Why You Shouldn’t Talk About the Demographic Winter

Population decline is creating problems globally. If low birth rates continue, the demographic winter will worsen. But Fr. Boquet explains why we need to avoid pessimism and focus on hope.




0:00:07.8 Colleen: Hello, and welcome to Living a Culture of Life Podcast by Human Life International. I’m your host, Colleen, and I’m joined today by Fr. Boquet. Welcome Father.

0:00:14.5 Fr. Boquet: Colleen. Great to be back with you again.


What’s the Demographic Winter?

0:00:15.9 Colleen: It’s great to be here too. And today we’re gonna be talking about why you shouldn’t talk about the demographic winter, which we’re gonna flesh that out a little bit as the podcast goes on. But let’s just start, Father, by super brief for our listeners, what is the demographic winter? Because it’s hard to have a conversation about what we need to worry about when we’re talking about it if we don’t know what it is. So yeah.

0:00:34.3 Fr. Boquet: Correct. So, very simple. I’m gonna use my recent Spirit and Life where I spoke about the situation in Japan.

So, Japan has reached a point where this year, I mean, some of the stats that we’ve seen, they have lost over 800,000 people. And as a result, their birth rates, which are already very low and the replacement level, and sinc…replacement means not only replacing the current population number but adding to that population. So let’s just say a couple welcomes three children. So they’ve “replaced themselves” and they’ve added a child added to the number. That’s not happening in Japan. So what you have now is a spiral in the opposite direction where the population is decreasing. Replacement is not “keeping up” with the ability to hold the population in a certain number, and thus you have a demographic winter on your hand, which means it’s gonna affect them financially, economics. It’s gonna affect the social programs. It’s gonna affect everything from even just the enrollment in a school. You may have schools closing in certain communities ’cause you don’t have enough children.

0:01:37.7 Colleen: I think there’s countries in, or at least like states in America, that are having like it on a more local level and they’re already closing schools ’cause you’re seeing that.

0:01:44.0 Fr. Boquet: Correct.

0:01:44.4 Colleen: But I know when I was first, like trying to look at demographic winter information for this podcast, originally I was like, “Okay, what does this actually look like? Like what if we walked through the different steps?” and I was looking at like the infrastructure problems and you’re gonna… Even just like politically, because in America things are based on population. So if you have one area that’s losing population quicker than another.

0:02:05.6 Fr. Boquet: That’s correct.


Why Do We Have a Demographic Winter?

0:02:06.2 Colleen: It’s gonna shift things politically and then like the medical costs going up and then how it’s all feeding into euthanasia. And I was sitting there going, “This is really depressing.” And that’s what… And then I was talking with a few other coworkers and they were all like, “No, you have to frame this in a more hopeful way.” Like there is a big problem on our hands, but we can’t focus on that. So what’s at the heart of this low birth rate that we’re seeing?

0:02:28.1 Fr. Boquet: Well, as we’ve… In many podcasts before, obviously it’s a false understanding of the human person, marriage, the welcoming of children. So you have an ideology that has been running really throughout the cultures around the world. And that is a rejection of those core values that sustain a culture, sustain a society, that really build a society.

As the Church always discusses, the family is the unit, a single cell, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, upon which society is built. So if you keep assaulting the very unit that holds all of it together and in a sense, sustains it and actually helps it to grow, to mature, to understand the core values that we are advancing, in the sense of love of neighbor that starts within the family.


Impact of the Demographic Winter

So you start chipping away at it, Colleen, what happens is not only is it gonna affect that single unit, it’s gonna affect what the unit also affects. And that is society itself.

And you just gave some highlights. I mean, an example of that would be, we all know right now in the United States that larger populations, Los Angeles, New York City and the states in which they exist have much more leverage in a political conversation. You start losing that demographic number of population, you also lose your voice, you lose your ability to articulate that voice.

But as you also said, you start affecting the very structures of that society. And just as simple as where a grocery store is built. You might be so used to going down the street and there’s your grocery store. Well, if the population moves out of that community, let’s say, and now you may have to go twenty miles before you get your next grocery store. So just something as basic as that. Good roads, healthcare….

