Apostolic Western Orthodox Church
216 S. 124th Ave. Avondale, Arizona 85323 October 14th, 2023
To His Holiness, Pope Francis, and Respected Participants of the Synod on Synodality,
May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. In this pivotal moment in the life of the Church, we, the Apostolic Western Orthodox Church, approach you with fraternal greetings, assuring you of our prayers for the Holy Spirit’s guidance upon your deliberations within the Synod on Synodality.
We appreciate your aspiration to navigate through the complexities of our time, seeking pathways for the Church to be effectively leaven in the world. While we acknowledge the necessity for ongoing dialogue within the Church, a crucial query surfaces in our hearts, one which we wish to convey with utmost respect and love: Why should the Church consider altering or modifying her teachings regarding sinfulness, particularly by allowing blessings on activities that both Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition have consistently proclaimed as incongruent with the Divine Will?
It is scripturally evident that we must “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3), upholding the teachings which have been handed down through generations. In our sincere commitment to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, we firmly express that the concept of altering our moral teachings or sanctioning activities that have been consistently recognized as sinful by the Church, is not only untenable but, we dare say, deeply troubling and antithetical to the eternal truths of our faith.
We find such a prospect not merely erroneous but diametrically opposed to the Divine Revelation preserved and handed down through the Church’s magisterial authority. It is with a spirit of genuine love and concern for the salvation of souls that we categorically affirm our unwavering commitment to the timeless truths of our faith.
In our journey towards the heavenly kingdom, we must continue to affirm with resolute conviction that which the Church has always taught concerning morality and virtue, rejecting any proposal that seeks to validate what is clearly opposed to the divine will. Thus, while we remain ardently committed to engaging in dialogue and extending pastoral care to all, underpinned by Christ’s love and mercy, we cannot and must not compromise on the immovable truths of our faith, nor alter our moral compass, regardless of societal or cultural pressures.
We pray fervently that as the Synod on Synodality unfolds, the voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking through the unbroken witness of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, will be recognized and heeded, ensuring that the timeless truths of the Gospel are not sacrificed upon the altar of contemporary expediency. Our discussions, though marked by differences, should always propel us towards unity in the truth and fidelity to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
May our dialogues and pastoral actions always reflect the unchanging love of God and the immutable truths of His Divine Revelation.
With unceasing prayers and in fraternal love, In Christ’s Eternal and Unchanging Truth,
Bishop Michael Callahan
Apostolic Western Orthodox Church