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May 10th, 2016

Amoris Laetitia Is Unmerciful

John Smeaton,  CEO of the Society for the Protection of  Unborn Children, England and Wales, has denounced  the papal exhortation Amoris Laetitia for its failure to speak out clearly on adultery. Mr Smeaton  said this  failure showed a lack of mercy, because it  denied Catholics the truth about right and wrong.

I believe Mr Smeaton’ s appeal to Pope Francis is so important it should be read by all concerned Catholics. So here it is, in full.

Your Holiness,

With reverence and with attention to common advantage and the dignity of persons, and as a husband and father, I consider that the section of Amoris Laetitia entitled “The Need for Sex Education” seriously fails parents at a time when parental rights regarding sex education are under serious and sustained attack in many nations of the world, and at the international institutions. This section spans more than five pages without making even one reference to parents, albeit parental rights are mentioned earlier in another context. On the other hand there is reference to “educational institutions”. Yet sex education is “a basic right and duty of parents” which “must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them” as your predecessor, Pope John Paul II, taught the faithful in Familiaris Consortio, Number, 37.

Your Holiness, Catholic Bishops’ Conferences around the world, including in Britain, are collaborating with our anti-life opponents in the birth control and sex education lobbies, in helping to impose corrupting sex education programmes on primary and secondary schoolchildren. Such programmes, including in Catholic schools, involve providing our children with access to abortion and contraception. Thus, Holy Father, the Bishops’ Christ-given authority, which we the faithful hold in such reverence, is being instrumentalised to scandalise and cause terrible harm to our children. Amoris Laetitia will serve to make this terrible situation even worse.

Holy Father, I believe, as all Catholics believe, that the Pope is Peter, the rock Christ chose on which to build His Church. The Pope serves the unchangeable truth of Christ’s teaching. However, Your Holiness, the Pope is not the master but the servant of the truth.

Your Holiness, once again with reverence and with attention to common advantage and the dignity of persons, as well as with my authority as a husband and father, I note that there are references to public adultery in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia which fail to point out the intrinsic evil of adultery. I consider that such references will result in scandalising little ones in the way contained in Jesus Christ’s warning in verse 92, chapter 9, of the Gospel of St Mark.

Even worse, Holy Father, Amoris Laetitia, the Apostolic Exhortation, at the very least, raises the possibility that adulterous sexual acts may be justifiable. This shows a lack of mercy because it denies Catholics the truth about right and wrong. It denies Catholics the knowledge they need to exercise true freedom, freedom from sin. It also shows a lack of mercy because it sends children the false message that marriage is not indissoluble. Arguably, Your Holiness, the most effective way of destroying children is to destroy marriage as an indissoluble lifetime union of a man and a woman.

Holy Father, The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that certain actions are “intrinsically evil”—such things as adultery.

I believe, Your Holiness, as all Catholics believe, because Jesus Christ Himself taught, that marriage is indissoluble and, Jesus taught, if someone divorces or puts away their spouse and marries another, he or she commits adultery–which is considered a mortal sin, the kind of serious sin by which one cuts oneself off from God’s love. (Matthew, 19)

I believe, as all Catholics believe, because Jesus Christ Himself taught, that in going to Holy Communion we receive the body of Jesus Christ, God Himself: we receive life and the promise of eternal life. (John, 6:54)

Finally, Holy Father, I believe, as all Catholics believe the teaching of St Paul that if a person eats and drinks the body and blood of Jesus Christ unworthily, we don’t receive life or grace, we eat and drink judgement to ourselves “not discerning the body of the Lord”. (Corinthians: 1,11.29)

Holy Father, I know lots of ordinary Catholics both in my family life and through my work. I know women and men who’ve been deserted by their spouse for another person and either left alone with children or left alone without their children. If that deserted spouse were then to see their wife or husband with a new partner, receiving the Body of Christ in Communion, that sends the message to everyone, including the children, that marriage is not indissoluble after all. This is destructive of the truth about marriage. It’s also damaging psychologically and spiritually, not least for the children.

Holy Father, with reverence and with attention to common advantage and the dignity of persons, I appeal to you to recognise the grave errors in the recently published Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, in particular those sections which will lead to the desecration of the Holy Eucharist and to the harming of our children, and to withdraw the Apostolic Exhortation with immediate effect.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

John Smeaton

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