November 12, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The following is an open letter by Father Jesusmary Missigbètò, an Opus Dei priest suspended in March of this year after last November criticizing Pope Francis’s support of civil unions of homosexual couples and asking him to correct his position or resign. (Read LifeSite’s exclusive interview with him HERE).
First open letter to pope Francis, to cardinals and bishops, to Christians, and people of good will
“First call for Pope Francis’ rectification”
Yamoussoukro (City of Peace); Côte d’Ivoire; October 21, 2021; 1st anniversary of “Francesco”
Dear Elders in the Catholic faith,
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
A. Why an open letter?
True love rhymes with sincerity and boldness… In an ancient tale, an Arab king asked one of his advisors what his subjects thought of him. The adviser replied: “Do you want me to tell you something nice or the truth?”
“The truth,” replied the king. “Well, if it is the truth, concede me a favor first.”
“What is that? I concede it to you.”
“Thank you my king, I just want a horse to ride away as soon as I tell you the truth.”
Should I be afraid to speak the truth to Pope Francis, the cardinals, and bishops? I do not think so, because they are our fathers in the Church and it is love for them and the Church that prompts me to write now about God’s truth concerning marriage, family, and sexuality.
B. Why is the truth important for the Catholic Church and for humanity?
Pope Francis and many bishops are used to calling for Church unity. They are right because our Church has no visible unity, which hinders her mission to evangelize the world. However, unity is precisely linked to truth. In addition, the first service of the papacy is the service of truth: the Pope is Vicar of Christ, God’s Eternal Truth. The “synodal Church” must be built on the rock of truth which are the words of Christ, because if the foundations are erroneous, the construction will be neither solid nor lasting: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock” (Matthew 7:24). However, since 2016, many signs compel us to say that our Church needs a synod on truth, half-truth, and situation ethics, before a synod on “synodality.”
C. Where is the truth about homosexual civil cohabitation laws?
1) What did Pope Francis say and do?
One year ago, on October 21, 2020, in the documentary “Francesco” by Evgeny Afineevsky, Pope Francis said: “What we have to do is a civil coexistence law; they have the right to be covered legally. I defended this.” Afineevsky took these three sentences from an interview of Pope Francis with a Mexican television channel (they were cut when this interview was made public in 2019, certainly because it was already known that it would not have been appreciated by the Catholic faithful). Pope Francis saw the documentary long before it was made public. On the day of the official screening, Afineevsky celebrated his 48th birthday in the Vatican with a cake, in the presence of Pope Francis, his friend, and posted the photos on his Instagram. The next day, Afineevsky (active homosexual and director in 2009 of a film promoting homosexuality, “Oy Vey! My son is gay!”) was congratulated and awarded in the Vatican gardens with the Kinéo Prize.
On October 21, 2020, Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, a friend and theological adviser to Pope Francis, wrote: “What the Pope has said on this subject is what he also maintained when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires (…) Bergoglio always recognized that, without calling it ‘marriage’, in fact there are very close unions between people of the same sex, which do not in themselves imply sexual relations, but a very intense and stable alliance. They know each other thoroughly, they share the same roof for many years, they take care of each other, they sacrifice for each other (…) This can be contemplated in the law and is called ‘civil union’ or ‘civil coexistence law’, not marriage. Bergoglio always had this opinion, and even years ago there was a discussion in the Argentine episcopate, where Bergoglio defended this, but lost.” On October 21, 2020, the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina wrote: “We share the reflection of Monsignor Víctor Manuel Fernández (@Tuchofernandez), Archbishop of La Plata.” On the same day, Fr. James Martin SJ, another friend and adviser to Pope Francis said: “What makes Pope Francis comments supporting same-sex civil unions today so momentous? First, he is saying them as Pope, not Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Second, he is clearly supporting, not simply tolerating, civil unions. Third, he is saying it on camera, not privately.”
2) What did Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI say and do?
Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI used the way of prudence explaining their teaching in the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), dated June 3, 2003, and entitled “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons.” One of their statements is: “If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians” (10). And one might add that bishops, cardinals and Pope Francis are even more obliged to do so. Or were Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in error? Or is it rather Pope Francis who is in error? There cannot be two truths on the same subject, otherwise we fall into moral relativism.
