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Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri and Francis consulting in Synod hall.Lisa Bourne/LifeSite

ROME, October 24, 2015 (Voice of the Family) – “There’s a crisis of trust regarding the family between faithful lay Catholics and those in authority at the highest levels of the Church – and only the Pope can restore that trust” according to Voice of the Family, a coalition of 26 major pro-life and pro-family organisations from five continents formed just before an Extraordinary Synod on the Family which took place in Rome last year(i).

As this year’s Ordinary Synod on the Family closes at the Vatican, Voice of the Family is saying to the Pope: “Holy Father, enough is enough”.

John Smeaton, co-founder of Voice of the Family and chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in the UK, explained:

“Paragraphs 84 – 86 of the final report published today can be interpreted as providing a number of clear openings to the reception of Holy Communion by those living in public adultery, and thus to the desecration of the Blessed Sacrament and the scandalising of the faithful, not least our children and grandchildren.

“One is mindful of the words of Our Lord:

‘ he that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea’, Matthew 18:6

 “Trust between the Catholic lay faithful and the Church authorities in Rome was breached this year by the Synod’s working document, the Instrumentum Laboris[ii], which undermined Church doctrine on contraception, parents as the primary educators of their children, fornication, adultery, homosexuality and on other fundamental issues.

 “The laity’s trust was further weakened by the Pope’s special appointment to the Synod of leading prelates who have demonstrated support for positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on family or life issues.

“The crisis of trust between laity and Church authorities became still worse last week when Pope Francis told a gathering of bishops during the Synod that he ‘felt the need to proceed in a healthy decentralization of power to the Episcopal Conferences’, a power which he said earlier in his papacy would include ‘genuine doctrinal authority’.

“In view of openly heterodox positions adopted by presidents of Episcopal conferences in particular countries[iii], ‘decentralisation of power’ on doctrinal matters would risk obscuring the universal nature of the one true faith.

“Will sanction for homosexual unions and adultery be granted by bishops’ conferences in one country and denied in another? Spouses, parents and families would be abandoned to the wolves by any such fudged arrangement,” John Smeaton said.

“In the name of conscience, the Synod organisers and leading Synod Fathers[iv] appeared to be seeking to abolish the notion of intrinsic evil, that is sin: – on contraception, on cohabitation, on homosexuality and on other fundamental matters.  How can parents hope to teach their children the truth and meaning of human sexuality and the sanctity of human life when the notion of intrinsic evil is abolished? Certain Synod Fathers and Synod organisers are speaking the language of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and not acting as shepherds of the laity.

“Only the Pope can restore trust between Catholic laypeople and Church authorities in Rome. Confusion on fundamental doctrinal matters, which has reigned at the Family Synod, is only serving to assist powerful international bodies opposed to the family and to the sanctity of human life. Holy Father, enough is enough.” 

For further information contact: John Smeaton +44 7885 914344 Maria Madise: +44 7507 742957

Anthony Ozimic: +44 7939 177683 John-Henry Westen (North America): +1 613 633 9006

 24th October 2015                              


[i] Pope Francis announced in October 2013 that two synods would be held in 2014 and 2015 to discuss “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”.

[ii] Voice of the Family analysis of instrumentum Laboris

[iii] In England and Wales, for example, Cardinal Nichols, the president of the Bishops’ Conference, has openly challenged Catholic teaching on homosexuality on BBC television and in the press.

In Germany, Cardinal Marx, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, has attacked the Church’s doctrine and discipline regarding the reception of Holy Communion by those living in public adultery.

[iv] Chicago Archbishop Blaise Cupich, a Synod participant appointed by Pope Francis, for example affirmed  that “conscience is inviolable” and suggested that Holy Communion, when requested “in good conscience”, should be given to divorced and remarried couples and even homosexual ones: 



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