0:04:11.4 Colleen: Yeah. That was the one I was thinking of is the roads you have all, like… You’re used to roads being maintained by workers. This was in… I was looking at one resource, I think it was from the Ruth Institute, and they were laying out different things, and they’re like you have factories, you have road workers, you have all of this infrastructure in America that you’re used to having the population in the workforce to be able to work at. And it’s like it’s gonna be a more extreme version of what we see now with like flights being canceled and all of that. Like I know that’s a different issue, but if you have an expectation of a certain production value and you don’t actually have the people to produce it, you’re gonna start seeing a breakdown in just things that you used to take for granted.

0:04:45.8 Fr. Boquet: Exactly. And as we’ve talked about before when you look at an inverted pyramid, what we call… in the sense of when you look at a population pyramid as a demographic pyramid, I’m gonna draw it because it’s… I know we’re on camera so we can see it. So if you do this, you know that your younger population makes up your base. Right. And of course your older population makes up your point.

diagram of a healthy population pyramid, where the young people on the bottom support the elderly at the top

But if you turn that over, which is what we’re seeing, an example in China, we’re seeing in some parts, numbers that are coming out of late. Its own population is now having some signs which we’ve talked about before–Japan, here in the US, and other parts. So it all… nothing happens in a vacuum. So it has an impact.


We Need Hope for the Future

0:05:27.1 Colleen: Well, and it seems like the main thing that is at the core of all of this is a lack of hope. Like yes, there’s a rejection of family values and all that, but it’s the heart of all of that, which is causing people to lose this wanting to be within family and recognizing structure. And all that is a lack, obviously of God, but there’s no hope. If you have children, you’re investing in the future. You have hope for the future. You hope that there’s a better future. And right now, you’re seeing a lot of young people who are just like, “Why would I have kids?” We’re going down the tubes, like nobody wants to. Like why would you invest in that?

0:06:00.0 Fr. Boquet: Which is the narrative that’s been happening now for decades in a sense. And you just articulated it very beautifully. ‘Cause that’s exactly what has been really broadcast. And so, that large populations are bad, you know? It’s negative. So you constantly hear this and people buy into that ideology. It does have an impact when you go after and assault marriage, as we see in so much of our secular cultures today, where it just constantly picks and undermines marriage. And so, you have a different understanding of married life, which as we’ve shared before, if you come out with a negative understanding of marriage and your own family experience, it’s also gonna impact the way that you approach relationships yourself.

0:06:42.4 Colleen: Yeah. You’re gonna have no hope that if you get married, that it’s gonna work out because it didn’t work out for your parents and it didn’t work out for their parents. So why would you put yourself through that again?

0:06:51.0 Fr. Boquet: Exactly. No, I was gonna say that. And that’s where we call like almost like a death spiral. Because eventually you just kind of get caught in this constant loop. And it does, it produces despair, discouragement; you kind of fall into this sense of blasé, just saying, “Well, what’s the whole point?” You know?

And so, but yet the remedy is what you just said. And that is when we open ourselves to life and we open ourselves to the beauty of life and the beauty of each and every life that is welcomed, then there is that potential hope in that individual that brings those new gifts, those new wonders and that new approach. And so the real remedy is to open ourselves to a larger population, to open ourselves to the gift of human life. And that’s where the remedy will be because it’s not just having a sense of hope, it’s also in investing in tomorrow in the sense of seeing that God provides and seeing how each and each person is a gift to tomorrow.

And so, it’s really a difficult thing to convey because so much today has been ’cause we’re not in charge of the narrative.

0:08:08.3 Colleen: Yeah. Well, and going back to the narrative too, you have a lot of times people are like, “Oh, it’s like so expensive to have a kid. You have to put them through college. It’s gonna be expensive.” Or you have right now the whole climate crisis population hysteria. Like you have all these negative voices going through society.

And I think it’s really easy, and this is going into the why we shouldn’t talk about the demographic winter, which I’m not exactly saying we shouldn’t talk about it at all. But I think that as pro-lifers and as Catholics, we have to be very careful about how we talk about it, because it’s very easy to slip into this.

Like I said, when I was doing the research and I was looking at it, I’m like, “This is depressing. We can’t change the narrative. We can’t force all of…everyone in the world to start having kids now. We’re gonna have to deal with all of this mess.” And I was just looking at it going, “I’m not excited about the future if this is what the future is.”

And I think it’s so important that we be very careful when we’re talking about this issue, to not frame it only in this doom and gloom way of like, we have this population crisis now, and there’s nothing we can do about it. And yes, we should have kids going forward, but I just, I think that there’s this tension when we talk about it, that we need to be able to address and address in a very hopeful manner.

