Innacurate media reports about Church teaching on homosexuality published after the synod's midterm relatio are an attempt to pressure the Church to change its perennial teaching, a cardinal who is also a synod father has affirmed. Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, emphasized to CNA Oct. 16 that “what has been published by the media about homosexual unions is an attempt to push the Church (to change) her doctrine.” “The Church has never judged homosexual persons, but homosexual behavior and homosexual unions are grave deviations of sexuality,” the cardinal, who is from the west African nation of Guinea, added. Among the criticisms of the synod's midterm report was the absence of some important statements, a point raised especially by some of the bishops from Africa. Cardinal Sarah affirmed, however, that “some very important topics are reported in the relatio,” as for example “the Church’s refusal to promote policies linked to gender (theory) in exchange for financial aid.” “This has been explicitly said in Cardinal Erdo’s relatio, and it is a relevant issue for developing countries as well as for the western countries,” the cardinal stressed. Cardinal Sarah denounced the “government and some international organizations attempting to suppress the notion of te natural family, based on the man-woman relation; and the Church cannot be silent.” The relatio read that it is not “acceptable that the pastor’s outlook be pressured or that international bodies make financial aid dependent on the introduction of regulations based on gender ideology.” Cardinal Sarah said, “there is no Christian family without a glance to Jesus, who Incarnated in a family with a father and a mother.” This is the reason why, he added, “the reference to Christ is needed, in order to avoid that the Christian vision is reduced to an ideology, and that we are obliged to take stances in contrast with the Magisterium, the history of the Church, and, above all, with the truth of the Gospel.” The lack of any reference to the Gospel of the Family has been highlighted with concern by all the small groups that discussed the midterm relatio during this week. Likewise, the small groups have highlighted the need to rewrite the section “Providing for homosexual persons.” The second English small group, moderated by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, stressed that “the Church must continue to promote the revealed nature of marriage as always between one man and one woman united in lifelong, life-giving, and faithful communion.” Cardinal Sarah reiterated this, and explained why the Church cannot endorse same-sex unions. “Based on the Sacred Scriptures, the Tradition of the Church has always stated that ‘the acts of homosexuality are intrinsically disordered, since they are against the natural law, and preclude the gift of life. They cannot be approved in any case',” Cardinal Sarah maintained, quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The cardinal then recalled St. John Paul II, when he questioned whether the push for homosexual unions are “part of a new ideology of evil.” With this affirmation, Cardinal Sarah filled in the “blanks” of the relatio, which he described as “a working document which partially mirrors the discussion.” Cardinal Sarah shared that the delivery of this working document “aroused general surprise, since the document had to be finished, polished, and (would) lead to the final draft of a text that must be approved by the synod fathers.” “Does anyone wants to destabilize the Church and undermine its teaching?” Cardinal Sarah asked. “Let us pray for those pastors who leave the Lord’s sheep to the wolves of decadent and secularized society, far from God and nature. Sexuality is not a cultural fact, but a natural fact,” he concluded.