Friday, May 16, 2014

Spirit and Life: International Pro-Life Update

I am still traveling in the Philippines, meeting with pro-life leaders and clergy. The passion and zeal the Filipino people have for life and family is so inspiring!

In this week's newsletter I wanted to bring to your attention some important events taking place in the international fight for life. This is just a snapshot of the attacks on life and family that our brothers and sisters in Christ overseas are struggling against.

Please keep HLI's pro-life missionaries and all those working to defend life worldwide in your prayers. God bless you!

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International

International Pro-Life Update
by Stephen Phelan

These are issues being tracked by HLI and our affiliates around the world, as well as our colleagues in the international pro-life movement.

EU to decide how to respond to spectacularly successful "One of Us" campaign

May 28 is the European Union's self-imposed deadline to come up with a program to move forward on the first EU "citizens' initiative" to succeed in getting over 1 million signatures. The One of Us campaign surpassed this goal easily, securing 1.8 million signatures, and following a public hearing in early April, its promoters are confident that this widely popular effort will receive serious consideration by the EU. 

You may recall from the wide coverage of the effort last year that the pro-life initiative was focused on preventing EU funding for embryo-destructive research. This is important for obvious reasons, but it could also establish a precedent at the EU of respect for unborn human life at its earliest stages. Keep this effort in your prayers, and keep your eyes peeled for a decision from the EU on how they will proceed in considering the One of Us initiative.

Joining the pro-life effort at the Organization of American States (OAS)

As the next OAS General Assembly in Paraguay on June 3-5, more pro-life organizations from North and South America are taking note of the growing influence of this supra-national body. Like the European Union, the OAS hosts several multilevel meetings annually in which member states from the Americas can get together to discuss issues of importance. Although the EU has much more power at present, the OAS seeks to gain greater control over the range of decisions that member nations are allowed to make on key issues. 

So while much of the discussion is indeed diplomatic and respectful, life and family issues are increasingly being treated in a way in which disagreement is not tolerated. This will not surprise many in a nation where public support of traditional marriage is now cause for public humiliation and banishment from the public square. But where the OAS decisions have most purchase is in Latin America, where nations with fewer resources can be put under intense pressure to change laws that defend life and family.

Last year HLI's Guatemalan affiliate read the first-ever pro-life resolution in a particular forum, inspiring the promoters of abortion and the redefinition of marriage to protest during the reading of the resolution. The battle is growing more intense, which is why we invite those who work or have partners in Latin America to join in the conversation, where these case for life and family can still be heard. Email us at if you know of an organization that may want to join us!

Tortured logic directed at the Vatican

Last week we heard about a truly troubling attack on the Vatican that is being coordinated by pro-abortion organizations through the UN committee process. In February, the attack came through the committee for the protection of children, who after refusing to acknowledge the great progress the Church has made in addressing the tragic priest abuse scandal, insisted that the Church, because of this scandal, change her teaching. This month, the attack comes via the UN committee against torture, with the ridiculous claim that to deny abortion is tantamount to torture. Framed in another recall of the Church's abuse crisis, the Vatican was told to change the Church's unchangeable teaching on the intrinsic evil of abortion. 

The Vatican's able reply, later affirmed by Pope Francis in an address to the UN, is that abortion is itself torture - the deliberate and violent destruction of unborn children, often leaving women with extreme physical and mental pain in its wake. This, the Vatican rightly argued, is what the committee should be more concerned about, adding that the committee should stay within its mandate and not seek innovative ways to marginalize a treaty member who had strongly condemned torture repeatedly over the years.

Of course this is absurd, but as we have seen too many times, the absurdity of such a plan is no guarantee that it will fail. Truth be told, no one thinks this effort will get the Church to change her teaching, but the concern is that even at the relatively low level of UN committees, the Church is being marginalized due to her success in rallying support for life and family at higher levels of the UN. With the UN undergoing a wide-ranging assessment of the Millennium Development Goals heading into 2015, there are many who would like to define abortion as a "human right" with whatever regime replaces the MDGs going forward. Many nations and NGOs have collaborated with the Vatican to see that there is no false "right" to abortion codified in UN documents, so the broadsides on the Vatican are seen as an effort to silence pro-life voices.

Please keep all of these efforts in prayer, as HLI and other organizations strive to protect the Church, as we defend life and family. 


by Adam Cassandra

Even for many Catholics who attend Mass on a weekly basis, the Church's teachings on birth control are often misunderstood - or completely unknown. It can be even more complicated for the faithful when high ranking clergy make confusing statements about these beautiful teachings. Read More...