This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Dear Family, Courage is that virtue which enables a person to face difficulty or danger without succumbing to fear. Saint Sebastian, portrayed beautifully on the cover of this issue, exemplifies this virtue perfectly: When faced with death during the persecutions of the third century, his courageous response serves as a living testimony to the power and strength drawn from Faith, Hope and Love. His heroic virtue witnesses to every generation the necessity of having courage in order to eradicate the power and corruption of Evil. As an ever-growing percentage of the world’s population embraces a radical secularism, the disciples of Jesus Christ must courageously attest to the all-encompassing and transforming power of Love. Sadly, many have sacrificed true freedom for slavery: slavery to unbridled passion, greed, gluttony and power. Saint Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, “When you were slaves of sin, you felt no obligation to righteousness, and what did you get from this? Nothing but experiences that now make you blush, since that sort of behavior ends in death” (Romans 6:20-21). Like the branch cut off from the vine, death is the consequence of abandoning God’s law. In order to build an authentic Culture of Life, we must be willing to preach Christ in season and out of season. Apathy only stokes the flames of indifference and encourages those promulgating death. This issue’s article on Bishop Bergonzini, who received our Cardinal von Galen Award, offers us an insight into what is required in order to build an authentic Civilization of Love. His joyful and courageous witness inspires us to fight the fight and run the race. The various political, social or cultural circumstances should not intimidate us, nor should the ever-changing winds of sentiment exhaust our determination to build a truly just society. Love can and will conquer all things. I am confident that this and the other articles in this issue of FrontLines will inspire you and assure you that our Missionaries for Life are faithfully doing their part to promote and build a Civilization of Love. I am proud to participate in this great Mission and blessed to have such a wondrous team dedicated to defending and promoting a Culture of Life throughout the world. Thank you for your continued support of our Mission for Life, and I humbly ask for your continual prayers. Be assured of my prayers for you and all who in Love and Truth proclaim a Gospel of Life. Saint Sebastian, pray for us. Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Shenan J. Boquet President
Father Shenan J. Boquet President, Human Life International
FEATURES 6 Hope & Freedom: The Worldwide Attack on Religious Liberty 12 Religious Freedom in the United States 14 “GUILTY” for Pro-Life Victories DEPARTMENTS 3 News from the Missions 8 Development News & Progress 10 The Cardinal von Galen Award 15 HLI Online
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NEWS FROM THE MISSIONS
HLI Coordinator: Ligaya Acosta
Asian countries are a mixed bag when it comes to defending life. Japan, Mongolia and Korea allow abortion-on-demand, and China has its infamous “one-child” policy that actually forces women to have abortions. Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines have pro-life laws in place, although these laws are under attack (most especially in the Philippines). Much of HLI’s work in this region focuses on helping the latter countries fend off the powerful pro-abortion influences surrounding them.
The following are brief glimpses of the work being done by our affiliates and associates around the world.
tion. While nearly all countries in the region have strong, long-standing laws protecting life, these well-funded outside influences have managed to push the abortion debate into the public square often for the first time in many of these countries’ history. As in Africa, HLI remains the primary pro-life presence in this region. And their rich cultural heritage – so deeply influenced by their strong Catholic history – makes the region especially ripe for HLI’s mission of spreading the Gospel of Life. dent of HLI’s Association for Life and Human Dignity, reported on their continuing program on Radio Maria Guatemala, titled Let us defend life (Defendamos la vida). They also remain active members at the meetings of the Pastoral Ministry of Health and the Pastoral Ministry for the Family of the Archdiocese of Ciudad Guatemala, as well as the meetings of FEDEVIDA, the organization that brings together the pro-life and pro-family organizations in the country. They continue to work on a special audiovisual project with pro-life messages that will include a presen-
guaTEMala – Alfonso Brañas, Esq., Presi-
Ligaya Acosta, HLI’s Regional Coordinator for Asia
INdIa – BaNgalORE – Sister Annunciata reported her busy schedule of providing pro-life, self-esteem, preciousness of life, values education, character formation, moral values and social evils, etc., programs for schools, colleges, parishes and houses of religious formation. Her activities have expanded to include pro-life exhibitions, pro-life summer camps, online counseling and training others to become instructors on these issues. A recent highlight in September was the celebration of 25 years of pro-life work at St. Euphrasia’s Higher Primary School Hall. The festivities included Mass and presentations from several speakers. Sr. Annunciata took the audience through the 25 year history, which she has overseen from the beginning, with a presentation that highlighted the significant events of the past two-and-a-half decades.
Region: Latin America
HLI Coordinator: Mario Rojas
This life-loving region has recently become victim to a concerted attack from the international proponents of death – groups with nearly unlimited resources whose sole objective is spreading abor-
Sister Annunciata, teaching at St. Agnes Higher Primary School.
