Wednesday 2nd December 2015

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “The Dizzying World Of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review”

August 27, 2014 Featured Today No Comments


(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of 900 of the best quotes from The Birth Control Review, which is more than 300 pages long and is organized by topic, e-mail him at

+    +    +

The most common themes of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review (BCR) were eugenics and contraception, with hatred of the Catholic Church running a close third.
Planned Parenthood’s loathing of the Catholic Church is nearly a century old, and springs mostly from its realization that the Church is its primary opponent.
As one editorial in The Birth Control Review revealed, “Our experience of the last ten years of constant fighting has been that of all the reactionary groups in the country the Roman Catholic Church is the most politically pernicious and menacing to any progressive movement.”
Another writer asserted: “Religion, in its organized forms, is the archenemy of the birth control movement throughout the world. . . . That they are out of touch with current opinion and modern thought, seldom if ever occurs to them, as they wave their venerable superstitions in our faces.” Margaret Sanger herself said that “today the chief warfare against Birth Control is waged by the Roman Catholic clergy and their allies.” She recounted that “very early in childhood I associated large families with poverty, toil, unemployment, drunkenness, cruelty, quarreling, fighting, debts, jail — and the Catholic Church.”
Then, as now, the people who demanded tolerance for their own views accused the Catholic Church of “fiendish cruelty,” forcing women to “choose between perpetual adoration and perpetual pregnancy,” plotting to “apply the thumbscrew and the rack to all those who believe in a woman’s right to practice voluntary motherhood,” and that the Church demanded that “women shall be bent and broken on the torture rack of ignorance.”
Frequent BCR contributor and science fiction writer H.G. Wells raved that “Rome is the source and center of Fascism. . . . Why do we not bomb Rome? Why do we allow these open and declared antagonists of democratic freedom to entertain their Shinto allies and organize a pseudo-Catholic destruction of democratic freedom?”
Such nonsense was warmly welcomed in the pages of The Birth Control Review not once or twice, but hundreds of times.
Many of these statements were simply the result of profound and blinding ignorance, which allowed people to make blanket statements that made no historical sense. For instance, one doctor alleged: “All religions have always considered woman as a breeding machine and nothing else.”

Conspiracies Galore

The anti-Catholics who wrote for The Birth Control Review perceived the Catholic Church as the root of all their troubles, and feared a papist conspiracy lurking around every corner. They were every bit as paranoid then as the “pro-choicers” are now.
One writer claimed that the Church wanted to rule the world by making everyone live by Catholic teachings (sound familiar)? Another hoped that the Church’s “dastardly attempt to destroy our liberties” would fail and complained that she was trying to “deprive Americans of the right of free speech and the free discussion of their laws.” George Hallett was convinced that Church leaders “have most of the legislators enslaved.” Finally, Margaret Sanger griped that “the influence of the Roman Catholic Church was seen everywhere…the Church apparently dominates American courts of justice and political life today.”
One writer for The Birth Control Review wrote that “the Catholics are directing our legislators to act according to their will. We have all been troubled by the fear that this Catholic threat to our free institutions would materialize if Catholics were given positions of power in our government.”
Imagine the reaction if the word “Jew” appeared in the above quote instead of “Catholic.” But somehow, such anti-Catholic bigotry seems perfectly acceptable to Planned Parenthood.
Frequent contributor Norman Himes claimed that the Pope ran Massachusetts and that “we shall soon have the iron heel of Romanism upon our throats even as it treads upon the freedom of Italian citizens today.” Himes also believed that Catholic “stock” was inferior to that of Unitarians, Universalists, and Freethinkers, and that all rights (including the right to life) are bestowed by the state and can be revoked at any time.
Of course, the Catholic Church was attacked by Protestant denominations that had surrendered in the fight against birth control. One submission from the magazine The Protestant said that “it is limitation of the birthrate, and not the means by which the limitation is accomplished, that the Papacy is fighting. Its demand is for large families and large Roman Catholic voting populations. It is the fact, not the methods, of birth control that angers it.”
There were charlatans and turncoats then as there are now. One minister claimed that birth control was “good religion.” Another alleged that “the eugenic ideal may become a distinct aid to Jesus’ dream of His kingdom on earth, and may well be integrated as a general religious concept.”

