Monday, June 09, 2008

On the Catholic Church and abortion

I wish people would get it straight on Catholic Church history and abortion.

Every doctrinal pronouncement, every single Catholic Church father and doctor from the 1st century to the 20th century has unequivocally denounced the act of abortion.

Regardless of whether the embryo was considered a human being or not.

That testimony shows that abortion is never morally acceptable according to Sacred Tradition. The Church's common understanding of Revelation has been that you cannot terminate a pregnancy once it has started.

Now it is true that throughout the ages, there was some doubt about the origins of human life, and whether an embryo or early fetus was human being (although the later fetus was recognized as a human).

So yes, Thomas Aquinas said that a male fetus became a human being 40 days after conception, and a girl fetus became a human being 80 days after conception.

But that was based on bad science.

And Thomas Aquinas condemned abortion in any case.

As knowledge of reproduction grew, it became more clear that human life began at conception. This is one of the reasons why we have a dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Mary's soul was devoid of the effects of Original Sin since conception.

In the Catholic scheme of things, ensoulment begins with biological life. There is no such thing as a living thing without a soul. When it was confirmed in the 19th century that human life began at conception, there was no longer any doubt, any excuse to deny that abortion kills a human being.

Catholics who persist in denying Church teaching are in essence denying Divine Revelation. That is what it boils down to. A Catholic is entitled to his conscience only insofar as he searches for the Truth in the places that he can find it. A Catholic who obtusely ignores Divine Revelation cannot be said to really be trying hard to have an informed conscience.

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