FrontLines Winter 2012 |
News from the Missions
tation of the facts of two new anti-life laws: new components of “family planning” and “sex education” in the public school system, and a new component of “reproductive health services” in the maternal health program. HLI Guatemala is offering a pro-life course in the Catholic Church of Our Lord Jesus Crucified of Esquipulas in the municipality of Ciudad Guatemala. The series is based on HLI’s online Spanish prolife course -- which they also offered this year in the HLI Guatemala office. Additionally, HLI Guatemala is assisting in the establishment of a Project Rachel program for the Archdiocese of Ciudad Guatemala. This affiliate is also encouraging the government to reverse the withdrawal of its objection to the anti-life language contained in the 1994 United Nations Cairo document; the Ministry of Foreign Relations has expressed resistance in admitting that it made a grave mistake in withdrawing this objection. from the moment of conception. Other European highlights include:
Mario Rojas, HLI’s Regional Coordinator for Latin America
HLI Coordinator: Joannes Bucher
The European states continue to be the leading exporters of the Culture of Death (along with the United States), with the UK going so far as threatening to cut off aid to Africa for their pro-family rejection of the gay agenda. There are exciting new bright spots, however – such as Hungary, which passed a new constitution this year that protects life
ukRaINE – Genia Samborska continues her critical NFP outreach and her training of NFP instructors. She is working on a high-level training program that will qualify attendees to train and certify others as instructors. People are signing up from Russia, the Baltic States, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Genia is also collaborating on a new Christianbased family and marriage counseling program. The program is headed up by a highly regarded psychologist and will launch with a series of 16 weekend events. Genia will be providing training in pro-life issues such as NFP and the dangers of abortion/contraception. Recently, Genia also had the joy of speaking at a Roman Catholic seminary in the Chmelnytski region, and she tells us there was great interest in her talk. Roman Catholicism is not as widespread in Ukraine as Ukrainian/Byzantine Catholicism, so this presentation was rather unusual. ROME – Joseph Meaney, HLI’s Director of International Coordination, is busy working with HLI’s Joannes Bucher and Imre Téglásy on upcoming events related to the new pro-life Hungarian constitution, including work on the next chapter in HLI’s True Stories movie project. Joseph is also actively working with HLI Malta and HLI Poland to coordinate activities to protect life and the family in those countries. Monsignor Barreiro continues his many meetings and discussions with various members of the Catholic hierarchy and pontifical organizations. He and Joseph are coordinating with Mary Langlois on pro-life issues at the U.N., as the push to make abortion an “international right” accelerates. On November 25, Marcello Riccobaldi of the HLI Rome office participated in a demonstration in remembrance of Eluana Englaro. Eluana is the “Italian Terri Schiavo,” whose life was prematurely terminated by her father, with the complicity of a biased tribunal. She, too, was starved to death via the denial of food and water. The event took place on Eluana’s birthday in her home town of Lecco, north of Milan, Italy. Eluana would have turned 41 this year and the pro-life groups of Italy keep her memory alive.
Joannes Bucher, HLI’s Regional Coordinator for Europe
Genia Samborska, lecturing on NFP and the dangers of abortion and contraception.
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News from the Missions Region: Africa
HLI Coordinator: George Wirnkar (French speaking) and Emil Hagamu (English speaking)
Most countries in Africa still protect life, but the region has been heavily targeted by proponents of the Culture of Death for years. Deep pocketed groups, like International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes, have poured massive amounts of money into the region to promote contraception and abortion, often under the guise of helping to fight the AIDS epidemic. These developing countries generally lack the resources to combat these pressures without assistance from HLI, and our work here is especially critical as HLI is the only pro-life presence in most of the region.
enjoy life” has brought widespread death. Meanwhile, the town’s roads are poor and much other help is needed, but none of these Western organizations want to provide the real assistance this area requires. Their abundant natural resources are being pillaged by the government and their cooperation with foreigners. To counter the enormous pressure that population control organizations are exerting in his country (and elsewhere), Emil is embarking on a massive media program focusing particularly radio and newspaper (the most widely-accessed news mediums in this region). Typically, the response from the people is overwhelmingly appreciative, as African countries have a traditionally strong cultural love of life and family.
Emil Hagamu, HLI’s Regional Coordinator for English-Speaking Africa
NIgERIa – Charles Nnagboh says that Nigeria is trying to act quickly to prevent the imposition of “same sex marriage.” HLI Nigeria joined forces to promote a proposed “Bill for an Act to Prohibit Marriage of Persons of the Same Sex” amidst the assault of anti-life organizations, masquerading as “human rights” promoters, attempting to defeat the bill. Moved by the anti-life movement’s unholy tradition of using World Aids Day to promote their radical sexual and population control agenda, HLI Nigeria collaborated with the Seminarians for Life of Pope John Paul II Major Seminary, Okpuno, Awka to organize a march for life in observance of World Aids Day. Their goal was to create authentic awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to show solidarity with the victims, and most importantly, to encourage people to embrace a lifestyle that will help them best avoid this deadly scourge. With this pro-chastity and pro-life approach, the event also drew attention to modern threats to family and human life in Nigeria and warned people about the dangers of embracing anti-life and anti-family programs and practices. TaNzaNIa –Emil Hagamu provided confirmation that the anti-life imperialism of immensely wealthy Western organizations intent on destroying life in Africa is increasing with a noted aggression. He related that in one formerly flourishing center in Tanzania, whose population has been decimated by 1/3 in only 30 years, especially by AIDS, the number of condoms being distributed freely grew to at least 100 for each person. The lie of the propaganda “plan your family so you can
Region: PortugueseSpeaking Countries
HLI Coordinator: Raymond de Souza
HLI’s efforts to spread the Gospel of Life among Portuguese speaking peoples was greatly bolstered recently due to the hosing of our second International Congress for Truth and Life in Brazil. The Congress featured speeches by HLI President Fr. Boquet, Mario Rojas, HLI Regional Coordinator for Latin America, Fr. Juan Carolos Chavez, director of HLI’s Spanish language outreach to priests and seminarians, REDESSIVIDA, and of course Regional Coordinator Raymond de Souza.
