September 21, 2007

Be Our Guest / John Hollowell

Examining philosophy, theology of late Planned Parenthood founder can help in fight to protect all human life

I wanted to compliment John Shaugh­nessy on yet another great piece which appeared in the Sept. 7 issue of The Criterion.

I am from a large family, and I think the story very beautifully described life in a large family.

For a class that I am enrolled in at Saint Meinrad, I think it was very providential that I found myself reading a book by Margaret Sanger just a few days after reading Shaughnessy’s article.

Sanger was an activist in the early 1900’s, and was the founder of the Planned Parenthood organization. She is largely responsible for bringing contraception to the general population of this country through her establishment of Planned Parenthood.

I think it is good to contrast her writing with Shaughnessy’s piece. Sanger notes that, “The most serious evil of our times is that of encouraging the bringing into the world of large families” (Women and the New Race, Cosimo: New York, 2005, p. 57).

Just a few pages later, Sanger notes that, “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is kill it” (p. 63).

This is not to suggest that large families are the only alternative to contraception; the Church certainly embraces natural methods of regulating birth which are in line with divine law.

What is to be noted here is that all Catholics—whether they are already contracepting, whether they are considering using contraception or even if they have already made a choice to embrace the Church’s teaching and not contracept—would benefit highly from examining the philosophy and theology of the woman who pushed contraception into the mainstream of America’s consciousness.

Sanger needs to be read by American Catholics so that her horrific vision for our country might be able to be staved off and thwarted by those who possess the courage to do so.

(John Hollowell is a seminarian at Saint Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad and a member of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis.) †

Local site Links: