A few months after one of the world’s leading theologians, Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap.,, published an open letter criticising Pope Francis, yet another leading theologian has warned of a “spiritual catastrophe for the Catholic Church” as a result of the papal encyclical Amoris Laetitia.
Last March 19, Moral theologian Dr. E. Christian Brugger wrote an “open appeal” to all the bishops of the world, warning that only fraternal episcopal interventions can now hope to avert what he says is a spiritual catastrophe for the Catholic Church as a result of the papal encyclical Amoris Laetitia.
It will be recalled that last November 2017, Fr. Weinandy, the former head of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, published a letter warning that Pope Francis is causing “chronic confusion” through vague teaching and by appointing bishops who “scandalize” the faithful. He likewise said that Pope Francis’ 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,” which, one day, will have to be corrected.
Dr. Brugger was a theological consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine in 2016. He has served as dean of the School of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, Australia, and the J. Francis Cardinal Stafford Professor of Moral Theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. He is the author of the book “The Indissolubility of Marriage and the Council of Trent”.
Dr. Brugger warned against a so-called “new paradigm” drawn from Amoris Laetitia being pushed by among the highest-ranking clergy in the Vatican. This so-called “new paradigm”, Dr. Brugger warns, aims “to justify forms of behavior long recognized as contrary to the precepts of the Divine and Natural Laws.”
Dr. Brugger said that this “new paradigm” is “contrary to Catholic faith and morals; that its teaching is harmful to souls; and that its further dissemination will greatly undermine Catholic morality.”
He also conceded that while the interventions of laypeople and faithful priests are important, these are unlikely to influence the decisions of the Pope. Therefore, Dr. Brugger proposes that only “fraternal episcopal interventions can now hope to avert what is sure otherwise to be a spiritual catastrophe for the Catholic Church”. He warned if this “new paradigm” spreads, all the norms of Catholic sexual morality will “fall like dominos”, “great evil will occur”, and “many souls will be lost.”