Bishop Gracida and Fr Andrew Pinsent: Why we signed the filial correction

Pope Francis leads the Palm Sunday Mass in St Peter's Square in 2016 (Getty)

Since the filial correction was published on Sunday, more than 80 signatories have added their names to the original 62. Here two of those new signatories, a bishop and a priest-academic, explain their reasons:

Bishop René Henry Gracida

A number of friends have asked me why I chose, last Sunday, to sign the filial correction. Frankly I am surprised that anyone would need to ask, because the answer is so simple and, I hope, self-evident: I love the Church.

I love the Church as the mystical body of Christ. I love the Church as the community of faithful men and women, young and old, liberal and conservative. It pains me to see people suffer, even as I personally suffer, in the present crisis that afflicts the Church.

The filial correction is so well-written, so respectful, so comprehensive, so detailed in explaining the basis for objecting to the seven areas of heterodoxy bordering on heresy, that I would expect many of my brother bishops to be happy to sign it. Perhaps naively, I thought that my signature might encourage more bishops to make their views public, and perhaps some will, but many are timid and fearful of retaliation by Rome.

As I have said before, I take hope from the precedent of the fourth century, when – according to Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman – the majority of bishops were either Arian or Semi-Arian. It was the laity that supported the Pope and St Athanasius and helped them win the condemnation of Arianism. The laity of our time, who are suffering so greatly as a result of bad leadership, or no leadership, deserve to see more bishops announce their support of the correction.

I have also been asked what I believe will happen if no answer is given to the correction or the dubia. I regret that I must respond that I do not believe that there is anything then that men can do; a resolution of the crisis depends entirely on Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bishop Gracida, now retired, has been an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Miami, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee and of Corpus Christi

Fr Andrew Pinsent

I signed the filial correction not due to a lack of filial respect for the Holy Father, but because of the gravity of the situation.

The correction is a next step, consistent with the teaching of Jesus Christ (Matt 18:15-17) and St Paul confronting St Peter (Gal 2:11), that follows a series of unanswered petitions since 2015. These have included one with nearly 800,000 signatures from 178 countries and including 202 prelates prior to the ludicrously manipulated family synod; the appeal of the 45 scholars and clergy to the College of Cardinals to repudiate possible heretical readings of Amoris Laetitia; the dubia of the four cardinals, whom the Pope did not even have the courtesy to meet; and the statement of the confraternities representing thousands of priests worldwide.

As Prof Josef Seifert warned recently, before being sacked for making this warning, we are facing the risk of the total destruction of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. I would add that the contradictions now being introduced deny reason itself and are catastrophic for the Church’s mission of offering salvation to souls. Since I have given my own life to the priesthood exclusively for the salvation of souls, I had to add my name to the correction.

Fr Pinsent is Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University