Here We Go Again

One of the worst afflictions of the Church over the past century is failed priests who soothed their own guilty consciences by attacking the Church. Former priest L.H. Lehmann wrote articles that are almost identical to those that appear in Catholics for (a Free) Choice literature today:
“At the bottom of the Papacy’s attitude towards sex, as in its attitude towards everything else in the domestic and public life of men and women, is its unceasing reach after supreme control of the bodies and souls of all men. . . . Although universal power and dominion be foreign to the mind of Christ, history is writ large with the record of shame brought upon the fair name of Christianity by this unceasing reach of the Roman Church after undisputed dominion over all men and nations.”
Writers for The Birth Control Review used exactly the arguments that CFFC and other pro-abortion groups use today. One editorial claimed that “the coercive attitude of the National Catholic Alumni Federation protest is far more serious, threatening as it does the American principle of freedom of opinion and the separation of church and state….The real issue centers in the Catholic disregard of the principle of freedom of conscience upon which the country was, supposedly, founded.”
Another charged: “Instead of separation of church and state with equal rights for all religious denominations, they are asking that the religious tenets of one church shall be by law binding on all the men and women of America….Let the Catholic Church guide its own people, but let it not dominate the lives of those who are not in its fold.”
Another editorial proclaimed that “the Roman Catholics say that Birth Control is immoral. We claim that for us Birth Control is of high moral value. We do not ask to constrain their consciences, let them cease to attempt to constrain ours.”
The Culture of Death thinks that “separation of Church and state” really means “where the state advances, the Church must retreat.” And so, we have constant efforts by pro-abortion groups to force Catholic hospitals and doctors to perform abortions and sterilizations and distribute contraceptives.

What Will Replace Religion?

One book review in The Birth Control Review said that “the main argument is a simple one, that many features of orthodox religion in themselves are bad and that the old religious culture pattern is hopelessly inconsistent with modern science and with a progressively secularized culture. Crush the infamous thing and away with the rubbish.”
If this “infamous thing” is to become “rubbish,” what will replace it? Francis B. Summer says that “science now aims at nothing less than the establishment of a new religion, without priest or dogma, the sole aim of which is the happiness and ennoblement of humanity on earth, and Neo-Malthusianism, though not the whole, is the chief factor in that religion.”
Another writer called science “the only possible savior of mankind.” Science as savior hasn’t done too well for itself, has it?

Who Wins In The End?

Although the editors of The Birth Control Review preferred articles submitted by dissenting “Catholics,” they were kind enough to occasionally allow authentic Catholic writers to submit opinion pieces. Seen from a vantage point nearly a century later, these articles are eerily prophetic.
For example, one Fr. Fulton Sheen commented on the Federal Council of Churches capitulation on birth control, writing that “since a week ago last Saturday we can no longer expect them to defend the law of God. These sects will work out the very logic of their ways and in fifty or one hundred years there will be only the Church and paganism. We will be left to fight the battle alone — and we will.”
Fr. Sheen was absolutely correct. Since 1960, the membership of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has risen 43 percent, and the memberships of all pro-life churches has increased by 38 percent. Meanwhile, the combined membership rolls of pro-abortion churches in the United States have plunged 34 percent. Most interestingly, those timid and lukewarm churches that have proclaimed that they are “neutral” on abortion have lost 81 percent of their members since 1960.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Police officer killed at Planned Parenthood was pro-life, Christian pastor

Nov. 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Officer Garrett Swasey, the police officer killed during a standoff with a lone gunman at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs Friday, was reportedly a leading figure in his church who was also pro-life.…Continue Reading

In Australia, bishops face legal complaint for defending marriage

Sydney, Australia (CNA/EWTN News) — The Sydney archbishop has strongly defended the freedom of the Catholic Church in response to a legal complaint claiming the Australian bishops’ pastoral letter on marriage violated Tasmania’s strict anti-discrimination law. “Australia is party to…Continue Reading

Obama Just Sent MAJOR Threat To Every US State That Won’t Take Syrian Refugees

The Obama Administration is issuing a showdown with states that are refusing to accept Syrian refugees. The administration sent a letter telling states they would be subject to enforcement action if they do not comply with federal plans to import…Continue Reading

Pope at UN in Africa: We Have a Choice: Either Improve or Destroy the Environment

