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Pope Francis addressing Portuguese leaders during his August 2023 visitTwitter/Screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — The following is an open letter by Father Jesusmary Missigbètò. His previous writings can be viewed here.


on the dismissal of Bishop Joseph Edward Strickland

Cotonou (Benin); 25 November 2023

Memorial of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Patron Saint of philosophers

Dear Father,

May Jesus Christ, Our God and Lord, Supreme Wisdom and King of the Universe, bless you abundantly! My open letter of 18 November 2023 announced today’s letter, which will be a philosophical justification explaining, with humility and respect, why Bishop Joseph Strickland was right to criticize publicly the moral and doctrinal errors of your magisterium.

READ: Priest tells Pope Francis: ‘Bishop Strickland has the right and duty to correct you publicly’

May St. Catherine of Alexandria, Patron Saint of philosophers, whose feast day it is, obtain from Jesus the Holy Spirit, Who will help us to meditate on the following lines! May this letter help us to better understand the sad situation of the Church today, to which Pope Francis has presented as “authentic magisterium” what in reality is not! To explain the problem better, we can use a tale by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) which will serve as a parable…

A. The Emperor’s new clothes

Many years ago, there lived an emperor who loved new clothes more than anything else… One day, two swindlers arrived who claimed to be weavers and to be able to weave the most beautiful fabric imaginable… but the clothes made from it would have the astonishing property of being invisible to those who were not suited to their functions or who were simply stupid… They set up two looms but pretended to work, because there was absolutely no thread on the loom. They asked for the finest silk and the most precious gold, which they took for themselves, and remained on their empty looms until well into the night.

“I’d like to know where they’re with the fabric,” said the emperor to himself… “I will send my old and honest minister to the weavers.”… So the old and good minister went to the workshop where the two swindlers were sitting, working on their empty looms… “My God!” he thought, “Am I stupid?… Would I be unfit for my job? No, I mustn’t say I can’t see the fabric.” “Well, what do you think?” asked one of the weavers. “Oh, it’s lovely, the most beautiful thing!” replied the old minister… “That pattern and those colors! I’ll be sure to tell the emperor that I like it all!”… The emperor soon sent another honest official to see how the work was progressing… “Yes, it’s quite wonderful!” he told the emperor… and the emperor wanted to see it with his own eyes… “How!” thought the emperor, “But I can’t see anything! How dreadful! Am I stupid? Am I not cut out to be emperor? It would be the most terrible thing that could ever happen to me.” “Magnificent, ravishing, perfect!” he said at last, “I give my highest approval!”…

All the members of the suite who had accompanied him looked and looked; but as with all the others, nothing appeared to them and they all said, like the emperor: “It’s really very beautiful!”… The emperor took off all his beautiful clothes and the swindlers pretended to put on him each piece of the new garment… The chamberlains who were to carry the train of the court mantle groped the floor with their hands, pretending to catch and lift the train… This is how the emperor walked in front of the procession under the magnificent canopy, and everyone in the street or at their window would say: “The emperor’s new clothes are admirable! What a beautiful mantle with train, how splendidly it is spread out!” No one wanted to let on that they did not see anything, since that would have shown that they were incapable in their function or simply stupid. No new emperor’s clothes had ever been so successful.

“But he has no clothes at all!” cried a little child in the crowd. “Hear the voice of innocence!” said the father; and everyone whispered to his neighbor what the child had said. Then the whole crowd began to shout, “But he has no clothes at all!” The emperor shivered, for it seemed to him that the people were right, but he said to himself: “Now I must stand my ground until the procession is over.” And so the procession went on its way, and the chamberlains continued to carry the train, which did not exist.

B. The new clothes of Pope Francis and the drama of today’s Church

O my Father, let us now analyze the previous tale by applying it to the current reality of our Church. The philosophical tool suited to this task is the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl (1859-1938). It consists of observing facts attentively and analyzing them objectively and without prejudice in order to arrive at their essential content. We will then have a better understanding of the drama being experienced by Pope Francis’ Church.

