A Model for all Roman Catholics
Leontina Albina from San Antonio, Chile is only able to produce birth certificates for 55 of the 64 children she claims to have had with her husband. So this couple has been dropped from the Guinness Book of World Records, where they were listed prior to the year 2000 as having the record for the highest number of children born to a single couble (in modern times).
But even if they only gave birth to 55 children, shouldn't the pope be using this couple as the very definition of marriage for Roman Catholics? If anybody has taken the Catholic Church's objections to birth-control seriously, surely it is them!
Thanks to the powerful influence of the Roman Catholic Church,
the very poor women of the Phililpines have been veritable baby factories,
producing more babies than most any other Asian nation,
and far more than they can afford to raise in dignity.
In recent years, however, rallies such as these
have helped persuade the country's legislators and President
to defy the Catholic Church's bishops and
pass legislation supportive of family planning.
In their important July 7, 2004 official directives, called
"Catholics in Political Life", it appears that not one of the bishops of the U.S.A. had any reservations about making the following false claim (2nd paragraph) :
"It is the teaching of the Catholic Church from the very beginning, founded on her understanding of her Lord’s own witness to the sacredness of human life, that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified. If those who perform an abortion and those who cooperate willingly in the action are fully aware of the objective evil of what they do, they are guilty of grave sin and thereby separate themselves from God’s grace. This is the constant and received teaching of the Church."
In order to better understand the Catholic Church's problem with birth control and abortion, we urge you to read our churchvsex.html chapter, which shows how this issue fits in with that institution's huge problem with just about everything having anything to do with sex.
As the famously witty and scholarly Catholic Senator Patrick Moynihan used to say, "People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts." If only the church would select its bishops on the basis of their theological expertise, instead of their achievements as administrators or their loyalty to the Vatican, the church might not embarrass itself by such official misstatements. The fact is that history does not bear out the claims of the recent popes and America's bishops that their present opposition to contraception represents "the constant teaching of the Catholic Church from the very beginning, founded on her understanding of her Lord's own witness to the sacredness of human life, that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified." The truth is that the Catholic Church's teaching regarding abortion , and when human life begins, is nowhere near as constant as is claimed. And considering the use made by the hierarchy of this teaching to influence the government of the United States (and of the rest of the world to some extent), it is important to set this record straight :
The following are excerpts from the book, Vicars of Christ, by Peter De Rosa (former professor at the prestigious Gregorian University, in Rome):
"In his addresses, Pope John Paul II takes certain things for granted that :
- the conceptus is human;
- it is human from the very instant of fertilization;
- this means the conceptus has exactly the same rights as any other human being - say, the mother or the children born already;
- to kill the conceptus directly is always murder.
How much of this is constant Catholic teaching? The answer is: none of it. Every stage in his argument is untraditional, which makes it imperative that his reasoning on abortion, like Paul VI's on contraception, be subjected to close scrutiny.
Is the Soul Infused at Conception?
Most Catholics assume that the soul is infused at conception. They may take it as an article of faith. In fact it is not. Vatican II deliberately left the issue aside and for a very good reason. For fourteen hundred years until late in the nineteenth century, all Catholics, including the popes, took it for granted that the soul is not infused at conception. If the church was wholly opposed to abortion, as it was, it was not on the basis of the conceptus starting as a human being.
From the fifth century, the church accepted without question the primitive embryology of Aristotle. The embryo began as a non-human speck that was progressively animated. This speck had to evolve from vegetative, through animal to spiritual being. Only in its final stage was it a human being. This is why Gratian was able to say: `He is not a murderer who brings about abortion before the soul is in the body.'
See how smart the church wise men of old were :|
The legitimacy of slavery was officially promulgated by Pope Gregory IX in the 1226 Corpus Iuris Canonici, (Body of Canon Law) which remained official law of the Church until 1913. Slavery was fine with the church for persons captured in war, persons condemned to slavery
for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father
selling his child; and for children of a enslaved mother..
[ from Church&slavery.html ]
St.Thomas Aquinas, the church's most respected scholar since the 13tth century, defended slavery as instituted by God in punishment for sin, and justified as being part of the right of
nations and natural law. Children of a slave mother are rightly slaves
even though they have not committed personal sin! (Quoted by many later
"In 1807 (Protestant) Britain became the first major power to permanently abolish the slave trade".
