Home  |  About  |  Campaigns  |  Contact  |  Friends  |  Press  |  Search 

Before you explore any other pages on our site–

RCF's Newsletter,

Guest Book / Feedback

Read our philosophy statement

How to become a member

Make a donation

Past news items

Search our site

Contact us


James M. Bendell
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 65471
119 Village Way
Port Ludlow, WA 98365-0471

April 5, 1997

By Facsimile 612-291-1627

His Excellency Archbishop Harry Flynn
226 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102-2197

RE:    Human Life International

Dear Archbishop Flynn,

Since writing to you on April 2 I have received a copy of yet another communication from your office smearing HLI and Fr. Paul Marx. I am referring to your April 1 letter to the priests of your Archdiocese advertising your boycott of the HLI Mass. This letter is so uncharitable and full of faulty reasoning that it deserves an additional response from Roman Catholic Faithful.



The very notion that a priest or bishop should boycott a Mass because of the alleged unworthiness of the celebrant demonstrates both ignorance and arrogance. All of us, including all priests, are unworthy to approach the altar. We can do so only because of the love and generosity of Jesus our Savior who bestows the sacrament of Holy Orders on his unworthy servant. For you to refuse to concelebrate a Mass with Fr. Marx because you have judged him a sinner is to place yourself higher than God. This not only demonstrates incredible chutzpah (1) but also is an act of great cruelty to Fr. Marx. How would you feel if your fellow priests conducted an investigation into your life and decided not to concelebrate Mass with you because you may have committed certain sins or offended certain persons?



I think it is important to point out the logical extension of your position. Apparently you take the view that participating in a Mass with Fr. Marx constitutes an endorsement of anti-Semitism. If that is so, then clearly the altar servers should follow your example and refuse to assist Fr. Marx at Mass. For that matter, it would then be unseemly and an occasion for scandal for the organist and readers to participate in such a celebration of hatred; they too should abstain. Finally, if such a holy person as the bishop boycotts the Mass, the faithful should also stay away. Really, the only sensible solution is to have Fr. Marx celebrate Mass by himself, perhaps in some sort of hermitage where nobody will have to watch. By your logic, this ostracism of Fr. Marx should be joined by the priests and lay people throughout this nation and the world. I formerly practiced law in Alaska, and I could probably find some remote location where only the beasts of nature would have to watch Fr. Marx pray or celebrate the Mass.



Your proposal that a document be read at Fr. Marx' mass in which he will be publicly chastised as a bigot is unprecedented and outrageous. If you feel so strongly that Fr. Marx constitutes a moral blight in your diocese, then you should forbid him to say Mass and ask him to stay away. Your halfway measure is designed to embarrass and humiliate him. It will also have the effect of setting back the life-saving efforts of HLI which Pope John Paul II has called "the most important work on earth."



Finally, and most importantly, all of your efforts to smear Fr. Marx are based on the incorrect assumption that he is anti-Semitic. This allegation is false. If you feel so bold as to make such a public proclamation against Fr. Marx, then I believe you should be able to back it up in a public forum.



Therefore, Your Excellency, I challenge you to a public debate on the following proposition:


I have crafted this resolution to encompass your implied belief that HLI itself is a worthy organization that deserves support from the faithful. This public debate should take place during the HLI convention so that individual Catholics can make up their own mind about this issue. Your April 1 letter stated that it is important to "witness to the whole Gospel message of human dignity" and that there should be no "compromising on the Gospel." I believe your attack on Fr. Marx's character and good name violates Christian charity. Your position of power and prestige gives you the opportunity to destroy his name and reputation. In the name of charity, have the courage to defend your position by debating with me.

Please advise by the close of business day April 8 if you accept this challenge to this debate so I can make airline reservations and rearrange my schedule. If I do not hear from you by then, I will know that you are not willing to defend the serious allegations you have made.

Yours in Christ,

[signed] James Bendell
Member of the Board of Directors
Roman Catholic Faithful

1   This is a Yiddish word with which you may be unfamiliar since you did not grow up with a Jewish background as I did. You can look it up in Leo Rosten's wonderful book "The Joys of Yiddish."

[Return to body of letter]


Copyright© 1996-2004
Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc.
All rights reserved

Website design and maintenance by Catholic Web Services

Last update: 12/05/2004