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 John-Henry Westen /

May 21, 2015 ( — I’ve just returned from Rome where 120 life and family leaders from all over the world met to strategize over concerns with the Synod on the Family.  It was amazing working with the best people on earth – faithful, kind, sincere, hard-working, and ready to die for their faith in Christ.

The world may see us as obsessed with the issues of life and family, but we know that this turf is where the greatest battle for souls is now being waged and so we’re engaged in the fight.  I was asked to give the concluding address of the public portion of the meetings, which was keynoted with a talk by Vatican Cardinal George Pell.

In my talk, which expressed the sentiments of most of the leaders, I answered the common objection of those faithful Catholics who are concerned when leaders note their frustration with the lack of clarity from the Vatican on Pope Francis’ statements and actions.  “Aren’t you being like the Pharisees,” they say, “who also complained that Jesus ate with sinners?”

I used as one key example the case last year when Pope Francis celebrated a Mass with Italy’s leading homosexual activist priest, a priest who openly advocates for same-sex “marriage.”   After the Mass the Pope exchanged gifts with the priest and kissed the priest’s hand.

Had the Vatican noted that the Pope was calling the priest to repentance there would have been great rejoicing on the part of pro-family leaders the world over. But the clarification never came. Even when asked for, the Vatican refused to comment.  Thus confusion reigned and even scandal.

Remember when Christ ate with tax collectors and other sinners; when He encountered the woman caught in adultery? He always was noted calling them to repentance. Even in Christ’s own words in Luke 5, He says He came for sinners “to call them to repentance.”

With that clarification coming from Rome whenever the Pope reaches out to notorious betrayers of truth, life and family leaders would be weeping for joy at Pope Francis’ actions, rather than weeping in sorrow at the massive confusion erupting everywhere.

I begged for clarity in Rome, for an end to the confusion. I begged faith leaders to speak the truth boldly in season and out of season. At this point, as religious freedom erodes all over the world, we must demand an end to the confusion if not for ourselves, then at least for our children and grandchildren.

See my full talk here, or watch video below:

Find more coverage from the 2015 Rome Life Forum here.

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.


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