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Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass of the October meeting of the Synod on Synodality on October 29, 2023, in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican CityYouTube/Screenshot

ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Well-known Catholic laity addressed the scandals of the recent Synod on Synodality at a press conference in Rome this morning.

The Catholic laymen and women who addressed media in Rome included LifeSiteNews’ co-founder and editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen, The Remnant newspaper’s Michael Matt, Ugandan MP Lucy Akello, Kenyan Alice Muchiri, French journalist Jeanne Smits, child advocate attorney Liz Yore, and British barrister (trial attorney) James Bogle. They provided LifeSiteNews and other media with statements serving as guides to their remarks.

While relieved that the report released by the Vatican on Saturday did not include any overt attempt to overthrow perennial doctrine, John-Henry Westen observed that Pope Francis had “scandalized the faithful” by hinting that the Scriptural prohibition of homosexual relations could be abolished.

“During this whole Synod on Synodality Pope Francis has made his own personal teaching contrary to the faith more explicit than ever before,” Westen said via press release.   

“Right from the outset he scandalized the faithful by selecting bishops who oppose the teaching of the faith on the family as the leadership of the synod,” he continued.

One such prelate was the relator general Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, who has openly declared that the Church’s teaching against sex between persons of the same sex is “false.” Others included openly pro-LGBT American bishops.

“…When the USA bishops selected conservative bishops as their representatives at the synod, Pope Francis made personal selections among US bishops choosing those pushing a homosexual agenda,” Westen observed.

“These included Blase Cupich, Wilton Gregory, Robert McElroy, Joseph Tobin, all of whom he has named Cardinals despite – or perhaps because of –their rejection of Church teaching,” he continued.

“To demonstrate beyond any shadow of doubt his agenda with the synod, Pope Francis appointed the most celebrated pusher of homosexuality in the Catholic Church in America, Jesuit Fr. James Martin, as a voting delegate to the synod.

Westen noted also that just before the synod officially began, Pope Francis suggested that pastors could decide for themselves to give “blessings to homosexual couples.”

During the synod, Pope Francis found time to meet with Whoopi Goldberg; according to the Holy See’s own Vatican News, the actress extolled the pontiff for his openness to homosexuality. Pope Francis also met with and praised the notorious LGBT activist Sister Jeannine Grammick, “who was condemned for flouting Church teaching on homosexuality by the previous two popes,” Westen recalled. He added that last week Pope Francis spoke to the co-chairs of the “Global Network of Rainbow Catholics” (GNRC), a coalition of dissenting, pro-LGBT, self-professed Catholic groups from across the world.

Westen ended his statement by assuring his hearers that LifeSiteNews loves and prays for the erring pontiff.

“We don’t hate the Pope,” he declared.  “In fact, we love him. We love him enough to tell him that he is wrong here, that he is confusing our children and leading them down a harmful path which threatens their eternal salvation.”

“That is why at LifeSite we pray for Pope Francis each and every day. We pray for his conversion, that he may turn around and teach with fidelity the unchanged and unchangeable truth of the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic faith.

READ: Synod on Synodality report pushes female deacons and lay governance but avoids giving firm answers

American traditionalist and newspaper editor Michael Matt also objected to the apparent openness to homosexuality signaled by “the synodal Church” in recent weeks. He said it was “just the beginning” and the attempt to bring about a “new moral reality.”

“So, those who are breathing a sigh of relief on their YouTube channels this morning, I’m sorry. But you have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said.

“The plan is to use the synodal process to convert the Catholic world over the next 12 months to accept massive change,” he continued.

“Why? Because overcoming 2000 years of Bible-based Catholic moral theology is going to take time.”

Matt stated: “On the question of homosexuality, the Catechism is clear: ‘… homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law…Under no circumstances can they be approved (CCCC 2357).”  

“How can the Church offer God’s blessing to gay unions without blasphemously asking God to bless intrinsically disordered and morally sinful acts? It is impossible.”

Although blessing homosexual “marriages” is not mentioned in the synodal statement, Matt declared that the issue is “still on the docket.”

He recalled that, in his October 2 answer to the most recent dubia, Pope Francis noted “that the Catholic Church, in pursuit of ‘pastoral prudence,’ should discern if there are ways of giving blessings to homosexual persons that do not alter the Church’s teaching on marriage.”

“This, however, has nothing to do with marriage,” Matt declared.

“The concern here is over blessing those engaged in sexual intercourse outside of marriage since the Church does not allow same-sex ‘marriage.’ So how can pastors bless those whose lifestyle includes extramarital acts that can ‘under no circumstances be approved’?” he asked.

“How can the Church bless unions that engage in ‘acts of grave depravity’ and are ‘intrinsically disordered’ and ‘contrary to natural law’?”

He pointed out that young people would see the Church’s blessing of homosexual relationships as turning “a blind eye to fornication in general.”    

“At the very least, blessing gay unions would signal that the Catholic Church no longer takes seriously her own moral teaching on co-habitation, sex outside of marriage, and fornication,” Matt concluded.  

Two African delegates, the Hon. Lucy Akello, a Ugandan M.P., and Alice Muchiri of the Kenyan Catholic MPs Spiritual Support Initiative, both contrasted traditional African family values, historically supported by the Catholic Church, with a neo-colonial attempt to force African Catholics to accept homosexuality and its promotion in their countries. 

Lucy Akello said via press release, “I traveled all the way to Rome today to be counted and perhaps become a missionary to the Western world, for you have forgotten that you brought the Gospel to Africa, and we are only defending what you brought to us and what resonates with our values and practices.”

“It is such a confusing moment to imagine that the same institutions that brought Christianity with all its beauty to Africa and the rest of the world might be used in the same way to spread false teachings in the guise of acceptance, inclusivity, and other such terms,” stated Alice Muchiri in her press release. “The same institutions that condemn polygamy amongst Africans are now condoning an abomination.”

