Matt C. Abbott
US Catholic bishops boot faithful priest-consultant, still employ Planned Parenthood supporter
By Matt C. Abbott
November 10, 2017

Alas: another sad development in the Catholic Church in the U.S.

From Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute (Nov. 1):
    With unprecedented swiftness, the United States bishops' conference asked for the resignation of a consulting priest on same day his letter to Pope Francis was published. Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, who served as the USCCB's executive director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices from 2005 to 2013, sent a letter to Pope Francis this past July, telling His Holiness that his 'guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous' and that he seems 'to censor and even mock those who interpret Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia in accord with Church tradition as Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism.'

    While strongly worded, the letter was written with the utmost charity and respect for the Holy Office. The USCCB, on the other hand, did not see it that way, and within hours of the letter's publication, Father Weinandy was asked to resign from his position as a doctrinal consultant....

    Clearly, this priest's decision to write such a strong letter to the Holy Father was done with deep prayer and careful consideration.

    Contrast this, however, with an individual who is still employed by the bishops of the United States despite the fact that she openly proclaimed her allegiance with Planned Parenthood on social media.

    Last August, the Lepanto Institute reported that Jessica Garrels, program quality coordinator for Catholic Relief Services, had strongly supported and promoted Planned Parenthood on her Facebook page....

    Shortly after the article on Garrels was published and sent to the bishops of the United States, Garrels' Facebook page was locked up tight to hide her posts from public view. CRS never issued a response to the report....

    The message here is quite clear: if you work for the bishops of the United States and publicly support Planned Parenthood, you can retain your job as long as you can hide the evidence. But, if you're a faithful priest and you write a respectful letter to Pope Francis, addressing grave concerns regarding his words and actions and it gets published, you have no place in the bishops' conference.
Click here to read Mr. Hichborn's report in its entirety.

Regarding the Father Weinandy situation, Steve Skojec of wrote:
    One diocesan priest who spoke with 1P5 on condition of anonymity said that he was certain Father Weinandy's letter 'drew consternation from several U.S. cardinals and bishops.' particularly where the letter addressed how 'faithful Catholics can only be disconcerted' by the pope's choice of some bishops, 'men who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief but who support and even defend them,' causing scandal to the faithful and weakening the sensus fidei.

    'There is no way' the priest told me, 'that this remark didn't directly sting Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Tobin, Cardinal Ferrell, and Bishop McElroy in particular, as they have been busy supporting Father James Martin, S.J., and others like him. I would be very surprised if they were not directly behind Father Thomas Weinandy's forced resignation'.....

    For some time now, we have been using terms in our coverage like 'The Dictatorship of Mercy' and 'The Persecution of Orthodoxy' to help explain the reality orthodox Catholics face in the Church of 2017: if you stand up for the truths of the faith, you will suffer the consequences at the hands of those charged with defending those same truths. And as we have told you, there is no reason to expect we won't see this reaction continue to escalate.
Click here to read Mr. Skojec's article in its entirety.

Regarding Jessica Garrels' employment with Catholic Relief Services, anyone who supports the abortion giant Planned Parenthood has no business receiving a paycheck from the Church. Period.

It appears "the swamp" has infested even the bishops' bureaucracy, which, while not surprising, is nonetheless revolting.

I should point out that there are indeed some bishops who deserve praise and support. One such bishop is Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wis., who has taken a lot of heat from leftists in recent days for simply trying to ensure that priests in his diocese are being faithful to Catholic teaching.

Michael Chapman of wrote:
    Because Robert C. Morlino, the Catholic bishop of the Madison Diocese, adheres to Church teaching and opposes funeral rites for homosexuals that would cause 'scandal and confusion,' gays and pro-sodomy advocates have launched a petition that calls on Pope Francis to remove Bishop Morlino from his position. Simply, the LGBT activists do not want a Catholic bishop to actually believe in and follow Catholic teaching. They are in effect demanding that he celebrate sexual depravity.
Click here to read Mr. Chapman's commentary in its entirety.

Regarding this same matter, Monsignor James Bartylla, vicar general of the Diocese of Madison, wrote a "Clarification on the Issue of Funeral Rites and Those in Homosexual Civil or Notorious Unions," which includes the following:
    Persons with same-sex attraction must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. It is deplorable that persons with same-sex attraction have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, action, and law. Persons with same-sex attraction are often generous and giving of themselves.

    However, the proper reaction to crimes committed against persons with same-sex attraction should not be to claim that the homosexual act is not disordered. Persons with same-sex attraction are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    As Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, wisely states, persons with same-sex attraction carry a heavy cross, and it is our role to help them carry it, like Simon of Cyrene assisted Jesus to carry His cross. This includes telling such persons of the truth of Jesus Christ, and what is necessary for salvation, in addition to supporting them in their struggle for chastity....

    Persons with same-sex attraction, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons, including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute, and may be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct (unlike the categories of race or ethnicity which are not connected with possible objectively disordered external conduct). This limitation of rights for such external conduct is sometimes not only licit but obligatory.

    The Church determined over the course of many centuries, in its pastoral wisdom for the care of living souls, that unrepentant manifest sinners should be denied funeral rites if it is impossible to avoid public scandal.
Click here to read Monsignor Bartylla's clarification in its entirety.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media, and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


Receive future articles by Matt C. Abbott: Click here

More by this author


Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
FLASHBACK to 2020: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Jerry Newcombe
The Bible and public policy

Frank Louis
Frank’s fair trade theory: Replacement theory for everyone

Pete Riehm
When the government is lawless, the people turn to an outlaw

Victor Sharpe
The left's lies: A warning for America's very survival

Michael Gaynor
Who Will Make the Finals and Win the Upcoming Presidential Race?

Stephen Stone
‘Teach Your Own’

James Lambert
Illegal alien entry through California border has dramatically increased of late

Rev. Mark H. Creech
‘No other gods before me’: The first commandment’s national significance

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 23: Legalizing pedophilia—The Sorensen Report

Randy Engel
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part IX

Jerry Newcombe
A politically-incorrect prayer

Victor Sharpe
Who truly deserves a state? The Kurds or the Palestinians?
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites