Update: This story now includes a shortened, 18-minute video of the original 30-minute interview. The full 30-minute interview can still be accessed here.
ROME, October 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Faithful Catholics have viewed her explosive presentation at the Synod on the Family in Rome last week as Holy-Spirit inspired, bang on target, unambiguous, courageous, brilliant. She has suddenly and unexpectedly come to represent a voice that is at extreme odds with the mediocrity, doctrinal chaos, and even heresy that many say is shamelessly being put forward by top prelates in the Church.
Her dynamic 3-minute presentation, arising from a lived-experience of suffering under Communist influence, has not only given hundreds of thousands of faithful Catholics around the world much needed hope, but it has even been thought by some to be one of the most powerful, genuinely Catholic moments to have arisen during the entire Synod process.
Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea, Doctor at the Center for Diagnosis and Treatment in the ‘Victor Babes’ Clinic and President of the Romania Association of Catholic Doctors, sat down for an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews on Sunday where she discussed what she believes is a great new crisis faced by families worldwide because of the “terrible” crisis that she says is being deliberately orchestrated by highly placed and influential enemies within the Church bent on destroying not only her doctrine and her beautiful teaching, but ultimately the Church herself.
Cernea, who, as an observer at the Synod, was able to make an intervention, warned the Synod Fathers on Friday about “cultural Marxism” that she said is the “primary cause of the sexual and cultural revolution” that makes up the real crisis faced by families today.
“Classical Marxism pretended to redesign society, through violent take-over of property. Now the revolution goes deeper; it pretends to redefine family, sex identity and human nature. This ideology calls itself ‘progressive.’ But it is nothing else than the ancient serpent’s offer for man to take control, to replace God, to arrange salvation here, in this world,” she told Church leaders on Friday, urging them to “recognize it” and to “warn the flock against this danger.”
The doctor, who has lived under the insufferable effects of a totalitarian regime in Romania, not only knows what she is talking about, but says she recognizes the telltale signs of totalitarian ideology that she says forces within the Church are trying to impose on the Church and her faithful, beginning with the classical Communist move of destroying sexual morals and the traditional family unit. In her video interview with LifeSiteNews, Cernea expounded on what she sees as the real crisis faced by the family, and even more disturbingly, by the Church herself.
We present here a partial transcript, slightly edited for clarity.
LifeSiteNews (LSN): How would you respond to Synod Father Archbishop Cupich of Chicago who proposed that homosexual couples ought to be able to receive Holy Communion if their consciences tell them so?
Cernea: I had in my professional life, unfortunately, the occasion to have to break the bad news to people who are homosexuals that they are now HIV positive. And I cannot describe their despair, their reaction. It's really heartbreaking.
It's very difficult to give them hope. I try my best. We try to make a plan to help them think of something concrete in order not to give into this hopelessness. But it is such a terrible situation.
In such moments, I would like people like Archbishop Cupich, or some others who promote these ideas — and don't think it's the wrong thing — to be there with me and to see how, for instance, a 23 year-old young man, a boy — he's still a child in my view — is the victim of such propaganda.
He was encouraged to experiment [homosexually]. He came across things from Non Government Organizations. He saw things on the internet. He was encouraged to experiment. And once he had experimented a first and second time, then he went into it. They told him that if he ‘protected’ himself he was safe. His first reaction to me was, ‘it's impossible doctor, because I protected myself.’
So, I think this is really criminal, to encourage people and such a [lifestyle.]
What I said applies to physical life. But we have to think about eternal life [as well]. These people need to be encouraged to get out of sin, just as we, who are all sinners, need to be encouraged by our brothers and sisters to get out of sin.
We have to help each other get out of sin, which is a different thing from accepting sin and blessing it. It's just basic Church duty to distinguish between the two.
There are voices in the Synod who would like to give up this classical differentiation between ‘sin’ and ‘sinner,’ the fact that you have to hate the sin and love the sinner and help him out. They would like to remove this.
LSN: There is discussion in the Synod about seeing homosexuality in a positive light. As a medical doctor, how do you see this suggestion?
Cernea: I think as a medical doctor and as a Catholic moral layperson that it is very important that the Church maintains the normal doctrine, which is that homosexual acts are sinful in themselves. It is very serious sin. But people who [commit these sins] should be accompanied with love. We as Christians should help them out.
I can add that, as a medical doctor, this is a very harmful situation even for physical health. So we have a double duty, not only for their eternal life, but we should care also for their earthly life, at least we as doctors.
If we warn people against eating too much and getting obese, or against smoking, or whatever else, then we have even more of a duty to prevent these kinds of behaviors, because it's really exposing them to disease and to early death.
LSN: What is your sense of the number of Synod Fathers who are pushing for an acceptance of homosexuality within the Church?
Cernea: I hear about that a lot, but this does not mean that it is the majority. In my opinion, it's what we call back at home a ‘Leninist minority.’ So, it's a minority that is well organized and well coordinated. They know what they want and they say the same thing and fill the space with their voices, giving the impression that they are many.
This impression is also enhanced by the fact that others keep silent. It is very difficult to figure out what [this silent group] really thinks. Maybe they are keeping their words for the final discussion, which is going to be critical.
On the other hand, there are a lot of voices who are really determined to keep the Church’s teaching the normal way. I don't accept naming the split ‘conservatives’ versus ‘progressives.’ The terms in themselves lead you on a completely wrong path. This is normal Church teaching [that is on the table here] and those who are trying to undermine it are, in my opinion, a ‘Leninist minority.’
But it is difficult to tell numbers. My general impression is that the African bishops are defending the normal doctrine. Most of the Eastern European bishops are also in the same position, as are many of the Latin American bishops. And some from the Western churches as well. Unfortunately, in the West, things are very complex. By ‘the West’ I mean Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.
LSN: Has there been anything from the Synod about the devastating effect of abortion on the family?
Cernea: There was no talk about the after-effects of abortion. There was very little mentioned of abortion at all. We will now see the way contraception and other issues related to birth control are going to be discussed. As far as I can sense, there is going to be a very powerful attack against Humanae Vitae.
This has a lot of implications regarding abortion as well. Because if you attack the normal Church’s view against contraception, then this leads you to a path that sooner or later takes you to abortion. Because as we all know, contraceptive methods are abortive and it is very difficult to say which ones are which.
On the other hand, it is a fact that when [contraception fails,] the first thing the couple does is to think of abortion. Abortion is proposed by this lobby as the solution for such situations, when contraception didn't give the expected results.
I'm not happy at all by the fact that not even contraception was discussed enough. There are many other issues related to life [that should be discussed] because technology allows you to make a lot of interventions. People tend to think of themselves as in the place of God. There is in vitro fertilization. There are so many babies who are frozen [in an embryonic stage]. Their bodies are being destroyed or sold for cosmetics or research. This is a huge problem. I think the Church would have a lot to discuss in this matter.
Instead of discussing this, we discuss about homosexuality, which doesn't really belong to the Synod because it's not a matter [that concerns the family.] Of course, it's an important matter.
So if we discuss it, let's discuss it the right way. Let's say very clearly that it's a sin, that the practice of homosexual acts are sinful; that we are supposed to help the people who are involved in such things to get out of them. That would be a normal Catholic teaching. But it's not exactly here [at the Synod] where we should be having this talk.
On the other hand, for instance, in Eastern Europe — in Romania as well — we have a very important problem of alcoholism. This really destroys families. It takes them into violence and a lot of other things that happen because of alcohol: bad manners, things that lead to conflict, to tension, to divorce, to children who only have one parent, and they grow up and become alcoholics themselves. This is a real problem.
If you talk about some addiction, why not treat the one which is a lot more important in terms of statistics. This fashion of ‘homosexuality’ is something completely new in our area. It was almost unheard of [until recently]. It was very very scarce. The likelihood that you met somebody who was homosexual before this whole propaganda started was very little. On the other hand, alcoholic addictions are much more significant statistically. This is relevant for a family. If we were really [earnest] about helping Christian families, this would be important for us to talk about. But we have to follow this Instrumentum Laboris [Synod working document], which is a very bad document.
LSN: What can we expect to happen in this last week of the Synod?
Cernea: An attack against Humanae Vitae in which contraception [will be pushed in terms of allowing] the individual’s conscience to be the final arbiter of the issue. So it's contraception.
There will also be this whole discussion over homosexuality. There is nothing negative in the way it is being presented. There is a quotation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but it's not complete. You don't get the message that it is sinful and that homosexual acts are, in themselves, intrinsically evil.
And then there will be the whole discussion on the individual conscience and the role it has in distinguishing what is good and what is bad. There is a lot of discussion over history as being a source for change, something that stimulates the Church to develop the teaching, so that the teaching is not there forever, but is developed alongside history. It has to do with Cardinal Kasper’s theology.
And there will be a lot of discussion about the push for Communion to be given to people who are not in a normal Church marriage and have divorced and now live in other types of unions. There are voices who would like to give them Holy Communion.
They want divorce. They want divorce in the Catholic Church. Because if divorce is accepted, then also all of the consequences will follow up from that.
But the fact is, this shouldn't even be discussed, because this is a matter of doctrine, and we are not going to submit to discussion every point of the Catholic doctrine. This is something that cannot be changed. Not even the pope has the right to dissolve a marriage which has been contracted validly.
So we shouldn't even be there talking about [these things,] just as we shouldn't be talking about whether or not to attack a bank, or rob a train, or kill somebody. [The Catholic teaching on marriage] is not a matter to discuss. The fact in itself that it is being put to discussion is already very serious.
I am concerned by the fact that the Church is accepting, or including without paying attention, some parts of ideological language. With this language comes a message. We may not be aware of the power [that is behind] the choice in terms.
But we in Romania have this experience, because we have been living under a Communist regime. We sense when something sounds ideological and doesn't have any contact with reality in which we live.
Ideology operates in some kind of a fictional reality. In that fictional reality, we talk about ‘sustainable development.’ But, this concept, for instance, contains within itself — because it's used in a certain way by many people who are outside the church — what they call ‘reproductive rights’ [abortion, contraception, forced sterilization] and ‘population control.’ So we should be very careful when the Church supports language like this.
There's a lot of talk lately about ‘climate change’ and how the Church is getting involved in this campaign to stop climate change.
[The Church], in my opinion, is not being cautious enough. Science has to have some independence. Researchers have to have some independence. What is now considered a hypothesis tomorrow may be reversed by some other hypothesis that has a lot more proof to support it.
So, we should stick to the thing which really is the business of the Church, which is to care about the eternal salvation of human souls.
The danger is not ‘global warming’ or disparity of income between different classes or between different areas of the globe: The problem is sin. So we should try to fight sin. The Church has to protect the flock against sin and to announce, to proclaim, the Good News to other people who are outside the Church and to think about their souls and their salvation. That should be the priority.
LSN: What was your reaction at seeing Synod Fathers put forward heterodox positions?
It is terrible. I got the chance, thanks to my family, to meet people who have suffered very much for the Catholic Church – in prison, they underwent torture, they suffered terrible things. We had a lot of martyrs [in my country], a lot of people — starting with our bishops — who gave their lives for the Church.
I think [this betrayal of the faith] is really offensive to their memory, to the blood that they [shed].
See full 30-minute interview here.