The founder and chairman of Human Life International believes a “massive religious revival” is needed to turn Western society away from the abortion-contraception mentality.

Father Paul Marx, 76, made the comments September 27 during a three-day visit to Toronto. He came to the city to preach at two churches September 29 and to attend a tribute for pro-life Senator Stanley Haidasz, who was celebrating 50 years of public life.

Human Life International (HLI) is the world’s largest pro-life organization. It was founded by Father Marx in 1981 to promote life and family efforts throughout the world. Father Marx has travelled extensively, reporting on the abortion situation in over 90 countries. He has also written several books detailing long involvement with pro-life work.

Branded “public enemy number one” by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Father Marx said the pro-abortion mentality will be extremely difficult to overcome, despite greater openness to the respect for life message among young people.

“We need an overall religious and moral revival to make an impact,” Father Marx told The Interim. “Without such a revival, not much can change.”

Trouble spots

Father Marc pointed to a number of trouble spots for pro-lifers. He said 32 of 35 European nations are experiencing population declines thanks to the easy availability of abortion and contraception. Only three European nations – Sweden, Denmark and Malta – show positive birth rate figures. Despite a pro-abortion track record, Sweden and Denmark have begun offering child-birth incentives.

Father Marx does not foresee any country with the courage or foresight to reverse nearly 30 years of contraceptive legislation. “Who restores the law in favour of life once you legalize abortion, contraception or euthanasia?” Father Marx asked.

Since its inception, HLI has grown to 49 branches in 38 countries. Its annual budget now approaches $5 million. The organization’s Canadian office is in Vanier, near Ottawa, and it is planning to open a new branch office in Toronto.

HLI publishes an assortment of pro-life literature, including the influential Population Research Institute Review. It also lobbies against harmful legislation and its research is use to expose the anti-life leanings of many United Nations agencies.

HLI Asian affairs expert Stephen Mosher recently uncovered evidence of gross human rights violations in China. According to HLI, babies are being left to die of starvation and neglect in state-run orphanages. HLI blamed this on China’s one-child per-family policy which discourages child-birth and leads to a diminished respect for all life.

Despite these and other trouble spots, Father Marx believes hope for a pro-life reawakening could come from Asia. Pro-life sentiment remains strong in the Philippines, Father Marx said, despite that government’s recent experience with World Health Organization anti-population programs. Catholic church and lay groups in the Philippines have been prominent in exposing population control schemes. “The Philippines could serve as a pro-life ambassador nation for all of Asia,” Father Marx Said.

Other faith groups

The HLI founder is also encouraged by efforts to involve other faith groups in a united pro-life front. He said HLI has a solid network of evangelical Christians and Jews who fervently support pro0life, pro-family objectives. Jewish input is especially welcomed, Father Marx said, in light of allegations by Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups that HLI is anti-Semitic.

He called this reaching out to other faith groups “a common front against the culture of death.”

To counter the contraception mentality, Human Life International plans to pursue vigorously its “general program” in support of marriage and the family. HLI’s “total approach” to respect for life promotion includes a return to orthodoxy in terms of faith and morals.

“People have to realize that nature is forgiving of deviant behaviour,” father Marx said.