National Catholic Register



BY Father Paul Marx

March 26-April 01, 2000 Issue | Posted 3/26/00 at 1:00 AM


Insulting Apologies

Re: “‘We Have Sinned,’” March 12-18. The Holocaust was one of the most tragic events in the history of mankind and the hideous murder of 6 million innocent Jews must never be forgotten. There is no conceivable way, however, that the Catholic Church can be held accountable for this tragic event. The papal Mass of apology celebrated March 12 at the Vatican is a blatant insult to millions of Catholics throughout the world, and especially to the memory of thousands of Catholics who gave their lives trying to stop Hitler and the Nazis. To suggest that Pope Pius XII could have prevented this event by being more vocal is ludicrous. Hitler had a large army with a lot of weapons and the only thing that was going to stop him was a bigger army with bigger weapons. To apologize for the Inquisition and the Crusades is actually laughable. These are historical events and must be looked at in their context.

John Foley Springfield, Pennsylvania

Celibacy in the Eastern Churches

Although I strongly support clerical celibacy in the Latin Catholic Church, Fr. Mullady does a disservice to Eastern Catholics and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (“Celibacy, More Ancient Than Many Think, Is Also Surprisingly Popular,” March 12-18).

Regardless whether the Council of Trullo's decision was “novel” or not (many of its decisions were certainly binding until recently), the current Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches a.) allows for the ordination of married men and b.) does not require them to abstain from sexual relations with their spouses. Thus, to say “It was totally against Tradition that a priest could have conjugal relations and also celebrate the Eucharist” is not true, for they may certainly do so now.

I beg Father Mullady not to implicitly overstate his case. This is a legal, not doctrinal, matter.

Finally, a correction. The phrase “conjugal chastity” includes sexual relations between spouses. There is nothing “unchaste” about it! Father Mullady might have better employed a term like “abstinence” to make his point.

Cat Clark Steubenville, Ohio

The Barring of Father Marx

I have before me a copy of an article you recently released, “Father Marx Is Barred From Saying Mass” (March 5-11). If I may, I would like to make several clarifications. Hopefully, this will not be regarded by my superior as a breach of my vow of obedience.

The “facts” stated about my retirement are not quite right. My abbot informed me of his decision to retire me. The point is, I did not retire, but was retired by my abbot. In adherence to my vow of obedience, I submitted to the abbot's request that I retire from HLI (Human Life International).

Does one ever retire from being pro-life? I don't think that's possible. I shall continue to defend life-until I draw my last breath, though it need not be under the HLI banner. I well recall Pope John Paul telling me in 1973, “You are a courageous fighter; never give up.”

I have been accused of making “counterproductive allegations about the current and legally established leadership of HLI.” I have indeed questioned positions they are now taking on issues such as sex education, which do not reflect the “former” mission of HLI. I do not see how this has anything to do with my vow of obedience!

I do hope that Father Welch will reconsider his decision to use our good donors’ dollars to pursue more legal action. I don't see this as being an efficient use of time or money.

The canons you list in reference to my suspension befuddle me. I have been in full communion with the Catholic Church all of my life. I can honestly say that I have never violated any of these canons.

Father Paul Marx, OSB Mount Morris, Illinois

As a former Human Life International [HLI] “disgruntled” employee, and one who has remained by Father Marx's side throughout this entire charade, I feel both qualified and compelled to make certain clarifications.

It was always Father Marx's intent to abide [by] the transition plan of the HLI Board of Directors. He hoped to continue his fundraising efforts (he has always been HLI's premier fundraiser), assist with two HLI conferences and eventually “bow out” at a gala retirement symposium in Minnesota in 2001.

However, just before Father Marx was “resigned” on Aug. 15, he wrote to the HLI board of directors and informed them that he would “not actively participate in HLI's fundraising efforts.”

He went on: “As I have stated repeatedly in the past, I am simply not comfortable making representations to potential donors that their money will be used wisely and efficiently.” Please be aware that this letter was written on Aug. 10, before his alleged “retirement.”

In a letter dated Aug. 30, Father Welch responded: “Regretfully, but under the circumstances, I must also inform you that you are no longer authorized to speak, act or write as a representative or agent of HLI. You are no longer authorized to use HLI letterhead, donor/supporter lists, staff or other HLI assets. Any HLI assets or materials you may have should be returned immediately.”

Many of Father Marx's close friends continue to hear exaggerated stories concerning his health. ... Father Marx received extensive testing at the Mayo Clinic last year, and their report indicates that he is totally competent and should maintain a high level of participation in all areas, including the professional. ...

Clearly you have produced a one-sided perspective in your article. You have barely grazed the surface of this masquerade, and if you seek the entire truth, I encourage you to expand your interrogatories beyond the sphere of HLI's headquarters in Front Royal. This is, above all, a crisis in leadership. The HLI board knows the problem and they must act to rectify it.

Evelyn M. Kerr Former Executive Assistant to the HLI President Flint Hill, Virginia

I have not read or heard of a bishop in the United States stating that any Catholic legislator who voted against the partial-birth abortion ban cannot receive communion until they reconcile with the Church. Why would the small offenses of Father Marx be judged more harshly?

John DeMaio Hoboken, New Jersey

Vatican-Recommended Movies

I am a Register subscriber. It is an excellent publication and I look forward to each issue. In fact, it has totally replaced my local secular newspaper for my free-time/lunch-hour reading. Thank you for this excellent weekly snapshot of important news from around the world and in the Church.

“Assisi Grunge,” a critique of the 1989 movie Francesco (March 12-18), mentions a list of 45 noteworthy films as compiled by the Vatican's commission on social communications. I have heard of this list before, but I am having trouble finding it on the Vatican's Web site or anywhere on the Internet. I was hoping you might be able to let me know how or where I can get this list.

Ed Chichirichi Wilmington, Delaware

Editor's note: A listing of the films, along with brief descriptions of each, can be found on the U.S. bishops’ Web site at The <.i>Register will soon conclude its series of reviews of the 45.