Wednesday 8 October 2014

Voice of the Family, co-founded by SPUC, meets Synod Fathers

Archbishop Stankevics from Riga, Latvia, with Maria Madise
Maria Madise, SPUC's international, UN and research officer, and director of Voice of the Family, co-founded by SPUC, sends the following report from our team's headquarters here in Rome, 100 yards from St Peter's Square:
Dear Colleagues,

We are now three days into the Extraordinary Synod on the Family and have grown to 15 pro-life and pro-family groups from 8 different countries and 4 continents. Voice of the Family is undoubtedly becoming louder -recognising marriage as the strongest protector of children, both born and unborn; the contraceptive mentality separating love and life as the major catalyst for the Culture of Death; and parents as the primary educators of their children.

Here are some highlights of the past few days.

On Saturday Voice of the Family team had the honour of dining with Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama from Nigeria, Bishop Joseph Osei Bonsu from Ghana and our pro-life friends in Italy gathered together by Obianuju Ekeocha, of Culture of Life Africa. Both bishops were very attentive to all ideas and inputs from everyone present and received the Voice of the Family position paper as well as the response to the Bishop Bonny proposal with great interest. We hope to meet them again at one of our receptions with their brother bishops.

Video interviews will appear on Voice of the Family website later today.

On Monday we had our first reception where we had the pleasure of welcoming Archbishop Stankevics from Riga, Latvia. His Excellency, a former sportsman and engineer, addressed the gathering as follows:
- The Culture of Death starts the destruction from introducing contraception, then abortion, then euthanasia. When they destroy the family, they have destroyed the Church.
- He mentioned a specific law of overtones -- that makes absurd laws seem normal. He had seen homosexual groups following this approach very specifically and reached a point where it seemed to him that their agenda could never be defeated. It was then when he had realised that the scientific approach is what we can depend on in defending the faith.

Having acquainted himself with SPUC's research, the Archbishop thought that we are moving very much in the direction that he wants to take when addressing the Synod. Later he shared his personal story with us. His mother had chosen life for him, when his own aunt, a doctor, had wanted to abort him. This deeply moving interview will be available on LifeSiteNews as well as on Voice of the Family. Our culture has become the culture of abortion survivors. With countless lives lost to abortion, abortifacients and IVF, it has become a privilege to be born, once conceived. That fills one with sadness, but also with great desire to at least in some way turn this privilege –life – into a hymn of joy and gratitude, prudence, justice and fortitude. Archbishop Stankevics is a beautiful example of that.

Yesterday John Smeaton and John-Henry Westen from LifeSiteNews spoke at the Lepanto Foundation at a monthly conference organised by one of the most distinguished Catholic thinkers and historians today Professor De Mattei. It was Professor De Mattei, who pointed out something very clear for us: truth can tolerate the evil. But evil cannot tolerate the truth. It has to destroy the truth in order to exist.

Both speeches were received very warmly. Should the Synod Fathers speak with the same insight and zeal for families as John did, the flock would be firmly led on the narrow path of goodness and truth. The powerful ending of John-Henry's address highlighted that every child has a right to be conceived in the loving union of a married husband and wife.

We are having our second reception tonight.

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Our latest stories:

Pro-family coalition condemns bizarre Synod proposal by Algerian bishop

Synod: radical Bonny proposals rejected comprehensively in response by pro-life coalition

Synod is time to remember, not abandon, Church teaching on homosexuality

Cardinal Brandmüller says family care must conform to doctrine

Catechesis, not confusion, needed to reclaim families for Church, says Cardinal Burke

Key extracts from Familiaris Consortio, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II promulgated following the 1980 Synod of Bishops, stating that:
"At a moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family, the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, ensuring their full vitality and human and
Christian development, and thus contributing to the renewal of society and of the People of God." (Familiaris Consortio, 3)

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

Yours sincerely in Christ,
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