Friday, January 29, 2016

Spirit & Life - More Victories to Come

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It was a great day in Washington, D.C., and you can't always say that. The federal government shut down due to the storm, and tens of thousands of pro-lifers braved the same storm to stand for life.
As we discussed last week, the March for Life is never an empty symbol, though many couch-sitters like to characterize it as such. It is important to make the most of the chances to meet with other leaders and network, to be inspired, and to give the media another chance to ignore the fact that the momentum in this country is against abortion. One classic example of this intentional ignorance was the New York Times's report that "hundreds" of people attended the March.

As canonist Ed Peters retorted on Facebook: "Don't underestimate the influence of the New York Times. Hundreds of people read it."
I see many of those whose work has directly led to the saving of thousands of lives and conversion of many, many hearts at the March, full of conviction and encouragement.
If the March - and others like it around the country and around the world - were the goal of the pro-life movement, or just some chance to pat ourselves on the back while the slaughter continues, I would understand the criticism. But the reality is that the March and all the events around it are quite valuable for those actually in the fight.
Attendance was certainly down this year as many cancelled flights or buses who would normally have been there. At the expo, HLI's staff were still able to engage many in conversation and, for example, show why contraception is the gateway drug for abortion and why true marriage is essential for a Culture of Life. I was honored to concelebrate Holy Mass at the Franciscan Monastery with fellow pro-life priests, bishops and meet with other pro-life leaders. I was also pleased to be able to celebrate Mass for those who were trapped by the storm in our own and neighboring hotels, and to give a couple of spontaneous talks to groups who remained. You can see photos of some of the events on HLI's Facebook page.
So the March is a chance to begin again the essential work of fighting the greatest cause of death and suffering from which our nation and the world suffers. This is why HLI has always engaged in so many different ways in the fight for life.
In HLI's mission field, we are seeing yet another push to expand abortion "rights" for poor women, who, we are told by the abortion profiteers, are having babies that they don't want to have.
I'm sure many of you have heard of the Zika virus, which is spreading throughout Latin America, and has been especially widespread in Brazil. People are starting to use the word "pandemic", though this designation is still premature. Basically, people are linking this virus with a burst of cases of microcephaly in Brazil, a condition suffered by newborns whose mothers contracted Zika during pregnancy.
Following the raised concern about the Zika virus and its effects, we put out a statement yesterday that called for caution on several aspects of this troubling situation. We also warned, in part:
[O]ne expects the call to avoid pregnancy to be exploited by population control advocates who are always telling poor women and families to avoid pregnancy, most likely with renewed fund raising campaigns and anti-natalist propaganda. We also expect this very difficult situation to result in demands for radical expansion of access to abortion in law, as if killing a child is tantamount to curing a disease.
Well, it didn't take long. This is from an NPR interview with an abortion activist:
That's why the [abortion] debate should be on the table. In countries like Colombia, women have the option of using emergency contraception or interrupting the pregnancy legally if they are infected with the Zika virus. However, most women - especially those in the most affected areas - do not have clarity over these laws. There is a lack of information and access to these services. And that is for the countries where these kinds of reproductive health services are legal. In some other countries, like El Salvador, these kinds of reproductive rights are illegal. This might lead to women getting more unsafe abortions, and putting their health and life at risk.
As progressives like to say, never let a crisis go to waste. Possible viral epidemic? More abortion. Natural disaster? More abortion.
We all want to see women and families getting the best possible care, and to see this virus stopped in its tracks. We are all against women being harmed by abortion, but abortion is never safe for the baby who is targeted for death. These death profiteers refuse to look at Chile, which has seen great improvement in maternal health outcomes even with increased and strong restrictions on abortion.
Fr Marx-bw What does all of this have to do with events like the March for Life? There is now a network of pro-life warriors throughout Latin America in large part because a priest named Father Paul Marx met a great woman named Magaly Llaguno at an HLI conference. From this great meeting came a great friendship and collaboration, and a network of others who attended conferences, were educated, met new friends who challenged and inspired them - all of whom have had many silent and not-so-silent victories. Another meeting at an HLI conference, this one between HLI's founder Fr. Marx and Jorge Serrano, has led to many victories in Mexico and over 150 crisis pregnancy centers throughout Latin America. This network, which continues to grow and adapt, will be fighting for moms and babies who will be under greater pressure as the abortion industry exploits the real concerns of those faced with the Zika virus.
The fight for life is certainly and primarily a spiritual battle. It is political. It is cultural. It is a battle in which human beings are the soldiers, and human beings need to be nourished, to be energized, and to be introduced to others in the fight. What began decades ago with Father Marx continues today both through HLI networks and other wonderful pro-life organizations that continue to pop up with creative ways to stop the Culture of Death and recover a Culture of Life.
Yes, it's far from over. But this is why we need to stick together. I am deeply grateful for your prayers for HLI's pro-life missionaries and for our other friends and warriors in the pro-life and pro-family movement.
Sincerely yours in Christ,  
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International
 PS. - I encourage everyone to share our Truth and Charity Forum's series on the upcoming election. It's been an odd political season, to say the least, which only highlights the need for clearer thinking and formation for Catholics who want to exercise well their responsibility to vote. See below, or click here for the series as it develops.  
Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!
Another presidential election season is upon us. This may fill you with dread, hope or anticipation, depending on your interest in politics and this year's candidates. For myself, it is easy to experience election fatigue, wherein I tire of the endless parodies, smear campaigns and the ubiquitous political platitudes found on social media. Regardless of our personal feelings-be they positive or negative-we have a responsibility not only to vote, but to vote with knowledge and discernment. - continue -
Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!
We share the concern of our brothers and sisters in Latin America who are worried about the spread of the Zika virus, and who wonder about its cause and its effects. Much is still not known, but there seems to be a growing concern that the mosquito-borne virus is linked to the serious birth defect of microcephaly in infants born to mothers who contracted the virus during pregnancy. With this elevated concern have come calls for the postponement of pregnancy for entire nations for as many as two years, although some nations are still debating what measures to be taken and what duration to advise couples to postpone pregnancy. - continue -
Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!
Of the several key questions MacIntyre poses, one of the most crucial is "Nietzsche or Aristotle?", the title of the chapter in which he grants these two giants the honor of having the most coherent moral programs on offer. The Enlightenment dismantled, on MacIntyre's view, the framework of traditional Aristotelian morality which had dominated after Aquinas, but it failed to present a coherent framework as an alternative. That Nietzsche realized this and exposed the errors of the Enlightenment and remaining Christian attempts at creating a moral obligation is to his credit, but where Nietzsche left the conversation should trouble us all. - continue -
Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!
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Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!
Families, the Building Blocks, Fr. Boquet
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Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!

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