Parents’ rights must be upheld, say Cardinal Burke, pro-family experts at Synod half-way mark

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Tom Ward, Cardinal Burke
Dr Tom Ward and Cardinal Burke

ROME, 15 October 2015: Cardinal Raymond Burke and pro-family experts have said that parents’ rights as the primary educators of their children must be upheld, as the Synod on the Family passes its half-way mark.

Cardinal Burke and the experts made the call at a press conference this morning near St Peter’s Square, held by Voice of the Family http://voiceofthefamily.com/ an international coalition of 26 pro-life and pro-family organisations on five continents.

“May God inspire and strengthen the work of the Synod of Bishops, so that, in accord with the nature and purpose of the Synod, it may assist the Holy Father in safeguarding and promoting the constant teaching and practice of the Church regarding marriage and the family”, said the cardinal.

He explained that the Second Vatican Council “made clear that that the primary responsibility for the education of children belongs to parents”. He also warned that: “Today, parents must be especially vigilant, for sadly, in some places, schools have become tools of a secular agenda inimical to the Christian life. One thinks, for example, of the compulsory so-called “gender education” in some schools, which is a direct attack on marriage at its foundation and, therefore, on the family.”

Cardinal Burke commended Voice for the Family for “its critical work of assisting” the Synod on the Family.

John-Henry Westen
John-Henry Westen

John-Henry Westen, co-founder of Voice of the Family and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com, the world’s largest pro-life news-agency, introduced himself as a father of eight children, saying:

“I am here to defend my children and to challenge fathers everywhere to do the same. I’m speaking about the current worldwide attempt to impose on all children a sex education that is more properly called sexual abuse than education. Sadly, it is an abusive education that in much of the Western world is aided and abetted by many bishops of the Catholic Church and those in charge of Catholic school education.”

Maria Madise, manager of Voice of the Family, delivered a statement by Voice of the Family, which stated that paragraph 86 of the Synod’s working document (Instrumentum Laboris)

“contains a direct attack on the rights of parents. The paragraph states that “the family, while maintaining its privileged spot in education, cannot be the only place for teaching sexuality.” This statement is directly contrary to Catholic teaching which affirms the right and duty of parents to be the first and foremost providers of education to their children in sexual matters.”

Maria Madise
Maria Madise

She added: “There is a serious failure to identify and condemn the structures of sin being established throughout the world which tend towards the corruption of children”, and asked: “How is it possible that the Synod authorities can be so blind to the spiritual dangers and to the danger to the lives and welfare of parents and children, both inside and outside of the Church?”

Dr Thomas Ward, a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and past-president of the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF), told the assembled journalists that:

“In revealing language Section 86 of the Instrumentum Laboris states that courses are to be provided ‘in a proper language of sexuality’. There is no mention of the language of Jesus Christ of chaste love. Indeed the word purity is not mentioned. There is no mention that the courses must be authentically Catholic, nor that Catholic parents must control them and birth-control, abortion and homosexualist agencies must be excluded. There is also no mention that in Catholic schools it will be for parents, without pressure, to decide what if any access to these courses they will make. And there is no mention that parents must be told the content with due warning and then if they wish to opt in not out.”

The Synod Fathers must reject section 86 and other “noxious” sections of the Instrumentum Laboris “for the sake of the survival of Catholic families and therefore the Church”, said Dr Ward.

Voice of the Family is available in Rome for interview throughout the Synod, which concludes in the last week in October. Please contact: