His Excellency, Bishop Rene' Henry Gracida of Corpus Christi, Texas, gives clarification about an Article he posted on his blog last month on April 7th, which has since been circulated worldwide. He is encouraging the Cardinals to take action to remedy the current papal crisis.
Bishop Gracida was the first diocesan bishop to sign the "Filial Correction" presented to Pope Francis by Cardinal Raymond Burke and three other Cardinals, calling into question certain statements in the document Amoris Laetitia, in particular its policy of admitting public, unrepentant adulterers to Holy Communion.
He is the retired bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, TX; he also served as bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, FL; and, he was auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Miami, FL. He has been a bishop for 46 years, a priest for almost 60 years, was a Benedictine monk for 10 years, and served in World War II as a tail-gunner. Being 95 years old next month, and dedicated to the daily celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, he is one of the most senior and traditional members of the hierarchy. Here is a past video interview of Bishop Gracida: LINK.
1. In a recent article posted to your blog (LINK), which has since been read around the world, you supported the case that Pope Francis may not be a valid pope, and that the Cardinals themselves consider electing a new pope. Was/Is your intention that the article might end up being read by Cardinal Burke, and other Cardinals, with the unique authority to directly confront the problem of the Francis pontificate?
Yes, that was and still is my hope. Since only the validly appointed Cardinals have the power to initiate a solution to the present crisis in the Church, it was and still is my hope that they will be encouraged by what I published to take the necessary steps toward a solution as was proposed in the post.
2. In your experience these last weeks, how has the response been from the laity, priests, and other bishops - if any - both online and in the flesh? Do you anticipate backlash from members of the hierarchy, or Rome? Or even from Cardinal Burke himself?
There has been some response but not from cardinals. I do not really look for response from cardinals, I look for action on their part to initiate the steps that will lead to a special conclave. I do not expect them to publicize those steps, I expect them to move silently and discretely in order to minimize active opposition by the friends of Francis who are now firmly entrenched in the Vatican curia.
3. Reading the argument, it seems the main basis and bulk of it is the contention the 2013 conclave broke conclave laws, enacted by Pope John Paul II, that would invalidate the election results. It begins by discussing the issue of heresy and papal infallibility, but seems to not make those issues the main basis. There seems to be strong enough evidence that certain Cardinals of the conspiring "St. Gallican Group" did violate conclave laws, enough to at least now raise the question of the validity of Cardinal Bergoglio's election. Am I correct in understanding this argument? Is that the focus you are encouraging the Cardinals to take?
Yes, that is the focus I am encouraging the Cardinals to take.
4. Since the word "heresy" was used in the article, perhaps you could speak to the question of how Cardinals, based on the tradition of the Church, can judge if a certain pope is guilty of actual "formal heresy" (vs. material), which would result in excommunication and loss of Office according to church law. Can you explain what the Church says? That is how the College of Cardinals can judge the pope to be an invalid pope, for different reasons, to the point of actually electing a new pope?
Even though Francis has made heretical statements, he has cleverly also made orthodox statements on the same subject thereby making it virtually impossible to define him as a heretic. On the other hand, the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS (edit: you can read it HERE) promulgated by Saint John Paul II are clear, and Francis and friends have confirmed their violations of those provisions in the conclave of 2013. Saint John Paul II provided for the penalty of AUTOMATIC EXCOMMUNICATION for any cardinal violating those provisions. Reasonable people should have no problem agreeing that an excommunicated person cannot be elected pope.
Thank you again, Your Excellency, for answering these questions. I also hope the reasoned Argument you posted, and your answers in this interview, will be read and considered by the Cardinals.
The Okie Traditionalist Blog