George Wirnkar, HLI’s Regional Coordinator for French-Speaking Africa
BRazIl – En route to São Paolo, Brazil for HLI’s second International Congress for Truth and Life in early November, Raymond de Souza stopped in Salvador, Brazil which was the country’s first capital in the days when Brazil was a vice-kingdom of the Portuguese Crown. Raymond was the guest speaker at the John Paul II Institute, where he gave his ever-popular presentation entitled “De-Christianization of Western Culture and the New Catholic Action for the 21st Century.” On his 2nd day he gave the same talk to 50 more people, followed by a late-night question and answer session. And for his final day’s activities, by a providential coincidence, the Archdiocese of Salvador was staging their first Conference for the Family, and they invited Raymond to make the same presentation for this event as well. Before leaving Salvador, Raymond received several invitations to return with the message of life for additional audiences in the future.
Raymond de Souza, HLI’s Regional Coordinator for Portuguese-Speaking Nations
FrontLines Winter 2012 |
Hope & I Freedom
The Worldwide Attack on Religous Liberty. By Stephen phelan
t’s a curious thing, this secular Movement to create a “More Just Society” around the world. This Movement sees itself as the goal of society, toward which all history points, but it insists that we ignore all history that shows again and again the folly of putting hope in the kinds of solutions they are offering.
The Movement is convinced that its mandate comes from “science,” yet it insists that all skepticism about its claims to truth (which the history of science tells us is essential for its, well, evolution) be abandoned. It requires an ever more powerful government, and an ever weakening faith in God — proposing instead that we have faith in “experts” who, we are assured, have all the knowledge needed to create this More Just Society that will finally rid us of inequality and poverty. In order to build this More Just Society, the “experts” invariably attempt to undermine religious faith, and in so doing, they misplace their hope, and become utterly confused about what it even means to love. The genius of uniting the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love as the Holy Spirit did in St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is that they are so essential to one another. Indeed, for the Christian who also wants a more just society and has spent time reflecting on history, they are impossible to understand as separate from one another. Pope Benedict XVI has during his pontificate been developing and deepening this Pauline theme in his encyclicals and other addresses, fine tuning what has been for him a decades-long project to more intimately acquaint Catholics with their Savior. In his 2008 encyclical Spe Salvi, the Holy Father even equates Faith and Hope, referring again to St. Paul’s Letters to the Hebrews and Ephesians where the Apostle to the Gentiles admonishes the early faithful to be mindful of the newness of the gifts they have been given following Christ’s life, death and resurrection, and to act accordingly. So today the “experts,” no fans of this pope and coveting the obedience that the faithful still have toward their religion, recognize that Faith – that is, organized religion – is the biggest threat to the realization of their More Just Society. This is why the most prominent religion, Catholicism, is more and more openly being attacked, perhaps most often in the form of attacks on the Church’s teaching on life and family. This attack on the Church, which is really an attack on religious freedom itself, is now well in the open in the United States. As Arland Nichols shows in his article in this issue of FrontLines, we can hardly count the ways that the current president and his administration, not to mention a host of atheistic and anti-life organizations, no longer feel the need to take half-measures in the assault of faith and the moral principles that people of true faith still share. As alarming as this may be, we continue to have hope that sanity will prevail, and this hope is growing as the bishops and clergy of America begin to take a more prominent and public role in the fight to defend faith in the public square. It will come as no surprise to the supporters of Human Life International to hear that the same assault on religious freedom is perhaps even more advanced in Europe and in other regions around the globe. Hasn’t it always been thus? Considering some recent examples may help us begin to understand how we can do our small part to help the Church respond in Faith, Hope, and Love to today’s growing assault on religious freedom.
the martyrdom of St. Sebastian (above) shows what Christians have endured in order to build up a truly just society. the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christendom.
6 | FrontLines Winter 2012
I also don’t mean to imply that officially sanctioned attacks on religious freedom, particularly on Christianity, are somehow new. But whether or not the attack on religious freedom is new is not the point – that it is happening today and requires our attention and, to whatever extent possible, our response, is what matters. On page 14 of this issue we hear the story of HLI Austria’s Dietmar Fischer, whose effective and explicitly religious efforts have earned him the honor of a radically irrational and unsupportable charge of “stalking,” even when he was not present at the time of the supposed offense, had no contact with the one who was supposedly stalked, and was only accused of the offense once an activist judge found the initial charge to be insufficiently punitive. We are not surprised that a member state of the EU – the international body that has written Christianity out of its constitution and has been challenged for doing so by Pope Benedict and his predecessor – is now upping the ante against Christians. And while dozens of similar stories play out at all levels of local, national, and supranational government, the assaults are no longer limited to the boundaries of the now largely postChristian continent where Christianity once matured and flourished. Britain and the United States are now brazenly collaborating to promote homosexuality in the developing world, with a disdain for national sovereignty that used to be despised within the governing halls of the developed West. As of early November, David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has put Africa on alert that the failure to protect every manifestation of homosexuality (practice, marriage, organizations and so on) will result in the end of development funds from England and the EU. Within We have our work cut out for us this election season if we are going to try to set right the seriously deformed foreign and domestic policy of this administration. But as always, our efforts are not merely political, since the solutions are never merely political. HLI Nigeria’s Charles Nnagboh was among the first to respond to the threats to cut off aid, sending a letter to the Senate of Nigeria
In order to build this More Just Society, the “experts” invariably attempt to undermine religious faith, and in so doing, they misplace their hope and become utterly confused about what it even means to love.
