Father Jesusmary Missigbèt was told on February 2 that he had been removed from his spiritual family, Opus Dei, for publicly denouncing Pope Francis for his support of same-sex civil union.
This is coming to light following the Pope’s long awaited scheduled visit to South Sudan and Congo this July, to fulfill a long-held desire to minister to Catholics in African countries with large Catholic populations and lengthy histories of war.
The expelled priest holds a PhD in philosophy and has spent over 25 years with Opus Dei. Opus Dei suspended Father Jesusmary in March 2021 because he disobeyed his superiors’ directives not to publicly criticize the Pope.
He has been unable to preach, conduct public Masses, or hear confessions since then, and he no longer lives in an Opus Dei apartment, but with his family in Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa). Fr. Jesusmary is the youngest of nine children in a poor family.
When Pope Francis confessed support for homosexuality on October 21, 2020, in Evgeny Afineevsky’s documentary Francesco, the African priest was alarmed:
“What we have to do is a civil coexistence law; they have the right to be covered legally. I defended this,” the Pope said, striking the chord in the priest to speak out against what he perceives as an alternate value of what the Church stands for.
“Beyond Francesco and the homosexual issue it raises, I see an apparent victory of situation ethics over traditional Catholic morality,” he said in his interview with LifeSiteNews last September.
“Since 2016, with the publication of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, several Catholic moral experts (notably the German philosopher Robert Spaemann and the English theologian Aidan Nichols, OP) have warned that the pontificate of Pope Francis seems to be opening the doors of traditional Catholic morality to a certain situation ethics,” he added
Twitter and Facebook has been his vocal tool before and after expulsion. The 42-year-old African priest has used the platform to make multiple statements that contradicted the Pope’s actions and words in favor of normalizing and embracing homosexual civil unions.
By February 25, Father Jesusmary had been informed that all of his appeals had been turned down and that his sole option was to appeal to Pope Francis. He is no longer allowed to serve as a priest.
Fr. Jesusmary has written a book called “Homosexuality vs. Papacy” and two open letters. Three more, on situation ethics under Pope Francis’ magisterium, are on the way. “Truth, Half-Truth, and Situation Ethics: What About Pope Francis’ Pontificate?” will be the title of his second book, which will be based on these letters. You may read one of Father Jesusmary’s open letters to Pope Francis here.
His appeal to Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, the head of Opus Dei, was denied. As can be seen in this document, this prelate denied his appeal on February 8 and confirmed “Abbé Janvier Gbenou’s dismissal.”
Manuel Lago, the press secretary for the Opus Dei branch in the Ivory Coast, told LifeSiteNews about Fr. Jesusmary in October of last year, citing the “damage” caused by his public criticism of the Pope. Lago wrote after outlining the priest’s punishments:
“Our attitude is that we pray for him, hoping that he will change his conduct, that he will prefer communion among us and with the Sovereign Pontiff and that he can resume the exercise of his ministry.”
The African priest did not withdraw any of his views in this private letter to Pope Francis, instead referring to St. Catherine of Siena, who previously called a pope – Pope Gregory XI – to retire if he did not fulfill his obligations.
In the past, Father Jesusmary has called on Pope Francis to resign if he does not repudiate his erroneous doctrines. However, in his private letter to the Pope, the priest emphasizes the need for Pope Francis’ faults to be corrected and asks the Pope:
“I humbly beg you: please rectify the errors of your pontificate… for your good and that of the Church.”