Says It Will Be ‘Catastrophic’ If Individual Interests Prevail Over the Common Good in Paris Meeting, and Information Is Manipulated to Protect ‘Plans and Projects’ Kenya, November 26, 2015 ( Staff Reporter Here is a Vatican translation of the address…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell bets against the odds: insists Pope Francis will strongly reaffirm Catholic tradition

ROME, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Contradicting the statements of some of the pope’s closest advisors, the Vatican’s financial chief Cardinal George Pell has declared that Pope Francis will re-assert and “clarify” longstanding Church teaching and discipline that prohibits Communion…Continue Reading

‘Bleeding host’ under investigation by SL Catholic diocese

(KUTV) The Salt Lake Catholic Diocese has started an investigation into what is being described as a ‘bleeding host’ at a local parish, St. Francis Xavier in Kearns. Images of the host, given to 2News, showed circles of deep red,…Continue Reading

How did heterodox prelates try to change doctrine at synod?

In this address delivered at the Catholic Voice conference Faith of Our Fathers, Matthew McCusker of Voice of the Family discusses three key elements of the “progressive” strategy deployed at the Ordinary Synod: arguing for changes in the Church’s language,…Continue Reading

Bishop Defends Against ‘Vicious’ Bill Donohue Attack

by Church Militant • • November 24, 2015 65 Comments Bishop Rene Henry Gracida is criticizing the Catholic League The bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas is defending against what he calls the “vicious attack” by Catholic League’s…Continue Reading

Pope Francis to German Bishops: Your Church is a mess! Fix it and … GO TO CONFESSION!

The German bishops are making their ad limina visit. Every few years diocesan bishops have to go to Rome to meet with offices of the Roman Curia and, usually, the Pope. Pope Francis gave an address to the German bishops…Continue Reading

Germany’s bishops discuss decentralizing the Church in meeting with Pope Francis

ROME, November 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The German bishops, sixty-seven of them, recently visited Rome together for their obligatory Ad Limina visit with the pope from November 16-20. This Ad Limina visit, which is obligatory for all bishops of the…Continue Reading

In Australia, Catholic Bishops Face Court Action, Huge Fines Over Traditional Views on Marriage

Australians have always viewed America’s litigious culture with suspicion. Our “no worries mate” approach to life means we tend not to rush off to court at the drop of a hat. So last week when a state government commissioner ruled…Continue Reading

Cardinal Wuerl’s Embassy Row Penthouse

Walking through the posh neighborhood of Embassy Row in October, I stumbled across a scoop: that Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl lives in a penthouse atop a mansion priced north of $40 million. That Embassy Row mansion is the Our…Continue Reading


Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope Francis attacks ‘fundamentalist’ Catholics, dismisses condom ban as unimportant

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, November 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — On the plane returning from his journey to Africa today Pope Francis made his clearest remarks in condemnation of ‘fundamentalist’ Catholics. “Fundamentalism is a sickness that is in all religions,” Francis said, as reported by the National Catholic Reporter’s Vatican correspondent, Joshua McElwee, and similarly by other journalists on the plane. “We Catholics have some — and not some, many — who believe in the absolute…Continue Reading

Pope celebrates closing Mass of African Journey

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday celebrated Mass at Bangui’s Barthélémy Boganda Stadium for thousands of the faithful from the Central African Republic. Speaking of Paul’s missionary zeal in the Letter to the Romans, Pope Francis in his final Mass in the Central African Republic reflected on the great missionary effort which first brought the Gospel to the people of Central Africa. Times of difficulty, trial and suffering remind all of the Lord’s call to…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Arrives in Central African Republic

Francis Will Open Holy Door in Bangui Before Inauguration of Jubilee of Mercy in Vatican Bangui, November 29, 2015 ( Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has arrived in the Central African Republic, the final leg of his first Apostolic Visit to Africa, after having visited Kenya and Uganda. The Pontiff arrived at the M’poko International Airport in the war-torn nation’s capital of Bangui around 10 a.m. local time, after a nearly three-hour flight from Uganda,…Continue Reading

Pope to young: Jesus can transform walls into a path


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged young people in Uganda to turn negative experiences into positive ones with the help of Jesus and his grace. In an address where the Pope ditched his prepared remarks and spoke off-the-cuff in Spanish, he urged the young people to open the door of their hearts to Jesus. More than 150,000 cheering and dancing young people had gathered at an airstrip near Kampala to hear the Pope and…Continue Reading

Pope Gives Youth Choice: Do You Want to Overcome Challenges or Be Overcome by Them?

