The Observer—Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford
Publication date: September 1, 2006
By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge
Director, Respect Life Office
Margaret Sanger—the infamous founder of Planned Parenthood—was baptized Catholic, but did not practice the faith. In fact, she spent a great deal of time publicly attacking the Church for its stance against birth control.
Sanger did, however, recognize the influence religion had on culture and she knew her success would be limited if she did not gain legitimacy from religious bodies. Her efforts paid off when the Federal Council of Churches (FCC) endorsed birth control in 1931 and in 1961 when the National Council of Churches (formerly the FCC) approved of abortion in limited circumstances.
Although Sanger rejected conventional religious doctrines, she was not above twisting Sacred Scripture and religious tradition to fit her ideology. One of her blasphemous attempts to gain Christian support for birth control was her implication that Zachary and Elizabeth practiced birth control because in her words, “John the Baptist was an only child, and his parents were well along in years when he was born.”
Throughout its history and even today, Planned Parenthood continues in its attempt to convince people of faith that their ideologies are in conformity with traditional Christian beliefs. Anyone who understands the facts about Planned Parenthood—it commits more abortions that any other single entity in this country; it promotes total sexual freedom; it works to deny parental rights; it pushes contraception on teens; and it treats chastity with disdain—recognizes that its dogmas and practices are in direct opposition to traditional Christian belief.
In 1994 Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) formed its official “Clergy Advisory Board” and immediately followed with the creation of the “Pro-Choice Religious Network.” According to PPFA, Clergy Voices (the publication of the Network) “presents the biblical and theological arguments for human reproductive freedom . . . [and] covers all aspects of reproductive issues including sexuality education in our schools, teen pregnancy, family planning, and abortion rights.”
In 2002 the Rev. Monica Corsaro of the United Methodist Church was appointed full time “state chaplain” for Planned Parenthood in the state of Washington. Corsaro told The Seattle Times, “It’s important for Planned Parenthood to have someone on staff who can speak as a person of faith, speaking from her faith, and for people of faith.” Actually, it’s another example of Planned Parenthood’s attempt to use religion to legitimize its extreme ideas and activities.
An article in Clergy Voices claims, “Rev. Corsaro demonstrates once again that, contrary to what the opposition would have the public believe, the Planned Parenthood mission and programs do, in fact, reflect the faith traditions millions of Americans.” In reality, Planned Parenthood’s mission and programs reflect only those Americans who worship at the altar of moral relativism.
PPFA appointed Rev. Ignacio Castuera, another Methodist minister, as its National Chaplain in 2004. Castuera boasts that “. . . Planned Parenthood has been in the business of values, and religious leaders have been active supporters, from the very beginning . . . the chaplain is first of all a symbol, a living reminder of the close relationship between progressive religious forces and the struggle for sexual and reproductive freedom for women.”
While Planned Parenthood may receive affirmations from “progressive” religious bodies that have lost their way, it’s mission—which stands in direct opposition to the unchanging, authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church—will never receive an imprimatur. But they want to attract Catholics, so what can they do?
Enter Planned Parenthood’s “Catholic” mouthpiece: ex-priest Daniel Maguire, professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University. Maguire serves as a member of the PPFA Clergy Advisory Board and claims “grounds for permitting abortion exist in the Catholic tradition . . .” He has gone so far as to claim that St. Antoninus of Florence was a “pro-choice Catholic.” Not only is he wrong, his statements are heretical.
Once again, “religion”—no matter how dissenting—is used to justify killing the most vulnerable among us. Unfortunately, truth has never been a priority for Planned Parenthood or its minions.