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Thou Shall Not Kill III: Further Catholic Teachings on Abortion

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you


Common Objections to the Church’s Teachings


1. In cases with possible dangers to a mother’s life.


Now, in such a question as this, no one can be so useful a teacher judge, or witness, as the sex itself which is so intimately concerned Give us your testimony, then, ye mothers, whether yet pregnant, or after delivery (let barren women and men keep silence), — the truth of your own nature is in question, the reality of your own suffering is the point to be decided. (Tell us, then,) whether you feel in the embryo within you any vital force other than your own, with which your bowels tremble, your sides shake, your entire womb throbs, and the burden which oppresses you constantly changes its position? Are these movements a joy to you, and a positive removal of anxiety, as making you confident that your infant both possesses vitality and enjoys it? Or, should his restlessness cease, your first fear would be for him; and he would be aware of it within you… Tertullian, Apologeticum (A.D. 197) -
And therefore the following question may be very carefully inquired into and discussed by learned men, though I do not know whether it is in man’s power to resolve it: At what time the infant begins to live in the womb: whether life exists in a latent form before it manifests itself in the motions of the living being. To deny that the young who are cut out limb by limb from the womb, lest if they were left there dead the mother should die too, have never been alive, seems too audacious. Now, from the time that a man begins to live, from that time it is possible for him to die. And if he die, wheresoever death may overtake him, I cannot discover on what principle he can be denied an interest in the resurrection of the dead. St. Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion 8 (A.D. 420)

The Diocese of Phoenix states:

“We may never perform an intrinsically evil act even to bring about a great good. For example, a just society cannot intentionally kill innocent civilians in a war, even for the praiseworthy goal of ending a conflict quickly and saving many lives. Likewise, in the context of pregnancy, a woman may not be killed in order to save the life of her child, and a child may not be killed in order to save the life of his mother. However, the Church does permit morally neutral medical procedures designed to save a pregnant woman’s life that may have an unintended side-effect of causing a child to die in the womb, such as the removal of a cancerous uterus.”

“Very rarely, continuing a pregnancy may put the mother’s life at risk. In certain cases, such as aggressive uterine cancer or an ectopic pregnancy, it is morally licit to remove the threat to the mother’s life by removing the cancerous uterus, or by removing part or all of the Fallopian tube where the child implanted, even though it is foreseeable that the child will die as an indirect and unintended effect of such surgery. Abortion, a direct and intentional attack against the child’s life, is never morally licit. The unborn child and his mother have equal human dignity and possess the same right to life. When a medical crisis arises during pregnancy, there are always two patients involved. Doctors should do whatever they can to save both their lives, never directly attacking one — through drugs, surgery or other means — to save the other."

It is not a sin to save the life of the mother if both the child and the mother would die if procedures were not taken. It is a tragedy.

If a mother gives her life for the life of a child, she is a martyr.


2. Unable to provide for children:

[Some] complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children, as though, in truth, their means were in [their] power . . . or God did not daily make the rich poor and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife. Lactantius, Divine Institutes (A.D. 307)

3. For cases of incest or rape:

Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good. (DRV) Romans 12:21

An evil for an evil only means two evils, two sins have been committed.

A child, a good, must be allowed life.

4. Bringing children into the world is immoral:

This objection is sometimes brought about on the basis of assumed impending climate change doom or because life is synonymous with suffering.


And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that]moveth upon the earth. (ASV) Genesis 1:28
But women will be saved through childbearing — if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (ASV) 1 Timothy 2:15

Various Other Quotes By Popes and Saints



I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life. St. Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (A.D. 1995)
The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right — it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society. Pope Benedict XVI
Defend the unborn against abortion even if they persecute you, calumniate you, set traps for you, take you to court or kill you. Pope Francis
I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? … By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.” (…)
How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers. St. Teresa of Calcutta

Conclusion: The Coming Reckoning


Abortion was illegal in all fifty states before 1967. O how far has our society fallen in so short a time!

“Colorado was the first state in the nation to decriminalize abortion. The initial legislation, signed into law April 25, 1967, allowed abortion in certain limited cases: rape, incest, or a prediction of permanent mental or physical disability of either the child or mother,” Catholic News Agency reports. “Six years later, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade would declare abortion to be a constitutional right nationwide.”

Repealing Roe v. Wade would do much good. It would bring the basis of abortion law back to the states, where it can be outlawed by the states who are still closer to the light. However, God will not be pleased until the day comes when no child is murdered.

The most dangerous place for a child to be in America today is in its mother’s womb.


All that found them, have devoured them: and their enemies said: We have not sinned in so doing: because they have sinned against the Lord the beauty of justice, and against the Lord the hope of their fathers. (DRV) Jeremiah 50:7
Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (DRV) Matthew 3:2
"Whatever you do, think not of yourself, but of God.” St. Vincent Ferrer (Circa 1350–1419)
Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. (NIV) Deuteronomy 30:4

Catechism of the Catholic Church on Abortion


Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.”

Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.

Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,” “by the very commission of the offense,” and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”

Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, “if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.”

“One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”

“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”

“Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity” which are unique and unrepeatable.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270–2275

Prayers to St. Catherine of Sweden


Prayer for healing and consolation after miscarriage:

"Dear Saint Catherine, patron of those who have suffered a miscarriage, you know the dangers that await unborn infants. Please intercede for me that I may receive healing from the loss I have suffered. My soul has been deprived of peace and I have forgotten what true happiness is. As I mourn the loss of my child, I place myself in the hands of God and ask for strength to accept His will in all things, for consolation in my grief, and for peace in my sorrow. Glorious Saint Catherine, hear my prayers and ask that God, in good time, grant me a healthy baby who will become a true child of God."

Amen.

Prayer for a healthy pregnancy and for avoiding miscarriage:

"Dear Saint Catherine, you know the temptations of mothers today as well as the dangers that await unborn infants. Intercede for me that I may avoid miscarriage and bring forth a healthy baby who will become a true child of God. Dear Heavenly Father, I thank and praise You for the gift of all human life. I am most especially grateful for the new life within my womb — the unborn child forming deep within me. Through the prayers of Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the intercession of Saint Catherine of Sweden, I beg You to watch over and protect this little one inside my womb. In Jesus’ Name."

Amen.

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