Friday, February 19, 2016

Spirit & Life - A Long Lent

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Dear deaconjohn,     

It can be difficult to actively engage in the fight for life, marriage and family. You may make great friends in the trenches, but outside of them you are less likely to receive a friendly reception.
We also recognize this difficulty as an opportunity for grace. It's a chance to mortify our pride and detach ourselves to some degree from worldly concerns. What you lose in "cool points" you gain in the infinitely more valuable grace if you offer up your difficulties for the glory of God.
Following our Lord, we become a sign of contradiction for a culture that seeks more and more to make evil seem good, and good, evil.
But I have to say that this week has been harder than most. First we lost a great man and a great judge with the unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The already-confused Court lost perhaps its greatest mind and certainly one of its leading advocates of judicial modesty, restraint, and respect for the Constitution. We pray for his soul, for peace and healing for those closest to him, and for our country. The chairman of HLI's board of directors, Stu Nolan, shared his thoughts in HLI's Truth and Charity Forum on the gifts that Justice Scalia has left the nation and the pro-life movement.
Next, on his return flight from Mexico, the Holy Father made one of his strongest condemnations yet of abortion, which was very heartening. Right after this, however, Pope Francis made some comments about contraception and the Zika virus that were immediately interpreted as opening the door to the use of contraceptives in some cases. Within minutes every major media outlet said basically that Church teaching on contraception had changed.
We put out a statement clarifying relevant teaching and expressing our hope that an official clarification would soon be forthcoming. What happened instead was the Vatican spokesman in an interview with Vatican Radio this morning said that the Holy Father did intend to say that in some "emergency" cases "condoms or contraception" would be acceptable for couples who had undergone a "serious discernment." You can see our revised statement here.
Brothers and sisters, prayer is sorely needed. It is fitting that these events happen in the penitential season of Lent. More and more we realize how much we rely on God, and how turning away from Him and His law results not in more freedom, as we are so often told, but in greater slavery as the results of our society's poor choices multiply.
Let us not forget that God is good. He is Love. He is Justice. Even here, He is calling us to get rid of all that separates us from Him, to share in the suffering of Our Lord even in the small events and larger trials of our lives.
Yes, God is good! As Padre Pio said, "Pray, hope, and don't worry." How much do we trust in Our Heavenly Father? Let's pray that we trust more.
Sincerely yours in Christ,  
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International
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In the interview, Fr. Lombardi expands on comments Pope Francis made about the possibility of married couples using contraception due to concerns about spreading the Zika virus. Human Life International is extremely concerned that, rather than clarify the comments with references to the very clear doctrine of the church, Father Lombardi instead made statements that contradict established Church doctrine on contraception, referring to both the non-magisterial decision of Pope Paul VI to which the Holy Father also referred, and adding a reference to a non-magisterial statement from Pope Benedict XVI that contradicts Pope Benedict's own explanation of the statement. We must repeat, with the Church, her own condemnation of the act of using contraception from Humanae vitae 14. - continue -
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On behalf of the staff, missionaries, and board of directors of Human Life International, I wish to express our great sorrow at hearing of Justice Antonin Scalia's death. With his passing, our nation has lost a strong and unwavering voice on behalf of truth, life, and family on a Court that is adrift, with little remaining sense of natural law or respect for the Constitution that gives the Court its mandate. Justice Scalia may very well have been this generation's most eloquent and powerful defender of the Constitution, and his sense of judicial rigor and restraint will be sorely missed. - continue -
Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!

Francis and Kirill, with their defense of religious freedom in the face of radical secularism in the West, provide a solid basis for continuing conversations: "Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith." Indeed. Upon reading this, Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, my colleague here at HLI headquarters added: "May the statement be prophetic and may the same happen in the West."  - continue -
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