The Holy Office in an instruction signed by Pope
Pius IX in 1866 (after the U.S. Civll War) declares:
Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be
several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved
theologians and commentators of the sacred canons
It is not contrary to
the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or
The characteristics of the foetus were attributed solely to the father. It (and it was correct to refer to the embryo as `it') became human at forty days for the male and eighty days for the female. A female resulted, said Aquinas, from defective seed or from the fact that conception took place when a damp wind was blowing. It followed that to abort a foetus in the early stages of pregnancy was wrong, since it was the destruction of a potential human being. It was not murder, since it was not the killing of an actual human being.
According to www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic5.htm,
In the fifteenth century, moralists began to ask whether it was not possible in certain circumstances to get rid of the foetus without fault. For example, when it results from rape or incest or even from adultery, thus threatening the husband's rights and the marriage itself. The same dilemma arose in the case of a mother whose health would be endangered if she had to bring a foetus to full term. Was it not a moral duty to save a human life at the expense of a non_human if potentially human life? Some of the best theologians answered Yes.
Some went further. They said it was permissible to save a mother's life even after the foetus was humanized, that is, after the soul was infused. For what reason? Because the foetus' life had no absolute value; its value had to be weighed with others. What, then, in the classical case, when it came to a straight choice between saving the mother or the child? Was not the mother's life more valuable than the child's? Many hesitated. They said it was always wrong to kill an ensouled foetus directly. They were content to say it is permissible to kill it indirectly, that is, when medical treatment to help the mother incidentally and without intending it also killed or expelled the foetus The aim was solely to save the mother; the death of the foetus was sad by-product of that virtuous act.
History shows that popes, far from being able to solve these difficult moral dilemmas once and for all, were as mystified as anyone else They had no access to privileged information. They had to put forward arguments that were subject to rebuttal. For example, Gregory XIII (1572-85) said it was not homicide to kill an embryo of less than forty days since it was not human. Even after forty days, though it was homicide, it was not as serious as killing a person already born, since it was not done in hatred or revenge. His successor, the tempestuous Sixtus V, who rewrote the Bible, disagreed entirely. In his Bull Effraenatum of 1588, he said all abortions for whatever reason were homicide and were penalized by excommunication reserved to the Holy See. Immediately after Sixtus died, Gregory XIV realized that, in the current state of theological opinion, Sixtus' view was too severe. In an almost unique decision, he said Sixtus' censures were to be treated as is he had never issued them. Popes can be precipitate. They never did have answers up their sleeve to ongoing moral problems. Moral judgments depend on facts and circumstances, all of which must be kept under review. The nineteenth-century papacy forgot this basic principle on every issue related to liberty. Twentieth-century pope, have forgotten it on every issue relating to sex. Paul VI was not alone in reissuing ancient teachings regardless of entirely changed circumstances and the findings of science. In particular, the morality of abortion depends on biological facts.
In 1621 a Roman doctor, Paulo Zacchia, suggested that there was no biological basis for Aristotle's view that ensoulment was delayed for some time after conception. Zacchia was the most honoured physician in the papal court, yet his view had no impact on papal theological teaching. The Vatican issued a pastoral directive permitting but not enforcing the baptism of foetuses less than forty days. As late as the eighteenth century, the church's greatest moral theologian, St. Alfonsus Liguori, was still denying that the soul was infused at conception. Like Aquinas before him, he did not say direct abortion was right, but his view allowed a flexibility of approach to abortion, especially when the mother's life was in danger. After 1750, this flexibility disappeared. For the first time in centuries, the church started to return to the intransigent attitude of the Fathers." (p. 375)
"In the US: Many pregnancies are not viable. According to estimates, 50% of pregnancies terminate spontaneously before the first missed menstrual period; these abortions usually are not clinically recognized. Spontaneous abortion typically is defined as a clinically recognized (ie, by blood test or ultrasound) pregnancy loss before 20 weeks' gestation."
See more about "Limbo" at
Now, according to the Church's official teaching, the best that babies and foetuses that die without the benefit of a good Catholic baptism can hope for in the hereafter is an eternity in the state of "Limbo".
Since that has been the fate of the majority of children in the underdeveloped parts of the world throughout history as well as today, and it is estimated that for every human pregnancy that produces a live baby, one and perhaps even two pregnancies are aborted spontaneously, those who accept the official teaching of the Catholic Church must believe that there are destined to be many more souls in "Limbo" for all eternity than in heaven and hell combined. And yet, the Bible never said a single word about this eternal resting place for the majority of mankind!
“I am convinced that some political and social activities and practices of the Catholic organizations are detrimental and even dangerous for the community as a whole, here and everywhere. I mention here only the fight against birth control at a time when overpopulation in various countries has become a serious threat to the health of people and a grave obstacle to any attempt to organize peace on this planet.”
