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PRO-LIFE

HUMAN LIFE INTERNATIONAL
17th ASIA-PACIFIC CONGRESS
November 06-08, 2010

OPENING REMARKS
by
FRANK PADILLA
Servant General - CFC-FFL

Faith, family, life. These are the crucial issues in the life and mission of the Church in this third millennium. At every turn we see the threats to and the attacks on faith, family and life.

Many so-called Christians are today experiencing a crisis of faith. There are those who have turned away from God and have left the Church. There are those who are actively serving in the Church, including clergy and religious, but who do not accept, and may even actively oppose, authentic Church teaching on such things as contraception. There are those who go through the motions of Catholic life, including going to Mass on Sunday, but who are for reproductive health and values-free sex education. Jesus himself said, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8b). The way things are going, authentic Christians are fast becoming the little flock.

Today the attacks on the family and on the culture of life are vicious and overwhelming. The forces of the enemy are being concentrated for the final assault on family and life in this third millennium. Nations are falling like dominoes before this savage onslaught, giving in to divorce, to abortion, to same-sex marriage. And mind you, these diabolical forces are powerful, including the government of the most powerful nation on earth (the USA), including the European Union, including elements of the United Nations, including international liberal media, including billionaire philanthropists.

These forces will stop at nothing. They will influence national referenda to defeat pro-life provisions, by infusing millions of dollars into the campaign chests of anti-life groups. They will pass laws that penalize hate crimes, while defining hate crime as such things as just speaking against homosexuality. They will arrest peaceful pro-life protesters at abortion clinics, or pro-life supporters at university campuses. They will mount a relentless campaign to malign the Church hierarchy, including the pope. They will levy fines, confiscate property, incarcerate those who will not kowtow to their agenda.

The crisis of faith, family and life is all too real.

How do we respond?

There is first of all a dire need for re-evangelization. There are just too many nominal Christians. These so-called Christians need to become authentic followers of Christ. They need to undergo transformation in the Spirit. They need to grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Then they can become authentic witnesses to the faith. Then they can see the way to growing in holiness and in living lives of righteousness. Then they can become evangelizers themselves.

Second, we must work to renew the family. The family is the basic unit of society, and John Paul II says that the future of humanity passes by way of the family. The enemy knows this as well. And so he focuses on destroying the family -- through divorce, separation, living-in; through valueless sex education; through in vitro fertilization; through same-sex “marriage.” Many families are today dysfunctional. Perhaps there is only one parent caring for the children. Perhaps there are two parents, but they are of the same sex! So what can we expect? The children also grow up dysfunctional. Pretty soon, they are shooting their classmates. Or committing suicide. Or just being a menace to society.

Third, we must work to defend and uphold the culture of life. Life is of God. Human life first came to be when God Himself “blew into (Adam’s) nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 2:7). Life is God’s wonderful gift, and it starts in the womb. And so the enemy, ever opposing what is of God, brings death -- through abortion, contraception, sterilization; through embryonic stem cells; through euthanasia and assisted suicide; through degrading the quality of life by corruption, poverty, environmental degradation. We must oppose the work of the enemy. We must uphold God’s plan. We must defend life.

So how can we help bring about the restoration and renewal of faith, family and life?
This is why we are having this HLI Asia-Pacific Congress. There is much that we as pro-lifers need to learn. In this culture war, we need to be informed and equipped. We need to know the ways of the enemy. We need to see clearly as to developing our own competencies and strategies.
Further, we need to grow as the body of Christ that comes together with the one mind and heart of God, united in vision and mission, faithful to our call, obedient to the will of the Father. One weakness in the pro-life movement is the disunity and lack of collaboration. Pro-lifers are diverse in their gifts, as is fitting for instruments that God has raised. Now right there are the resources needed to mount a strong pro-life movement. The passion is there, but there is much more we need to do to strengthen our united front.
Most importantly, we ourselves need to be continually renewed in spirit. We not only serve the cause of life, but we live the life of Christ. We not only do good works, but we develop a vibrancy of faith. We are not content just to be good Christians, but we need to attain to the very holiness that is of God.

Our theme for this congress is taken from the book of the prophet Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.”

May we all grow to be an instrument like Jeremiah. God has known each of us from all eternity. And as we have responded to God’s call, He has dedicated us to the task of renewing the family and defending life. Now, in this crucial third millennium, as we race to the end of time, as we face the final conflict, God appoints us to speak, live and act prophetically to all the nations.

May we all be found faithful in this task.

Copyright 2008 Couples for Christ Foundation, Inc.
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