O my Father, on 19 March 2016, in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, you spoke of “remarried” divorcees in the following terms: “in such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, ‘it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers’” (note 329). On 5 September 2016, together with some Argentine bishops, you stated that “the commitment to live in continence can be proposed. Amoris laetitia does not ignore the difficulties of this option… the mentioned option may not, in fact, be feasible” (Letter from the Bishops of the Pastoral Region of Buenos Aires, 5-6). On 5 June 2017, you ordered Cardinal Pietro Parolin to publish the Argentinian bishops’ letter (containing the above three sentences) in the official Vatican archives, presenting them as “Magisterium authenticum” (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 108; pp. 1071-1074; www.vatican.va/archive/aas/documents/2016/acta-ottobre2016.pdf).

O my Father, when was the last time we saw a pope affirm that the virtue of chastity is an option and present fidelity and the good of children as excuses for committing adultery or fornication, acts that are intrinsically and morally evil? Never! Since when has a pope presented this as “authentic magisterium”? Never! There are numerous publications demonstrating the relativism and situational ethics contained in your “authentic magisterium,” and they clearly show that in reality no such magisterium exists (cf. Open Letter to the College of Cardinals, 29 June 2016; Filial Correction to Pope Francis, 16 July 2017; Open Letter to Bishops, April 2019; The unanswered concerns about Amoris Laetitia: Why the Apostolic Exhortation remains a danger to souls, 29 September 2021; Defending the Faith Against Present Heresies, Arouca Press, 2021; Tradimento della sana dottrina attraverso “Amoris laetitia,” Tullio Rotondo, Youcanprint, 2022; my open letter on Amoris laetitia, 8 December 2021; my filial correction, 29 June 2023, etc.).

READ: Renowned Catholic philosopher warns Pope Francis is ‘destroying the foundations of faith and morals’

O my Father, is chastity an option, YES or NO? The truth is one and unchanging, and there are not 10,000 answers to this question, but only one: NO! All faithful Catholics know this, including the last baptized person with a minimum of orthodox Christian training. Non-Catholics with a minimum knowledge of the natural moral law and Catholic teaching also know this. Yet you answered YES to this question and, unfortunately, since 2016 you have stubbornly maintained this answer, refusing to officially acknowledge that you made a serious error. Yet it is clear that what you have declared to be “authentic magisterium” is a chimera, an illusion, a fiction, an invisible garment.

O my Father, like the emperor in Andersen’s tale, Pope Francis loves theological and moral novelty: he is “the non-traditionalist pope,” or “the progressive pope,” or “the pope of novelty.” Unfortunately, modernism and relativism have approached him and encouraged him to reject the old clothes of the traditional teachings recalled by St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Then they led him to believe that by using the fabric of situational ethics, he would be able to give the papacy a new splendor with new clothes. The first garment to be made was Amoris laetitia. In fact, modernism and relativism have deceived Pope Francis, because it is absolutely impossible for these new invisible clothes to constitute an “authentic magisterium.” Such a magisterium cannot exist with situational ethics. Without the fine silk that is the traditional teachings of the Church and the precious gold that is truth, no “authentic magisterium” is possible.

O my Father, on 5 June 2017, by ordering Cardinal Pietro Parolin that Amoris laetitia’s approach to “remarried” divorcees be recorded in the official Vatican archives, you wanted to confirm to all Christians that you were wearing a real garment, an “authentic magisterium”: “Magnificent, ravishing, perfect!… I give my highest approval!” And on 11 January 2018, Parolin, like the old minister in Andersen’s tale, publicly declared in an interview that this “authentic magisterium” is a new garment, a “new paradigm,” and that, what’s more, this garment is splendid: “Oh, it’s lovely, the most beautiful thing!”