[ Albert Einstein, in a letter, 1954 ]
Abortion and Catholic Thought: The Little-Told History:
Source : This is a summary of "Catholics for a Free Choice" publication The History of Abortion in the Catholic Church.
Reprinted in the Autumn 1996 issue of Conscience ( no longer online at http://faculty.cua.edu/Pe...w111/CatholicHistory.htm )
Most people believe that the Roman Catholic church's position on abortion has remained unchanged for two thousand years. Not true. Church teaching on abortion has varied continually over the course of its history. There has been no unanimous opinion on abortion at any time. While there has been constant general agreement that abortion is almost always evil and sinful, the church has had difficulty in defining the nature of that evil. Members of the Catholic hierarchy have opposed abortion consistently as evidence of sexual sin, but they have not always seen early abortion as homicide. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the "right-to-life" argument is a relatively recent development in church teaching. The debate continues today.
Also contrary to popular belief, no pope has proclaimed the prohibition of abortion an "infallible" teaching. This fact leaves much more room for discussion on abortion than is usually thought, with opinions among theologians and the laity differing widely. In any case, Catholic theology tells individuals to follow their personal conscience in moral matters, even when their conscience is in conflict with hierarchical views.
The campaign by Pope John Paul II to make his position on abortion the defining one at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 was just one leg of a long journey of shifting views within the Catholic church. In the fifth century a.d., St. Augustine expressed the mainstream view that early abortion required penance only for sexual sin. Eight centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas agreed, saying abortion was not homicide unless the fetus was "ensouled," and ensoulment, he was sure, occurred well after conception. The position that abortion is a serious sin akin to murder and is grounds for excommunication only became established 150 years ago.
A brief chronology cannot do justice to the twists and turns of theological thinking through the centuries. It can, however, put the abortion debate within the Catholic church into historical perspective and show the importance of continued debate and of open hearts and minds.
The First Six Christian Centuries
Early Christianity: Moving Away from Paganism
Pagan religions had a calm acceptance of abortion and contraception, including the use of barrier methods, coitus interruptus, and various medicines that prevented contraception or caused abortion.
Early Christian leaders, distinguishing Christianity from pagan beliefs, developed ideas about contraception and abortion, marriage and procreation, and the unity of body and soul. They taught that sex even for reproduction was bad and sex for pleasure heinous. Chastity became a virtue in its own right.
100 a.d.: The Debate Begins
One of the earliest church documents, the Didache, condemns abortion but asks two critical questions: 1) Is abortion being used to conceal the sins of fornication and adultery? and 2) Does the fetus have a rational soul from the moment of conception, or does it become an "ensouled human" at a later point? The matter of "hominization" — the point at which a developing embryo or fetus becomes a human being — would become one of the cornerstones of debate about abortion, and it remains a subject of debate even today.
St. Augustine: Early Abortion Is Not Homicide
St. Augustine (354-430) condemned abortion because it breaks the connection between sex and procreation. 1 However, in the Enchiridion, he says, "But who is not rather disposed to think that unformed fetuses perish like seeds which have not fructified" — clearly seeing hominization as beginning or occurring at some point after the fetus has begun to grow. He held that abortion was not an act of homicide. Most theologians of his era agreed with him.
In a disciplinary sense, the general agreement at this time was that abortion was a sin requiring penance if it was intended to conceal fornication and adultery.
The Middle Period: 600 -1500
circa 675: Illicit Intercourse is a Greater Sin
The Irish Canons place the penance for "destruction of the embryo of a child in the mother's womb [at] three and one half years," while the "penance of one who has intercourse with a woman, seven years on bread and water."2
circa 8th Century: Recognizing Women's Circumstances
In the Penitential Ascribed by Albers to Bede, the idea of delayed hominization is again supported, and women's circumstances acknowledged: "A mother who kills her child before the fortieth day shall do penance for one year. If it is after the child has become alive, [she shall do penance] as a murderess. But it makes a great difference whether a poor woman does it on account of the difficulty of supporting [the child] or a harlot for the sake of concealing her wickedness." 3
1140: Abortion of an Unformed Fetus Is Not Homicide
In 1140, Gratian compiled the first collection of canon law that was accepted as authoritative within the church. Gratian's code included the canon Aliquando, which concluded that "abortion was homicide only when the fetus was formed."4 If the fetus was not yet a formed human being, abortion was not homicide.
