A Filial Appeal signed by 790, 190 Catholics, including 201 cardinals, archbishops and bishops, has been submitted today to Pope Francis. The appeal calls on the Holy Father to say “a clarifying word” to dissipate the “widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has been opened within the Church that would accept adultery—by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion—and would virtually accept even homosexual unions when such practices are categorically condemned as being contrary to Divine and natural law”.
The Filial Appeal was launched following the Extraordinary Synod on the Family held in Rome in October 2014. The scandalous synodal documents, and the public dissent of many cardinals and bishops, has caused great confusion about the Church’s teachings on matters relating to human sexuality, marriage and the family. The Filial Appeal therefore requests that Pope Francis resolve the scandal by clearly reaffirming Catholic teaching; this would “prevent the very teaching of Jesus Christ from being watered-down and would dispel the darkness looming over our children’s future should that beacon no longer light their way.”
A spokesman for the appeal, Tommaso Scandroglio, professor of Ethics and Bioethics in the European University of Rome, commented that the Filial Appeal “has had widespread repercussions in the Italian and international press”. He added “the repercussions in the mass media, the number of signatures collected and the number of personalities who have signed indicate that a substantial number of believers are very worried about certain theological tendencies present in the Church today”.
Amongst the many signatories of the Filial Appeal highlighted by the organisers are:
- Jorge Medina Cardinal Estévez, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship
- Geraldo Majella Cardinal Agnelo, former Primate of Brazil and Secretary Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome
- Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila
- Most Rev. Désiré Tsarahasana, Archbishop of Toamasina, President of the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar
- Most Rev. Ramón Arguelles, Archbishop of Lipa (Philippines)
- Most Rev Alfredo Zecca, Archbishop of Tucumán (Argentina)
- Most Rev. Aldo di Cillo Pagotto, Archbishop of Paraíba (Brazil)
- Most Rev. Gonzalo Restrepo, the Archbishop of Manizales (Colombia)
- Most Rev. Francis Chimoio, Archbishop of Maputo (Mozambique)
- Alexandre Cardinal dos Santos, Archbishop Emeritus of Maputo (Mozambique)
- Most Rev. Tomasz Peta, Archbishop of Astana (Kazakhstan)
- Most Rev. Calis Soosa Pakiam, Archbishop of Trivandrum (India)
Many signatories are leaders of pro-family and pro-life movements from every continent.These include John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and co-founder of Voice of the Family and Maria Madise, Manager of Voice of the Family.