two days, the leaders of Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda had replied in no uncertain terms that they would not have their laws dictated to them. Typical, and typically blunt, was a statement from John Nagenda, a spokesman for the president of Uganda, who said: Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state and we are tired of being given these lectures by people…. If they must take their money, so be it. Americans can appreciate a strong stand taken against the British amidst threats of retaliation. While the situation is very different, one can imagine Adams, Jefferson, Washington, and Madison nodding in agreement. The founding fathers, however, would have been even more appalled at the statement of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who chimed in shortly after these first salvos between the British and the Africans, equating religious objections to homosexual acts to “the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.” So, if you don’t support homosexual “marriage,” you are like one of those barbarians who kills women unjustly. And this argument is made with the support of your tax dollars. encouraging them to pass a proposed bill protecting marriage and requesting materials from HLI Central to help educate his countrymen as to the nature of the threat to religious freedom and morality in Africa. By engaging in the public square around the world, HLI is often defending faith as we defend life and family. Those who are trying to build the More Just Society know full well, as we see so clearly in the threats to Africa from our own leaders, that religious faith is the basis for those who stand opposed to them. This is also why the Holy Father is under constant attack, although rarely on the basis of reason and objective debate, but typically a campaign of calumny and obfuscation. Wouldn’t it be something if our African brothers and sisters threw off the shackles of foreign aid and the strings attached to it, and all in a very “American,” or rather, Christian stand for religious freedom? Indeed, the reminder that authentic freedom is only possible with a society that understands and lives in Faith, Hope, and Love is one that is sorely needed around the world. May the Lord of Life and his Blessed Mother intercede for the families of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the United States, and Europe.
the genius of uniting the theological virtues of Faith, hope, and love as the holy Spirit did in St. paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is that they are so essential to one another.
FrontLines Winter 2012 |
Development News & Progress
Appreciated Securities & IRA's
Gifts Of Appreciated Securities
Many donors can accrue tax advantages for donating appreciated securities, such as stock, mutual funds or bonds to Human Life International. Federal tax law offers special incentives for non-cash gifts of property, particularly if that property has appreciated in value. Gifts of appreciated securities typically carry benefits not associated with cash gifts: 9 You avoid the capital gains tax that would otherwise arise from the sale of this stock, and 9 Your gift qualifies for a tax deduction based on the full market value of your stock on the date that the gift is made.
Testamentary Contribution of IRA’s
I receive a number of inquiries annually about gifting IRA’s. Qualified retirement plan assets make an excellent testamentary gift – and do not require a change in your will. These assets can be gifted by simply naming HLI as a designated beneficiary on your plan. Such plans, when designated to your heirs, are not only subject to both state and federal estate taxes; additionally, your heirs are required to pay income tax on the amount they receive. However, by gifting such plans to a tax-exempt charity like HLI, the assets bypass both estate and income taxes. By designating HLI as a beneficiary of your IRA or other qualified retirement plan, and providing for your heirs with other more tax-friendly assets from your estate, you can avoid a significant amount of taxes and still provide for those you love. As an example, let’s look at a $100,000 IRA that is subject to estate tax in 2012. **Please note this example is for illustrative purposes only – actual tax savings will depend on the beneficiary’s income tax bracket, as well as the estate tax rules and rates in place during the relevant year. Estate tax rates are currently scheduled to increase to 55% in 2013 (making the tax advantages even greater). IRA to heirs IRA to HLI IRA Value: $100,000 Designated to Charity: -0Estate Tax on IRA (35%): -$35,000 $65,000 Income Tax (paid by beneficiary, est 28%): $18,200 Final amount to heir/charity: $46,800 $100,000 $100,000 -0S100,000 -0$100,000
Making the Transfer:
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 540-622-5285 and I will provide you with the information to complete the transfer. Before initiating a DTC transfer (the DTC is a member of the Federal Reserve System) please provide Human Life International (preferably by email) the following information: 9 9 9 A description of the donated security Number of shares Donor name
It is very important to contact us about your gift, as the vast majority of transfers never mention the donor. By calling us before the transfer and providing the above information, we will know who to credit the gift to when the transfer takes place. It is very important to obtain expert advice in these areas. We highly recommend that you consult a financial planner and /or legal counsel in order to take full advantage of the tax savings strategies that are available to you.
Also note that, in general, qualified retirement plans are not a good source of funds for lifetime charitable gifts -- because the donor will have to pay income tax on any amounts withdrawn from the account.
A $100,000 IRA that is subject to estate tax in 2012
$100,000 $80,000 $60,000 $40,000 $20,000 0
Final amount to when given to charity: $100,000 Final amount when given to heir: $46,800
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Development News & Progress
HLI Documentary Program: True Stories
HLI’s True Stories project brings the world dynamic video of the fight for life around the globe.