0:09:17.9 Fr. Boquet: It’s a balance. I mean, I would say this, and having given presentations on this issue in different parts of the world that are experiencing this issue. And so, it’s very… In a way, I’m not gonna say it’s the same, but in a way it’s like when you go to the doctor and there’s something serious that needs to be addressed, the doctor exposes what the serious nature is. And then offers the remedy.

And I think…and so that’s the part where we have to do the same thing, is not be afraid of what we’re confronting and talk about it. What’s brought us to this, what’s the philosophy, ideology? What’s been the narrative? And why is it false? Why has it been unhealthy? What has it caused? What are the consequences? Good. Now that we know that, so what’s the remedy? What’s the solution forward?

And you did say something that is very important with an honest approach. There are some things that will be able to be changed. Some things won’t change overnight. This where we are today did not happen overnight. What’s going on in Japan has not happened in the last decade alone. It’s been going on for many decades. So it’s gonna take time to heal that wound. And I think that’s where the hope is.

But you see, this is where it comes as a… For me, as a Catholic, it’s wonderful. It’s a mission. This is the moment the Lord has permitted me to be in this time, in this age, facing these difficulties, these challenges. But that’s exciting. Yes, it can be daunting. Absolutely. I mean, when you look at the numbers…but I would say, but this is the opportunity to bring good news.

And I think that is where we have to approach this. Here’s where we are, this is how we got here, so let’s learn from it. ’cause what’s that wonderful phrase? One who doesn’t learn from history is destined to repeat it. Well, we don’t wanna keep going down this path. Something like that phrase. But we don’t wanna go down that path. We wanna avoid that path.

And at the same time, we have to show people that there is always reason to believe in tomorrow. Because tomorrow is…I don’t know what tomorrow’s gonna hold. I might not even be here tomorrow. Right? Hope is believing that if I’m given a chance tomorrow, that I’m gonna embrace that day with all that life will afford me. And to keep bearing witness to Christ as a disciple of the Lord. That to me is where we preach good news.

0:11:32.1 Colleen: And I think that’s the most important part of this conversation. And that’s why I was like… Basically what I was trying to get to at the heart of that is that we don’t want our conversations about low birth rates and population decline to end with the doom and the gloom.

0:11:46.7 Fr. Boquet: Right. Correct.

0:11:47.4 Colleen: And we need to acknowledge the problem we’re facing, but make sure that that conversation is framed by this greater thing of hope. Like humanity’s been through hard times in the past. Like you have the Black Death in Europe where you lost a lot of population and it was hard, but beautiful things came out of it.

0:12:01.9 Fr. Boquet: Exactly.

0:12:02.6 Colleen: And that’s not to say that obviously what we’re going through now is different, but there’ve been times in history, maybe not to the same extent where you have population issues. And yes, it’s a problem and there will be problems going forward that we need to be aware of, but to make sure that we focus on the fact that there is hope for the future and that it is worthwhile to have kids. And not just to have kids to get us out of this mess, but to just have kids because life is worth living. And that’s a beautiful thing.

0:12:29.6 Fr. Boquet: Exactly. And if I could, I’d like to frame it a little, add a little to it. It’s not just about the issue of a decreasing population. We have natural disasters that occur that can change a whole situations in communities overnight. And great tragedy, great loss, property loss. I mean, coming from south Louisiana, a massive storm can come in and devastate a community. So we always are facing situations of life. And this is one of these moments.

Now this is something we ourselves are causing. So if we’ve caused it, that means we can also heal it. I can’t go out in the ocean and say, “Okay, you hurricane, stay over here.” I can’t push you back out. I have to prepare my property, prepare my home, get away from the damage as much as I can, try to bunker things down and then get out of the way. And then come back and deal with it.

This situation is…we’ve created it. So we have to know how we created it, why we created it, what was the mindset happening. Then we can come back in and address those falsifications that have occurred. And there have been many out there. And let’s be honest, we know that it’s politically driven in a sense of an ideology. And so, we have to be… There’s a genuine conversation there. I mean, things that we can scientifically show that are in the sense of what we know. But there’s also a lot of things that are out there that are just fabricated and are literally sensationalized to drive an ideology. That’s out there.

0:14:00.3 Colleen: Okay. I have a question about this, and if you don’t know the answer, we can cut this part.

0:14:02.9 Fr. Boquet: Sure.