3) Where is the truth? What is the basis for Pope Francis’ statements?
The document of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI is well grounded in the multisecular moral tradition of the Catholic Church. The Christian moral principle they taught us is based on biological, anthropological, philosophical, and theological arguments. But where is the basis for Pope Francis’s statements? What anthropological principle allows the promotion of homosexual laws in civil society? What biblical reference? What patristic reference? What theological reference? So far, Pope Francis has only used the power of the international media to spread his idea, but is this enough? It is very strange that many Christians have abandoned the well-founded moral principle of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI for an opinion that is not based on anthropology, philosophy or theology and that will have serious negative consequences for the Catholic Church and for the world.
4) Future negative consequences…
In the short, medium, and long term: loss of value of the Sacrament of Marriage, loss of value of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, difficulty of educating children to the true love between man and woman as willed by God the Creator, future priestly and religious vocations, security of Christians in the face of terrorism, moral coherence of Christian doctrine, faith of the Christian faithful, unity and peace of the Church, etc. For example, Fr. Philippe Bordeyne negatively criticised the new CDF document prohibiting Catholic priests from blessing same-sex couples (February 22, 2021). He maintains that it is a good thing to bless homosexual couples but in a private liturgical form with a personal blessing for each member of the couple, to make the difference with the nuptial prayers of blessing. But he is the new President of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Is this normal? What surprises will we have in the future? Another example: on October 5, 2021, the commission of enquiry in France published the “Rapport Sauvé” on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. According to this report, 80% of the victims are boys. Is not this linked to homosexuality? Pope Francis says he sincerely regrets the abuses but at the same time he continues to be in favor of homosexual civil cohabitation laws. Is this not inconsistent? Where will future priestly vocations come from if not from civil society, since the Church is in society?
5) Answers to the various objections…
Sometimes Pope Francis, as well as Bishop Joseph Bonnemain, Fr. James Martin, SJ and others, respond that homosexual laws are necessary to give social benefits. Same idea with the Holy See on October 31, 2020: “Therefore it is evident that Pope Francis has referred to certain state regulations, certainly not to the doctrine of the Church, reaffirmed numerous times over the years.” But why does the Holy See not see that this argument is wrong? The problem here is the failure to distinguish between “protective laws” and “cohabitation laws.” Protective laws are related to discrimination while cohabitation laws are related to LGBTQ ideology. There are protective laws for children, pregnant women, the disabled, migrants, prisoners, etc. All these people need good treatment and their social rights, but do they demand special cohabitation laws for that?
Sometimes Pope Francis, as well as Cardinal Blase Cupich and others, answer that marriage is a Sacrament between man and woman and that we could allow homosexual laws for civil but not ecclesiastical society. But this answer confuses ecclesiastical and civil law with the real nature of marriage. Marriage is not only a Christian Sacrament; it is first of all a natural sacrament instituted by the Creator God. So if someone refuses homosexual laws in the ecclesiastical realm because it is a Sacrament, it is absolutely necessary for that person to refuse homosexual laws in civil society because it is a natural sacrament given by God.
Sometimes Pope Francis, as well as Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández, Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, Bishop Joseph Bonnemain, and others, say that we will give the name of marriage to a union between a man and a woman and that we will find another name for the cohabitation of homosexual people, as for example the PACS in France, because they do not claim to equivalent to matrimonial life between a man and a woman but a free and willed cohabitation between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. But this argument is invalid. Do not homosexual couples today demand the adoption of children, in imitation of heterosexual couples?
