Rejecting the Anti-life, Anti-family Mindset of World Elites
“Life is the first good received from God and is fundamental to all others; to guarantee the right to life for all and in an equal manner for all is the duty upon which the future of humanity depends.” ― Pope Benedict XVI, Pontifical Academy for Life, 2007
Just over a week ago, many of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting. Among the guests were many heads of state, global financial leaders, and billionaires. Their goal? To solve the world’s problems.
On the very first day of the meeting, two top executives at the World Economic Forum published an article in Forbes, outlining what they see as the priorities facing the organization. “Strengthening resilience and finding cooperation in a fragmented world is central to this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos,” they wrote.
Apparently, however, this pursuit of cooperation does not extend to the preborn, or those who do not share the WEF’s progressive social agenda.
The two WEF executives – David Sangokoya and Louise Thompson – wrote that one of the three priorities for this year’s forum is “upholding civil freedoms and human rights.” At face value, that sounds quite admirable. The pair go on to note, however, that there has been some progress, and some setbacks, in the past year. On the “progress” side, they write, “Women’s movements have pushed significant policy changes in San Marino, El Salvador, Colombia and Mexico on sexual and reproductive rights — in stark contrast to developments in the US and Poland.”
By “sexual and reproductive rights,” it seems, the pair primarily means “abortion.” Last year, Colombia legalized abortion up to 24 weeks. San Marino legalized abortion up to 12 weeks. In late 2021, Mexico legalized abortion up to 12 weeks.
As someone who just returned from the March for Life in Washington, D.C., it is startling to read Sangokoya and Thompson’s words about the United States. Just last week, I marched with the tens of thousands of joyful pro-life Americans who are thrilled that U.S. federal law no longer discriminates against the right to life of the preborn. That’s no setback! That’s progress!
Meanwhile, my pro-life colleagues in South America tell me how distraught they are that the anti-life globalists have infiltrated their continent, convincing various Catholic nations to open their doors to the legal killing of the preborn and to the destruction of marriage and the family. And the WEF boasts that this is progress! Up is down, and down is up.
The Globalist’s Anti-life, Anti-family Agenda
Unfortunately, this is precisely what we have come to expect from organizations like the WEF. As Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis have repeatedly warned, rich and powerful organizations and individuals that lack all respect for other cultures are strong-arming developing nations into accepting abortion, contraception, and the radical LGBT agenda.
As Pope Benedict lamented in Caritas in veritate, “Some non-governmental organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures” (no. 28). Pope Francis, meanwhile, has frequently warned of “ideological colonization,” in which powerful westerners seek to impose their modern, atheistic, anti-family and anti-life values on other cultures.
This “ideological colonization” was certainly on display at the Davos meeting.
A few days after the article in Forbes was published, the head of the WEF’s “Women’s Health Initiative” published an article with two other global healthcare experts, outlining the WEF’s plan to support the UN’s goal to bring “universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services by 2030.” In particular, they highlighted their goal of bringing “reproductive health” services into hospital emergency departments. As we know, the terms “sexual and reproductive health” are interpreted by international organizations as including legal abortion and access to contraception.
Meanwhile, among the sessions at the Davos meeting was one entitled “Beyond the Rainbow: Advancing LGBTQI+ Rights.” Among the speakers were representatives of radical pro-LGBT organizations that are seeking to destroy traditional beliefs about the central importance of the family and traditional sexual morality.
In remarks to the event, Tirana Hassan of Human Rights Watch lamented how conservative countries such as Poland and Hungary are protecting marriage and resisting the radical LGBT agenda. Hassan suggested that developments in “international law” could be used to bring about change in countries that haven’t accepted the LGBT agenda.
Unsurprisingly, she also highlighted the importance of targeting the courts in bringing about social change in many countries. As I have written in the past, progressive activists routinely use their clout and political savvy to identify sympathetic activist judges in developing nations, bringing in radical legal changes by doing an end-run around democratic procedures.
Another speaker, Sarah Kate Ellis, the President, and CEO of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), urged CEOs of big corporations to use their platform and their company’s economic and social power to push a progressive agenda, pointing to a variety of resources the WEF has developed to help them do just that. Sharon Marcil, from the Boston Consulting Group, agreed, explaining all the ways her massive corporation “proactively” advances the LGBT agenda.
A Better Vision of Human Development
There is something disturbingly ironic about the World Economic Forum, which exists in large measure to promote economic progress. While advancing an anti-life and anti-family agenda, this worldview is severely threatening the economic health of much of the world.
In the past week, we learned that China’s population has already started shrinking – something that happened several years earlier than anticipated. Meanwhile, the Japanese prime minister last week warned that the nation is “on the verge” of social collapse due to rock-bottom birth rates.
More and more demographers and economists are warning that, after decades of scare-mongering about “overpopulation,” the globe is in fact facing an imminent population implosion problem, which poses enormous political, social, and economic challenges that we are ill-prepared to face. And yet, in the midst of this population implosion, we have the members of the WEF and their ilk continuing to promote the very policies that brought us to this pass.
For decades, the Catholic Church has issued warning after warning, pointing to the urgent need to base global development upon the rock-solid foundation of a correct moral worldview that prioritizes the intrinsic dignity of every human being and recognizes the importance of strong families.
As Pope St. John Paul II warned in Centessimus annus, “Human ingenuity seems to be directed more towards limiting, suppressing or destroying the sources of life — including recourse to abortion, which unfortunately is so widespread in the world — than towards defending and opening up the possibilities of life” (no. 39).
Over and against this anti-life mentality, Pope St. John Paul II proposed a different vision:
It is necessary to go back to seeing the family as the sanctuary of life. The family is indeed sacred: it is the place in which life — the gift of God — can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed, and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life (CA, no. 39).
Perhaps one of the most important paragraphs on this topic appears in Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in veritate. “Openness to life is at the center of true development,” the recently-deceased pontiff wrote:
When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual (no. 28).
How to Build a Culture of Life
It is difficult not to read Pope Benedict’s words as prophetic.
Developed nations are increasingly betraying a profound lack of “motivation” and “energy.” More and more, it seems as if these societies are giving up. Rather than embracing the goods that were traditionally understood as giving life its greatest joys and most profound meaning – family, friendship, community, faith – inhabitants of the wealthiest nations are increasingly living lives of lonely, self-indulgent individualism.
Fewer and fewer young people are getting married, and fewer and fewer of those who do are welcoming children. Instead of working to create meaningful lives, people are spending their days in the single-minded pursuit of wealth and pleasure. Meanwhile, statistics show stratospheric increases in the numbers of young people identifying as LGBT, with astonishing numbers of them pursuing gender “transition” procedures.
These are not signs of a healthy, happy civilization, in which people possess a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, who recognize the call towards self-sacrifice and love. This is the world that the anti-life globalists have wrought. This is what they are continuing to promote.
This is why we must return again and again to the Church’s wisdom, reading the great documents put out by recent popes, studying the Catechism, and dedicating our own lives to a life of love and service towards others.
Great cathedrals are not built in an instant, but rather brick by brick. It is the strength of our own personal virtues, and the strength of our own families, that will build up the cathedral of a true Culture of Life. Let the rich and powerful fly their private jets into Davos to chatter at one another. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work building virtuous, prayerful lives, strong families, and resilient churches, schools, and communities.
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Father Shenan J. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI as its President in August 2011. Father Boquet earned a BA from Saint Joseph Seminary College, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology, a Certification Program in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a Master of Science in Bioethics (MSBe) from the University of Mary in Bismarck. In 2018, Father Boquet was awarded an honorary visiting professorship by the Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing email@example.com.