The Honorable Robert Casey
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Casey,
As per your biography, you "graduated from The College of the Holy Cross in 1982 and spent the following year teaching fifth grade and coaching eighth grade basketball in inner city Philadelphia for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps." That very same year, the young woman who became my wife volunteered full time in Center City for Mercy Corps, working with formerly homeless women. Spending much time in Philly's small, social circle of full time Catholic volunteers, it's highly likely that you and we crossed paths and/or knew people in common.
In that small circle of idealists of a quarter century ago, we spoke fondly of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker; Dorothy had died in 1980. While we recognized Dorothy as a great champion of impoverished people, few of us were aware of her disdain for manipulative, wrongheaded efforts that disrespected their human dignity.
- "Day After Day - November 1933": "....Mrs. A. with her four children and unemployed husband living on $1.50 a week, is trapped by economic circumstances and everyone is so indifferent that it took three or four afternoons of Mike Gunn’s time to see to it that the Home Relief came to the rescue....Three little pigs are crowded into a too-small cage, the case is brought into court, the judge’s findings in the case being that pigs should not be crowded the way subway riders are. And a family of eight children, mother and father, are crowded in three rooms and the consensus of opinion is that they’re lucky to have that and why don’t they practice birth control anyway...."
- "The Family vs Capitalism", January 1936: "....it is to the re-creation of the Catholic family, that microcosm of society and type of the Mystical Body, that we must look now if we expect later generations in this country to see Catholicism, instead of Marxism, a vital force in the nation, if we hope to maintain 'the freedom of the children of God' against the diabolic forces of fascism. if we wish our posterity to enjoy the peace which is their heritage from Christ instead of the strife of wars and hatreds between nations and classes...in New York..., there is no diocesan provision whatsoever for the poor who are trying to observe the teachings of the Church against birth control and raise families despite their economic circumstances! We would suggest that as a first, even though inadequate, step toward realizing out ideals of family life our Catholic lay-people and clergy show the sincerity of their conviction by raising their voices in loud agitation for Catholic provision of such care."
- "Disgraceful Plight Of Migrant Workers On California Farms", May 1940: "....I must say that my first view of the government camps made me anything but happy....Margaret Sanger has sent her agents around, and there are birth control clinics at every camp....Here there is room indeed for farming communes, for missions modeled on those the Franciscans started in the beginnings of California. As it is, there is nothing so beautiful that man has made in the entire state as the remains of those very missions which non-Catholic as well as Catholic point out with pride. Here there is room for personal responsibility, for the 'Christ’s room' in every house and on every ranch that the early Father’s talked of, instead of leaving everything to the government, which in spite of all they have done that is good, still think in terms of corporation farming and birth control clinics for the rural proletariat."
- "On Pilgrimage - July/August 1962": "....I seldom speak at state universities or non-Catholic colleges without the question of overpopulation, birth control, abortion, and euthanasia coming up. The entire question of man’s control over the life of others, over the life forces within man, is one of the most profound importance today...."
- "On Pilgrimage - September 1963": "....It is one thing not to judge others, and it is still another thing to expect men and women to live according to right reason, to seek wisdom and live by it....there has been a pamphlet published in England by the Quakers which is said to condone premarriage sexual intercourse 'if the parties are responsible.' My reaction to this is that of a woman who must think in terms of the family, the need of the child to have both mother and father, who believes strongly that the home is the unit of society. Sex is a profound force, having to do with life, the forces of creation which make man god-like. He shares in the power of the Creator, and, when sex is treated lightly, as a means of pleasure, I can only consider that woman is used as a plaything, not as a person....the act of sex in its right order in the love life of the individual has been used in Old and New Testament as the symbol of the love between God and Man. Sexual love in its intensity makes all things new and one sees the other as God sees him...."
- "Chastity," 12/10/66: "How presumptuous it is to try to treat of such a subject in a short article, when great books (like Dietrich von Hildebrand's In Defense of Purity ) have been written on the subject....the marriage act purged of impurities is the nearest thing to the beatific vision we can know....To offer the suffering of celibacy, temporary or permanent, to the Lord is to make use, in the best possible way, of man's greatest joy...."
- "On Pilgrimage - December 1972": "....birth control and abortion are genocide...."
- "On Pilgrimage - May 1980": "....I have lost my sister, who had always been my closest friend and confidante....One difference of opinion between my sister and me came strongly to my mind a few nights ago as I watched, on television, the story of Margaret Sanger....My sister...went to work for Margaret Sanger, whom she revered as a great pioneer. After Della’s own marriage, she had three beautiful children, and, as she explained to me 'We are true believers in planned parenthood, and only had those to whom we could give five years of college, or even more for research.' When she went on to exhort me on another occasion, that I should not urge, as a catholic, Tamar, my daughter, to have so many children, I got up firmly and walked out of the house...."
When I called your office the other day, it was disturbing to hear your young aide spout the supposed benefits of Planned Parenthood's self-serving promotion of contraceptives. Your dad and Dorothy Day would have been appalled. Please do not let the memory of your late, great dad's noble fight in Casey v. Planned Parenthood become muddled with Casey for Planned Parenthood in our own time. Embracing that great heritage of your dad and Dorothy Day, please defund Planned Parenthood. Also, please co-sponsor and support