The first installment, “The Philippines: Preserving a Culture of Life,” documents one of the most dramatic social and political struggles for life and family in the world. This important documentary aired worldwide on EWTN, drawing attention to the threats facing Filipino families in this beautiful Catholic nation. Additionally, in the Philippines itself, EWTN aired the program 10 times at different hours in order to reach the largest number of families possible. Due to the overwhelming success of True Stories: The Philippines, HLI now plans to expand the project into an entire series of documentaries. The second installment of True Stories is already in production. It will focus on Hungary and Poland, where dramatic developments in the last year could lead to major changes within the old Soviet block countries. Hungary’s new constitution, which went into effect on January 1st, has shaken the foundations of a dying Europe by stating outright that life begins at conception. European Union bureaucrats are up in arms, and 2012 will see litigation in Hungary’s courts over the implementation of this new constitution. Joseph Meaney, HLI’s Director of International Coordination, is one of the many experts you will hear from in the new documentary. He recently visited Budapest and Krakow to get “onthe-ground” information on the situation in Central and Eastern Europe. Each exciting new installment of True Stories will highlight the pro-life successes and struggles of a different region of the world where HLI is actively working to defend life and families. As the first documentary has already proven, this series will be a huge resource for educating people around the world on the pro-life battles being waged in their own backyards. And, just as importantly, each installment will also educate tens of thousands of people here in the United States on critical pro-life issues from around the world. To bring these ambitious plans to fruition, we need your support. Please consider a special gift to the production of the “True Stories” project today. You can do so easily by using the envelope enclosed in this issue of FrontLines.
Above and below: screenshots from HLI’s True Stories project.
Human Life International established the St. Gianna Beretta Molla Guild to honor and recognize those friends who have made provisions for HLI’s future through will bequests, life insurance, gift annuities, trusts, or other planned gifts. The purpose of the St. Gianna Guild is to build HLI’s endowment and provide funding for future programs. Any matters regarding estate planning will be addressed in confidence, and only those who expressly grant permission will be publicly acknowledged. For more information about the St. Gianna Guild, please contact Bill Williams at (540) 6225285 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
FrontLines Winter 2012 |
Photo of St. Gianna provided by the family of St. Gianna Beretta Molla through the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation in Canada.
The St. Gianna Beretta Molla Guild
The Cardinal von Galen Award
Receives the Cardinal von galen award
By Raymond de Souza, Regional Coordinator for Portuguese-Speaking Nations
Bishop luiz gonzaga Bergonzini
The second International Congress for Truth and Life took place in the metropolitan city of São Paulo, Brazil, from November 2 to 6. Bishops, priests, seminarians and hundreds of lay men and women heard speakers from Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and the United States. A major highlight of the event was the presentation of the von Galen Award to His Excellency Luiz Gonzaga Bergonzini, Diocesan Bishop of Guarulhos in the State of São Paulo. Fr. Shenan Boquet, the new President of Human Life International, presented the award in person. HLI selected Bergonzini to receive the prestigious award for his courageous work on behalf of the unborn. The von Galen Award is named after Blessed Cardinal August Clemens von Galen, of the Diocese of Muenster, Germany, who fought openly against Hitler’s pro-death campaigns in the 1930s and 1940s. The cardinal publicly denounced how Nazism had placed itself above and beyond morals, as well as its intention to destroy the very foundations of Christianity. He was beatified in 2005, the same year the award was created by HLI. In my capacity as HLI’s Regional Coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries, I had the privilege of delivering the presentation address to Bishop Bergonzini, a man who epitomizes the priesthood with his passion for the Gospel and for Jesus Christ. Bishop Bergonzini made history during Brazil’s 2010 presidential elections when he exhorted the Brazilian people not to vote for Dilma Rousseff, the Workers’ Party’s candidate, because of her commitment to the legalization of abortion. Through the website of the Bishops Conference of Brazil, and the over two million copies of the flier titled “Appeal to the Brazilian People,” the bishop used every avenue available to him to educate his flock. His efforts caused a loss of 6 million votes for the anti-life candidate, although Rousseff did ultimately win the election. Abortion had never before been a matter of national debate in Brazil. Thanks to Bergonzini’s efforts, the pro-life people of Brazil are now aware of what’s
Bishop Bergonzini is recognized for his courageous stance on behalf of unborn, despite political pressure, persecution, and even death threats.
Bishop Luiz Gonzaga Bergonzini receives HLI's award for being a voice of conscience for society.
