Human Life International (HLI) marked the importance of the Family at a high-level event at the United Nations’ (UN) headquarters in New York, by co-sponsoring an side event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the proclamation of the International Year of the Family. Dr. Joseph Meaney represented HLI and delivered an address on how 1994 proved a turning point in modern history. Pope Saint John Paul II wrote his Letter to Families that quarter of a century ago, making a passionate and successful appeal for people of good will to band together and prevent proponents of the Culture of Death from proclaiming a human right to abortion at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, Egypt.

importance of the Family

Christine Vollmer, winning the Maximilian Kolbe Prize

HLI and many other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and nations responded to Saint John Paul II’s call to defend life and family at the Cairo Conference and at the level of international institutions. From 1994 forward the radical feminists, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and other proponents of the anti-life and anti-family agenda have had to contend with a broad-based and growing coalition of pro-life groups and countries at UN conferences. HLI was responsible for the creation of one of the first full-time pro-life apostolates at the UN, The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. Today it is an independent organization known as C-Fam.

Since 1994, May 15th is marked at the UN as the International Day of Families. Governmental delegates from all over the world spoke about the need to promote and defend the Family, which is recognized as “the natural and fundamental group unit of society” in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Holy See Mission, in particular, has proved a strong leader in defense of life and family over the years. The United States (US) swings wildly from pro-life to anti-life at the UN depending on the occupant of the White House. Currently, the US is firmly in the pro-life camp.

Mrs. Christine Vollmer was awarded the Maximilian Kolbe Medal at the event as a recognition for her lifetime of work for the Family. Vollmer founded the Latin American Alliance for the Family and was a founding member of both the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Academy for Life. Her efforts have concentrated in recent years on the creation and promotion of a values and chastity education curriculum for students in both English and Spanish.1

Photo courtesy of C-FAM

The family is our hope for the future. Men and women united in lifelong marriages can and do transform the world by procreating and educating future generations. The Church and HLI have not tired in supporting this bedrock institution. Our work has only become more important as deliberate attacks on marriage and a confused understanding of the true dignity of the human person spread. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Saint John Paul II for his strong international leadership and call for the proclamation of the Gospel of Life that HLI and others carry forward! May the world wake up and embrace the importance of Family!

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