Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Steven W. Mosher and Dr. Claude Newbury

3/25/2010 (4 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 (4 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.



Comments


More U.S.

Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


Anarchy in Chicago! Weekend of crime tears city apart Watch

Image of The weekend of July 18 saw the death of five people and the wounding of 47 in Chicago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There were 47 shooting victims in Chicago this weekend, five of which ended up being fatal, statistics from the Chicago Police Department report. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chicago officials met on July 21 to discuss the city's recent surge in gun ... continue reading


The Contraceptive New York Nanny, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The idea that the government is now in the business of arm-twisting women not to have more children - immediately after childbirth - is morally obnoxious and socially disturbing. It is so apt that this is happening in a city where its mayor lusts for abortion ... continue reading


Building a culture of life: Colorado clinic takes brave stand Watch

Image of Inspired to bring their mission home to Colorado, they decided to start a natural women's health clinic that would uphold the dignity of women and give them the care they deserve.

By CNA/EWTN News

A Colorado women's health clinic seeking to offer natural care that respects human dignity has drawn praise for helping to build up a culture of life. (CNA/EWTN News) - Authentic women's care "is essential to the pro-life movement," said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, ... continue reading


When more than 80 percent of California faces extreme drought -- the spigots remain open Watch

Image of At the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, fountains are still operating. The one change is that they turn off at mid-morning, and haven't been running full-time since the spring.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Extremely dry conditions in the state of California has 80 percent of the so-called Golden State in extreme drought conditions. Many couldn't tell the difference in many urban areas: Sprinklers go full blast on many lawns, and lots of waters goes wasted by ... continue reading


IT'S ABOUT TIME: Rick Perry deploys national guard to halt southern invasion! Watch

Image of Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border, in an effort to stem the flood of illegals that have crossed over throughout 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an effort to stem the influx of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children that have been entering the United States illegally in 2014, Texas Governor Rick Perry will send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure the southern border. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Is Mount Rainier about to blow? A new study promises to reveal clues about an upcoming eruption Watch

Image of Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and the fifth-highest peak in the contiguous United States, towering more than 14,400 feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A huge magma reservoir below Mount Rainier in Washington state has been mapped by American and Norwegian researchers, which may provide subtle clues as to when the volcano will next erupt. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This huge magma reservoir was formed as ... continue reading


BUSTED: FedEx indicted on numerous counts for shipping illegal internet pharmacy drugs Watch

Image of Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online pharmacies, operating beneath the radar of drug regulation, often make drugs intended for pain control and psychiatric needs available for illegal recreational purposes. As a result, FedEx Corp. - a trusted mail delivery system has now was indicted for ... 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, Song of Songs 3:1-4
1 On my bed at night I sought the man who is my ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-2, 11-18
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Mary Magdelene
July 22: She is called "the Penitent". St. Mary was given the ... 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