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 bachelorīs degree from St. Johnīs 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. Johnīs University, in 1972.  Fatherīs 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. Johnīs 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 Godīs 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. Johnīs 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 Nursiaīs "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, īTake me home.ī   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 Marxīs 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.

The Assassination of Two Police Officers in New York Reveals a City at a Crossroads Watch

Image of One of the officers, Rafael Ramos, was 40 years old, happily married and leaves behind his wife and two sons. The other officer, Wenjin Liu, was 32 years old and married only two months.

By Keith A. Fournier

The flames that fueled this lunacy were fanned by a Mayor who repeatedly and irresponsibly touted a racial narrative which attributed racial bias to the Police as he led this City through recent altercations between some police officers and some citizens. It was ... continue reading


The Pope, the Pets, the Paparazzi and the Propaganda Media

Image of Pope Francis pets a dog

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The passing on of this complete fabrication, as well as the embellishment which accompanied it, were not simply a matter of the secular press failing to comprehend this Pope. In fact, religious news sources, both Catholic and Protestant, jumped in. This all ... continue reading


A journey to the land of the free: Part One -- Beaten and scared young children flee violence and turn to the United States for hope Watch

Image of Many young immigrants have no more fight in them when they decide to cross the border, they're only trying to survive.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blistered feet and filthy, blood-stained skin is the forlorn image of immigrants preparing to cross the border. With hopeful hearts and anxious minds, immigrants, of all ages, assemble to make the leap into their promise land. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most ... continue reading


Pope Francis, the real architect behind the U.S.-Cuban thaw Watch

Image of With personal appeals, letters, and hosted meetings, the Vatican and Pope Francis can accurately be called the masterminds behind the recent thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba took the world by surprise, but perhaps one man was not as shocked as the rest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A senior official with the White House reported that Pope Francis made personal appeals to both President ... continue reading


Looking forward to your tax refund this year? Don't hold your breath. The IRS suffers after extreme budget cuts. Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heavily stricken with budget cuts and new tax-related laws, the IRS considers implementing its own temporary shutdown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress has recently cut the IRS budget by $346 million. The IRS' budget has been cut a total of $1 billion since ... continue reading


OBAMACARE DOES NOT WORK! Vermont gives up free healthcare plan as too expensive Watch

Image of Vermont's governor announced that a planned universal healthcare program for the state has been cancelled because the massive tax hikes would devastate the state's economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, announced that he was canceling his longtime dream to create a single-payer health care system for his state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The announcement came on December 17, citing problems with paying for the Green ... continue reading


The disgusting new fact of American life: More than 46 million Americans on food stamps for 37 straight month Watch

Image of Obama has been in office for about 70 months, and 37 of those months have seen the most amount of Americans on food stamps, ever!

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is self-evident that President Obama continues to undermine the abilities of the lower class, enforcing government-reliance on those who can least afford it. The number of Americans on food stamps under Obama has continued along its record breaking path, as, ... continue reading


Faith in the United States' race relations hits a strikingly low point after no indictment verdicts Watch

Image of 57 percent of American's say race relations in the United States are bad, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who fought long and hard for a better today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A land where discrimination no longer prevails is a reality that seems no ... continue reading


Why is he so upset? Because of the secret Republican time bomb in the government funding bill Watch

Image of The federal government has funding through the 2015 fiscal year, but Republicans will have many opportunities to fight the president's programs in that time.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Senate has approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed to fund nearly the whole of the federal government through the 2015 fiscal year, ending weeks of drama in Congress and relieving doubts that the government might be shut down again while Democrats and ... continue reading


You know about the 'Bishop of Bling' but do American clergy have the same problem too? Watch

Image of The Bishop of Bling was sacked after he spent $43 million renovating his home.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has called for "a Church which is poor and for the poor." However, not every member of the clergy may have read the memo. A number of high-ranking Church officials in the United States live in lavish homes, sometimes bordering on the scandalous. LOS ... 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, Second Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16
1 Once the king had settled into his palace and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 16:25-27
25 And now to him who can make you strong in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 21st, 2014 Image

St. Peter Canisius
December 21: In 1565, the Vatican was looking for a secret agent. It was ... 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