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Pope Francis during a general audience in March 2024L'Osservatore Romano/Facebook

(LifeSiteNews) — Austrian priest Father Joachim Heimerl defended Father Jesusmary Missigbètò ahead of his canonical “show trial” and criticized Pope Francis for his new autobiography in which he disparaged Pope Benedict XVI.

In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, Fr. Heimerl discussed Pope Francis’s autobiography, which was published in the form of a book-length interview titled The Successor. Heimerl said that the book’s purpose is to gain “control of the narrative about his own problematic pontificate.”

Heimerl also condemned Fiducia Supplicans, the Vatican’s heterodox declaration endorsing homosexual “blessings,” calling it “heresy,” as well as the suspension of African priest Fr. Jesusmary, who is awaiting his canonical trial for his strong criticism of Francis.

READ: African priest: ‘Pope Francis is a new Judas’ for betraying Christ’s teachings

Fr. Heimerl has written multiple articles criticizing Pope Francis, accusing the pontiff of leading “a fight against the Church” and chastising him for causing widespread “dismay, heresy, and division,” especially through his suppression of the Traditional Latin Mass and approval of homosexual “blessings.”

The interview was conducted in written form by Maike Hickson in German and translated into English by LifeSite journalist Andreas Wailzer. The full transcript of the interview can be found below.

The new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Víctor Manuel Cardinal Fernández, again defended Fiducia Supplicans, which endorses “blessing” homosexual “couples,” saying that “Pope Francis has expanded our understanding of blessings” and “he has the right to do so.” Does the pope have the right to establish a “blessing” for homosexual “couples,” and can there even be such a “blessing”?

First of all, I would like to say a word about Cardinal Fernández: His appointment as prefect of the [Dicastery for the Doctrine of] Faith and as cardinal is a pain for the whole Church: Fernández is utterly unsuitable as prefect. He himself has been suspected of heresy for years, which he himself flirts with. Furthermore, he lacks the (top) theological qualifications for the office of prefect of the [Dicastery for the Doctrine of] the Faith and has made himself absolutely unbearable through his pornographic writings.

Moreover, his appointment is such a clear case of nepotism that it leaves one speechless. Although in earlier times it was quite common for popes to promote their favorites to the highest offices, today, thank God, this is no longer acceptable and certainly not in this highly embarrassing case.

If we summarize all this, we come to the conclusion that the cardinal is so badly damaged that he has no prestige or authority whatsoever. If he remains in office, he will not only make a fool of himself but also of the pope.

As far as the “blessing” is concerned, it is a “blessing” for “irregular couples,” i.e., both homosexual “couples” and those living in (heterosexual) adultery.

By virtue of divine revelation, the constant Magisterium of the Church has always rejected both. Practiced homosexuality and adultery are grave sins that God does not bless but rather punishes.

Anyone who “blesses” such relationships in the name of God is committing an act against God, i.e., an act of blasphemy and, therefore, sacrilege.

No one should dare to place themselves above God’s commandments and His revelation, not even the pope. On the contrary, his task is to defend the faith of the Church and not to introduce “blessings” that not only lead to heresy, as Cardinal Gerhard Müller has stated, but are heresy by their very nature.

READ: Cardinal Müller: Fiducia Supplicans ‘leads to heresy,’ Catholics cannot accept it

No pope, no council, no Doctor of the Church, or anyone else could change this, and for this reason, no one ever has.

For this reason, Francis has no other choice: he must withdraw the “blessing” document or face the accusation of heresy. This is precisely what our sister Orthodox Churches rightly stated when they said that the Catholic Church had left the ground of Holy Scripture with these “blessings.” In plain language, this means that these “blessings” are not only not Catholic, they are simply not Christian.

Is it even possible for the Church to change its teaching on homosexuality? Could there be, for example, social developments or developments in sociology and anthropology that would justify such a change?

Nowadays, we are constantly hearing about new “human sciences” findings that are supposed to lead to a change in the Church’s teaching. However, the point here is quite different: “human sciences” are not a source of divine revelation, and the Church is not there to pander to scientific or, in this case, ideological ideas. It is solely committed to the will of God, which has been clearly expressed in the Holy Scriptures and the constant Magisterium. God does not change His revelation, and for this reason, the Church cannot adapt its teaching to the tastes of the times in this as in all other cases. If it were otherwise, the Church would become a political creation of men, as we see with the Protestants in Germany, for example, and it would cease to be the Church of God.

