Pro-life leaders pledge fidelity to Catholic faith, refuse to follow ‘erring pastors’
December 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 30 Catholic pro-life and pro-family leaders, representing 11 countries, have signed a Pledge of Fidelity to the Catholic faith, declaring their refusal to follow “erring pastors” in the Church today.
The leaders announced the pledge today, and have set up a website with the full list of signatories at www.fidelitypledge.com.
“If there is any conflict between the words and acts of any member of the hierarchy, even the pope, and the doctrine that the Church has always taught we will remain faithful to the perennial teaching of the Church,” the pledge reads.
The Catholic Church, “which affirms the moral law with the greatest clarity,” has had its signature doctrinal and moral clarity “replaced by ambiguity, and even by doctrines directly contrary to the teaching of Christ and the precepts of the natural law.”
“For the last four years, the pro-life movement has struggled under a growing confusion from what was once its most solid backing,” said John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor in chief of LifeSiteNews and one of the pledge signers.
“There has been a top-down revolution in the Church entrenching a shift of priority focus from eternal salvation to material life,” he said.
“Today, even in some faithful Catholic quarters, concerns about global warming have taken precedence over the holocaust of children in the womb; youth unemployment over the threat to our children’s souls from sexual deviancy; and immigration over evangelization,” continued Westen. “The confusion must end and it is high time to draw a line in the sand.”
The President of Associazione Famiglia Domani, Virginia Coda Nunziante, and seven other Italian leaders signed the pledge. Among these is Professor Roberto de Mattei, the President of the Lepanto Foundation. Seven American pro-life leaders, including the maker of the pro-life film Bella, Jason Jones, signed.
The pro-life leaders highlighted a number of statements from Pope Francis and Vatican entities that directly contradict Church teaching on sexual morality, contraception, sex education, marriage, and other life and family issues.
The leaders reaffirmed their belief in Catholic teaching on these topics and vowed to “never, for any reason, depart from them.” They said it was with “great sorrow” that they have witnessed the undermining of Catholic teaching.
“We pledge our full obedience to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the legitimate exercise of its authority. However, nothing will ever persuade us, or compel us, to abandon or contradict any article of the Catholic faith or any truth definitively established,” they wrote.
“If there is any conflict between the words and acts of any member of the hierarchy, even the pope, and the doctrine that the Church has always taught, we will remain faithful to the perennial teaching of the Church,” the signers promised.
“If we were to depart from the Catholic faith, we would depart from Jesus Christ, to Whom we wish to be united for all eternity,” they concluded.
‘Disorder within the Church is increasing’
The pledge signers wrote that they felt compelled to supplement the numerous requests for clarity from Pope Francis with their own list of concerning incidents and statements.
These requests for clarity include the famous unanswered dubia of four cardinals, asking if Amoris Laetitia is compatible with Catholic morality, and a correction from 62 theologians “on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions” of Pope Francis.
“The disorder within the Church is increasing, as witnessed by a letter recently sent to Pope Francis by a prominent theologian,” the signers wrote.
The author of that letter, Father Thomas Weinandy, “was prompted by ‘turmoil within the Church today, a chaos and an uncertainty that I felt Pope Francis had himself caused.’”
Weinandy was sacked as a doctrinal advisor to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) upon the publication of this letter.
The pledge signers highlighted “numerous additional statements and actions, which have had a particularly damaging impact on our work for the protection of unborn children and the family in recent years.”
“In order to fulfil our responsibilities to those whom we have pledged to protect, in particular unborn children and those made especially vulnerable by the breakdown of the family, we must provide clarity on our position on these issues,” the leaders declared. “We must also provide leadership to those within our movement who look to us for guidance and advice.”
The list of “fundamental moral principles” to which the leaders said they have an “unchanging adherence” are:
- there exist certain acts which are intrinsically evil and which it is always forbidden to commit;
- the direct killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral; consequently, abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are intrinsically evil acts;
- marriage is the exclusive and indissoluble union of one man and one woman; all sexual acts outside of marriage, including in all forms of non-marital union, are intrinsically evil and gravely injurious to individuals and to society;
- adultery is a grave sin, and those who live in adultery cannot be admitted to the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion, until such time as they repent and amend their lives;
- parents are the primary educators of their children, and the provision of sex education must be undertaken by parents or, in certain circumstances, “in educational centres chosen and controlled by them”;
- the separation of the procreative and unitive ends of the sexual act by contraceptive methods is intrinsically evil and has devastating consequences for the family, for society and for the Church;
- methods of artificial reproduction are gravely immoral as they separate procreation from the sexual act and, in the great majority of cases, lead directly to the destruction of human life in its earliest stages;
- there are only two sexes, male and female, each of which possesses the complementary characteristics and differences that are proper to them;
- homosexual acts are intrinsically evil, and no form of union between persons of the same sex can be approved in any way.
Each one of these principles is accompanied by a citation of an instance when the Pope or another high-ranking Catholic has in recent years seemingly contradicted them.
“The Catholic faith has been, for many of our supporters, the source of their clarity about the value of each and every human life and of the consequent duty to protect all unborn children, without exception,” John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) told LifeSiteNews.
“The spreading denial of moral absolutes throughout the Church has the potential of undoing all that the pro-life movement has worked for over the past 50 years,” he said.
“The front-line has shifted from the domestic political battlegrounds, and international institutions such as the UN, to the heart of Catholic Church,” Smeaton explained.
“Indeed, over the last couple of years Pope Francis and Vatican authorities have capitulated to the ‘culture of death’ by supporting the pro-abortion United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and by promoting the agenda of the international sex education lobby through Amoris Laetitia and the Pontifical Council for the Family’s pornographic sex education programme,” he said.
“This has a direct effect on real children and real families,” Smeaton warned.
Smeaton said the “pro-life movement cannot bury its head in the sand and ignore what’s happening at the highest levels of the church today” because it needs the Church as an ally to fight the culture of death.
“The pro-life movement has won many victories and saved many lives. Yet the reality is that in spite of our efforts the number of abortions alone exceeds by far all the deaths in all the wars in recorded history, and this is before we consider the number of innocents killed by euthanasia, abortifacient contraceptives, and during artificial reproduction procedures,” he said.
The “full support of Catholic Church officials throughout the world” is necessary because “the pro-life movement simply cannot win the battle alone.”
“We must ceaselessly demand that our priests and bishops teach the fullness of the Church’s doctrine and do not collaborate, even for a moment, in the dissemination of errors that are tragically being spread by His Holiness Pope Francis and by many other senior members of the hierarchy,” insisted Smeaton. “If we fail to take this stand we will be failing in our duty to the weak and vulnerable children that we have pledged to protect.”
The full pledge of fidelity and its list of signers can be found at www.fidelitypledge.com.