READ: Cardinals Burke, Müller condemn Pope Francis’ support for same-sex ‘blessings,’ Communion for adulterers

O my Father, Cardinal Walter Kasper, like the official in Andersen’s tale, is appreciated by Pope Francis, who did not hesitate to praise him publicly (21 February 2014). Kasper, the brains behind the Amoris laetitia innovation regarding “remarried” divorcees, encouraged Francis to publicly carry his invisible “authentic magisterium”: “Yes, it’s quite wonderful!” But it is a pity that Francis did not heed the warning given by Our Lady of Anguera many years ago: “Walter Kasper: behold, because of him many will die” (2.570, 3 September 2005).

O my Father, on 13 July 2017, during a conference in Ireland, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn revealed that he had met you shortly after making the public presentation of Amoris laetitia (8 April 2016). You thanked him and asked him if the document was orthodox: “I said, ‘Holy Father, it is fully orthodox’.” A few days later, you sent him a note saying: “Thank you for that word. That gave me comfort.” As the American journalist Philip Lawler pointed out, “Cardinal Schönborn’s anecdote presents us with an astonishing picture: The successor to St. Peter – the man whose solemn duty it is to guard the deposit of the faith – is asking another prelate whether his own teaching is orthodox. And he is comforted to hear an affirmative answer. More: Pope Francis consults with Cardinal Schönborn – one of his close advisers, and a respected theologian – and looks for assurance that his teaching is orthodox, after the document has been issued.” (Catholic Culture, 17 July 2017).

O my Father, you, your ministers and your officials have led Christians to believe that repentance for serious sins is not necessary for certain people (relativism) and in certain situations (situation ethics). But the reality is that this is a venom that will gradually kill morality. Here are some of the erroneous statements you have inspired: “there are complex situations where the choice of living ‘as brothers and sisters’ becomes humanly impossible and give rise to greater harm” (Cardinal Mario Grech, Archbishop Charles Scicluna, Criteria for the application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia, 14 January 2017); “if the commitment to live as brother and sister…. gives rise to difficulties, the two cohabitants do not seem to be obliged per se” (Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, Il Capitolo Ottavo della Esortazione Apostolica Post Sinodale Amoris Laetitia, 14 February 2017).

O my Father, some cardinals, bishops, priests and lay people have analyzed your Amoris laetitia innovation for “remarried” divorcees and have had doubts about the existence of an “authentic magisterium” that they do not see. Unfortunately, they did not have the courage to tell the truth, for fear of losing their position or because they did not want to appear stupid and unable to justify the absence of an “authentic magisterium.” So they have chosen to remain silent or to become chamberlains who carry the train of this invisible garment and repeat the official speech: “The emperor’s new clothes are admirable!” Many lay people, priests, bishops, cardinals and the media have not had time to analyze Amoris laetitia in detail. So they followed the official speech, and since 2016, they have been repeating, “The emperor’s new clothes are admirable!” The list of your disciples and admirers is long and cannot be contained here. No new magisterium by a pope has had such great media publicity: “No new emperor’s clothes had ever been so successful.”

READ: Archbishop Aguer: Pope Francis’ poor treatment of clergy reveals a ‘lack of justice and charity’

O my Father, there are many Christians today who doubt the official speech and are wary of your innovation Amoris laetitia. They are familiar with the ancient clothes of the Popes, with the traditional magisterium, and they were surprised by what they saw: “The emperor took off all his beautiful clothes.” These Christians are morally and doctrinally confused because they do not perceive a total continuity between the traditional magisterium and the new magisterium of Francis. On the contrary, they see points of rupture. They are therefore troubled and dismayed: What to do? What to say? In reality, the best thing to do is to follow the advice of Jesus Christ, Our Founder: “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

