Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Steven W. Mosher and Dr. Claude Newbury

3/25/2010 (5 years ago)

Population Research Institute (www.pop.org)

Like a pro-life Johnny Appleseed, Father Marx planted pro-life organizations wherever he went.

Even today, the pro-lifers whom Fr. Paul Marx enlisted, encouraged and helped organize still constitute the essential core of the pro-life movement around the world.

Even today, the pro-lifers whom Fr. Paul Marx enlisted, encouraged and helped organize still constitute the essential core of the pro-life movement around the world.

Highlights

By Steven W. Mosher and Dr. Claude Newbury

Population Research Institute (www.pop.org)

3/25/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.


FRONT ROYAL, VA. (Population Research Institute) - Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, Founder and long-time Chairman of Population Research Institute (PRI), was a pioneer in the worldwide pro-life movement.  He was a man of God but also a man of action in the mold of St. Paul, his name saint.  He understood the dangers posed by abortion, euthanasia, and contraception as well as the organizations that promoted these evils. He foresaw the Demographic Winter that the agents of Population Control have now brought about. 

He knew the mortal harm that birth control would cause everywhere, including its effect on the loss of faith of Catholics and on the Catholic Church itself. And he organized a worldwide movement to meet these threats to life and family head on and defeat them.

Born on 8 May 1920 in St. Michael, Minnesota, Fr. Marx was the 15 of 17 children born to his devout Catholic parents.  The example of his parents gave him an instinctive understanding of the sanctity of life and the centrality of the family.

Fr. Marx received his bachelor´s degree from St. John´s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.  He continued his studies at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and the Catholic University of America, where he received a Doctorate Degree in Family Sociology. He did post graduate work at Harvard, the University of California at Berkeley, and the American University in Washington, D.C.

He was ordained to the priesthood on 15 June 1947 by the Order of St. Benedict.  After nearly two decades on the faculty of St. Johns University, and at his own request, he was allowed to work on pro-life issues full time beginning the late sixties.

As soon as abortion became in issue in the 1960s, Father became actively engaged in promoting life, writing his first pro-life article in 1967.  

He celebrated the release of Humanae Vitae in 1968 with its condemnation of abortion, sterilization, and contraception, but found himself increasingly scandalized in the months that followed by the widespread dissent that greeted this teaching of Pope Paul VI.  Even his own brother, a Benedictine theologian, joined the dissenters. 

Determined to defend what he saw was a prophetic document, Father Marx founded the Human Life Center at St. John´s University, in 1972.  Father´s outspoken defense of life quickly gained him a national reputation, but within his own community there was criticism.  Many there were uncomfortable with his condemnation of contraception and his opposition to abortion. Father Marx was gradually ostracized by many of his confreres and ultimately forced to leave his beloved St. John´s Abbey.

The Abbott gave him a used car and $2000 and sent him on his way.  He drove to Washington, D.C. where, with the assistance of a few lay friends, founded Human Life International (HLI).  Then, like his namesake, he began the pro-life missionary journeys that would earn him the title of "The Apostle of Life."  

Over the course of the next four decades, Fr. Marx visited over 90 countries in his tireless campaign to promote the Culture of Life, urging local pro-lifers to organize and defend life from conception to natural death. 

He undertook the task of spreading the pro-life message with apostolic zeal, blessed as he was with a rare combination of visionary leadership and boundless energy.  Everywhere he went he encouraged knowledge about Natural Family Planning/Natural Fertility Regulation and alternatives to abortion.  He showered hundreds of thousands of Rosaries and Holy Cards on every part of the world.  He supplied mountains of pro-life literature, pamphlets, films, videos, posters and models.

Like a pro-life Johnny Appleseed, Father Marx planted pro-life organizations wherever he went.  He founded Population Research Institute (PRI) in the U.S., Family Life International in the U.K., Family Life International in New Zealand, Family Life International in Australia, and literally dozens of other groups around the world. 

This network of organizations, under his direction, and with the help of generous donors and under God´s grace, grew to be the greatest pro-life organization in the World.  The effectiveness of Fr. Marx and his organizations caused the International Planned Parenthood Federation to label him "Public Enemy Number One." 

Even today, the pro-lifers whom he enlisted, encouraged and helped organize still constitute the essential core of the pro-life movement around the world.

Once a year, during the Easter octave, he held a "World Conference."  He assembled an unsurpassed slate of speakers who, over the course of four or five days, educated the thousands of pro-lifers who attended.  Over the course of nearly four decades, Father Marx reached hundreds of thousands in this way.  

He also brought to these conferences people from all parts of the underdeveloped world, paying for their airfares and accommodations.  These went back home heavily laden with pro-life literature and, most importantly, acutely aware of the dangers to life posed by the anti-life forces.  

Father Marx knew that the battle was not just a material one, but a spiritual one as well.  His conferences always opened on the Wednesday after Easter with Holy Mass and closed with Holy Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday.  A smaller chapel would be set up where the Blessed Sacrament would be reserved and where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Confessions, Benediction, the Rosary and other devotions were offered throughout the day and into the late evenings. 

Fr. Marx brought many, great and small, into the church, including Dr. Bernard Nathanson.  Dr. Nathanson was a founding member of the National Abortion Rights Action League and an infamous abortionist, who had personally presided over the abortion of tens of thousands of unborn children.

