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November 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The priest who was just sacked by the U.S. bishops for publishing a letter criticizing Pope Francis said a “clear sign” from God convinced him he had an “apostolic mandate” to write it.

Father Thomas Weinandy, former doctrine chief of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), wrote a letter to Pope Francis in which he said his papacy is marked by “chronic confusion,” the diminishment of doctrine, and a culture of fear.

After making this letter public, the USCCB asked Weinandy to resign as a consultant to them, and he did. The USCCB president then issued a statement on “dialogue” in which he pledged the U.S. bishops’ “loyalty” to Pope Francis.

RELATED: U.S. bishops ask theologian to resign after letter criticizing Pope

Weinandy told The Catholic Thing’s Robert Royal that he was thinking about writing the letter while in Rome last May. He had been “praying about the present state of the Church and the anxieties I had about the present Pontificate.”  

“I was beseeching Jesus and Mary, St. Peter and all of the saintly popes who are buried there to do something to rectify the confusion and turmoil within the Church today, a chaos and an uncertainty that I felt Pope Francis had himself caused,” Weinandy recalled.

He was “pondering” whether to “write and publish something expressing my concerns and anxiety,” but wasn’t sure if he should.

He uncharacteristically couldn’t sleep during one of his last nights in Rome, and sometime after 1:15 a.m., prayed to God:

“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.'”

After Weinandy had eaten lunch with his seminary friend, “what I had asked the Lord the following night was no longer in the forefront of my mind.”

Then, an archbishop Weinandy hadn’t seen in over 20 years appeared. The archbishop, not American, Canadian, or British, “I would never have expected to see him in Rome or anywhere else, other than in his own archdiocese,” according to Weinandy.

The archbishop “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.”

Then, “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.’”

At that moment, “there was no longer any doubt in my mind that Jesus wanted me to write something,” Weinandy said.

He thought it was particularly significant that the “sign” from God was through an archbishop: “I considered it an apostolic mandate.”


Weinandy gave his “significant thought” and attempted “many drafts.”

“I decided to write Pope Francis directly about my concerns,” he said. “However, I always intended to make it public since I felt many of my concerns were the same concerns that others had, especially among the laity, and so I publicly wanted to give voice to their concerns as well.”