Pro-life, pro-family leaders urge Pope Francis to withdraw 'Amoris Laetitia,' citing confusion among Catholics

Pope Francis arrives to lead a special audience with members of CUAMM 'Doctors with Africa' at the Vatican on May 7, 2016.Reuters

More than 100 pro-life and pro-family leaders made use of their annual Rome Life Forum on Saturday to show their support to an appeal for Pope Francis to withdraw his controversial treatise on marriage and family titled "Amoris Laetitia" (Joy of Life), which they said is causing confusion among Catholics.

John Smeaton, co-founder of Voice of the Family and the CEO of the UK Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, presented the request to the Pope when he made his keynote address, LifeSite News reports.

Before Smeaton spoke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider told the gathering that the papal exhortation raised many questions in the mind of the public that have been causing grave concerns.

Smeaton cited specific parts in the 250-page papal document that theologians find questionable. Among these are:

● The section about sex education, which talks about sex education in schools in detail but without mentioning the rights of parents;

● References to adultery that do not mention the intrinsic evil of adultery;

● The suggestion that adulterous sexual acts could be justified; and,

● The wrong message that marriage is not indissoluble.

The papal exhortation's failure to fully tackle the sin of adultery "shows a lack of mercy because it denies Catholics the truth about right and wrong," Smeaton said.

"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," he said.

In his open letter, Smeaton says he personally knows "of 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," Smeaton pointed out.

He concluded his letter by appealing to Pope Francis 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."