Synod testimony on welcoming gay couples is ‘damaging’, says pro-family coalition

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ROME, 7 October 2014: A testimony given to the Synod about welcoming homosexual couples has been called ‘damaging’ by a concerned international coalition of pro-family groups.

Voice of the Family http://voiceofthefamily.info made the comments following the testimony given yesterday by Ron and Mavis Pirola, one of the married couples chosen to address the Synod on the Family meeting in Rome (see Notes for Editors 1 below).

In their testimony, the Pirolas said:

“Friends of ours were planning their Christmas family gathering when their gay son said he wanted to bring his partner home too. They fully believed in the Church’s teachings and they knew their grandchildren would see them welcome the son and his partner into the family. Their response could be summed up in three words, ‘He is our son’. What a model of evangelization for parishes as they respond to similar situations in their neghbourhood! It is a practical example of what the Instrumentum laboris says concerning the Church’s teaching role and its main mission to let the world know of God’s love.”

Maria Madise, Voice of the Family’s coordinator, commented:

“The example given by the Pirolas – of ready acceptance of a son and his homosexual lover to a gathering where the grandchildren would welcome them into the family – gives a false lead to families and parishes. It is no example of love and mercy towards anyone.

“The unqualified welcome of homosexual couples into family and parish environments in fact damages everybody, by serving to normalise the disorder of homosexuality.

“It damages children by presenting homosexual relationships as models which may legimitately be chosen. It damages adults by making them complicit in tacit endorsements of the immoral and dangerous homosexual lifestyle. And it damages the homosexual couples themselves by failing to guide them with the truth in charity – that their relationship is gravely harmful for their moral and spiritual health.”

Miss Madise continued:

“It is because we desire the eternal happiness of those we love that we need to support them to overcome temptation and to live chastely. This path is not easy, but nor is any cross that is the way of true mercy, love and new life.”

“The Church is clear that ‘A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.'” (See Note 2 for Editors below)

“The Pirolas’ presentation will lead to considerable confusion on the part of Catholics dealing with such difficult situations”

concluded Miss Madise.

Voice of the Family believes that the correct guidance for Catholics is that the parents of homosexuals should tell to them that:

  • their love for their son or daughter moves them to explain that homosexuality is not part of God’s plan for their happiness
  • they cannot welcome their son or daughter’s partner into their family, without offending God and presenting a bad example to the vulnerable, especially children
  • God will always be merciful to anyone who embraces the Cross by turning away from a disordered lifestyle, such as homosexuality.

At today’s daily Vatican press conference on the Synod, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster (London, England) said that the Synod responded to the Pirolas’ testimony “very warmly, with applause”. John Smeaton, chief executive of the London-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), commented on behalf of the Voice of the Family:

“Those Synod Fathers who, like Cardinal Nichols, welcomed the Pirolas’ disturbing testimony show that they are totally out of touch with the real problems faced by families. The homosexual agenda is forcing its way into schools, universities, workplaces and sports clubs. The last thing families and parishes need is for Church leaders to tell them to welcome homosexual couples.”

Related press release from Voice of the Family:
Synod is time to remember, not abandon, Church teaching on homosexuality

Notes for Editors:

1) Holy See Press Office, 6 October 2014

2) Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1986. Authored by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), and approved by Pope St John Paul II. From section 3: “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” From section 15: “A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.”

About Voice for the Family

Voice of the Family is an initiative of Catholic laity from major pro-life/pro-family organisations. We have formed to offer our expertise and resources before, during and after the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, 5 to 19 October 2014, Rome. We are supported by (in alphabetical order):

The following truths are at the heart of Voice of the Family’s work:

  • Sacramental marriage, binding parents together in an indissoluble union, is the greatest protector of children both born and unborn.
  • The artificial separation of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the sexual act is a major catalyst of the culture of death.
  • Parents are the primary educators of their children and it is through the education and formation of parents, and future parents, that the culture of life will be built.

Voice of the Family has published a position paper for the Synod which in summary says:

  • The Extraordinary Synod on the Family has been called to respond to the “widespread cultural, social and spiritual crisis”, which threatens the family today.
  • The Synod provides an important opportunity to take concrete steps to address this crisis and give renewed impetus to the “New Evangelisation”.
  • If the Synod is to be effective it is essential that the teaching of the Church is affirmed clearly and without ambiguity.
  • All proposals which result from the Synod must be founded on the truths of the natural moral law and Divine Revelation.

The Code of Canon Law (1983), 212 §3, states:
“According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”