By Way of the Family

“To you, upright men and women, who for any reason whatever, give thought to the fate of the family. The future of humanity passes by way of the family. It is therefore indispensable and urgent that every person of good will should endeavor to save and foster the values and requirements of the family.”

– Pope Saint John Paul II, FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO #86

You can imagine just how dismayed I was to read Monday’s Relatio, the mid-term report issued by the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family. Instead of receiving strong, clear and unambiguous language highlighting the Church’s teaching in support of the family and its centrality within a healthy vibrant society, we received soft, ambiguous and misleading language which only confuses the faithful, as well as those outside the Church, trivializing the proper role and duty of the family in the modern age.

What is urgently needed is the Church’s heroic witness, proclaiming with courage the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is in charity that Pope Saint John Paul II calls us, “upright men and women,” to transform hearts and minds to the Gospel of Life, rejecting the secular ideals of the day which lead to sin, suffering and lost salvation.

The impression given in this unauthoritative mid-term report is that those who are faithful to Church teaching are uncharitable and non-pastoral. Quite the opposite is true: charity is truth! Using dubious language devoid of Biblical and Magisterial teaching is itself uncharitable and leads people away from Christ, not toward Him. Transformation comes from full adherence to Jesus and His teachings, which reveals to humanity the true dignity of every person.

Leaving a person in the state of sin is not an act of charity, but is rather misguided compassion.  No matter the circumstance, true charity leads a person out of sin. Loving our neighbor means accepting him where he is, while at the same time, guiding him to Truth – to Jesus and His teachings.

Take the Biblical example of the woman accused of adultery. Jesus’ language was authentic and clear: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more [John 8:11].” This is the same language needed today, not the secular jargon – soft, ambiguous and misleading language — saturating the culture.

Saint John Paul II understood the centrality of the family in cultivating, building and sustaining a healthy society. We must defend the family according to God’s original design if we are to be serious about resolving the issues plaguing society today. Families are threatened by an insidious secular culture driven to redefine the family in opposition to the Creator’s Will. And wherever secularism takes hold, the ill effects cause marriages and families to suffer. These threats enslave people to the consequences of sin: contraception, abortion, cohabitation, gender ideologies, euthanasia, same-sex unions and divorce–threats that HLI has opposed for over 40 years.

What uplifts and encourages me the most are the affirming voices of many cardinals and bishops in response to this week’s debacle. I applaud their outward rejection to a liberalized approach to Church teaching. Christ’s teachings reveal to every person the “ultimate reality of the love of God,” as Saint John Paul II insists, therefore, the work of all Christians is to outwardly affirm and profess the Truth in charity.

This has been the very work of HLI since its inception. In the footsteps of Father Paul Marx, we persevere as “Apostles of Life,” endeavoring to save the future of humanity in Truth.

This is why we must pray right now for the Synod Fathers to bring the conversation back toward the fullness of God’s truth for the family.

It is why now, more than ever, I implore your prayers and support for HLI, continuing the work to defend life and family around the world for the glory of God.

Pope Saint John Paul II, pray for us!

About Fr. Shenan J. Boquet

Fr. Shenan J. Boquet has served as president of Human Life International since 2011. He was ordained in 1993 as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana. As HLI’s president, Fr. Boquet collaborates with fellow laborers in the pro-life and family movement in over 80 countries, offering the Sacraments, giving seminars and trainings, appearing on numerous media outlets, and encouraging people of all walks of life to live as faithful advocates for a Culture of Life and Love. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing

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