1312: "Delayed Hominization" Confirmed
The Council of Vienne, still very influential in Catholic hierarchical teaching, confirmed the conception of man put forth by St. Thomas Aquinas. While Aquinas had opposed abortion — as a form of contraception and a sin against marriage — he had maintained that the sin in abortion was not homicide unless the fetus was ensouled, and thus, a human being. Aquinas had said the fetus is first endowed with a vegetative soul, then an animal soul, and then — when its body is developed — a rational soul. This theory of "delayed hominization" is the most consistent thread throughout church history on abortion.5
Pre-Modern Period: 1500 - 1750
1588: Abortion's Penalty Becomes Excommunication
Concerned about prostitution in Rome, Pope Sixtus V issued the bull Effraenatam (Without Restraint) and applied to both contraception and abortion, at any stage of pregnancy, the penalty designated for homicide: excommunication. There was no exception for therapeutic abortion.6
1591: Rules Quickly Relaxed
Only three years after Pope Sixtus V issued Effraenatam, he died. His successor, Gregory XIV, felt Sixtus's stand was too harsh and was in conflict with penitential practices and theological views on ensoulment. He issued Sedes Apostolica, which advised church officials, "where no homicide or no animated fetus is involved, not to punish more strictly than the sacred canons or civil legislation does."7 This papal pronouncement lasted until 1869.
1679: Pregnant Girls Facing Murder by Their Families
Consistently, abortion had been considered wrong if used to conceal sexual sins. Taking this idea to its extreme, Pope Innocent XI declared abortion impermissible even when a girl's parents were likely to murder her for having become pregnant.
The church was still teaching delayed hominization, sure only that hominization occurred some time before birth.
The Modern Era: 1750-Present
1869: Excommunication for All Abortions
Completely ignoring the question of hominization, Pope Pius IX wrote in Apostolicae Sedis in 1869 that excommunication is the required penalty for abortion at any stage of pregnancy.8 He said all abortion was homicide. His statement was an implicit endorsement -- the church's first -- of immediate hominization.
1917: Doctors and Nurses Targeted
The 1917 Code of Canon Law, the first new edition since Gratian's code in 1140, required excommunication both for a woman who aborts and for any others, such as doctors and nurses, who take part in an abortion.9
1930: Therapeutic Abortions Condemned
In his encyclical Casti Connubii (Of Chaste Spouses), Pope Pius XI condemned abortion in general, and specifically in three instances: in the case of therapeutic abortion, which he called the killing of an innocent; in marriage to prevent offspring; and on social and eugenic grounds, as practiced by some governments.10
Pius's stance on abortion remains the hierarchical view today. The encyclical Casti Connubii did not purport to be infallible teaching, but as an address by the pope to the bishops, it carries great authority.
1965: Protection from the Moment of Conception
The Second Vatican Council, in Gaudium et Spes (section 51), declared: "Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes." Here, abortion is now condemned on the basis of protecting life, not as a concealment of sexual sin.
1974: The "Right-to-Life" Argument
In 1974, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith issued the "Declaration on Procured Abortion," which opposes abortion on the grounds that "one can never claim freedom of opinion as a pretext for attacking the rights of others, most especially the right to life." The key to this position is that the fetus is human life from the moment of conception, if not necessarily a full human being. With this position, the church has fully changed the terms of its argument.
Today: Abortion Ban Is Absolute
The Catholic church hierarchy today does not permit abortion in any instance, not even in case of rape or as a direct way of saving the life of a pregnant woman.
1.St. Augustine, De nuptiis et concupiscentia, 1.15.17 (CSEL 42.229-230).
2.John T. McNeill and Helena M. Gamer, Medieval Handbooks of Penance (New York: Octagon Books, 1974), pp. 119-120.
3.McNeil and Gamer, p. 225.
4. John T. Noonan, ed., The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical Perspectives, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970), p.20.
5.Joseph F. Donceel, S.J., "Immediate Animation and Delayed Hominization," Theological Studies, vols. 1 & 2 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970), pp. 86-88.
6.Codicis iuris fontes, ed. P. Gasparri, vol. 1 (Rome, 1927), p. 308.
7.Ibid., pp. 330-331.
8.Actae Sanctae Sedis, 5:298.
9.Codex iuris canonici, c. 2350.
10.Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 22:539-92.
"The way of life" vs. "the way of death"
The following is from http://www.alternet.org/story/19101
"In his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II laid out the Church's definition of 'pro-life' behavior. His starting point was the Didache , the most ancient non-biblical Christian writing. The Didache explores the differences between 'a way of life and a way of death.' 'The way of death is this...they show no compassion for the poor, they do not suffer with the suffering, they do not acknowledge their Creator, they kill their children and cause God's creatures to perish; they drive away the needy, oppress the suffering, they are advocates of the rich and unjust judges of the poor; they are filled with every sin.' Thus the Didache teaches us that to evaluate whether an individual is pro-life depends on far more than his or her position on abortion.
