René Henry Gracida

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René Henry Gracida
Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi
ChurchCatholic Church
DioceseCorpus Christi
AppointedMay 19, 1983
InstalledJune 11, 1983
Term endedApril 1, 1997
PredecessorThomas Joseph Drury
SuccessorRoberto González Nieves
OrdinationMay 23, 1959
ConsecrationJanuary 25, 1972
by John Francis Dearden, Coleman Carroll, and Paul Francis Tanner
Personal details
Born (1923-06-09) June 9, 1923 (age 96)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Previous postTitular Bishop of Masuccaba
Auxiliary Bishop of Miami
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
MottoAbyssus abyssum invocat
Styles of
René Henry Gracida
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleBishop

René Henry Gracida (born June 9, 1923) served as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Miami (1971–1975), the first Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee (1975–1983) and Bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi (1983–1997). As auxiliary bishop of Miami he had the honorific Titular bishop of Masuccaba (1971–1975).

Early life[edit]

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Gracida was the second child of Enrique J. Gracida Carrizosa, an architect and engineer of Mexican descent, and Mathilde Derbes, a fifth-generation French-American[1] Cajun. His mother was a devout Catholic while his father was less so, despite fleeing Mexico due to religious persecution. His great uncle, however, was a vicar general of a diocese in Mexico, and was very strict. Due to his strictness, his father hated Catholic clergy and was rather upset when René Henry Gracida became a monk. As a teenager, René was fascinated with the Jesuit martyrs of The Last of the Mohicans. When he became an adult, he entered Benedictine monastery. He was required to chose a religious name that will be permanent. He chose René Goupil, a French Jesuit lay missionary, which was approved by the diocese.[2]

War and education[edit]

He was a tail-gunner in the 303rd Hell's Angels in World War II.[3] After the war he attended Rice University, the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and the University of Houston, where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture.[2] He later attended St. Vincent College and St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. At St. Vincent Seminary, he earned a Masters of Divinity. In 1978 he was granted a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from St. Leo College and was also involved with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.[2]


Gracida was ordained a priest on May 23, 1959, when he was 36 years old. In 1971 he was appointed by Pope Paul VI as Auxiliary Bishop of Miami and was consecrated on January 25, 1972 as titular bishop of Masuccaba by Cardinal John Francis Dearden of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Coleman Carroll of the Archdiocese of Miami, and Bishop Paul Francis Tanner of the Diocese of St. Augustine.[4] He was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee on October 1, 1975 and installed on November 6, 1975.[5] On May 19, 1983 Pope John Paul II appointed him as the bishop of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, where he remained until his resignation at 73[citation needed] In 1985 René Gracida had accused a Planned Parenthood clinic in Rhode Island for carrying abortions and in 1990 he accused Rachel Vargas and Dr. Eduardo Aquino of the same crime and banned them from entering the church.[6]

In 1994, Bishop Gracida issued the interdiction, forbidding a politician from receiving Communion.[7], On September 25, 2017, Gracida posted on his blog and publicly signed a "Filial Correction" of Pope Francis, being the first canonically regular bishop of the Catholic Church to sign the document.[3] In 2018, he called excommunication over immigration policy as "Scandalous".[8]


  • 2016 – An Ordinary’s Not So Ordinary Life[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Background of Bishop René Gracida
  2. ^ a b c d Jim Graves (January 11, 2016). "Airman, Monk, Priest, Bishop: An interview with Bp. Rene Henry Gracida". The Catholic World Report. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Charles Collins (September 26, 2017). "Retired Texas bishop signs "filial correction" of Pope Francis". Crux. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  4. ^ "Colorful rites mark ordination of Bp. Gracida" (PDF). XIII (47). January 28, 1972: 3A–8A. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Jim Graves (August 26, 2015). "A Bishop's Job Is Hardly Ordinary". National Catholic Register. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Ari L. Goldman (June 30, 1990). "Bishop Excommunicates 2 In Texas for Abortion Stance". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Bishop Gracida explains why pro-abortion Catholics must be excommunicated". Catholic News Agency. October 5, 2004. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Deal Hudson (June 20, 2018). "Bishop Gracida Calls Excommunication Over Immigration Policy "Scandalous"". The Christian Review. Retrieved February 14, 2019.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Thomas Joseph Drury
Bishop of Corpus Christi
Succeeded by
Roberto González Nieves
Preceded by
First Bishop
Bishop of Pensacola–Tallahassee
Succeeded by
Joseph Keith Symons
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Miami
Succeeded by