0:14:03.1 Colleen: We can edit it. What motivation is there for people? Like what do people have to gain by pushing an ideology that’s literally gonna have really negative effects on everybody in the future? Not just Christians or Catholics or something like that. What do the powers that are pushing this agenda have to gain?

0:14:22.9 Fr. Boquet: You have to look at their ideology. You have to see what it is and why they believe what they believe, ’cause there are people that literally, despite the nose in their face, are gonna cut it off because they believe so wholeheartedly in that ideology. So there’s no rational behavior explanation sometimes. Sometimes it’s just believing that this is the path that I believe in and come no matter what, I’m going to take that path.

0:14:46.0 Colleen: So the people that think that, like the planet shouldn’t have any humans on it, even though it’s detrimental to them, they think that that’s the ideology that they’ve committed themselves to and that they’re gonna keep going to.

0:14:56.0 Fr. Boquet: Well, it’s just like the organizations that are behind the ideology. And you think it doesn’t make any sense because what drives their market is people. What brings them financial gain are people buying their product. If you undermine the very number of people purchasing your product, you’re undermining your own company, your own financial stability and prosperity. It makes no sense. So there are a lot of things that make no sense that people do and have advanced in our human history. And have caused great harm. You know?

So we have to be honest in saying that this has been harmful. Some people are gonna disagree with us. There’s no doubt about it. Who really believe there are too many people on the planet and who believe that the planet is not sustainable. That’s false. And we can give all the rationale, but like you said, we don’t wanna focus in on that.

0:15:49.6 Colleen: No. I don’t.

0:15:50.7 Fr. Boquet: But to focus in on the message of hope. And I really believe what it is, is that as a Christian, as a disciple of the Lord, that to see the opportunity in front of us is to engage that situation. So very much like the early disciples and the early missionaries, right? They went into new territories. There was no faith there, that we know as Christian faith. They brought the Faith, and they confronted situations that were very difficult. They confronted similar things. They had cultures that had very limited birth rates. They had cultures that were doing human sacrificing. They had cultures that had many different ways of looking at human life…how they degraded. Some cultures, how they looked at women, how they looked at children. They faced all of it. But what they brought was good news, Colleen. They brought a different anthropology, a different vision of life.

And that’s the hope we believe in. We believe in a different vision of the human person. We believe in a different vision of marriage. And we believe in a God who’s given me the ability, and you the ability, to use reason and understanding of how to be a steward of our planet, how to be a steward of God’s creation, how to be a steward of those resources and embrace the day with joy and peace, despite the difficulties that it may bring.

And it also, as it does as a message of hope, it makes us work together. And this is where Pope Francis really has been stressing this, communities working together, that I need to be concerned about the poverty situations in other parts of the world.

Here we are, I don’t lack for anything. I can drive right down the street and go right into the grocery store and pick up my supper tonight if I want. There are people that don’t have that. And so this is what… Again, this message of hope that Pope Francis has been sharing is that this solidarity…and that’s also what this does. And the idea that we have parts of our world that really exploit those resources, and for what? And so those are the things that we’re dealing with. But to me, I look at that as an opportunity, not as a gloom and doom.

0:18:03.4 Colleen: Well, and I think it’s really important, basically what you’re saying is that we talk about why life is so worth living, that we talk about the beauty of marriage and we talk about all of these things because they’re worth living in the first place. And that’s basically what I was trying to get to with the title is that we’re not gonna stay here at the bottom in this demographic winter and say, “Oh, we should have kids to get ourselves out of it.”

0:18:22.2 Fr. Boquet: That’s correct.


Importance of Sacrifice

0:18:23.1 Colleen: But that we need to make sure that our conversation is directed towards helping people recognize the beauty of life and that the beauty of family and God’s grace. And that no matter what kind of struggling… struggling is part of the Christian life, there’s gonna be suffering. It’s still worth investing in the future. It’s still worth having that.

0:18:40.5 Fr. Boquet: And that’s an important word, that suffering, that people just don’t wanna talk about, you know?

0:18:45.2 Colleen: Yeah.

0:18:46.7 Fr. Boquet: And I think more than suffering is sacrifice. My mom and dad come from, were in large families. The Boquet family’s quite large in south Louisiana. And my dad himself is… My grandmother had welcomed eighteen children, sixteen were able to be brought into this world. And we lived very simple lives. My dad speaks of that. But they lacked for nothing. No. They didn’t have what everybody else has.

