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The Apostle of Life: Father Paul Marx, OSB

By Steven W. Mosher _

Join us in celebrating the life of our Founder and Chairman on his 60th anniversary of priestly ordination.

I owe Father Marx many debts. He helped to bring me into the pro-life movement, the most important social movement in the world today. He helped to bring me to Christ and into the Catholic faith — so I owe him the debt of my soul. He taught me the link between contraception and abortion — and so I owe the gift of my children in part to him. He founded the Population Research institute in 1989, and then in 1995 asked me to come and lead it, so I owe him the gift of my apostolate. And he continues, at 87 years of age, to pray for our work every day.

Public Enemy Number One

Father Marx was ordained in 1947, the year before I was born. He got his Ph.D. in Sociology from the Catholic University of America, and taught at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Then came the publication of Pope Paul VI’s great encyclical, Humanae Vitae. In defending the Church’s teaching in favor of Life, Father was drawn into the work that led Pope John Paul II to call him “The Apostle of Life.” The International Planned Parenthood Federation had another name for this tireless advocate of the sanctity of life: They called him “public enemy number one.”

A Life’s Work

Here are some of Father’s accomplishments:

  • Father Marx pioneered the study of Natural Family Planning (NFP) through his international symposia and seminars throughout the United States and beyond;

  • Father Marx first exposed the plans of the abortion industry two years before the legalization of abortion by the U.S. Supreme Court, in his bestselling book, The Death Peddlers: War on the Unborn (1971);

  • Father Paul Marx has been involved in the struggle for life internationally, visiting 91 countries around the world to promote the Culture of Life and oppose the Culture of Death. Everywhere he went he gave public lectures, urging local Catholics to get organized to meet this threat to themselves and their children, and distributed vast quantities of pro-life literature.

  • Father Marx founded numerous pro-life organizations around the globe, such as Family Life International-Australia and Family Lite International-U.K., the most effective pro-life groups in those countries.

  • Father Marx did countless interviews on television and radio defending and promoting Life;

  • During his “spare time,” Father Marx wrote more than 15 books and many articles on the life issues.

The Pope’s Encouragement

Father Marx was encouraged in his apostolate by several popes, including Pope Paul VI who told him on January 26, 1973, just four days after Roe v. Wade, “You are a courageous fighter; never give up.”

And what a model he is to us. What Shakespeare is to poetry, Mozart to music, Babe Ruth to baseball, Father Paul Marx is to the pro-life movement. He has possessed and displayed in his lite courage, vision, and tirelessness, and an array of other virtues that enabled him to surmount obstacle after obstacle. To see how he lived with every waking second devoted to the cause of life, is to see much more vividly what it means to be committed to the pro-life movement.

This is not to say that he is flawless any more than Babe Ruth was a perfect baseball player or Mozart a perfect musician. It is merely to say that, if Father Marx had not lived, such tireless devotion to the pro-life cause would hardly have been believed possible.

Father Marx, we love you.

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