Expressing “profound grief” and “filial devotion,” 79 Catholic clergy and lay scholars from more than 20 countries around the world have issued what they are calling a “Filial Correction” to Pope Francis for “propagating heresy.”
The Filial Correction, in the form of a 25-page letter, bears the signatures of seventy-nine Catholic clergy, academics, researchers, and scholars in various fields from twenty countries. They assert that Pope Francis has supported heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the Eucharist that are causing a host of “heresies and other errors” to spread throughout the Catholic Church.
The correction was delivered to the Pope at his Santa Marta residence on August 11, 2017. No similar action has taken place within the Catholic Church since the Middle Ages, when Pope John XXII was admonished for errors which he later recanted on his deathbed.
“With profound grief, but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself, we are compelled to address a correction to Your Holiness on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness,” the signers write in the letter.
“We issue this correction…to protect our fellow Catholics — and those outside the Church, from whom the key of knowledge must not be taken away — hoping to prevent the further spread of doctrines which tend of themselves to the profaning of all the sacraments and the subversion of the Law of God,” they add.
The signers respectfully insist that Pope Francis condemn the heresies that he has “directly or indirectly upheld,” and that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity. The letter was made public on September 24, six weeks after the signers received no response from the Pope. The Filial Correction and its signatories, along with a summary statement and press release, can be viewed at http://www.correctiofilialis.org.
23 Priests, Religious and Bishops Sign the Filial Correction
Although the Filial Correction was principally led by lay scholars from various Catholic universities around the world, clergy are openly invited to participate and give their support to the initiative by going to the website. As of this writing, out of the 79 signatories, 23 were priests and religious, including one bishop who added his name to the list.
The first bishop to add his name to the list was Most Reverend Rene Henry Gracida, D.D., Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Bishop Gracida even added together with his electronic signature a message of support to the organizers of the filial correction: “I extend my congratulations and gratitude to the originators of the Correction and I wish to have my name added to the list of those individuals who agree with the content of the Correction and want to be identified with it.”
Among the priests who have signed the petition are:
- Fr. Linus F Clovis, Director of the Secretariat for Family and Life
- Msgr. Prof. Antonio Livi, an Academic of the Holy See and Dean emeritus of the Pontifical Lateran University
- Fr Serafino M. Lanzetta STD, Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology, Theological Faculty of Lugano, Switzerland
- Rev. Glen Tattersall, Parish Priest of the Parish of Bl. John Henry Newman from the archdiocese of Melbourne; Rector, St Aloysius’ Church
- Fr. Don Alfredo Morselli, STL, Parish priest of the archdiocese of Bologna,
- Fr Luis Eduardo Rodríguez Rodríguez, Parish Priest, Parroquia del Espíritu Santo y N.S. de La Antigua Diocese de Los Teques, Venezuela
The prominent lay scholars and leaders who are part of the initiative include Christopher Ferrara, Founding President of the American Catholic Lawyers’ Association, as well as Prof. Roberto de Mattei, a prominent Vatican historian and former Professor of the History of Christianity, European University of Rome.
The filial correction comes as a “formal correction” of the Pope from cardinals may be imminent. Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the dubia Cardinals, said in an interview last August that this “formal correction” would involve a clear presentation of the Church’s teaching on the points at issue, alongside what the Pope is actually saying on those points. “If there is a contradiction, the Roman Pontiff is called to conform his own teaching in obedience to Christ and the Magisterium of the Church,” he said.
“Pope Francis has chosen not to respond to the five dubia, so it is now necessary simply to state what the Church teaches about marriage, the family, acts that are intrinsically evil, and so forth,” Cardinal Burke explained. “These are the points that are not clear in the current teachings of the Roman Pontiff; therefore, this situation must be corrected. The correction would then direct itself principally to those doctrinal points.”
In an interview last September with Australia’s Catholic Outlook, Burke said the need for a response to the dubia is urgent because of the “harm done to souls by the confusion and error.”
“The urgency weighs very heavily on my heart,” he said. ∎
The Editor, Veritas Vincit