And I think that’s part of this conversation, is again, it goes back to vision. It goes back to an anthropology. It goes back to what is my view of life? And if life is about me just having power and position, which goes back to your question, why do people promote this? If that’s what life is, then that’s what you’re gonna get. And you’re gonna get these kinds of situations of difficulty.

But if your vision of life is that life is good and God is the giver of life, and God has made me with a purpose, and there’s a direction of my life. And that’s a very different vision. And you approach these situations with a very different narrative.


Bringing Hope to Others

0:19:57.8 Colleen: When you’ve been on mission, have you ever had conversations with young people who just don’t want kids because they think the future is bleak?

0:20:03.6 Fr. Boquet: Sure. And to have…

0:20:04.2 Colleen: What do you say to them?

0:20:04.8 Fr. Boquet: Well, it’s very similar to what we’re talking about here. I try to listen, what’s the rationale? What did… Why did they feel that way? And many times it’s because that’s what they’ve been… It depends what age they are now. Of course.

0:20:17.8 Colleen: Do You have any specific instances in mind?

0:20:19.4 Fr. Boquet: Well, I mean, I can think of a couple of examples in parts of Africa. Because this is where the West has pointed its guns, if you will. It’s pointed this ideology of depopulating Africa.

And so when you look at this and you realize, okay, these young people, that’s all they hear in college. That’s all they hear in high school. That’s all they get from the UN programs that are there. That’s what they get from the United Nations Population Fund. And they hear all this rhetoric. And so, if that’s all you hear, and that’s what your professors are teaching, and that’s what you see on TV, that’s what you hear on radio, that’s what you get on the Internet, then it’s easy to kind of… That’s what you walk in with. That mindset.

And then, I’ll give you an example, in the little country of Lesotho. Right? So, there’s a religious sister… That’s in South Africa, just so you have an idea.

0:21:07.4 Colleen: Okay. I was gonna say where is that.

0:21:08.9 Fr. Boquet: So it’s in South Africa, a little… In a country, a mountain country. And has its own king, its own sovereign king. And so, in one of the rural parts, of course, in itself…South Africa, rural.

And so, giving a presentation on the beauty of marriage and the beauty of family life, and this beautiful young woman stands up. I mean, and she’s very well dressed, as opposed to some others who are not as nicely dressed in the sense of clothing. And she’s bemoaning the fact that we’re so poor, we just really can’t welcome children. And before I could say anything, a religious sister stands up and she confronts the situation. And she says, think about what you just said. So she’s speaking to her and says to her…

0:21:58.4 Colleen: The nun is speaking to the lady… How old is the lady?

0:22:03.2 Fr. Boquet: The young lady is probably about twenty-one, twenty-two years old. And the religious sister would be my age. You know, in the fifties.

And so she says, “People before you, ” she says to the young lady, called her by name, and says, “believed they were poor. Look at your parents. Look at the situation of your parents”, she says, “You’re one of seven children, and look, your parents did so well by you. They provided for each of you. They loved you, and they had struggles just like we have today, but they were open to life. And here you are, this beautiful young lady.” And she says, “And look how fortunate you are.” She says, “Look at how you’re dressed. You were able to go to school, you were able to get a college degree. You were able to find work all because your parents said yes to you. And because of that, she says, we are blessed. You are here, and you now bring gifts and abilities to our community and to our neighborhoods. And the potential is there in you. This mindset is false.” She says, “Every life is potential. Every life brings a blessing and brings a challenge, a challenge for me to love.”

So the sister is just giving this fantastic presentation. And she says, “But you still think you’re poor, and you think that you can’t have children because you’re poor.” She says, “That’s false. That is so false.”

And then the sister talks about herself and she says, “I come from a very large family.” And she says, “And my parents, we… ” she says, “They taught us the value of each other and community and helping each other.” And she says, “And my vocation has grown from that.” And she says, “So think about that. Think about what’s happened here.”

We’ve like…again, an example of that would be in the country of Namibia. Right. And the Rundu, which is about eight hours outside of the capital of Windhoek. Near the Okavango River Delta, right across from Angola. Been there a number of times.

And these young boys, young teenage boys, look at me and they ask (with a couple of religious sisters we’re all walking around), and they say, “Father, we understand that America’s very, very rich, while we are here very poor.”

And the religious sister said, “Before Father responds,” she says, “What if I were to tell you that the West, in reference to your father’s country, might be very rich, but they are very poor.”

