A French priest on a mission on TikTok
BETTING À DAY
Homosexuality “is not a sin”, how to “condemn” abortion?, a trans person “remains a child of God”… Matthieu Jasseron, an iconoclastic French country priest, has invaded the networks with a “mission”: to answer “without judging all the questions”, even if it means passing for “heretic”.
His parish of Joigny (center), in deep Burgundy, has only 18,000 inhabitants, but “faithful”, he has 1.2 million on the TikTok network, where his thousands of videos have been “liked” 31.5 million times.
The priest 2.0 is shaking up the Christian doctrine, answering without taboo the questions of his most lost sheep.
To a transgender who says he is ostracized in his parish, he replies: “rejecting someone for their orientation should not exist. You will always be the child of God”.
@perematthieu Response to @Jean-Michel Alétas ➡️➡️ youtube: father matthieu 😉🙏🏼🕊 #lgbt #Church #christians ♬ Mystery of Love [Instrumental] – Live – Hannah Stater
To this woman who asks him if abortion is “direct hell”, he retorts: “Are we here to condemn?”.
And to the question “Is being gay, are we still Christian?”, He affirms: “nowhere, is it marked that it is a sin”, opposing “all the repressed homos who hide behind religion a quote from Pope Francis: “If a gay person seeks God and shows goodwill, who am I to judge them?”
The reaction is not long in coming: the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF) says it “disapproves of some of these videos which distort the message of the Church”.
“I understand that I may have offended : this is the strength of my speech”, declares to AFP the scratchy priest of the Church, in his presbytery of the large sleepy borough of Joigny.
It is here, in a sober office where pious icons rub shoulders with a Jewish candelabra and a Buddha, that the digital priest sets up his artisanal studio – a spotlight and a tripod to hold his telephone – and films himself shaking up the catechism.
“We taught our 70- and 80-year-olds a binary tradition: yes, no, we can't”.
“But we have evolved,” justifies the fiery priest, whose 38 years contrast with the average age of his peers (67). Ordained less than four years ago, the priest does not have a classic background either: “I was nourished by Christian values even if we only went to mass once a year”, he says. with a smirk more devilish than diabolical.
After business school, the Parisian suburbanite joined a wealth management company. “It was a comfortable job, but I was not happy”.
He then left to recharge his batteries in the countryside, in Yonne, and met the brothers of Saint-Jean, who responded to his “quest for meaning”.
At 24, he entered the seminary and then became a priest. He will not put on the cassock, however, preferring to keep his jeans-sneakers and his hanging tongue, which had already almost got him expelled from the seminary.
When confinement occurs, he sees in TikTok a way to keep in touch with his parishioners.
In the first videos, in the spring of 2020, the “priest of TikTok” multiplies funny and deliberately provocative films, like the one where he plays the DJ with a chalice on the altar of his church.
The most conservative treat him as a “heretic”, but the “likes” multiply like hot cakes with each “tikthomelia”, just like the questions that torment many believers.
“I wanted respond to it, but without judging, and extract myself from the logic of the forbidden-permit”, he pleads to AFP.
On February 21, the religious number launched theostream.com, which he calls the “Netflix of faith”.
The platform wants to bring together Christian videos broadcast on YouTube (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant). Fifty themes were selected, including “sexuality” which includes homosexuality, contraception, gender identity…
“We no longer learn from books. Today it's YouTube and TikTok. I'm taking it, ”explains Father Matthieu.
Nice revenge: Theostream received the imprimatur of the Conference of Bishops, which had in the past scolded the priest for his videos on homosexuality.
“The Church seeks to take digital into flight. Even 65-year-old priests are putting themselves on TikTok, it's super cool, ”he congratulates himself, without resentment.