Cardinal von Galen Award – Fall 2009: Bishop Benoît Comlan Alowonou

The Most Reverend Benoît Comlan Alowonou, Bishop of Kpalimé, Togo takes every opportunity to defend innocent human life and the institution of the family.

His devotion and humility in the exercise of the office of bishop for the past eight years has made a big difference for this small nation in the west of Africa. Togo needs inspired bishops in its current anti-life crisis. The government there legalized abortion on demand in 2007 after it ratified the Maputo Protocol, a treaty coming from the African Union.

Our Francophone (French-speaking) Africa director, George Wirnkar, met Bishop Alowonou for the first time at the Ecclesia in Africa Congress in Yaounde, Cameroon in 2005. Providentially, he was with Fr. Denis Amouzou Dzakpah, then serving as Secretary General of the Togolese Bishops’ Conference. (He is now the Archbishop of Lomé, which is the capital of Togo.) Following that meeting, HLI was welcomed into Togo by Bishop Alowonou, which was particularly important as he is in charge of the seminarians, priests and religious in Togo.

H.E. Benoît Alowonou requested that HLI come and speak to all the priests of Togo at their annual meeting regarding the scourge of legalized abortion, which was imposed upon their nation. He personally encouraged the creation of an HLI Seminarians for Life group in Togo. His diocese has consistently accounted for a large portion of this group. And he was very happy when HLI decided to hold this year’s Seminarian Summer Institute for all French-speaking countries of Africa in Togo.

HLI looks forward to working closely with Bishop Alowonou and all the bishops of Togo as they forge ahead with the important task of resisting the culture of death, which is threatening to strangle their country. It is a blessing that they can count on the full support of the local HLI affiliate, Pro-Life Togo, in this vital mission. We are also tremendously encouraged by the enthusiasm of the seminarians and young priests in Togo for preaching the Gospel of Life.

Ending abortion and all the other components of the anti-life modern mentality will require a united effort from the laity and the clergy. Togo is fortunate to have such good leadership in the Church and civil society. Spiritually, they are in a much better place than many other threatened nations around the world. Bishop Alowonou and his brothers in the episcopate in Togo are providentially provided successors of the apostles, evangelizing their country and defending their flock from the errors of our contemporary world. It will be an honor for HLI to assist them by all means at our disposal.

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