And the young man looked at her and says, “Oh, you mean spiritually poor?”

And so the idea is that it’s really how we approach… And yes, there is poverty. I don’t want anyone to listen to this podcast, and not realize, there are many struggles around the world. I’ve been in ninety-one countries. I’ve seen with my own eyes, but I know a lot of that is a result of corrupt systems. It’s corrupt government, corrupt policies, failure of… the few have, others do not. So there are many challenges. But what we do is we try.

The ideology of the demographic winter aims at convincing people that the real problem is the human person. They are the blame for all of these reasons. Well, there’s a partial truth. Those corrupt governments are made up of human beings. Those policies that are anti-life are people that created them. So yes, there’s a partial truth in that, but the human person is not to blame for the actual poverty, the root of poverty. It comes from something else.

0:25:30.2 Colleen: And that’s why we have to make sure that our conversation is focused on why the human person is so good.

0:25:35.6 Fr. Boquet: That’s right.

0:25:36.6 Colleen: And that life is so good. And that even in the midst of poverty, there is hope.

0:25:40.8 Fr. Boquet: Yes. There’s beauty. I mean, you think of people in our own history who came from very difficult situations, yet climbed and contributed so beautifully to our societies and our cultures. We have stories like that all around our world. So we’re really, it’s about approach. That’s why I go back to what I said, it really is the approach. Because if I get up in the morning and approach life, “How can I serve life today? How can I serve humanity today? What can I do today to help someone in need? What can I do to contribute to the good, the common good that we all share? And how can I advance that common good?” That’s the question.

And it’s not so much that we’re just going to, some people would say, “Well, just to have children and welcome children for the sake of just numbers.” No, that’s not what we’re talking about either. But what we are speaking about is changing the mind and the heart. Some people, some demographers–and I don’t wanna end our conversation on a negative–but the idea is that some demographers say once you reach a certain number, the tipping point, there’s no recovery. Now we can look at history and have examples. Alright. I wanna not focus on that.

0:26:53.4 Colleen: That’s what I was about to say. That was the whole point of calling this podcast why we shouldn’t talk about it. ‘Cause that is, that’s just feeding into it.

0:27:01.7 Fr. Boquet: Exactly. Right. That’s right.

0:27:02.2 Colleen: Any pro-life… not pro-lifer, but anyone who’s concerned about population, who looks at that is gonna say, “Well, what’s the point of having kids?” Which just feeds the problem.

0:27:11.6 Fr. Boquet: But if we get underneath–and that’s why I said it’s gonna take time.

So for example, if we had a mission to Japan, how would we address this? Well, we would address… Obviously, I can’t speak to the rulers of Japan, wouldn’t have that opportunity, but I can speak to those in the communities. And using that principle, subsidiarity, start at that lowest level and start instilling the beauty of life.

And I’m gonna give you an example. This happened in mainland China. I remember watching a young couple with their parents, both sets of grandparents. Because they welcomed one child. This child was maybe about a year, year and a half old. Able to walk, move around. But the child, and I mean this very respectfully, they doted over this child in a sense of, like an umbrella, hovering.

They were so afraid of the child getting hurt. And eventually they would pick up the child when the child just kept saying, “Get me down. Put me down. I wanna go, I wanna move.” But they were so worried that the child might hurt itself, it might fall. And so, there’s this fear because we will only have one child. And so this is what’s been instilled.

And then, you think about so many people who have bought in–again, I don’t wanna come back to the negative–but who have had themselves sterilized. Because they don’t want children. Or they welcomed one and then had themselves sterilized and something sadly, tragically happens to that child, and now there’s none.

And so it’s… I’m so grateful to the Lord that I was not, that I didn’t buy into that ideology, that I didn’t go that path. You know, it was taught to us in college. I remember it very well, hearing it from professors. Alright. And that’s before I went to seminary and so forth. But it was there. I mean, my goodness, you could just open up Time Magazine, Newsweek. Listen, I mean, this is what they’re trying to push. I never bought into it. Never believed it ever.

And I think that to me is the message we have to keep bringing, that we have to bring a message that really speaks of hope. And speaks of a love and a joy. So that, so I don’t wanna move in that direction, but I think it’s just important that we look at the whole thing still.


Is the Demographic Winter Ending?

0:29:34.6 Colleen: No, that’s very important. That was why I wanted to have this on hope.