READ: Cardinal Müller: ‘Nobody can change’ Catholic doctrine that homosexuality is ‘grave sin’

Pope Francis has published a new interview book in which he comments on the 2005 conclave and publishes voting results. How would you comment on this?

The pope sees this book of interviews as a kind of “autobiography.” It is part of the nature of an autobiography, as we know, to lie for the sake of self-justification. For this reason, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe called his own autobiography Fiction and Truth. From My Life, and Giacomo Casanova’s famous memoirs illustrate this, as do many others.

When one thinks of the autobiographies of popes, one thinks of the interviews that Benedict XVI conducted with Peter Seewald as a cardinal and later as pope. These interviews are so valuable above all because they have a theological and spiritual depth and do not remain confined to the personal. Reading them is a timeless and great benefit.

I fear that less can be said of the current pope’s interview books. On the contrary, Francis indulges in chit-chat, which might perhaps still be tolerable. Above all, however, he is quite merciless in his reckoning with unpopular people: Cardinal Robert Sarah, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, and many others should be mentioned here.

READ: Pope Francis says appointing Cardinal Sarah to Roman Curia may have been ‘a mistake’

The overall problem is that the pope shows himself to be – pardon me – an angry and somewhat garrulous old man, and that does not befit his office.

Benedict XVI, on the other hand, has shown in his interviews how it can be done differently and much better: more elegant, more papal – I would like to say simply holier and more appealing. With his interviews, Francis basically only serves church gossip and the worst resentments of the Church’s enemies. Benedict warmed the hearts of his readers because he took them on the path to Jesus Christ.

As far as Benedict is concerned, I would like to add that it is very bold of Francis to call him a “transitional pope” in this book.

Indeed, Francis has the problem of being the successor to two important popes. I am willing to believe that this is not easy. But to diminish the importance of his predecessor in this way is so unbelievable that Francis has probably only achieved one thing with this book: Nobody takes it seriously and everyone knows that it is only about gaining control of the narrative about his own problematic pontificate. Experience has shown that autobiographies never achieve this, and certainly not interviews of this kind, whose aesthetic and quality of content are rather poor.

READ: Benedict XVI biographer pushes back on Pope Francis’ claim they had a ‘cordial relationship’

Father Jesusmary (Janvier Gbenou) was dismissed from Opus Dei because he was critical of the papal reform agenda. He now fears being dismissed from the priesthood altogether. He is not the only priest who has not been accused of anything other than criticizing the pope. How would you comment on this?

I have followed this case very closely and read the priest’s texts, which I would like to endorse in their entirety. His criticism is justified and appropriately expressed. He has done nothing wrong.

What is wrong is the way he is being dealt with, even though he represents nothing other than the teachings of the Church!

Unfortunately, his treatment is typical: first, bans on expression are imposed, and then so-called “canonical” trials follow, which – as in this case – are pure show trials. The verdict is clear from the outset.

READ: Six cases where the sexual abuse scandal touches Pope Francis

It doesn’t help that the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith recently published a document on human dignity, constantly invoking human rights, but subordinating them to an alleged “obedience” that is in reality abusive and encroaching.

In the Church, a fundamental right such as freedom of speech has (always) been an absolute foreign concept. Unfortunately, this applies most of all to clerics, and currently, even more so if they represent the traditional faith.

Those who speak out in favor of all kinds of heresies, on the other hand, currently have nothing to fear. Look at Germany: almost all bishops there now deny the Catholic faith – not a single one is even admonished or removed from office. Bishop Joseph Strickland has had a different fate, as have Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Müller, Cardinal Sarah, Father Jesusmary, and many others whom nobody knows. I will certainly be next, but I will not remain silent any more than the others. We remain faithful to Christ and His Church and profess the faith as it is and always has been. Anything else would be a betrayal of the Lord and His Church. I agree with Teresa of Avila: “Nothing should frighten you, nothing should confuse you, everything passes, God alone remains the same. God alone is enough.”