Friday, April 8, 2016

Spirit & Life - Return from the Philippines

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Dear deaconjohn,     

Doctor Brian Clowes and I are on our way back to Virginia from the Philippines. We had a whirlwind week, speaking to many laity, priests, bishops, and seminarians about the need to be bold and faithful in preaching the Gospel of Life.

It is our loving God who will transform cultures, and He asks us to be His voice, His hands and His feet. So many friends of ours in the Philippines are following this call with courage, even as the Culture of Death seeks to consolidate its recent wins in this country. Sadly, others are taking an attitude of accommodation, as if the promoters of abortion, contraception and the redefinition of marriage will be satisfied with good will concessions.

When you speak the truth boldly, you will see some conversions, as with our fearless director of Asia and Oceania, Dr. Ligaya Acosta, who was also our gracious host on this trip. She once promoted population control for the Philippines ministry of public health, before seeing its real effect on her people and having a radical conversion. It is important to engage at the level of reason and good faith. But never concede an inch to error or false compromise in the area of politics, culture or even in personal conversations. To do so is, as we say in America, a one-way ratchet. You won't get that back. Do not give an inch to sin and error, all while loving the other. Pope Benedict made this crucial point memorably in Caritas in Veritate:

Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word "love" is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite.
The big news today is, of course, the release of Amoris Laetitia, the apostolic exhortation meant to present Pope Francis's position on all the issues discussed during the Synod on the Family. We will not have an official statement on the content of the document until we have had a chance to thoroughly review it, and there simply has not been time for a careful reading.

Of course, no one can "change doctrine," in the sense of reversing long held Magisterial positions of the Catholic Church, and we should be clear about this point whenever we speak about it. This does not mean that there are no potential risks involved. The confusion that was rampant at the Synod and in its wake is an indication of the very real risks to souls, and there is the risk of demoralizing those who have made heroic sacrifices to live the truth of Church teaching with regard to marriage. It is ours to remain in the Truth of Christ, to be faithful, and to keep telling the truth even when confusion seems to reign.

Our first and constant work that must be done is prayer. Stay close to the sacraments, ask for God's grace to help you grow in holiness, remember the true and unchanging Source of our hope and faith and love. Do not give in to fear. Pray for our Holy Father, for our shepherds and priests.

Thank you for praying for me, for our missionaries and our mission. Know that you, HLI's supporters, are in my prayers at every Mass.

(Link to article here.) 
Sincerely yours in Christ,  
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International
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"As we continue to fight for life and family, we must place our trust entirely in God and His divine mercy," said Lech Kowalewski, who collaborated in the writing of the Declaration. "The only substantial change in cultures where the Culture of Death had reigned has come where the people turned explicitly to the Theotokos, the Mother of God, and asked for her help and intercession with her Son." - continue -
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In 1997 St. John Paul II declared Therese a doctor of the Church, a rare designation of honor granted by the Holy Father. Although she never left the cloister, she joined as patron to the missions by St. Francis Xavier, who traveled to Asia and facilitated many conversions to the Faith. Therese herself, as she wrote in Story of a Soul, desired to be transferred to the Carmelite Monastery of Hanoi, but was not permitted to go due to her health. Hence, she became a kind of spiritual missionary, and through her prayers and sacrifices probably many more may have been saved than through the efforts of other great missionaries. She heroically offered all her sufferings to Christ to obtain the conversion of so many brethren still living in darkness. - continue -
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