Written by Kathy Clubb
October 30 2023
The Rome Life Forum is an annual gathering of international pro-life leaders run by Life Site News which began almost ten years ago. As John Henry Westen of LifeSite explained, leaders at the first meeting said the number one problem in their Apostolate was a lack of support from Pope Francis. Since that time, things have gone from bad to worse. The October 30 press conference, which took place immediately prior to the 2023 Forum was convened specifically to formally rebuke the errors being promulgated by the “Synod on Synodality”.
Speakers at the press conference represented various parts of the globe: Europe, Africa and the Americas. The first speaker was a Ugandan parliamentarian, the Honourable Lucy Akello. Describing herself as a “missionary to Europe”, Mrs Akello condemned the Synod’s departure from the traditional teachings of the Church, recalling that the missionaries who first catechised pagan Africa were successful because their strong pro-family message resonated with African values. Mrs Akello brought to mind the African martyrs who rejected sodomy, saying that their feast day on June 3rd is celebrated by millions of African Catholics. She told attendees that pro-life values are so strong in Africa that even miscarried babies are named and given a burial ceremony.
Mrs Akello was followed by Michael Matt of the Remnant Newspaper. Mr Matt decried the blessing of same sex relationships as a direct attack on the family, especially on our children. He quoted Cardinal Muller’s recent comments about how homosexuality and women’s ordination are being introduced to the faithful through an ongoing “conversion process” which will intensify over the year leading up to the 2024 Synod. Mr Matt claimed that “anyone who says that nothing happened at the Synod has no idea of what is really going on” and tied the “conversion process” to the agenda of the New World Order. Describing the blessing of homosexual unions as “blasphemous”, Mr Matt said that even the discussion of this topic is scandalous for our children, asking how it would be impossible for them not to think heterosexual acts outside of marriage are now sanctioned by the Church.
Next up was Jeanne Smits, a French journalist and LifeSite contributor. Ms Smits began by reminding attendees that since the Synod includes laity, it is not a real synod in the traditional sense of the word. She said, however, that this doesn’t mean that there is no reason for concern since the Synod is “profoundly revolutionary”. This is because, as Synod spokesmen have stated, it is a “new way of being Church”. Ms Smits cited the physical seating arrangement in the Synod hall – round tables without an obvious spot for dignitaries – as sending a message of egalitarianism by putting all members visually on the same level rather than a hierarchy.” She noted that the term, “People of God” has been used to replace the more traditional “Mystical Body of Christ”, indicating a connection with the Argentinian version of liberation theology, or “theology of the people.”
The next speaker was James Bogle, former president of Una Voce International. Mr Bogle termed the Synod a “direct infiltration of an alien spirit,” noting that while the Church can never be defeated, countless souls can be lost due to widespread confusion. Like Ms Smits, he noted that the Synod on Synodality is not an authentic exercise of the Magisterium and pointed to the Marxist-style strategy of achieving a pre-arranged outcome under the guise of a real exchange of views. Mr Bogle explained that Anglican churches are today empty after following this same path as the Synod. He said that “Synodal fraud leads to empty churches” and that this is a “principal theme of this pontificate,” noting that Pope Francis has been the “best recruiter” of traditional Catholics.
A Kenyan woman, Alice Muchiri, followed Mr Bogle. Ms Muchiri is the leader of a group which provides spiritual support for her nation’s parliamentarians. She explained that the Church is growing rapidly in Africa and that Church leaders are strong and faithful. She characterized attacks on the family as the most serious crisis the African Church has had to deal with, but said that the success of Church leaders is due to the use of arguments based in Scripture and Tradition. Using very strong language, Ms Muchiri condemned homosexual acts as abominations and a sign of “open contempt for God.” She said that homosexual unions are not a human right, but a “human wrong.” Despite strong leadership, however, Ms Muchiri said that gender ideology is creeping into the Church in Africa and suggested that the most helpful course of action is to carefully research immoral ideologies and then to educate the faithful. She further suggested that it is essential to expose how donations from developed nations are tied to ideology, if Africa is to become financially independent.
The next speaker was Liz Yore, a lawyer and expert on clergy sexual abuse cases. Ms Yore referred to the Synod as “Woodstock on the Tiber”, suggesting that synodality is a necessary step for the creation of a One World religion. Having spent thirty years working with victims of clergy sexual abuse, Ms Yore then listed examples of sexual predators who have been protected or even promoted by Pope Francis, ending with the most recent example, the notorious abuser and artist, Fr Rupnik.
Finally, John-Henry Westen himself addressed the press conference, explaining how Pope Francis has been running an “uber-synod” in parallel with the formal Synod. He said that the Pope has been sending a clear message through his appointees and recent guests at the Vatican, the majority of whom are pro-homosexuality. He said that it is not loving to confirm people in their sin, citing St. Paul’s admonishment against fornicators who “eat and drink their own condemnation.” Mr Westen also said that the Pope’s inaction over the German bishops’ “Synodal Way” and his recent dubia response tell us where he really stands. He stated that he agreed with the conclusion of Vaticanista, Sandro Magister, in saying that Pope Francis waited until the death of Benedict XVI before appointing the heterodox Víctor Manuel Fernández to lead the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Mr Westen asked, “how is this not the formation of a new Church?”, stating that the staff at LifeSite pray for the Pope’s conversion daily.