Throwing Aside Script, Pope Francis Asks Kenya’s Young People If They’ll Allow Difficulties Destroy or Use Them As Opportunities Nairobi, November 27, 2015 ( Deborah Castellano Lubov Pope Francis has asked Kenya’s young people how they will respond to the challenges they face, including those of bad tribalism, corruption, and desperation, and challenged them to get out of vicious cycles. Speaking to tens of thousands gathered in Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium, this morning, the Pope listened…Continue Reading

What To Be Thankful For?

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO What if the government’s goal is to perpetuate itself? What if the real levers of governmental power are pulled by agents and diplomats and bureaucrats behind the scenes? What if they stay in power no matter who is elected president or which political party controls Congress? What if the frequent public…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Professor . . . Forced To Leave Project Aimed At Faithful Catholic Education

By JUSTIN PETRISEK (Editor’s Note: Catholic Education Daily, an online publication of the Cardinal Newman Society, published this report on November 24. All rights reserved.) + + + In an unexpected turn of events, University of Notre Dame professor Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC, has been forced to disassociate himself with a new project recommending Notre…Continue Reading

Conversion To Pro-Life

By DONALD DeMARCO Before Roe v. Wade, but when the abortion issue was being hotly contested, certain pro-life leaders in Canada, as well as in the United States, told me that once people realized what abortion entails, the controversy would be settled solidly in favor of life. The plausible assumption in the minds of these…Continue Reading

How An Americanist/Modernist Continued To Undermine Catholic Teaching

By JAMES LIKOUDIS The author of Pilgrim Church: A Popular History of Catholic Christianity (Revised & Expanded; Twenty-Third Publications, 1989) that continues to circulate in Catholic parishes is Fr. William J. Bausch, who may be remembered by veterans of the sex education battles of the 1970s for his book A Boy’s Sex Life when he…Continue Reading

The End Of Obamaworld

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In denouncing Republicans as “scared of widows and orphans,” and castigating those who prefer Christian refugees to Muslims coming to America, Barack Obama has come off as petulant and unpresidential. Clearly, he is upset. And with good reason. He grossly, transparently underestimated the ability of ISIS, the “JV” team, to strike…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . Critique Of Church Art Is Not Comment On Sponsors’ Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK I recently received a phone call in which I was informed that a tweeted comment of mine on the Twitter social network about the interaction between some chapel visitors and sacred art recently installed therein had, in effect, called into question the faith of that chapel’s proprietors in the Real Presence. Although I did not…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Rule Of Faith Is The Church’s Teaching Authority

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 30 In order to finish the discussion on the revolution caused by Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago, let us consider his first major dogma, namely, sola Scriptura. Any Catholic — especially The Wanderer readers — who want to take their faith seriously and apply the criteria laid down by John Paul II in…Continue Reading

The Communion Of Saints

By DON FIER For the past six weeks, we have examined and elaborated upon the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on a state of life embraced by many loyal followers of Christ who have freely responded to a special call to follow with radical fidelity the way of life that the Lord Himself led. These generous…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I know the word “friend” appears many times in the Bible, but sometimes it is capitalized. For example, at daily Mass today there was a reading from 1st Maccabees which said that King Antiochus, who was about to die, “called in all his Friends” to tell them of his tribulations, and he chose Philip, “one of his Friends,” to…Continue Reading

The New Jerusalem

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR C) Readings: Baruch 5:1-9 Phil. 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6 In the Gospel reading today we hear about the preaching of St. John the Baptist. However, unlike what we read in the other Gospels, St. Luke does not record the Baptist as saying that he is the voice in the desert calling…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Damascene

By CAROLE BRESLIN “The Fathers of the Church were those saintly writers of the early centuries whom the Church recognizes as her special defenders of orthodoxy. And the Patristic Age is the period during which they lived. “It is generally held that the last of the Western Fathers (Latin) was St. Bede the Venerable (673-735), and the last of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Maria Virgo

By CAROLE BRESLIN When I visited my aunt in St. Louis, Mo., we would visit the basilicas, the museums, and other places of interest. She had many sites near her that were particularly special to her, such as her parish, The Little Flower, in Richmond Heights. In addition, she described a place where she frequently went for eucharistic adoration at…Continue Reading