Return from the Philippines

It is our loving God who will transform cultures, and He asks us to be His voice, His hands and His feet. So many friends of ours in the Philippines are following this call with courage, even as the Culture of Death seeks to consolidate its recent wins in this country. Sadly, others are taking an attitude of accommodation, as if the promoters of abortion, contraception, and the redefinition of marriage will be satisfied with good will concessions.

When you speak the truth boldly, you will see some conversions, as with our fearless director of Asia and Oceania, Dr. Ligaya Acosta, who was also our gracious host on this trip. She once promoted population control for the Philippines ministry of public health, before seeing its real effect on her people and having a radical conversion. It is important to engage at the level of reason and good faith. But never concede an inch to error or false compromise in the area of politics, culture or even in personal conversations. To do so is, as we say in America, a one-way ratchet. You won’t get that back. Do not give an inch to sin and error, all while loving the other. Pope Benedict made this crucial point memorably in Caritas in Veritate:

Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite.


The big news today is, of course, the release of Amoris Laetitia, the apostolic exhortation meant to present Pope Francis’s position on all the issues discussed during the Synod on the Family. We will not have an official statement on the content of the document until we have had a chance to thoroughly review it, and there simply has not been time for a careful reading.

Of course, no one can “change doctrine,” in the sense of reversing long held Magisterial positions of the Catholic Church, and we should be clear about this point whenever we speak about it. This does not mean that there are no potential risks involved. The confusion that was rampant at the Synod and in its wake is an indication of the very real risks to souls, and there is the risk of demoralizing those who have made heroic sacrifices to live the truth of Church teaching with regard to marriage. It is ours to remain in the Truth of Christ, to be faithful, and to keep telling the truth even when confusion seems to reign.

Our first and constant work that must be done is prayer. Stay close to the sacraments, ask for God’s grace to help you grow in holiness, remember the true and unchanging Source of our hope and faith and love. Do not give in to fear. Pray for our Holy Father, for our shepherds and priests.

Thank you for praying for me, for our missionaries and our mission. Know that you, HLI’s supporters, are in my prayers at every Mass.

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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