The Pope maintains that life must be protected 'from the moment of conception to one's natural end.' The Church opposes abortion, stem cell research and physician assisted suicide. It also opposes contraception and views its practice as inherently linked to these other mortal sins. '(D)espite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree,' Pope John Paul II observes, 'the negative values inherent in the 'contraceptive mentality' are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected.'
The Pope maintains that abortion at any time constitutes murder. However, he concedes that 'the texts of Sacred Scripture never address the question of deliberate abortion and so do not directly and specifically condemn it.' Indeed, although he doesn't discuss this, for more than 1500 years the position of the Catholic Church on abortion was very close to that of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade: Early term abortion is not a mortal sin.
St. Augustine , Bishop of Hippo (ca. 415 AD), one of the most influential of all Catholic theologians, persuaded early Church leaders that abortion should not be regarded 'as homicide, for there cannot be a living soul in a body that lacks sensation due to its not yet being formed.' He, and Thomas Aquinas after him, taught that the embryo does not acquire a human soul until the end of the first trimester. At the beginning of the 13th century Pope Innocent II proposed that 'quickening' (the time when the woman first feels the fetus move within her) should be the moment at which abortion becomes homicide. Abortions occurring prior to that moment constituted a less serious sin. Pope Gregory XIV's declaration in 1591 that early abortion was not grounds for excommunication guided Church policy until 1869. In that year, Pope Pius IX eliminated the distinction between the animated and non-animated fetus and insisted on excommunication for anyone having or providing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy. That instruction was written into the Canon Law in 1917.
Aside from the question of which sins should result in the denial of Communion is the question of how broadly the sanctions should be applied. Pope John Paul II has declared that the mortal sin attached to the woman who has an abortion and the doctor who provides it must be borne equally by those who encouraged the woman to have the abortion and the medical administration that enabled the operation. The current discussion focuses largely on whether sanctions should extend to politicians at the local, state or national level who support policies that allow access to abortion. Denver Bishop Sheridan would extend sanctions to those who vote for such politicians. Given recent election results and public opinion polls, this would result in the majority of practicing Catholics being denied Communion.
In their June resolution, the U.S. Bishops warned, 'the polarizing tendencies of election-year politics can lead to circumstances in which Catholic teaching and sacramental practice can be misused for political ends.' The denial of Communion must be applied even-handedly or it will be viewed as a political rather than a moral act, a way to influence elections, not behavior.
So far sanctions have been applied in a decidedly partisan manner. While Catholic Democratic Governor McGreevey was sanctioned, in part for his support for abortions, Catholic Republican Governor Pataki of New York, who holds similar views on abortion, was not. Sacramento Bishop Wiegand chastised Catholic Democratic Governor Gray Davis for supporting abortion rights and recommended that he refrain from taking Communion. But he has issued no warning to Catholic Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also supports abortion rights.'
In a private mass in 2003, the Pope himself gave Communion to Tony Blair, a pro-abortion Episcopalian." (who has since become a Roamn Catholic)
'Pro-life" Catholics activists wouldn't be so quick to compare their rivals to the Nazis, if people knew that the leadership of the Nazis were - like themselves - conservative,"pro-life" Roman Catholics, beginning with Adolf Hitler himself, as I show at Hitlersfaith.html and NaziLeadership.html. The only kind of abortion they promoted was the abortion of 'undesireables, like the Jews, Serbs, blacks, and handicapped.
Vatican City (CNS) – When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent out a brief memo in June, 2004 when Catholic U. S. Senator John Kerry was running for the Presidency, about politicians and Communion, he asserted that when a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered "remote material cooperation," which is "permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons." See also this insightful National Catholic Reporter editorial : ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2004b/043004/043004r.htm.
Few Roman Catholics seem capable of understanding that these principles cannot be applied logically by today's church leaders to American politicians unless they are also applied to the political situation that prevailed in Nazi Germany, when and where the Roman Catholic hierarchy, led by Pope Pius XII they allowed millions of their faithful to engage in infinitely more than "remote material cooperation" with Hitler in the mass-murder of 10 million innocent citizens, including millions of fellow Roman Catholics.!
Now, how about we
take a break from reading,
to listen to the great song,
White Men In Black Dresses,
by the modern folk singer, Sandy Rapp.
