Progressive Catholics Launch Defense Initiative Against Filial Correction

Progressive Catholics Launch Defense Initiative Against Filial Correction

Today, the website of the German bishops,, surprises its readers with the publication of a story detailing an initiative which has been launched in order to support Pope Francis himself against the critics who signed the 24 September Filial Correction. The new group is called “Pro Pope Francis” and now has its own website, It says that the group has already 100 signatories and more than 1,000 “supporters” of this declaration. The initiative thanks Pope Francis for his “courageous and theologically well-founded leadership.” The signatories also praise the pope for letting “mercy have the last word” in pastoral matters.

Screenshot of the “Pro Pope Francis” Website

Among the signatories are the two men who initiated the current declaration – the theologian, Father Paul Zulehner (Vienna, Austria), and the sociologist Father Tomas Halik (Prague, Czech Republic) – as well as retired Bishop Paul Iby (Eisenstadt, Austria) and retired Bishop Helmut Krätzl (Vienna), the Abbot of Pannonhalma (Hungary), Asztrik Varszegi, Auxiliary Bishop Vaclav Maly (Prague) and retired Bishop Fritz Lobinger of  North-Aliwal (South Africa). Among the signatories is also the editor-in-chief of the Jesuit journal Stimmen der Zeit, Father Andreas Batlogg, S.J. The Social Democratic former President of Parliament in Germany, Wolfgang Thierse, is likewise one of the signatories.

Important to note is that there are to be found several prominent dissenters from Catholic tradition among the signatories. For example, Bishop Lobinger proposes to ordain married men and women as priests; Father Martin Lintner proposes to liberalize the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and to re-write the 1992 Catechism in light of Amoris Laetitia. Moreover, one of the two men who launched the project, Father Paul Zulehner, a co-author of a book written by Bishop Lobinger, is also known to criticize priestly celibacy and to propose the ordination of married men as priests who would then assist part-time the main priest of a parish. Moreover, Martha Heizer — the President of the Austrian grass-root organization “We Are Church” (Wir sind Kirche) — was excommunicated by Pope Francis in May of 2014 for having, together with her husband, “celebrated” repeatedly Holy Mass in their private home and in the presence of guests.

In the following, we shall present to our readers the full text of the statement of this new initiative:

Dear highly esteemed Pope Francis,

Your pastoral initiatives and their theological justification are currently under vehement attack by a group in the church. With this open letter, we wish to express our gratitude for your courageous and theologically sound papal leadership.

In a short time, you have succeeded in reshaping the pastoral culture of the Roman Catholic Church in accordance with its origin in Jesus. Wounded people and wounded nature go straight to your heart. You see the church as a field hospital on the margins of life. Your concern is every single person loved by God. When encountering others, compassion and not the law shall have the last word. God and God’s mercy characterize the pastoral culture that you expect from the church. You dream of a “church as mother and shepherdess.” We share your dream.

We ask that you would not veer from the path you have taken, and we assure you of our full support and constant prayer.

The signatories

As Cardinal Gerhard Müller has just recently noted in an interview with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost about the progressivist theologians who earlier had resisted orthodoxy: “In the meantime, the opponents of ‘then’ have now molted into enthusiastic followers of the pope.” [emphasis added]

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One comment on “Progressive Catholics Launch Defense Initiative Against Filial Correction

  1. [More on a few of the “signatories” (which sounds like members of a political party) or elsewhere designated as “signators” (which begs for a prefix such as “de” or “re”) or simply “signers” (which AQ moderator Tom prefers) – especially the Francis-excommunicated Martha Heizer and her “Mass” simulating/concelebrating hubbie]

    Posted by Fr John Hunwicke on 20 October 2017

    Correcting the Correctio

    Excellent news for you ! There is now a pro-Bergoglian counterblast to the Correctio Filialis. Go and read; go and enjoy! Spread knowledge of it! It is important that journalists and the Internet do not forget our Correctio!

    Strictly entre nous … and entirely within these four walls … the counterblast was actually masterminded in the echoing marble halls of the Correctio Secretariate as a disinformation device to keep our Correctio Filialis in the news. On no account divulge this; it is top secret. I know I can trust you.

    We had no trouble collecting signatures for the Correctio Correctionis! For some reason, fear of reprisals doesn’t seem to deter people from signing a pro-Bergoglian manifesto! Among the signatories we secured is the (Jesuit) Master of Campion Hall [Fr. James Hanvey] in this [i.e., Oxford] University. I knew he would be up for it because he authored a pro-Bergoglian document which, festooned with the word CONFIDENTIAL, was circulating earlier this year in at least one English diocese. I got a copy which, as far as my recollection goes, had fallen off the back of a lorry.

    But our biggest coup was a much more interesting signatory. Martha Heizer, leader of the Austrian branch of We Are Church. Martha belongs to a very elite group: those who have been excommunicated in and by this pontificate … yes, even under the regime of Mercy, excommunications happen!!

    Why were Martha and her husband, in 2014, excommunicated? For the canonical offence of Simulating the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The pair of them hosted priestless “celebrations of Mass” in their own home. Ergo … is it Canon 1378? Rigid, but fair!

    After receiving the sentence, Martha interestingly expressed the view that they were still members of the Church because of their Baptisms, and would remain so unless they themselves left the Church.
    (1) The Good News: Martha understands and accepts the dogma of the indelible Character marked upon the soul in Baptism.
    (2) The Bad News: Martha seems to think that she (and hubby) do themselves have the power to wipe the Character of Baptism off their souls by ‘leaving’ the Church.


    Nobody has the power to extinguish the full effects of Baptism. Not the Pope; not the Canon Lawyers; not the Heizers.

    Martha’s mental confusions are the reason why I am now going to disappoint all you hardline bloodthirsty Traddies: I am uneasy about this use of Excommunication. I do understand the importance of marking the seriousness of offences the Heizers had committed against the Body of Christ, the Church. But … these poor dim silly confused creatures … would it not be more merciful to excommunicate them formally but to suspend the full effect of the sentence to the extent of allowing their canonical pastor to use his discretion ad salutem animarum?

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