at stake, and are fighting against the anti-life policies of politicians like Rousseff. In an interview given to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Bishop Bergonzini emphatically affirmed: “Each one of us knows our duties and omissions, and will be accountable not to me, but to God. I point to the road, but I do not take anyone’s liberty away. My certitude is the truth of the Gospel. My candidate is Christ Himself. And my party is the Gospel!” The bishop’s public affirmation of fidelity to the teachings of the Magisterium on life was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI shortly before the elections. The Holy Father issued a strong statement confirming the Church’s position on the right to life from the moment of conception, thus endorsing the courageous stance taken by Bishop Bergonzini and a few other bishops who denounced the pro-abortion platform of the Workers’ Party. Moreover, due to Bergonzini’s public stance, the credibility of the Catholic Church went up 20 points from 34% to 54% (the only organization in the country with higher credibility is the Brazilian Army). “We must distinguish between political parties and politics,” the bishop stated. “The Church does not have the right to engage in politics? The Church has the duty to do so! As a citizen I have the right, and as a bishop, as a Christian, I have the obligation to participate in politics … In our party, the head is Jesus Christ, and our weapon, our law, is the Gospel!” www.hli.org
10 | FrontLines Winter 2012
The Cardinal von Galen Award
Bergonzini is known for insisting on the involvement of the Church in the political process regarding life-issues, a principle upheld by the Vatican but often rejected by local bishops. He was ordained priest in 1959, and consecrated Bishop of Guarulhos in 1992. His diocese contains more than 1.3 million people, and almost 11,000 pastoral workers in 389 parishes. He is also a professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of São João da Boa Vista, director of the Stella Maris Hospital, vice-president of the Santa Casa de Misericórdia of Guarulhos and is a professional journalist, acting as director of the A Cidade de São João newspaper as well as the diocesan newspaper. All of these activities – and many others not mentioned here – portray the dynamic personality of Bishop Luiz Gonzaga Bergonzini, the leader of a diocese that is both populous and filled with challenges. By his courage and fidelity to the Catholic Church, Bishop Luiz Gonzaga Bergonzini was chosen by the Época magazine as one of the most influential people in Brazil in 2010. He has become known as the “Lion of Guarulhos,” and his voice has reverberated throughout the country. He preaches the Gospel of Life whether it is “in season” or “out of season,” and like St. Paul the Apostle, he has received several death threats for his efforts. Yet he remains undauntedly faithful to his mission. In the face of the iniquitous crime of abortion, the Church cannot keep silent. To do so would be a grave omission. Worse still, it could be interpreted as a tacit assent. Bergonzini provides an example that all bishops and priests can look to when faced with similar challenges. At the end of the presentation address, Fr. Shenan Boquet delivered the von Galen Award to Bishop Bergonzini amid the thunderous applause of the standing audience.
Blessed Cardinal August Clemens von Galen, of the Diocese of Müenster, Germany, was a Catholic prelate who stood up to Hitler’s Nazi euthanasia campaign in the 1930s and 40s. His example of unwavering loyalty to the teaching of the Church and his public defense of handicapped Germans being targeted by euthanasia earned him the title, “The Lion of Müenster.” HLI’s Cardinal von Galen Award is given to a Catholic prelate who has been a voice of conscience for his society. HLI believes that good bishops who act like true shepherds in protecting the sheep from the assaults of the modern age need our support, and their example needs to be spread far and wide.
for your life-saving contribution to HLI of $49.90 or more, we would like to send you two audio talks that will enlighten and inspire you: Surviving Spiritual Warfare by Fr. Robert Cox & Barbara McGuigan AND The Tragedy of Thomas Merton, by Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand
As you know, this month (February 2012) we will not be sending you an issue of Mission Report. Therefore, we ask that you please include your monthly donation in the business reply envelope for this issue of FrontLines.
IF FE T B TO RU D AR O Y N O RS
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF HLI'S MISSION!
FrontLines Winter 2012 |
Religious IN THE
By arland K. niCholS
Cardinal Raymond Burke recently made the ominous statement: “[There] is a war” between “a culture of secularization which is quite strong in our nation” and “the Christian culture which has marked the life of the United States strongly during the first 200 years of its history.”
He expressed this deep concern in light of an unprecedented assault upon religious freedom in the United States. Religious institutions with ethical convictions are increasingly perceived as a barrier to progress and to the welfare of our country, and Christians who live in accord with their deeply held religious beliefs are considered bigots. The First Amendment recognizes that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Yet as Archbishop Jose H. Gomez recently wrote, “We are slowly losing our sense of religious liberty in America.” Government has increasingly become hostile to the free exercise of religion while simultaneously enshrining nefarious ideologies as the highest values of society. One senses that we are at a dangerous precipice as the Obama administration is actively and deliberately threatening and weakening the legitimate exercise of religious freedom. Since the State does not grant this freedom, such actions are not just an offense to the legal rights of man, but to natural law and the dignity of the person. Central to the Church’s teaching is that a person should not be forced to act against his or her conscience and religious beliefs. This is expressed beautifully in the Vatican II document Dignitatis humanae which states, “[A]ll men are to be immune from coercion … in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs.” The foundation for this right is “not the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature.” (n.2) Yet, such coercion is happening throughout the United States. Consider the photographers who were found guilty of unlawful discrimination by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission for declining to photograph the “commitment ceremony” of a homosexual couple because such a ceremony is inconsistent with their religious beliefs.