Seasoned journalist Jeanne Smits pointed out that the so-called “Synod on Synodality” was not a synod at all.

“From the very fact that lay people have been given the vote, it cannot pretend to have any form of authority or relevance,” she observed.

“It does not correspond to a ‘Synod of bishops.’ So even if it asks for revolutionary charges in doctrine or morals, this will mean exactly nothing: just worldly pressure on an institution that was established by Christ Himself as a hierarchical communion.

Nevertheless, she notes that the process has “inoculated … the idea that the Church’s teachings can change and adapt to the world, making the Christian life a lot easier as it forgets the reality of the straight and narrow path.

Smits also underscored the irony of laypeople “being asked to weigh in on the development of the doctrine of the Church,” when “religious ignorance and faulty catechesis” are now so evident in surveys.

“One of the keywords of this synod (that is not a synod) is ‘pastoral’,” she observed. “But how can our pastors be ‘pastoral’ when there is so much vagueness about what Our Lord taught us and wants from us?

The synod has not yet proposed “spectacular changes,” but Smits believes it will bring “a profound revolution in the perception of what the Church is and how it functions… ‘a new way of being Church’.”

“The synod has presented the whole world an image of an egalitarian institution, where all – even non-Catholics, or those who openly oppose the morals taught by the Church but want to be ‘inside’ without conversion – have an equal right to speak, visually on the same level as our cardinals, bishops and priests,” she said.

“That revolution has already taken place.

Smits believes this revolution rejects the definition of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ, in favor of the notion of the “People of God, a new Church more concerned with social justice, environmentalism and ‘inclusion’ than with the salvation of souls.” She sees it as a “theology of the people,” an “Argentinian variant of liberation theology” promoted by Pope Francis.

READ: Cardinal Müller: Synod is about ‘preparing us to accept homosexuality,’ women’s ordination

Attorney Liz Yore, who has investigated clerical sexual abuse for 25 years, accused Pope Francis of running “a protection racket for predators.”  She bracketed the Francis pontificate with the appearance of the notorious coverup Cardinal Daneels on the loggia with the newly elected pope and Saturday’s “hypocritical” synod document. 

“This Synod on Synodality, in both the Instrumentum laboris and Saturday’s statement, speaks interminably of listening and dialoguing with the world. Nevertheless, this papacy has repeatedly insulted and ignored clerical abuse victims,” Yore said. 

She quoted the synod’s last statement, “The Church needs to listen with special care and sensitivity to the voices of victims of sexual, spiritual, economic and institutional abuse by clergy members. Authentic listening is a fundamental element of the journey toward healing, repentance, justice and reconciliation,” and asked, “Has this pontificate authentically listened with special care to the voices of the victims of clerical sex abuse? The resounding answer is NO.”

“A brief examination of the synodal talking points on clergy abuse will highlight the hypocrisy deployed by the synodal fathers,” Yore stated. “As those of us who discern and distinguish language from performance, and who recognize the chasm between ambiguous concepts like ‘the spirit of listening and dialoguing’ and reality, the synodal report is superficial and deceitful.” 

The final report states, “As in the Letter to the People of God, the synod assembly reaffirms an ‘openness to listening and accompanying all, including those who have suffered abuse and hurt in the Church.’ It also says that “addressing the structural conditions that abetted such abuse remains before us and requires concrete gestures of penitence.”  

“Frankly, ‘the structural condition’ that abets the cover up of abuse is Francis himself,” Yore declared in her press statement.  “After 50 years of studies, reports, scandals, it is demeaning and insulting that the synodal fathers peddle this myth of the need to further study the clergy abuse problem.”

“While Francis clearly hears the cry of Mother Earth, he is deaf to the cries of the clergy abuse victims. While the purported rising oceans tug at his heart, his heartless dismissal of abused consecrated nuns is chilling.” 

London-based lawyer James Bogle, a historian and author, stated that we “are witnessing a direct infiltration of the Church by an alien spirt and at the highest levels. Although the Church can never be defeated, evil can cause immense confusion amongst the faithful and a loss of souls and that is what we are witnessing in our time.  

He referred to the recent gathering of bishops, priests, and laity as a “dismally failed synod” and a “worthless fraud.”

“The Synod on Synodality is not an exercise of the authentic Magisterium of the Church nor of the Magisterium at all,” Bogle said.

“It is a failed attempt to emulate that clever device, borrowed from Marxist political agitators, in which the agenda, meetings, speeches and eventual outcome are all carefully stage-managed, so as to achieve a pre-arranged and manipulated result,” he continued.

Bogle, a convert, said that “this kind of manipulation” was tried in the Church of England to bring about lay control and “priestesses,” and although it achieved those aims, it failed at the pastoral level.

“Most Anglican churches are now virtually empty,” he observed.

However, he believes that the Roman attempt has failed in its aims while suffering the same pastoral results.

READ: Pro-LGBT Synod priest affirms his comments in support of admitting homosexuals to seminary

“The participants quickly grew bored with the aimless and pointless round of discussions,” he said.  “Nothing has been concretely decided. It has been 4 weeks of time-wasting circularity, but that will not stop the manipulators from continuing to try to impose error upon us.”

Bogle believes Rome should learn from Canterbury: fraud “leads only to empty churches.”  He holds that the current papacy is driving Catholics in one of two directions: apostasy or  the embrace of the Traditional Latin Mass.

“The more that fraud and falsehood have been imposed, the more the faithful either leave the Church altogether or else, if they discover it in time, they start going to the traditional Roman rite of Mass where they will hear and imbibe the full Catholic faith and not the synodal fraud,” he said.