HLI Represents Life, Though WMF Ignored Referendum
Human Life International Ireland (HLI) was present at the 2018 Dublin World Meeting of Families (WMF), the first one organized by the new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life of the Roman Curia and the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin. Pope Francis came to conclude the event with a large mass. Patrick McCrystal and his HLI Ireland staff worked three separate tables in the exhibitor’s hall. They distributed tons of pro-life material and devotional items such as Holy Face of Jesus medals to the tens of thousands at the three day pastoral congress. Special “priest-packs” went out particularly quickly. I represented HLI Central with my wife Marie and daughter Thérèse.
Sadly, both Pope Francis and Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of Laity, Family and Life for the Holy See, failed to effectively address the elephant in the room, the recent Irish national referendum that stripped all protection for preborn babies from the Irish Constitution. There is looming legislation the Irish government vows to pass to legalize abortion after the summer break. Pope Francis, in his homily and in his speech before the Irish prime minister, called for protecting the most fragile, the unborn and elderly, but none in the press picked up on these oblique references to the pending legalization of abortion in the Irish Republic.
The WMF was a mixed bag of events. It is terrible Fr. James Martin S.J. and others were given microphones to spout their LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) messages. This was the first World Meeting of Families that featured LGBT-friendly events. One of the groups carrying up the gifts at the papal mass came from the official homosexual outreach mass of the Archdiocese of Dublin. On the other hand, one archbishop did preach a strong sermon at a main WMF congress mass actually quoting Pope Francis on the Gender Ideology as a threat to the family. Dr. Rocco Buttiglione, Msgr. Carlos Simón and many others spoke very well, but why give dissenters from Church teaching space in the official program of a major Catholic international event?
I had joyful reunions with many friends from the international pro-life and pro-family movement walking around the WMF. It was a tribute to HLI’s global outreach that we also met members of our extended family from as far afield as Hong Kong, Paraguay and Kenya. HLI Ireland did a great job in spearheading our presence at the WMF.
I was happy to see quite a few large Catholic families at this event. The lines for confession could be daunting, but my wife Marie was rewarded for her patience by confessing to Cardinal Barbarin, the primate of France! In the exhibition area most stands reflected faithful Catholicism such as EWTN Catholic TV, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and other traditional religious groups. These had much more success than the UNHCR refugee tent or the “Our Common Home” save-the-earth booths.
Éirinn, a “Galway” breed Irish sheep served as official mascot of the Dublin 2018 WMF. This ewe was created by a graphic artist who works on such Disney animated projects as “Vampirina.” Organizers mentioned choosing the mascot because of the importance of sheep in the Gospels, particularly in the Parable of the Lost Sheep… I cannot think of a more appropriate symbolic representation of the contemporary Catholic Church in Ireland.