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Freedom U N I T E D STAT E S
As another example, medical and nursing schools are increasingly discriminating against candidates who refuse to do abortions or dispense contraception based upon their moral convictions. The ongoing case of twelve nurses in New Jersey, who were told they would lose their jobs if they did not assist in abortions, is just one example of medical professionals fighting for this basic right. One of these nurses was reportedly told by her boss, “You just have to catch the baby’s head. Don’t worry, it’s already dead.” At the same time, religious communities and other institutions founded on the basis of the faith of their members are increasingly under attack today. Such communities “have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith, whether by the spoken or by the written word” (Dignitatis humanae n. 4). Nonetheless, the Department of Health and Human Services recently ruled that birth control, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs must be administered by Catholic hospitals and universities. Consider also the fallout resulting from the Obama administration’s attack on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the redefinition of marriage that is an ongoing threat in many states. Or how about the administration’s denial of a grant to the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services in spite of the stellar record this agency has accrued in providing services to victims of human trafficking? Why was it refused? All signs point to the Catholic agency’s refusal to provide abortions. Meanwhile, a handful of Catholic adoption agencies have ended their ministry, with more likely to close soon, because states are seeking to impose adoption by homosexual couples. Perhaps most practically, we must vigorously engage the political arena as Catholics, especially by being active in the upcoming election season of 2012. Cardinal Burke reminds us that we “have a serious duty to vote and to try and find the best candidate to elect.” When we
Religious institutions with ethical convictions are increasingly perceived as a barrier to progress and to the welfare of our country, and Christians who live in accord with their deeply held religious beliefs are considered bigots.
These examples are only the tip of the iceberg and they reveal a consistent affront to the rights of religious communities in the United States. Cardinal Burke and others fear that the current erosion of religious freedom will eventually lead to arrests of Catholics simply for teaching moral doctrine—especially related to sexuality—because this teaching would be considered discriminatory and illegal. Unfortunately, trends in our culture have given little reason to assuage his fear of persecution. Archbishop Timothy Dolan recently wrote, “Never before have we faced this kind of challenge to our ability to engage in the public square as people of faith and as service providers. If we do not act now, the consequences will be grave.” So how do we respond to this challenge? make this decision we should recall that the most basic rights are the right to life, to freedom of conscience and to religious freedom. If we are not victorious in stemming the tide of militant secularism, let us recall the words of Saint Luke, “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29). The times are such that some Bishops are preparing themselves for “civil disobedience.” We would do well to be prepared while keeping in mind the wisdom of Cardinal Burke: “If Christians do not stand strong, give a strong witness and insist on what is right and good for us, both as individuals and society, this secularization will in fact predominate us and it will destroy us.”
FrontLines Winter 2012 |
“GUILTY” for Pro-Life Victories
HLI Austria is persecuted by the Courts as judge effectively rules that sidewalk counseling is “stalking.”
rosaries for the pregnant counseling centre in Graz,” said Joannes Bucher, HLI’s Regional Coordinator for Europe. Joannes is also based in Austria. “While these pro-life resources were given by HLI Austria, Dietmar himself was never in Graz to counsel women in front of this abortion center.” On the final appeal in October, Judge Caroline List again condemned Mr. Fischer despite the testimonies of ten witnesses of the prosecution, again including the abortionist, that no one had actually been accosted by him or his colleagues. Mr. Fischer said he was horrified by the judge’s decision. “This verdict is a scandal and is purely political. It was mandated by the Minister of Justice. Judge Caroline List admitted that her verdict was about a larger legal question. It is about whether pro-lifers will be able to stand in front of clinics and to offer help to women in need,” he said. “This decision is not based on the rule of law, and goes against freedom of speech, religion and demonstration.” Even while facing such persecution and injustice, Dietmar has continued to organize and sponsor pro-life sidewalk counseling in the city of Vienna where he resides. He will continue to fight against this unjust ruling. www.hli.org
s HLI reported on its international pro-life news blog HLI World Watch (www.hliworldwatch.org), an Austrian Judge charged HLI Austria Director, Dietmar Fischer with supposedly “stalking” an abortionist in Graz, Austria even though he was never in the city of Graz to “stalk” anyone. The final ruling of the Austrian judicial system came down in October, when a second judge ignored the facts and testimonies of the case, and imposed an $8,500 fine on Mr. Fischer. The judge ruled that if Dietmar did not pay the fine, he would be forced to serve 80 days in prison. This case can only be described as blatant political persecution of a prolife leader for his effective defense of the dignity of life. The ruling essentially criminalizes pro-life sidewalk counseling in Austria. Mr. Fischer’s only recourse at this point is to appeal the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France; which, given the anti-life bent of the EU, is no guarantee that justice will be served. And it could take months or even years for the ECHR to hear his case.
above: hli austria director, dietmar Fischer.
To understand how truly absurd the case is, you must understand how it unfolded. The original charge was a minor one brought by a Graz-based abortionist in 2009 against three pro-life sidewalk counselors to whom Mr. Fischer had sent pro-life materials to hand out to women considering abortions. These three prayer warriors, who were guilty of no crime but were simply being persecuted at a lower level, reached an agreement with a lower court. That agreement was sent to the Ministry of Justice in Vienna, and the Ministry found the verdict unsatisfactory and sent it back to the Graz court. Then Judge Erik Nauta in Graz unilaterally elevated the charges to “stalking,” and extended them to include Mr. Fischer — who was not even in Graz at the time of the supposed offense, and had no contact at all with the supposed “stalkee.” To further underscore how unjust the charges are, during the appeal presided over by Judge Nauta, all of the witnesses for the prosecution, including the abortionist himself, testified that Mr. Fischer did not stalk the abortionist, but merely supplied leaflets and materials to the counselors. Despite this, the judge ruled against Mr. Fischer. “Dietmar is accused of offering, for free, eleven week old baby models, support flyers for pregnant mothers, and
14 | FrontLines Winter 2012
HLI’s international pro-life news and commentary website, HLIWorldWatch.org, sheds light on news and events affecting the pro-life and pro-family movement around the world. (Below are excerpts from recent stories.)