O my Father, we must thank God for the Christians (cardinals, bishops, priests, university professors, theological and moral experts, journalists, etc.) who have had a child’s heart and the voice of innocence and who have been sincere about the non-existence of your “authentic magisterium”: “But he has no clothes at all!” For example: Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Leo Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Joachim Meisner, Carlo Maria Viganò, Athanasius Schneider, Héctor Rubén Aguer, Charles Chaput O.F.M. Cap., Stanislaw Gadecki, Bernard Fellay, Marian Eleganti, Antonio Livi, Aidan Nichols O.P., Thomas Weinandy O.F.M. Cap., José Luis Aberasturi, Jorge González Guadalix, Gerald Murray, Nick Donnelly, Roberto de Mattei, Robert Spaemann, John Rist, Gerard van den Aardweg, Josef Seifert, Matteo D’Amico, Claudio Pierantoni, Robert Hickson, George Weigel, Martin Mosebach, Corrado Gnerre, Peter Kwasniewski, Stefano Fontana, Giovanni Zenone, John Lamont, Anna Silvas, Matt Gaspers, Joseph Shaw, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, José Arturo Quarracino, Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña, Vittorio Messori, Sandro Magister, Marco Tosatti, Aldo Maria Valli, Antonio Socci, Riccardo Cascioli, Robert Royal, Philip Lawler, Edward Pentin, John-Henry Westen, Maike Hickson, Elizabeth Yore, Michael Matt, Raymond Arroyo, Georges Buscemi, Jeanne Smits, Eric Sammons, Robert Siscoe, Luisella Scrosati, Bruno Moreno, etc. A number of Christians then came running “and everyone whispered to his neighbour what” the Christians with childlike hearts had said. Then a whole crowd of Christians began to shout: “But he has no clothes at all!”

O my Father, you were troubled at that moment: “The emperor shivered, for it seemed to him that the people were right.” What did you do then? Did you quickly return to the old clothes of the traditional magisterium recalled by St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI? No! Instead, you decided to continue walking down the path of moral and doctrinal errors. Amazingly, you have even asked modernism and relativism to make you new invisible clothes that can serve as “authentic magisterium.” We will look at these carefully in my next open letter. In fact, you intend to stay on this heretical path until the end of your pontificate: “Now I must stand my ground until the procession is over.”

O my Father, many of your ministers and officials have decided to accompany you on this path: “And so the procession went on its way and the chamberlains continued to carry the train, which did not exist.” For example: Pietro Parolin, Walter Kasper, Francesco Coccopalmerio, Lorenzo Baldisseri, Josef de Kesel, Christoph Schönborn, Agostino Vallini, Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., Matteo Maria Zuppi, Marcello Semeraro, Blase Cupich, Reinhard Marx, Óscar Maradiaga, Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R., Kevin Farrell, Wilton Gregory, Robert McElroy, José Tolentino de Mendonça, Jean-Claude Hollerich S.J., Peter Turkson, Mario Grech, Charles Scicluna, Víctor Manuel Fernández, Johann Bonny, Bruno Forte, Sergio Alfredo Fenoy, Karl-Heinz Wiesemann, Vincenzo Paglia, Felix Gmür, Mario Delpini, Heiner Koch, Joseph Maria Bonnemain, Timothy Radcliffe O.P., Antonio Spadaro S.J., Thomas Reese S.J., James Martin S.J., Gilfredo Marengo, Maurizio Chiodi, Philippe Bordeyne, Austen Ivereigh, Rafael Luciani, etc. On 13 July 2023, Cardinal Dominik Duka O.P. and the Czech Episcopal Conference expressed their doubts about the meaning of this procession. On 25 September 2023, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, invited them to join the procession without hesitation.

O my Father, is your decision to continue wearing your new invisible clothes really reasonable? Obviously not! It is Jesus who says so and who encourages you to recover the precious gold that is the truth and the white garments that are the traditional teachings of the Church: “I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on” (Revelation 3:18). Did you follow this advice? No! On the contrary, on 11 November 2023, you punished a child’s noble and sincere voice that loves you and wanted to remind you of the advice given by Jesus: Bishop Joseph Edward Strickland!

Fr. Janvier Gbénou (pen name: Fr. Jesusmary Missigbètò)

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