VATICAN, October 13, 2005 ( – Yesterday, Cardinals and Bishops gathered with Pope Benedict in the Vatican for the Synod of Bishops heard the concerns of Catholic pro-life and family leaders. Addressing the Synod were Leonardo Casco, President of Alliance for the Family (Alianza Para La Familia) Honduras and Martha Lorena Alvarado De Casco, President of the Pro-Life Committee (Comite Por La Vida) Honduras.

The President of the Alliance for the family was straightforward in his assessment of the state of Catholic life noting that there has been a general loss of the true practice and adherence to the teachings of the faith.“Given that reality tells us that a huge number of Catholics in the world today have no exact knowledge of the doctrinal principles of the faith they profess, living what could be called (to use a fashionable term) ‘light’ Catholicism, it would appear indispensable . . . to find … a formula giving the lay faithful basic doctrinal, ethical and moral formation, as well as an awareness of the importance of belonging to the unique Church of Christ and the pride, in a positive sense, of being Catholic. … I consider it equally necessary that bishops and priests should have no hesitation in joyfully proposing to the lay faithful a life of demanding and robust faith,” he said.

In an interview with last year, Casco noted that even in his native Honduras where the constitution and country’s laws are pro-life thanks to their Catholic roots, pro-abortion forces have been making inroads, due in no small part to a loss of the practice of faith among many of the country’s Catholics.

The head of the Pro-Life Committee addressed the Synod saying, “As a wife, mother, sister, daughter and grandmother, I feel that, from early childhood, women should receive a formation that prepares them for the development of the two essential sides of their character: femininity and the gift of motherhood.” De Alvarado de Casco added, “Sadly, in recent decades, women have slowly lost the true meaning of their identity and, hence, the real sense of their Christian mission. … There is much to be done for women; nonetheless, with great respect, I propose the following: As far as possible, separate education for boys and girls should be maintained.” She pointed out that “Studies have been carried out showing that separate education for boys and girls helps, among other things, the educational process and the development of a healthy affectivity, especially in adolescence.”

(with files from the Vatican Information Service)