In the midst of all this, Fr. Marx somehow found time to write 13 books.  In The Death Peddlers he warned of the coming push for euthanasia.  This prophetic book sold over a million copies.  His 1997 autobiography, Faithful for Life, was another bestseller. Fr. Marx retired to St. John´s Abbey in 1999, but continued to be actively engaged in the fight for life.  He attended and spoke at PRI conferences—Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2000, Santa Clara, California, in 2002, Lincoln, Nebraska in 2003, and London, England, in 2004.  Even after he grew too infirm to travel, he kept up a worldwide correspondence with fellow pro-lifers from every corner of the globe, and continued to write articles for the PRI Review and other publications.  Most importantly for us at the Population Research Institute, he served as the Chairman of our Board of Directors from 1996 onward until his death.  In his capacity as Chairman he gave us constant encouragement, sage advice, and a bountiful blessing of prayer and Masses.  He personified the motto of St. Benedict of Nursia´s "Ora et Labora" "Pray and Work".  Fr. Marx exemplified the great strength and virtues of a true son of St. Benedict and gave all of us who now mourn his passage into eternity a superb model of faith and action, of endurance and courage, of generosity, kindness and vision, of wisdom and hope, all attributes which the pro-life movement needs in such great measure today. Can anything more be said to better honor the memory of this truly great and holy monk than the words of Pope John Paul II who in a meeting with Fr. Paul Marx OSB said "Fr. Marx, you are doing the most important work on earth." Now that Father has gone ahead of us, those of us who knew him are, to a man, determined to redouble our efforts on behalf of God's little ones.  At the same time, we are confident that Father Marx, from his higher vantage point, will continue to remember us and our common struggle today to the company of Heaven. We are told by those at his bedside that, at the moment of his death, Father raised his arms towards Heaven and said, ´Take me home.´   Can anyone doubt that, when he arrived at his destination, he was greeted with the words that all faithful Catholic long to hear:  "Well done, good and faithful servant.  Well done." -----Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute.  Dr. Claude Newbury for many years directed Father Marx´s pro-life work on the continent of Africa.  Both knew and worked with Father Marx for a quarter century.

---

PRI is a 501(c)(3) educational organization. We work to reverse the trends brought about by the myth of overpopulation. Our growing, global network of pro-life groups spans over 30 countries. To date, we have successfully eliminated $790 million in U.S. tax dollars to International Planned Parenthood, UNFPA, and other anti-life aboritionists while redirecting much of this to family friendly programs like Child Survival.

See our current project.

Donate now to directly affect the lives and well-being of mothers and children around the world.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Catholic Church in U.S. has weathered adversity before - and will emerge triumphant, historian says Watch

Image of As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's okay to realize that ... continue reading


After same-sex unions legalized, polygamous Montana trio demands same Watch

Image of The 46-year-old Nathan Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was bound to happen. After the Supreme Court ruled same-sex unions legal in all 50 states, other proponents of non-traditional arrangements are clamoring for equality under the law. Nathan Collier, along with his wives Victoria and Christine have applied at ... continue reading


350-pound dolphin accidentally lands on cruise ship severely injuring woman Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To kick off the summer break and celebrate Father's day, a family went aboard a cruise that ended with a traumatizing accident. As the cruise started to sail back to the harbor, a group of dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. However, as the passengers started ... continue reading


Episcopalians overwhelmingly vote to let same-sex weddings in churches Watch

Image of Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of equal rights for homosexuals, ever since electing it first openly gay bishop 10 years ago.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


TERROR LEAK: ISIS learns of FBI command centers across U.S. for Fourth of July Watch

Image of One such likely ISIS candidate, 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh, was believed to be part of a group interested in detonating a pressure cooker bomb at a New York landmark.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears that an important bit of counter-terrorism may have landed into the wrong hands. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is installing command centers around the nation to prepare for possible terror attacks for the coming Fourth of July holiday ... continue reading


Remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan 'feel forgotten' Watch

Image of Several US Troops felt abandoned and forgotten by the US government

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A total of 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. These troops believe they have been forgotten by the Obama administration, as the US Government shifts its attention to ISIS. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The US Troops, 10,000 men and women left ... continue reading


Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


United States prepares for Fourth of July amidst threat of ISIS attacks Watch

Image of The U.S. Government prepares for possible terrorist attacks this coming Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three days before the United States' Independence Day, the FBI has already began setting up command centers in all of the 56 field offices across the country prior to the fourth. The U.S. Government is preparing for possible terrorist attacks and terrorist threats that ... continue reading


America's MOST and LEAST patriotic states in 2015 Watch

Image of Virginia [not pictured] has been named the most patriotic state.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recent American pride survey, published on June 29, 2015, revealed Virginia to be at the top of the current list of the most patriotic states in the USA. WalletHub, a consumer website, evaluated the military and civic engagement of all 50 states, included in the ... continue reading


The Martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul Invites Us Into a New Missionary Age Watch

Image of On this great Feast we need to rededicate ourselves to being true witnesses, with an adult faith, willing to participate fully in this new missionary age of the Catholic Church. May the blood of the Martyrs continue to be the seed of the Church. St. Peter and St. Paul, pray for us!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Since at least the Third Century, Christians have commemorated this day as a Solemnity, the day when the two pillars of the Church, the great Apostles, Peter and Paul, met the Lord whom they served with such beauty, face to face in the communion of eternal love. ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 22:1-19
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:1-8
1 He got back in the boat, crossed the water and came ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Bernardino Realino
July 2: St. Bernardino Realino was born into a noble family of Capri, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter