Sarah, a senior at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., didn't appreciate being spammed about last month's March for Life on her school email address, so she emailed the sender, an Associate Campus Minister for Women's Ministry and Social Justice, and asked to be taken off the list. "I am a pro-choice Catholic," she wrote. "I am a rape survivor and you have no right to tell me that at 11 years old, I should have kept a baby. Please do not send me emails regarding any anti-choice issues. Thanks." Tough luck, Sarah.
In response, she received an email from Father Jude DeAngelo, Catholic University's chaplain and director of Campus Ministry, who expressed sympathy but refused to take her off the listserv.
"I cannot guarantee that you will not receive an e-mail like that again - after all this is The Catholic University of America," DeAngelo wrote. "But, you have a choice to read it or not. And, it is certainly not from a sense of superiority. It is simply from a commitment to life."
Sarah told me she was happy that DeAngelo took the time to acknowledge her email, but that she didn't understand why they couldn't remove her from the list.
"I would like to think I got back at them though," she added in an email. "At Catholic, you are excused from classes for the day if you attend the march..I got excused and attended..with my giant "KEEP ABORTION LEGAL" sign. :)"
Below is DeAngelo's response in its entirety.
From: DeAngelo, Jude T.
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 5:08 PM
You received an e-mail from Jamila Evans which for obvious reasons has upset you deeply. Jamila showed me your e-mail and I asked her if I could respond to you personally.
Sarah, what happened to you at 11 years old is absolutely horrendous. I will not say I know what you went through - I cannot even wrap my mind around it. And, know that Jamila and I are both committed to praying for you to find continued healing and true happiness in your life. That gift is not from a sense of pity for you because you are obviously a strong woman - but, we committed to praying for you out of a deep respect for you.
With that being said, Sarah, do you really think it is with malice that we at CUA and Campus Ministry would send out a blast asking our students to attend the March? We sent that e-mail as part of our commitment to protect human life - not as a judgment on you personally, or any girl or woman who has faced your situation or a similar one.
I cannot guarantee that you will not receive an e-mail like that again - after all this is The Catholic University of America. But, you have a choice to read it or not. And, it is certainly not from a sense of superiority. It is simply from a commitment to life.
Sarah, I ask you to pray for me too. As a Franciscan priest it is my earnest desire to preach the Gospel and to do it with as much sensitivity as possible. But, I am a human being and a man who needs prayers to keep me on the road of doing His will with humility and not pride,
If I can ever be of assistance in anyway please do not hesitate to ask.
Peace and prayers.
"Sarah" is a pseudonym; she asked for her real name to be withheld, as her family doesn't know she is a rape survivor.