Human Life International, which defines itself as 'Pro-Life Missionaries to the World', is indeed one of the major activist international pro-life organisations, both in spiritual and political terms. HLI has affiliates and associates in 100 countries worldwide, and its indefatigable President, Fr Thomas J. Euteneuer, travels the world educating, exhorting and helping local pro-lifers, priests, nuns, seminarians and lay people, to fight the culture of death. I am honoured to represent HLI in Australia.
In November 2009, at a dinner organised by NSW Right to Life in Sydney, I had the pleasure of presenting HLI's 'Cardinal von Galen Award' to His Eminence Cardinal George Pell.
Critic of Nazis
Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, Bishop of Munster, Germany, and later made a Cardinal, was born in 1878 and died in 1946. He was a German count who was educated at the Stella Matutina Jesuit school. After his ordination he worked at Saint Matthias Church in Berlin, where he became close friends with Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, later to be Pope Pius XII.
Cardinal von Galen was an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime. He issued forceful public denunciations of the Third Reich's euthanasia programs and persecution of the Catholic Church, making him one of the most visible and unrelenting internal voices of dissent against the Nazis.
Fr Euteneuer's citation on the presentation of the 'Cardinal von Galen Award' to Cardinal Pell reads as follows:
'As President of Human Life International and on behalf of our worldwide network of pro-life and pro-family organisations, I congratulate you on the able leadership you are giving the faithful Catholics of Australia in these difficult times.
'Our admiration for your courage and boldness in proclaiming the Gospel of Life prompted us to confer our Cardinal von Galen award on you. This honour is named after Blessed Cardinal August Clemens von Galen, the 'Lion of Munster', who openly criticised Hitler's euthanasia program. Past recipients include Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, Cardinal Christian Tumi, Archbishop Raymond Burke, and a few select others.
'Mrs Babette Francis with her Endeavour Forum represents HLI in Australia. I have asked her to present you with the HLI von Galen award in person. Our outreach has expanded greatly in the past few years to over 100 countries now. This includes places in your part of the world previously lacking an organised pro-life movement such as Papua New Guinea and East Timor. We plan to continue to assist the Church in spreading the Gospel of Life worldwide.'