Ian Paisley to marry into!

        Although I deliberately withdrew from the charismatic scene when I discovered traditional Catholicism, I certainly didn’t reject the living relationship with the Holy Ghost which I had been blessed with through the renewal. In fact I have found a number of trads who had their “come to Jesus” moment with the Charismatics and many have had conversion experiences which are clearly interventions of the Holy Ghost whether they can identify it in those terms or not. Neither did I lose my love for Scripture or the zeal for evangelization.

        So I have no real problem working with charismatics even now, but I am quite insistent on the different spiritualities of the prayer meeting and the Mass – and that the latter is no place for the former. In fact, when my bishop asked me to run a department of his curia, it ended up being staffed by charismatics and trads in a roughly 50:50 split. They work very well together and I know first hand that there are many charismatics out there who have similar concerns about this papacy that trads do – they just don’t seem to have the online fora to express their concerns in the same way.

        In the traditional Catholic movement we are spoiled for excellent resouces on the web like 1P5. I am sure that God is using and will use these as part of the solution…..

  5. Henderson: “Personally, I don’t think enough attention has been given this Little Flower of Fr. Weinandy.”

    Neither do I. Father’s story is jaw-dropping incredible.

  6. Is God punishing us because of our lukewarmness?

    Regardless, I still cannot understand how/why God allows seemingly sacrilegious things emerging from the Vatican. Lord God, prevent at least *that*.

  7. Shortly before Fr. Tom’s letter was published I asked God for help with all the confusion I was experiencing because of Pope Francis and the things he was doing and saying. Especially AL. I was reading many articles written by Bishops, Cardinals, priest and layman about the Pope. Some taking one side and others taking the opposite position. I was greatly confuse on who to listen to. I said to the Lord I can’t take it. I need to hear the opinion of someone that I know and trust about what to think about Pope Francis. I know what i thought, but thought i was disloyal and not theologically astute enough to decide that the Pope could be wrong. I know Fr. Tom and lived with him nearly 30 years ago and trusted his judgement immensely. I haven’t spoken to him in over 20 years. After his letter came to light i remembered my request to the Lord and believe this was His answer to me. I trusted Fr. Tom’s judgement because i knew him. I have been peaceful about the whole Francis issue ever since and I thank God for such a response to my heartfelt cry in the mist of great confusion.

    • God hears every heartfelt prayer and often finds the most wonderful ways to respond so that we KNOW He heard us. You know that you know that you know…..and God gave you Peace. Fr. Weinandy’s story was a gift to many of us.

  8. Fr. Weinandy is a hero of the resistance and an example for all of us in his self-sacrifice for Truth. After Father’s ‘deal with God’ he had to do what he did. What happens to him after this is of no consequence.

    He was inspired to write the letter to the Pope, most prudent in deciding to send it and confirmed in his decision by God. We should thank God for him and pray that we would act accordingly if we are inspired to defend the faith in a courageous way.

  9. “…one of the strangest situations in ecclesial history: the advent of Pope Francis.”

    ie., Adam’s other shoe dropped.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popular on OnePeterFive

Share to...