Two separate plea initiatives from concerned Catholics, lay and ordained, have emerged to challenge Pope Francis and his tragic course for the Catholic Church. Earlier in July, a letter was sent to the cardinals and patriarchs urging them to disregard much of the content of Pope Francis’ encyclical Amoris Laetitia. Among the 45 signers of the letter were priests and seminary professors who wrote:
We request that the Cardinals and Patriarchs petition the Holy Father to condemn the errors listed in the document in a definitive and final manner, and to authoritatively state that Amoris Laetitia does not require any of them to be believed or considered as possibly true…
In addition to this positive sign of resistance to Pope Francis was a video produced by LifeSiteNews, featuring one bishop and 15 Catholic heads of pro-life organizations, all pleading with the pope to clarify his confusing statements. The video is twenty-nine minutes long and well worth watching. Most moving was the plea from Colleen Bayer, President of Family Life International, New Zealand. In her message, Ms. Bayer gently says two crucial things to the pope. First, she says that it’s not irresponsible to have more than two children, a reference to the pope’s infamous “breeding like rabbits remark.” She then goes on tell the pope that she would love for him to meet her special needs children, including her child with Down Syndrome.
In the United States at least, the abortion rate for pre-born Down Syndrome babies hovers around 90 percent. Couple that chilling statistic with the pope’s imprimatur for abortifascient birth control mechanisms to avoid having babies with Zika virus-related microcephaly and the urgency, and poignance, of Ms. Bayer’s plea comes into sharp relief.
As this video appeal comes from conservatives within the Catholic Church, the remarks from some of the video participants expressing alarm over the pope’s perceived concessions to the LGBT community – and they are wrong perceptions indeed – will not be welcomed by all, including me. Nonetheless, the video is well worth viewing for all people who care about the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception, and who are rightly alarmed that Pope Francis is tilting the Catholic Church in a direction more in line with secular thinking on the subject of human conception: namely that life begins when human beings say so.