Archbishops of the arch right :
The Catholic Archbishop Chaput claims that "The great Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer spoke for the whole Christian tradition when he wrote:
“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.' ”
And the archbishop continues: "Resistance to abortion cuts across all religions. It’s not a “Catholic” issue. In fact, it’s finally not a religious issue at all, but a matter of human rights, reinforced by the irrefutable scientific fact that life begins at conception."
(The Archbishop's Column - Sept. 22, 2004)
Is it ignorance or dishonesty that causes this prelate to pretend that
1) all religions are in agreement with the Catholic views of abortion and
2) that just because it's an obvious fact (not even requiring scientific knowledge) that there is "life" from the moment of conception that the life in question is the life of a distinct human being?
Catholics can't accept contraception - Cardinal Pell. Archbishop of Sydney, Australia
"The cardinal called this belief that has spread among Catholics the Donald Duck heresy,
"Let Abortion Guide Vote", Catholics Told
In his recent book “God and Caesar,” the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, said a “common heresy of our times” is believing that Catholics can accept and practice contraception, using the “primacy of conscience” as a justification."
By Gayle White
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 09/17/04
"Abortion must outweigh every other issue for Roman Catholic voters, Atlanta's archbishop said Thursday after issuing an unusual letter telling his flock that Catholics are obligated to follow church teachings at the polls.
Excommunicate those who perform abortions:
'You have an erroneous conscience if you think there is some case in which you can vote for a pro-abortion candidate,' Archbishop John Donoghue said in an interview. 'You're wrong as far as church teaching is concerned.'
Catholics may debate other issues, like war or capital punishment, 'but there's no debate about abortion. It is intrinsically evil. It is way above other issues as far as evil is concerned.'
Donoghue's letter, 'On Conscientious Voting,' was posted on the archdiocese Web site and published in Thursday's edition of the diocesan newspaper, The Georgia Bulletin.
The archbishop, spiritual leader of North Georgia's 300,000 Catholics, wrote that he would not presume to say the faithful should vote for a specific candidate."
When a 9 year old 80 lb. girl in Brazil was found to be pregnant with twins after allegedly being raped by her stepfather, an abortion was performed to save her life. Now the girl's mother, the doctors who performed the procedure, and all of the other Catholic adults who had a part in saving her life are being kicked out of the Catholic Church. The girl whom the Church considered old enough to bear 2 children is not being excommunicated "because of her tender age".
Although abortion is illegal in this very Catholic country, the state allows for exceptions in cases of incest and to save the live of the mother. The Catholic president and Health Minister are siding with the "offenders" in this case.
The Bible to opponents of abortion [ James 2: 14-17 , New American Bible ] :
"My brothers, What good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day and you say to them, 'Good-bye and good luck! Keep warm and well fed,' but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that? So it is with the faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless."
"Prolife? Look at the fruits"
by Dr. Glen Harold Stassen
I am a Christian ethicist, and trained in statistical analysis. I am consistently pro-life. My son David is one witness. For my family, "pro-life" is personal. My wife caught rubella in the eighth week of her pregnancy. We decided not to terminate, to love and raise our baby. David is legally blind and severely handicapped; he also is a blessing to us and to the world.
See much more on this issue at
I look at the fruits of political policies more than words. I analyzed the data on abortion during the George W. Bush presidency. There is no single source for this information - federal reports go only to 2000, and many states do not report - but I found enough data to identify trends. My findings are counterintuitive and disturbing.
Abortion was decreasing. When President Bush took office, the nation's abortion rates were at a 24-year low, after a 17.4% decline during the 1990s. This was an average decrease of 1.7% per year, mostly during the latter part of the decade. (This data comes from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life using the Guttmacher Institute's studies).
Enter George W. Bush in 2001. One would expect the abortion rate to continue its consistent course downward, if not plunge. Instead, the opposite happened.
I found three states that have posted multi-year statistics through 2003, and abortion rates have risen in all three: Kentucky's increased by 3.2% from 2000 to 2003. Michigan's increased by 11.3% from 2000 to 2003. Pennsylvania's increased by 1.9% from 1999 to 2002. I found 13 additional states that reported statistics for 2001 and 2002. Eight states saw an increase in abortion rates (14.6% average increase), and five saw a decrease (4.3% average decrease).
Under President Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction.
How could this be? I see three contributing factors:
First, two thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Web site). In the past three years, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Hoover had there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed.
Second, half of all women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). Men who are jobless usually do not marry. Only three of the 16 states had more marriages in 2002 than in 2001, and in those states abortion rates decreased. In the 16 states overall, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before, and 7,869 more abortions. As male unemployment increases, marriages fall and abortion rises.