Sometimes some bishops say that Pope Francis uses the principle of tolerance. But this argument is not valid either, because true tolerance can never mean legalization. No human society worthy of the name should reasonably accept the equivalence of married life with homosexual life in legal terms. It could, of course, mercifully tolerate it in fact, taking into account human frailty, as Pope Francis likes to say so aptly. But we must not confuse tolerance, legalisation, justice and truth. If Christians today accept the new principle of tolerance used by Pope Francis (different from that of John Paul II and Benedict XVI), then they will end up asking that there also be laws in civil society authorising prostitution, adultery, polygamy (polygyny and polyandry), abortion, etc. But they will insist on saying: “for civil society, not for ecclesial society”…
D. What could cardinals and bishops do to help solve the problem?
1) Remember what Jesus said about the grave sin of cohabitation…
“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Matthew 19:4-6). No human being, even one called “Jorge Mario Bergoglio” could allow this separation in favor of cohabitation with a person of the opposite or same sex. If Jesus Our Master and Lord forbade the cohabitation of man and woman, are we really sure that he would respond as Pope Francis does by inviting to work for the cohabitation of two men or two women? Is Pope Francis not the Vicar of Christ? Could the words said by Pope Francis come out of Jesus’ mouth?
Presidents Joseph Biden, Emmanuel Macron, Barack Obama, and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero could say what Pope Francis said on October 21, 2020. They might think that it is necessary for their countries to promote civil laws on homosexuality, following the democratic game. It is their right to follow the majority of their citizens who claim (unjustly before God) something unnatural. But the Catholic Pope, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, could never enter into this kind of game. It is not his role. The role that Jesus gave him is to recall the rights of God, even if Christians have to suffer from the unjust decision of a political society: this means accepting to be a witness to the truth. And this also concerns the Catholic bishops. They are not the bishops of the secularised world but the successors of the Apostles of Jesus. They too have been ordained to recall and defend the rights of God in this world. If they forget this, sad to say, they betray like Judas.
2) Remember what Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said…
Moral experts know well what the Christian principle of tolerance (the conditions of cooperation with evil) taught by John Paul II and Benedict XVI is like, derived from Catholic Tradition, and infused with the virtue of prudence. It preserves the good of the family and reminds us of the harmfulness of promoting homosexual laws: “(…) When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic law-maker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral. When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, ‘could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality’, on condition that his ‘absolute personal opposition’ to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided (…)” (CDF2003, 10)
3) Filial correction…
Pope Francis’s error in “Francesco” is very serious even if some people want to consider it unimportant. It would be good here to recall the Antioch incident related in the letter to the Galatians (cf. 2:11-14). Christian tradition has praised the courage of St. Paul (who made a filial correction) and the humility of St. Peter (who received a correction based on truth). Until now, only coalitions of lay people have had the courage to make a filial correction to Pope Francis. But Jesus, who is God, knew in advance the present problem and many others and gave us a peaceful and loving solution: “If your brother sins, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17). Do the cardinals and bishops really love Pope Francis? If they really love him, why does not a large coalition of cardinals and bishops decide to address a public filial correction to him since he himself has made his opinion widely public through a documentary and the media? However, the question could be asked differently…
We have just read that St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have recalled the need to avoid scandal. Moreover, we remember the words of Jesus Christ concerning scandal: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!” (Matthew 18:6-7) So, do the cardinals and bishops love Pope Francis so much that they want to help him save his soul, knowing that he has scandalised millions of souls in the world?
E. The author of this open letter…
1) Am I against Pope Francis?
No. I am only following what St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI said in CDF2003, 10.
2) Am I against the Church?
No. As I warned in my interview with Dr. Maike Hickson of LifeSiteNews on September 7, 2021, beyond “Francesco” and the homosexual laws’ issue, the real problem of our Church today is situation ethics, a very serious and important issue.
3) Am I against homosexual people?
No. But it is true that by fighting for the truth, I have certainly hurt some homosexual people, some Christians and Pope Francis. The fact is that I received a death threat on Twitter from an LGBTQ activist. I would like to publicly apologise to all these people and to Pope Francis now and here.
F. The next open letter…
In the pontificate of Pope Francis, I have observed at least five issues that seem to be cases of situation ethics. The first is addressed in this open letter and concerns the acceptance of homosexual cohabitation laws. As the present letter is already too long, the other topics will be the subject of a future open letter…
Your son, and brother,
Father Jesusmary Missigbètò
Gmail : [email protected]
Facebook : @fatherjesusmary
Twitter : @fatherjesusmary