Monday 15 April 2024

Ex-Opus Dei priest receives new date for canonical trial over criticism of Pope Francis

Father Jesusmary Missigbètò - Complicit Clergy

An African priest whose filial corrections of the Pope led to his dismissal from Opus Dei will be fighting for his priesthood this May.

Father Janvier Gbénou, better known to readers by his nom-de-plume Fr. Jesusmary Missigbètò, has been instructed by Father Serge Abdoulaye Sissoko, the Regional Vicar of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Côte d’Ivoire, to travel from his home in Benin to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire to answer canonical charges of disobedience on May 8, 2024.

At stake is Fr. Missigbètò’s priestly vocation. According to an email obtained by LifeSiteNews, the priest may be punished very severely for having continued to point out Pope Francis’ theological novelties in public: dismissed from the clerical state.

The trial to take place in Abidjan is, according to Fr. Sissoko:

“…  just a question of hearing your defence concerning your disobedience to what the Holy See had imposed on you in the decree of 30 May 2022, i.e. “di astenersi del tutto per il futuro dal compiere qualsiasi comunicazione sui media fino a nuovo provvedimento e senza il permesso del competente Dicastero della Sede Apostolica” (to refrain totally in the future from carrying out any communication in the media until new measures are taken and without the authorization of the competent Dicastery of the Apostolic See).”

“At the same time, this decree warned you that “in caso di ostinata disobbedienza al presente precetto potrà incorrere in provvedimenti disciplinari e penali più gravi” (in case of obstinate disobedience to this precept, you could incur other more serious disciplinary and penal measures),” Sissoko continued in his April 8 email.

“Since you have already been suspended from exercising priestly ministry and your interventions in the media as a priest are causing damage in the ecclesial community, it is considered that the “provvedimenti disciplinari e penali più gravi” (more serious disciplinary and penal measures) can only be dismissal from the clerical state.”

Sissoko makes it plain in his letter to Missigbètò that the hearing to which he has been summoned is “an extrajudicial criminal trial” and that he is accused, not only of disobedience, but of attacking Pope Francis.

However, Missigbètò argues that he has not been writing “against the Pope.” In his April 9 response to Sissoko, he states, “You say I’m writing against the Pope, but that’s not true: I’m writing against the Pope’s errors. There’s a very important nuance here, because as a Catholic, it’s impossible for me to be against the Pope.”

Missigbètò stressed in this email that he loves Pope Francis and that “out of love for him and his eternal salvation” the priest is “correcting him by publicly criticizing his errors, since he has obstinately refused to correct them for eight years and these errors constitute an evil for the moral conscience of Christians. In fact, it is impossible for a Catholic not to love the Pope (especially when that Catholic is described as a ‘traditionalist’).”

He also cited the example of St. Paul’s correction of St. Peter, while suggesting that Pope Francis’ errors are “objectively more serious” than St. Peter’s. 

According to Missigbètò, these include the Pontiff’s description of the continent life as an “option;” his acceptance of hysterectomy as a contraceptive, in the case of a fertile woman unable to bring her children to term; his suggestion that the Blessed Virgin Mary was not born a saint; his support for civil partnerships between homosexuals; his permission for pro-abortion politicians to receive the Blessed Sacrament; and his support for the blessing of couples in irregular unions or same-sex relationships.

Missigbètò’s trial has been already postponed twice: it was originally to take place on March 6, 2023, but was moved to April 10, 2023 after the defendant did not attend. In his emails to Fr. Sissoko, Missigbètò indicates that he is reluctant to travel to Abidjan because he has been the subject of five death threats in that city.

Missigbètò was sanctioned by Opus Dei in 2022, forbidden to preach, hear confessions, and celebrate Mass publicly. 

Both Pope Francis and Cardinal Marc Ouellet signed off on the restrictions because, the priest reported, he lacked “respect and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff.”