Human Life International: Who We Are and Why We Exist
Sometimes it seems we live in a world gone mad. One doesn't have to look far to see that the world we live in today is a dramatically different place than it was only 25 years ago.
The abandonment of moral values has brought devastating problems: skyrocketing divorce rates, drugs, gangs and rampant crime, a lowering of educational standards, domestic violence and child abuse, the elderly at risk through euthanasia, governmental interference with parental rights, gross materialism, and pornography and violence prevalent even on prime time television.
What was easily recognized as wrong only a generation ago is now considered socially acceptable. Adultery, contraception, abortion, and teen promiscuity have become commonplace. Perhaps the world has become inured to evil because it is so pervasive.
The contraceptive mentality that flourishes today has given rise to a Godless narcissism. At the same time, society has lost respect for the sanctity of life and the dignity of the family. What else could explain the millions of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, the epidemic of sexually transmitted disease, the killer AIDS virus, the 1.6 million surgical abortions annually, combined with an incalculable number of chemical abortions through abortifacient contraceptives? Who could imagine that our national leaders would even debate the ethics of piercing the skull of a nearly born baby, ripping it from its mother's womb, and calling it “choice?”
Sadly, the misuse of God's remarkable gift of human sexuality is the root cause of so much of the misery in the world today. It is at the heart of the heartache experienced by millions of teenagers who allowed a few moments of false passion to change their lives forever, by the millions of women who contracepted in their teens and twenties and find themselves unable to conceive in their thirties and forties, and by the women, men and even children who are suffering from post-abortion syndrome.
Human Life International exists to fight these evils-to restore respect for the sanctity of life from the moment of conception through natural death, and to restore the preeminence of the traditional family as paramount in God's plan. We work to save babies from abortion, to tell women the truth about contraception, to teach chastity to teens, and to fight the insidious onslaught of the population control movement that promotes euthanasia initiatives and worldwide “family planning.”
Human Life International (HLI) was founded in 1972 by Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, PhD, and today is the world's largest pro-life and pro-family apostolate with 56 U.S. Chapters and a network of international branches and affiliates serving 88 countries. HLI is totally loyal to the Holy Father and the Magisterium, and fulfills its mission to promote and defend the sanctity of life and the dignity of the family around the world through prayer, education and service.
With our 60-person staff at the world headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia, HLI conducts ground-breaking research, publishes a wealth of materials on life and family issues, and offers a selection of more than 500 audio tapes on a wide range of topics.
HLI sponsors programs providing direct assistance to those in need. Two of the most prominent among them are: the “China Orphanage Campaign” to help alleviate the misery of thousands of babies abandoned as a result of China's one-child policy; and the “Living Rosary Program” which to date has provided tuition assistance to more than 200 seminarians worldwide to expand the pro-life movement for decades to come.
As an educational apostolate, HLI holds regional, national and international conferences. Our annual world conferences are attended by more than 2000 people, who come together for five days to hear talks by leading experts on the most critical issues of our time. Our guests leave these conferences strengthened in their faith, and better equipped to combat the Culture of Death in their communities.
Specialized conferences are also held, such as Humanae Vitae symposiums to help priests preach and teach the essential truths of that historic encyclical. HLI is also hosting a national Marian Pro-Life Conference, to infuse the pro-life movement with the spiritual power of the Marian movement, while also providing Marian apostles with a wealth of practical tools to help the pro-life cause at the local level.
In promoting what Pope John Paul II calls the Culture of Life, HLI also opposes the Culture of Death by exposing organizations and movements which undermine Catholic teaching and threaten life and family, such as: radical feminism, the New Age movement, homosexuality, Planned Parenthood, the United Nations Population Fund, and the liberal dissent groups opposing Church teaching such as Call to Action, ‘Catholics’ for a Free Choice and others.
What makes Human Life International unique among pro-life groups is that we take the total approach, dealing with all of the life issues: abortion, population control, euthanasia, sex education, and importantly-contraception.
Frankly, it is futile to try to fight abortion while ignoring the facts about contraception. Contraception is the precursor of abortion. Here is the tragic reality: most contraceptive drugs and devices don't work to prevent pregnancy-what they prevent is implantation of the newly formed human being in the uterus, by altering the lining to make it a hostile environment to the new life. Thus, contraception acts as an abortifacient. Sadly, many women who would say they oppose abortion are in fact aborting through the use of “contraceptives”—and they don't even know it!
Another unique attribute of HLI is that the organization is led by five priests. Fr. Marx, who has traveled to 91 countries in his 51 years as a priest, was told by our Holy Father that pro-life work “is the most important work on earth.” In addition to Fr. Marx and myself, we have Fr. Matthew Habiger, OSB, PhD, our advocate for developing countries, who undertakes rigorous pro-life missionary journeys to Africa—a continent targeted by the population controllers. Fr. George Parker made headlines in 1996 as the parish priest who returned a U.S. Senator's contribution to the parish school's building fund because of the Senator's pro-abortion voting record, and Fr. Ignacio Barreiro, STD, who heads up our new office in Rome, Italy.
With HLI's 1996 relocation to a 57,000 square foot world headquarters building on 85 acres, we are uniquely positioned to dramatically expand our work around the world. In the year ahead we'll be taking the pro-life message to millions more through radio and television.
- January 17, 1999