SAN FRANCISCO (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic priest in San Francisco published an open letter to Pope Francis accusing the pontiff of “hurting” his parish and ministry by promoting homosexuality and urging him to preach the Gospel clearly.
“My Papa Francesco, I must tell you that you are making my job as a parish priest difficult,” wrote Father Joseph Illo of Star of the Sea Parish in the letter dated October 6.
“I am writing to you in the spirit of parrhesia, a biblical word you have used several times to encourage us to speak freely, boldly, and without fear of disagreement,” the priest said. “Please receive the following words freely, not from Rome, but from the peripheries, from a simple parish priest.”
Father Illo noted that he works “in one of the declining parishes of San Francisco, California, a city that prides itself in having evolved beyond faith in God.”
“In my city, the faith is openly mocked and attacked, and my parishioners are struggling to believe in Jesus. Most of their family members, friends, and co-workers have abandoned the Christian faith,” he described. “My parishioners are clinging to the simple truths of our faith, especially the Church’s teachings about the human person.”
But Father Illo said that Pope Francis’ promotion of homosexuality has harmed his flock and made his work as a pastor “very difficult.”
“When you promote homosexuality, Holy Father, you hurt me and my parish. When you do not speak clearly, you make my priestly task very difficult,” he wrote.
“You have said that two men cannot ‘marry,’ and that homosexual acts are wrong, but you also encourage bishops who bless same-sex unions,” the priest said.
He related the story of a woman from his parish who entered into a same-sex “marriage” and underwent mutilating transgender surgeries, grieving her mother.
A female student from my parish, who attends a Jesuit-owned university, “married” another woman according to United States law. She later surgically removed her breasts and uterus to appear like a man. She hates her mother for raising her Catholic, and her mother grieves the loss of her daughter and grandchildren.
The young woman, Father Illo told Francis, “points to you, Holy Father.”
“She says you permit blessings for homosexual unions in Germany, and that you favor priests and cardinals who promote homosexual relations. She knows that you have appointed a European cardinal who promotes homosexual unions to lead the Synod,” he wrote.
Pope Francis has indeed allowed bishops in Germany and other countries to approve “blessings” for same-sex unions without penalty and refused to stop the German bishops’ “Synodal Way,” which endorsed same-sex “blessings” and repudiated Catholic teaching against homosexuality and gender ideology.
The pope also regularly promotes dissident, pro-LGBT clerics, like Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego, pro-LGBT activist priest Fr. James Martin, SJ, and Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, the new Vatican doctrine chief, who has signaled openness to homosexual “blessings.” Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, of Luxembourg, who Francis appointed the relator general of his Synod on Synodality, has said that he believes Church teaching on the sinfulness of sodomy is “false.”
“You are my spiritual father, Papa Francesco. Please know that you are hurting me, and hurting my parish,” Father Illo charged, imploring him to “teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly in a time of great confusion and hurt.”
“We need you to teach the simple truth of the first book of the Bible, that God made us male and female, and for this reason ‘a man clings to his wife, and the two become one flesh,’” he concluded. “If you do not teach this clearly, we parish priests cannot evangelize our people well, and all the people suffer.”
Pope Francis has taken a permissive approach to LGBT ideology throughout his papacy and repeatedly contradicted Catholic teaching on sexuality, resulting in widespread confusion about LGBT issues within the Church.
In a letter released by the Vatican last week, the pope appeared to authorize priests to “bless” homosexual unions based on “pastoral prudence.” The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, however, unequivocally condemned same-sex “blessings” as “illicit” in a 2021 statement declaring that God “does not and cannot bless sin.”
Pope Francis has also endorsed same-sex civil unions on several occasions, in explicit contradiction to Catholic doctrine, which teaches that laws granting legal recognition to homosexual unions are “gravely unjust.”
And the pontiff has promoted numerous LGBT activist groups and events, including conferences organized by Fr. Martin that have featured heretical pro-LGBT speakers, such as a psychologist who provides “mental health letters” for transgender chest and genital surgeries.
In 2020, Pope Francis praised Argentinian Sister Mónica Astorga Cremona, known as the “Nun of the Trans,” who runs a complex of apartments for men who claim to be women and their sexual partners. In a letter to Cremona, he referred to her gender-confused male clients as “your girls.”
The Catholic Church teaches that all sexual activity outside of marriage is gravely sinful and that homosexuality is “disordered,” an “intrinsic moral evil,” and a “sin that cries to heaven,” in accordance with Sacred Scripture and the constant Tradition of the Church.