Third, women worry about health care for themselves and their children. Since 5.2 million more people have no health insurance now than before this presidency - with women of childbearing age overrepresented in those 5.2 million - abortion increases.
The U.S. Catholic Bishops warned of this likely outcome if support for families with children was cut back. My wife and I know - as does my son David - that doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical insurance, special schooling, and parental employment are crucial for a special child. David attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, as well as several schools for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. He was mainstreamed in public schools as well. We have two other sons and five grandchildren, and we know that every mother, father, and child needs public and family support.
What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, health insurance, jobs, child care, and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need policies that provide jobs and health insurance and support for prospective mothers.
Glen Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, and the co-author of Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, Christianity Today's Book of the Year in theology or ethics."
The June 27, 2004 edition published an excellent editorial entitled,
The Bishops vs. the Bible,
by OP-ED Contributor Garry Wills, adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University.
"the bishops (of the Roman Catholic Church) have no special mandate from their office to supplant the individual conscience with some divine imperative. For them to say that this is a matter of theology is, simply, bad theological reasoning. If they, as citizens, wish to express their opinion on the natural-reason arguments, they have every right to do so. But that does not give them the right to deny others the same kind of arguing, on the same grounds. The subject of abortion is not a matter of church-state relations, since the bishops as church authorities have nothing distinctive to contribute to the discussion."
What would "Prohibition" of abortion achieve?
Jurisprudence vs. Moral Theology
In an article published April 23, 2004 in the National Catholic Reporter , the U. of Notre Dame theologian, Richard McBrien, makes the point that :
"To have made the moral argument against abortion, for example, is not necessarily to have made the legal argument as well. St. Thomas Aquinas himself had insisted that if civil laws laid too heavy a burden on the "multitude of imperfect people," it would be impossible for such laws to be obeyed and this, in turn, could lead eventually to a disregard for all law.
Moreover, unenforceable laws are worse than no laws at all. And without a sufficient consensus within a society, no law is enforceable. Civil laws, therefore, can demand no more than a pluralistic society can agree upon."
The Catholic hierarchy has failed so miserably in convincing its own members that it wants to use the U.S. government to enforce its beliefs on both members and non-members of its church.
A reputable 2000-2001 survey found that the abortion rate among Catholic women was 22 per 1,000 women; while the rate for Protestants was only 18 per 1,000 women. (Surprisingly, 13% of the women surveyed actually admitted to being evangelical or "born again".)
[ factcheck.org/askfactcheck/do_catholic_women_get_abortions_more_frequently.html ]
The "Hyde Ammendment"
Henry Hyde, the long time Republican Congressman from a Chicago suburb is famous for many things, including being a crusader against abortion, and promoting legislation against it, including his Hyde Ammendment, which is probably the reason for his being considered a model Catholic by the Holy See.
When Hyde was a state representative in Illinois his being a devout Catholic husband and father of four sons,
, but didn't hamper his five (or seven) year affair with a married woman with three kids, an affair that continued even after the woman's husband, Fred Snodgrass, found out about it and pleaded with Hyde to leave his wife alone. Their long time sexual liason doesn't appear to have produced any children, so It's not known if "Mr. Roman Catholic Layman" and his married mistress practiced birth-control or abortion at the time. When this leader of the Clinton impeachment process in the Congress was asked how he felt about his own infidelity and the breaking up the Snodgrass family, he exonerated himself, `on the basis that it was "a youthful indiscretion" (committed in his early forties when he was not much younger than Bill Clinton !). ( See Hypocrite of the House).
Although Jesus never said a word of condemnation about abortion, the Catholic Church can't say enough against it. Jesus did condemn divorce and adultery, but where its political friends in high places are concerned, these sins the Catholic Church rarely mentions.
Oh, how "Pro Life" those Republicans are !
Rep. DesJarlais, who is also a doctor, made the unfortunately rather common decision to cheat on his wife before assuming office.
However, that’s not all he did. You see, besides cheating on his wife, Rep. DesJarlais’ choice of partners bears mention – specifically, he…
Cheated with his coworkers
Cheated with his own patients.
Wrote false prescriptions for one of his mistresses to get drugs, and…
Pressured his own wife to get an abortion – twice – while campaigning as a supposedly family values-friendly candidate.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports:
A decade before calling himself “a consistent supporter of pro-life values,” Tennessee physician and Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage, according to the congressman’s sworn testimony during his divorce trialObtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the couple’s 2001 trial transcript also confirms DesJarlais had sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn. During one affair with a female patient, DesJarlais prescribed her drugs, gave her an $875 watch and bought her a plane ticket to Las Vegas, records show.