And super quick. I think we’re right around the half hour mark, but do you have any signs of hope? That you see around the world? Like do you see any things that are outstanding that’s super hopeful for the future? I know that’s a really big question and I don’t want this to go on too long, but I do wanna end on what you see from your perspective.

0:29:53.7 Fr. Boquet: Stories are the best way to do it. Alright. So let me give you two of them. One’s gonna be in the United States. Another’s gonna be in an Asian country.

So in the United States, I remember about ten years ago (so remember I’ve been with, now serving HLI for twelve years). So I went into this community and did what we always do, our educational programs, our formation programs. And this young couple at the time were in their late twenties and had welcomed two children and had closed themselves off to more children, as we’ve been talking about, because they had bought into this ideology that they were taught in college and the universities.

And so, then I come in with a very different message. The Church (but I’m the speaker there), come in and speak something very different and talk about the beauty of family life and the wonder of life itself and challenge that ideology. And I did. And I remember having a conversation with them in a break.

And so, then fast forward a few years later, I had not seen them in about five years, six years. And re-encounter them in another event, in the same community. And in come the two children I met before. And in come three other children. And the mother walks up to me, she says, “I want you to meet… ” And she puts, “Your children.” She says, “What you said really pricked our conscience and we realized we needed to honestly talk about this. And we came to the conclusion that we were wrong and that we had allowed others to blind us to the beauty of what family life is, and to be open and trusting of God. And here they are.”

0:31:47.1 Colleen: Yeah.

0:31:47.8 Fr. Boquet: And so, and she says, “And this one’s got your middle name,” so it’s kind of really, it’s exciting to hear.

And there’s another similar story in one of the Asian countries. And it was, I’m trying to… It was not in the Philippines, but it was in… I’m thinking, I’m trying to think of the country, but it’ll come back to me. Similar situation, and–oh, sorry, Taiwan of all places. Taiwan.

0:32:10.6 Colleen: Wow.

0:32:11.5 Fr. Boquet: So not as large, but they had welcomed one child and we did the same thing with Dr. Brian Clowes, Dr. Ligaya Acosta. I’ve been to Taiwan three times now. And this was the first moment there.

And very similar to what we see in mainland China, we see in other parts of Asia, this mindset of one child. And in the presentation, same thing, we talked about the beauty of life, and challenge… and especially what Dr. Brian does, ’cause he talks about the demographic winter. He gets into the ideology of the anti-population. So he exposes the real agenda here. And who are the players. That’d be a great conversation with Dr. Brian to have. But then I come in and then I give the theology. I come in and give the spiritual components. And you know, they really connect the natural order, law, talking about natural law.

And again, similar situation. This couple, however, was in their thirties, early thirties. And so during tea break they came and talked, and just talked. And I was there for a week. And they came every day. Every day. And we talked.

Now, it was the first time I’d been there. So the second time when I returned, which was a number of years, about three years later, I meet a second child. Third time I returned, I meet a third child. Now, you have to understand in these cultures, that is a lot of kids in there ’cause you don’t see children as much.

And so if we don’t have the courage to bring the message forward, if we don’t have… And what I’m gonna end with is a challenge to the Church. We preach the Good News. Absolutely. And we must be always preaching that Good News.

But we also have to be there to support. And that means, that goes back to what I said earlier. To me, it’s community. It’s an understanding of my obligation to you, your obligation to me, our obligation to others. And to be in solidarity means to be in solidarity. And to realize that to be a community means to embrace community and responsibilities and duties and obligations. And if there is a right to this wonderful gift of life, which there is, then there’s also an obligation and a duty toward that life. So there’s reciprocity, there’s mutual responsibility, all of it.

We need to talk about that. We have allowed the other side to control the narrative. And what they’ve created very tragically is a self-centered culture.

0:34:35.8 Colleen: A self-centered culture with a huge fear of the future. And we need to be the selfless… we have to be selflessly-centered, other-centered.

0:34:44.6 Fr. Boquet: Other-centered.

0:34:45.5 Colleen: With hope for the future.

0:34:48.0 Fr. Boquet: Amen.

0:34:48.6 Colleen: And not just to get ourselves out of a bad situation, but because that life is worth living for its own sake. Well, thank you, Father, so much for this conversation.

0:34:57.7 Fr. Boquet: You’re welcome.

0:35:00.3 Colleen: And to all of our listeners, I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Please like, subscribe, tune in next week for another episode and keep on living the culture of life. God bless.


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