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John-Henry Westen in Vatican press room, covering one of many synod press conferences.Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

Note: On Oct. 4, 2019, Voice of the Family, a coalition of pro-life and pro-family organizations, hosted a roundtable discussion in Rome to address critical questions for the Church and for the family on the eve of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Read LifeSiteNews’s report on this event here. Below is the full address given by John-Henry Westen.

October 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — We have arrived. This week, the Amazonian Synod will be underway. It is expected to be the most severe calamity for the Faith the Church has ever known, and let’s pray that it won’t turn out as dire as it threatens.

A few cardinals have warned of apostasy and heresy in the working document prepared for the synod, but most have remained silent. We, the faithful, cannot remain silent because it is the faith of our children that is being threatened. It is our right as Catholics to have the faith of Jesus Christ handed down faithfully by our priests and bishops and especially the pope.

But in this time we have had the opposite, especially from Pope Francis. He has gravely harmed the Faith and it is time to say it out loud. For the love of Christ, for the love of His Church, for the love of Our Blessed Mother in Heaven, for the love of our children for whom we live to pass on the One True Faith, we must proclaim from the housetops: enough!

Let the Mystical Body of Christ cry out to God as our Lord cried out to the Father from the cross, for many ministers in His Church have betrayed her. The faithful clergy who have fought to defend the teachings of Christ are downtrodden by the pope, while those who seek to spread confusion and error are promoted and honored.

The pope has gained the friendship of the world but at the price of betraying the truth of the Savior. In crushing good cardinals, faithful orders, orthodox institutions and academies; by elevating and promoting heterodox prelates; by personally giving signs of approval of homosexual acts and abortionists; by proclaiming a false ecumenism; by giving false teaching on contraception, cohabitation, and adultery, the pope has shown he allows himself to be led by a spirit contrary to that of the Gospel, rather than by the Holy Spirit, who would be available to the pope as to no one else.

Pope Francis has encouraged pastors to have the smell of the sheep. Also, however, a pastor should have the smell of Christ. The sheep know the smell of a pastor in the mould of Christ. Faithful Catholics all know when we encounter a faithful son of Our Lady in a pastor. We see it in his devotion at Mass, in his demeanor at prayer, in his homilies and teachings, in his advice in the confessional, in his admonishing sinners and encouraging the faithful. His friends are the most faithful, while those who seek to destroy the Church by remaking her in their own image make themselves his enemies, while the good priest prays for their conversion nonetheless.

The faithful know a good priest. We may be fooled for a time, but eventually, we come to know the truth.

All that is not to say we don’t love Pope Francis. Indeed, it would not be love at all to gloss over these monumental concerns and be silent about them, because they harm him most of all. He will have to answer to Christ at judgement just as we all will.

We must continue to pray for the pope every day — pray for his conversion.

I’m not judging his motive. In fact, I’m assuming that he believes that what he is doing is benefiting the Church. But what is plainly obvious is that what is being set up is a false Church and a false image of Christ.

A “reasonable” church that contravenes doctrine in hard cases, a church that suggests that Hell is empty, a church that sows doubt about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, a church that puts political considerations such as immigration policy above non-negotiable teachings on abortion, is a false church.

These are serious charges yes, but it doesn’t take a theologian to recognize when the Faith is being distorted. We won’t leave the Church; it is the One True Church, and there is no other. We shall fight for Christ’s Truth in the Church because we are ready to die for this faith.

We pledge to be truly devoted to Our Lady as we have never been before. For we know that in the end, Her Immaculate heart will triumph. She warned us these times were coming…that the final battle between Our Lord and the reign of Satan would be over marriage and the family. It is here. Standing with Our Lady, we are not fearful. We say with her amen — so be it — to all that the Father allows in the suffering of the Mystical Body of Christ.

We know the resurrection follows. We can rejoice even now in that knowledge, since the depths of the sufferings make the ultimate victory more miraculous.