Fr. Paul Marx, founder of Population Research Institute, was honored at a banquet during PRI’s Global Family Life conference, held in Bloomington, MN from June 20–24, Throughout the dinner, previously recorded testimonies were played on a large screen. Conference attendees of all ages and from all over the world thanked Fr. Marx for his lifelong commitment to the unborn.
The crowd of over 600 listened attentively as Fr. Marx gave his first public speech in several years. It was apparent to all there that the man Planned Parenthood once called “Public Enemy Number One” hasn’t lost his wit or his dedication to the unborn. After entertaining the audience with several jokes, Fr. Marx turned to more serious matters, speaking of his decades of pro-life work, traveling around the world bringing the pro-life message to 92 countries, He reiterated his firm belief that contraception leads to abortion, and that this devaluing of life further leads to euthanasia. Fr, Marx decried the low fertility rates around the world. “We are in a very bad way.” he stated solemnly.
Fr. Marx’s Impact on the World
PRI president Steve Mosher spoke to banquet attendees about the influence Fr. Marx had on his own life and on the entire pro-life movement. Fr, Marx helped to bring Mosher into the pro-life movement, and was influential in Mosher’s eventual conversion to the Catholic faith. By traveling with Fr. Marx, Mosher was able to see first-hand Fr. Marx’s impact on pro-lifers around the world. Mosher stated, “Father Marx is best known for starting pro-life organizations in the United States, including Population Research Institute, but he is actually the godfather of dozens of groups, most of which are overseas.” (For the entire text of Steve Mosher’s talk, please see page two).
Smith’s Rachel a Hit
One of the highlights of the evening was the singing of Marie Smith. Marie sang the recently-released Rachel, a moving song about women who have undergone abortion, which offers them hope and healing from their pain. Steve Mosher referred to Rachel as “the best pro-life song I have ever heard.”
Banquet attendees also listened to talks by Judie Brown, president of conference-cosponsor American Life League, her husband Paul Brown, and Shellie Roche, a young mother who credits her decision not to abort her child to the influence of Fr. Marx. The banquet was the highlight of the four-day conference, which featured leading pro-life speakers from around the world.
The conference began Wednesday evening, June 20, with a beautiful opening Mass, celebrated by Bishop John Yanta of Amarillo, Texas. In his homily, Bishop Yanta told how he went from being merely pro-life to being committed to the pro-life movement. The turning point came when some friends encouraged him to begin praying outside an abortuary with them. Since he became bishop, there has been a sharp decline in the number of Planned Parenthood clinics in his diocese.
The Activists Speak
Three tracks of conference talks began Thursday morning and continued through Sunday morning. Conference attendees were able to choose from a distinguished line up of speakers, including former abortionist Bernard Nathanson, pro-life activist Joe Scheidler, and Rev. Johnny Hunter of LEARN. Conference talks covered all aspects of the pro-life movement, including sex education, euthanasia and bioethics. Dr. Chris Kahlenborn spoke on the latest evidence of the link between breast cancer and the pill. Updates on the life issues around the world were given by Dr. Claude and Glenys Newbury of South Africa, Johannes Zander of Germany, and Jim Hughes of Canada. Special conference events included a pro-life youth rally, and a training day on the United Nations. In addition to the talks, conference attendees had the opportunity to purchase books, tapes, and other merchandise from the many exhibitors. Free pro-life literature was also available.
PRI president Steve Mosher spoke on a variety of topics, including China, and the population implosion, as well as telling the compelling story of his conversion to the Catholic Church.
PRI board members Charles Rice and Mary Haynes, and advisory board member Mary Ann Kuharski also gave talks at the conference. Kuharski is the president of ProLife Across America and the mother of 13 children, six of whom are adopted. She gave practical tips on raising Godly children in today’s world, entertaining the audience along the way, with her excellent sense of humor.
Mary Haynes, an American who has been living in England for several years, addressed the pro-life situation in her adopted country. Americans should be concerned about what happens in the UK because it is the bellwether of attacks on life around the world. From sex ed to abortion, morning after pills to cloning, the UK has led the way. Sex education in schools starts at age eight, with the result that Britain now has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any country in Europe. Morning after pills are dispensed to girls as young as 13 without parental consent. Unlike in the United States, abortion is not a hotly contested issue.
See you in Santa Clara!
The success of our Minnesota conference has encouraged us to plan another. Mark your calendars now for next April 3–7. These are the dates of PRI’s upcoming Global Family Life Conference in Santa Clara, California, right next to the Our Lady of Peace Shrine. Look for more information to come in PRI Review.