Kenyan Pro-Lifers Kickoff Natural Family Planning Program, by Adam Cassandra– January 5, 2012
Couples in Kenya are embracing Natural Family Planning (NFP) with the help of a new clinic opened by the pro-life group Human Life International (HLI) Kenya in collaboration with the Catholic Church. The St Mary Mother of Charity and Consolation Clinic for NFP opened last November in Nyeri, Kenya as part of the pro-life outreach efforts of HLI Kenya. The clinic, which teaches couples the Billings Ovulation Method of NFP, has been embraced by local Catholic Church leaders. The Catholic Church rejects the use of contraception and promotes NFP as the only method of family planning that respects the dignity of human sexuality in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ. “We hope mothers who go through this training will pass this knowledge to their daughters,” said Father Raphael Wanjohi, director of HLI Kenya, who is also in charge of the clinical and psychological counseling for the Nyeri Catholic Archdiocese. The Standard newspaper in Kenya first reported on the efforts of Fr. Wanjohi and the clinic’s staff to help couples understand responsible parenthood while keeping with the teachings of their faith. “The great advantage of the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) is that it is very simple, and can be taught even to those with little formal education. It takes only a couple of hours or an afternoon to teach this method, which is based upon the monthly signs their bodies give them,” said Dr. Brian Clowes, director of research and training for HLI. “The BOM is now used by tens of millions of women all around the world, especially in developing countries, and has proven to be a great blessing for women who wish to respect their bodies and God’s plan for their lives.” ...
Understanding the Worldwide Pro-Life and Pro-Family Movement
Connect with us at www.hli.org
evangelical Christian donated his services to construct the beautiful official website for this visit; another evangelical group held a prayer vigil on the eve of the Holy Father’s arrival praying for the success of the trip; traditional religious practitioners came out in large numbers beating drums and dancing in their best ceremonial colors – particularly when the Pope visited Ouidah, which is their national headquarters. One message comes out loud and clear from this mobilization – the Church should never tire of reaching out to those outside the fold. Over and above this, the successor of Peter reminded Christ’s faithful that the road to unity of the religions was one in which we should all walk and invest our best, even as we maintain our devotion to the Church that Christ Himself established upon. The State of Benin received the Pope as both head of the Vatican State and as the successor of Peter. The day of the Holy Father’s arrival was declared a holiday. The city council particularly cleaned up the city, and home owners along the main streets repainted their houses. For once, political lines were blurred for one full weekend. But what was most outstanding was the respect and reverence that Benin’s non-Catholic President Thomas Bon Yayi reserved for the Pope. He said and did many kind things, but one event remains engraved in my heart. He promised the Holy Father that the young nation was going to be built on Christian values. ...
A Letter from Benin: Reflections on the Papal Visit, by George Wirnkar– December 6, 2011
Pope Benedict XVI’s recent Apostolic journey to Benin was indeed a celebration for all of Africa, but was especially important for those of us who look to this Successor of Peter as a leader in the fight to defend life, faith and family. As the dust settles (and there was literally plenty of it) on this historic visit, and as I regain my bearings in my home country of Cameroon, I am excited to share with my friends in America and the English-speaking world some of the special memories I brought back from this trip. The Holy Father’s visit was everyone’s business. The level of cooperation across religious and political lines in preparing for the visit deserves special mention. An
FrontLines Winter 2012 |
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erland—Reported In September 2011, by Joannes Bucher, I had the privileg September 2011. e of traveling to Zurich, Life. HLI-Switzerlan Switzerland to particip d joined with 11 ate in the March other pro-life organiz ful gathering of about for ations to co-spon 1,500 people that sor the March. it brought both Catholi was a beautilife—especially for cs and protestants our disabled brother together to stand s and sisters—even up for It was a great pleasure in the face of tense to be able to visit violence. those who are a part tastic work to promot of HLI-Switzerlan e respect for all life. d. They have done In 2002, Switzerl fanand introduced anti-life laws that shocked Human Life Internatio ™ many nal
With the Advent season here and the wonderful celebration of Christmas quickly approaching, it is very easy to get distracted by the glitter of the season and forget the true meaning of Christm as. We must never forget the wondrous message of Christm as is a significant reminder that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son for our salvatio n. May the image of the holy infant lying in Mary’s arms serve to remind us of Police in Zurich were the precious gift we on have received and they were needed, hand to control people protestin g against the March, in our Savior Jesus attempted to disrupt as leftist groups from the Revoluti Christ and the onary Federation it. reason our pro-life missionaries work tirelessly everyda y to defend In this month’s edition human life at its most of Mission Report, Joannes Bucher tells delicate state. for Life, which HLI-Sw about his experien itzerland helped sponsor. ce at the Zurich March This March emphas the womb. Even though ized the rights of there was a violent disabled children attack by anti-life participants joyfully in protesters during marched forward the March, Joannes for the rights of the the Asia-Pacific Congres and the unborn. Also this s (ASPAC) in Kazakh month, Brian Clowes stan and the great reports on networking that occurred . Missio
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