Our Lord Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church to be the “light of the world”, that through the successors of the Apostles we might hear His voice and all nations be led to eternal salvation.
Yet in recent times the moral authority of the Catholic Church appears to have been co-opted by the spirit of the world, and her voice silenced on matters that threaten the lives and eternal salvation especially of the young. In some Western nations today, children and adolescents are being physically mutilated by gender reassignment surgery, puberty-blocking drugs, and chemical castration, while confusion is sown in their minds and hearts by the spirit of impurity and the culture of death. And yet, many of those entrusted with the preservation and propagation of the deposit of faith are more preoccupied with ‘non-judgmental’ acceptance of those who indulge in and promote these practices than with protecting the innocent from the predators who seek to corrupt and destroy.
In some Western nations today, children and adolescents are being physically mutilated by gender reassignment surgery, puberty-blocking drugs, and chemical castration, while confusion is sown in their minds and hearts by the spirit of impurity and the culture of death. And yet, many of those entrusted with the preservation and propagation of the deposit of faith are more preoccupied with ‘non-judgmental’ acceptance of those who indulge in and promote these practices than with protecting the innocent from the predators who seek to corrupt and destroy.
This surrender to the world is reaching its climax with the forthcoming gathering in Rome called the “Synod on Synodality.” In the preparations for this gathering, much has been made of the “role of women” in the Church. Suggestions have even been made that the “structures” of the Church be “reformed” so that women might participate in “governance” and that “women’s inclusion in the diaconate” be considered.
Female participants whom Pope Francis has appointed and given a vote equal to a bishop or cardinal have advocated heretical doctrines and espouse views contrary to the Catholic Faith.
In the preparatory documents themselves, poisonous error is insinuated to the effect that unrepentant notorious public sinners should be “welcomed” into the Church without repentance as a precondition of sacramental Communion. Such a “welcome” would only ensure more terrible torments for these individuals in the world to come, as anyone who professed the Catholic Faith would know.
We have also witnessed Church leaders and lower clergy who are willing to revise the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and endorse the blessing of unnatural unions. Regrettably, Pope Francis has appointed some of these individuals to key organizational positions or as voting members of the October assembly.
As Catholic women who practice the faith and believe all that Holy Mother Church teaches, we wish to be represented only by bishops, to whom Christ entrusted the governance and leadership of His Church, and only insofar as they believe and profess the Church’s Faith.
Those who come in by another way are “thieves and robbers who come only to steal, to kill, and to destroy” (Jn 10:10). We and our families, and indeed all Catholic laity, have a right to orthodox doctrine and faithful preaching from the pastors of the Church (CIC, can 229 §1).
Therefore, to those bishops, the actual successors of the Apostles, mingled among the mixed assembly of laypersons and ecclesiastics purporting to be a ‘Synod of Bishops’ and soon to be assembled in Rome, we the undersigned Catholic laywomen demand evidence that you do in fact continue to profess the Catholic Faith.
Specifically, we ask the following:
- Do you share the unbroken faith of the Church that certain actions can be qualified as morally evil based on their nature, regardless of the intention behind them or their consequences for everyone involved?
(Veritatis Splendor, n.79 and 82)
- Do you hold to the absolute primacy of the objective moral order that by itself surpasses and fittingly coordinates all other spheres of human affairs? (Vatican II, Inter mirifica)
- Do you profess with the Council of Nicaea, St John Paul II, and all the Church’s tradition that, by divine law, only baptized men may receive the imposition of hands necessary for sacred ordination so that baptized women are always and necessarily in all respects to be numbered among the non-ordained faithful? (19th Canon of Nicaea, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis)
- Do you uphold the unbroken teaching of Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition that homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity, objectively disordered and contrary to the natural law which under no circumstances can be approved? (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2357)
- Do you uphold the doctrine that the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles? (Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus)
- Do you uphold the faith of the Church that faith alone is an insufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, but that sacramental confession must necessarily be made beforehand by those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, however contrite they may consider themselves (Council of Trent, Decree on the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, canon 11)
- Do you uphold the doctrine that the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles was given not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age but so that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way? (Pius X, Sacrorum antistitum)
Because if you do not believe with the Church on each of these points, then you are false shepherds whom Christ’s sheep—who hear His voice and follow Him—cannot follow.
September 30, 2023 — Feast of St Jerome, Doctor of the Church and
the dies natalis of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Doctor of the Church
Janet E. Smith
Retired Moral Theologian
(Fr. Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit)
Dr Deirdre Byrne
Missionary, surgeon, and retired U.S. Army Colonel
Co-Host of FOX & Friends Weekend
Wife and Mother of 9