Since then I have traveled over 250 thousand miles in our mission to defend life, faith and family. And while sitting in an airplane for l
ong hours isn’t always the most comfortable, I have thoroughly enjoyed my many experiences traveling the world spreading the Gospel of Life. I often reflect on Jesus’ words from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, “Go out to the ends of the earth and make disciples, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). I have always understood this passage in the context of my pastoral work; however, I never thought I would be living them out so literally.
I have been on missionary trips for most of the past month. On November 4 I began a week-long mission trip in Ecuador traveling to Quito, Tulcan and then to Guayaquil where I spoke at the VI International Pro-Life Congress. On November 10, I returned home, but left the next day for Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for HLI’s 19th Asia Pacific Congress on Life, Faith and Family (ASPAC).
Each event was a huge success, reaching thousands of people with the pro-life message. In Guayaquil, it was estimated that among the 1,000-plus participants were 500 young adults from across Latin America. In Malaysia, participants of the 19th ASPAC represented 15 countries from across Asia and Oceania. Prior to the official start of ASPAC, HLI hosted an event for bishops and priests. Three archbishops, three bishops and eighty priests participated in the two-day program.
Both congresses welcomed international and regional experts who covered a wide range of subjects and issues confronting the dignity of human life and the family. The peddlers of death are making a concerted effort to globalize their agenda, and each event attempted to avail the participants of the various components being used. One strategy employed by the Culture of Death is to use the news media, movies, TV and law to alter the current definition and the language used to reference the family. Textbooks are being rewritten to redefine the makeup of the family: man and woman with children; woman and woman with children; man and man with children.
The promoters of the Culture of Death have also been very successful in confusing the general public about the beginning of human life. Some believe life begins at conception, some after implantation, some when the heart begins to beat and others think life begins only after birth. This so-called debate over when life begins — though scientific evidence definitively answers this question — keeps abortion and its industry viable.
If life begins after implantation in the womb, then it provides a rationale for and acceptance of the “Morning After Pill.” In fact, new efforts are underway to promote the oxymoron “post-fertilization contraception.” If life begins with the heartbeat, then abortion remains a viable option to around the twelfth week. If we follow that life only begins once the child is born and becomes self-sufficient, then abortion is viable any time before birth.
See the dilemma?
Both of HLI’s international congresses set out to shed light on these issues while strengthening and uplifting those engaged in the debates. I felt truly invigorated by the number of people involved in pro-life and pro-family activities in these regions. The creativity in outreach, and the wide range of ages of those involved is remarkable.
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No wonder the pro-death side of the aisle is concerned and attempting to “recreate” their image and marketing techniques. The vigor and determination of those I met makes clear that the battle over life is not settled. Though promoters of the Culture of Death have amassed a large amount of support and resources, pro-lifers are slowly making gains, and many in the next generation are not buying into their illusions and deceptions.
Blessed John Paul II once told HLI Founder Father Marx that he was doing the most important work on earth — defending human life. It is a humble and wonderful privilege to continue this work and share in the efforts of our pro-life missionaries around the world. Please pray for the success of our efforts and those we serve.
LifeNews Note: Fr. Shenan Boquet is the president of Human Life International. This column originally appeared at its WorldWatch Forum and is reprinted with permission.