[ from http://www.theblaze.com/stories/this-may-be-the-worst-congressional-sex-scandal-you-read-about/ ]
The Catholic Church did nothing about the forced abortions taking place in the Marianas Islands (Saipan), a U.S. territory, from 1981 through 2005. Various Catholic officials and groups were informed and asked to intercede on behalf of 11,000 women (not a child among them). However, they allowed the practice to continue and never interceded with any of the “pro-life” Republican politicians who were prevented U.S. labor law from being applied to the Marianas Islands, where powerless women were exploited and practically enslaved as workers in factories which were entitled to produce goods labelled "made in America"
The issue was only resolved after the Democrats took control of Congress away from “pro-life” Republicans in 2006.
Catholic Liechtenstein Legalizes Abortion
80% of voters supported choice on Nov. 27, 2005 over the strong, but ineffectual, objections of the Catholic hierarchy.
The Roman Catholic Church claims the right to practice medicine according to its own lights, as though it were a private institution. But in America, as in many other countries where it operates hospitals, those institutions are heavily subsidized by the government and patronized by a clientele which pays for the services provided - not with Roman Catholic - but with public dollars:
In a Denver Post article, in Nov. 2005, the Catholic Church was portrayed as part of the problem rather than the solution.
"For example, Centura St. Anthony North Hospital in Denver charged (uninsured) Jorge Martinez $15,411 for a one-day hospital stay to repair a broken ankle in 2003, according to his bill.
Medicare would have paid about $3,000 for the same procedure, according to federal fee schedules.
The hospital charged (uninsured) Jesus Marinelarena $3,905 for a three-hour hospital stay to treat stomach pain in 2004, according to his bill."
"Holy See" ?
Isn't it amusing how English-speaking Catholic churchmen insist on translating the Latin "Sancta Sedes" into the meaningless "Holy See", instead of the correct, but silly–sounding "Holy Seat"?
a papal throne
The purpose of this page has not been to examine what passes as "scholarship" in Catholic circles, but this issue is a good example. The further I get from the 24 years of education that I received in Catholic institutions, the more I realize that "truth" for Catholics in many instances is not established by evidence or proof, so much as by belief. All that many Catholics require to be persuaded that something is true is for someone in authority to say it is. And Catholic authorities assert all kinds of things on little if any evidence. One good example is the lives of the saints, most of which has little historical foundation. I recently experienced another very good illustration. In flipping through the channels, I stopped for a couple of minutes on EWTN (the largest world wide Roman Catholic "Eternal Word Television Network"). A priest promoting prayer to Mary was proclaiming with great authority that the importance of Mary was second only to the importance of Jesus, because she was the person mentioned most in the Gospels after Jesus. This didn't jive with my recollection, so I went to my electronic bible and in minutes I found that in contrast to the mention of Jesus' mother Mary, Mary Magdalene may have been mentioned as often, but the apostles Peter and John, and John the Baptist, had all been mentioned more often than Mary. Here's the documentation showing among other things that in the four Gospels, there are about 84 references to John the Baptist and 24 for John the Apostle and only about 44 references to Mary the mother of Jesus. ( The total number of references to Mary by name in the Gospels of Mark and John appears to be 0 ! )
Gianna Beretta Molla was officially declared a saint on May 16, 2004.
Gianna was the twelfth of thirteen children in her family, only eight of whom survived to adulthood.
In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling, she was active in Azione Cattolica. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics.
Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.
After bearing three children and having two miscarriages, during the second month of her sixth pregnancy, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, which would save her life and allow her to continue to have children; a complete hysterectomy, which would preserve her life, but take the unborn child's life, and prevent further pregnancy; or removal of only the fibroma, with the potential of further complications. Wanting to preserve her child's life, she opted for the removal of the fibroma.
After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other – I want them to save my baby." On April 20, 1962, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section. However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died at home of septic peritonitis a week after the birth.
[ from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gianna_Beretta_Molla#Canonization ]
82% of Catholics in America believe contraception is "morally acceptable
May 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Mere days after 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations launched an unprecedented mega-lawsuit against the Obama administration over its contraception mandate, a new Gallup poll found that 82% of Catholics in America believe contraception is “morally acceptable.”
While critics say the poll is more evidence that the Church hierarchy is out of touch with its people in its fight against the Obama administration, Catholic commentators have responded that the data doesn’t affect the debate over the mandate, which is about religious freedom.
The poll, released May 22nd, found that 89% of all Americans believe contraception is morally acceptable. Overall, 8% of all Americans and 15% of Catholics said they believe contraception is morally wrong