Choose a topic from Vol 4:

Religion - Yes or No

Necessity of Religion
Reality of Religious Experience
Religion and life
Religious statistics
Nature of religion
Necessity of worship
Neglect of religion
Religion and history
Conversion of mankind

The Christian Church

Nature of the Church
Necessity of the Church
Visible organisation
Hierarchical constitution
Papal supremacy
Perpetuity of the Church

"This Shall Be the Sign"

Notes of identification
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolic succession
"Roman" but not "Roman Catholic"

Dogmatic Authority of the Church

Authority in religion
Catholic Church infallible
The Pope infallible
Papal definitions
Dogmatic spirit of the Catholic Church
"Religion of the spirit"
Individual freedom
Re-stating Christianity
Athanasian Creed
Meaning of faith
Faith and reason
Faith and science
Religion and education
Religion and morals
Catholic countries backward
Universities and religion
Natural Moral Law
Christian principles of morality
Catholicism versus the world

The Power-Complex Illusion

Legislative power of the Catholic Church
Coercive power of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church and political ambitions
Divided allegiance of Catholics
Rome and totalitarianism
Aim of the Catholic Church in America
Catholic Action
Political freedom of Catholics
Catholic infiltration of civic life
Catholicism anti-democatic
Rival totalitarianisms, Rome and Moscow
Catholic attitude to Protestants
Spanish Inquisition
Church and State
Federal Union or "One World State"

Life-Or-Death Social Problems

Social reform necessary
Trade unions
Protestant Churches and Communism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Family life
Primary purpose of marriage
Religion and marriage
Form of marriage
Mixed marriages
Birth control
"Catholic birth control"
Divorce and re-marriage
Catholics and civil divorce
Nullity decrees
Therapeutic abortion
Euthansia or mercy-killing

Those Exclusive Claims

Divided Christendom
Do divisions matter?
The "Only True Church" claims
Cause of sectarian bigotry
Reunion Movement
Catholic non-cooperation

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom
Catholic intolerance
Protestants and the principles of religious liberty
Rome and the "Four Freedoms"
Heresy and heretics
Religious rights of Protestants
Religious persecution
"Rome's historical record"
Protestant missionaries in Spain
In Italy
In South America
Conditions in Colombia

Are Only Catholics Saved

"Outside the Catholic Church no salvation"
Beliefs of Catholics
Salvation of Pagans
Salvation of Protestants
Why become a Catholic?
Duty of inquiry
Salvation of apostate Catholics
Test at the Last Judgment
Obstacles to conversion
Truth of Catholicism

Therapeutic abortion

1255. In cases of child-birth, why will not the Catholic Church permit the loss of the child as a means towards saving the mother's life?

Because the end does not justify the means, and the direct killing of a living unborn child violates God's law: "Thou shalt not kill," which forbids the deliberate taking of innocent human life. No considerations of expediency can justify our doing ^what is morally wrong. We may not do evil that good may come.

1256. Has the Catholic Church made any official pronouncements on the subject?

Yes. And Canon Law itself declares that any Catholic who deliberately and directly causes an abortion is by the very fact excommunicated from the Church. That excommunication would apply whether a Catholic performed the abortion, or commissioned someone else to do it, or persuaded a patient to have it done. The Catholic Church, therefore, has taken all possible measures to impress upon people the sinful character of abortion.

1257. State laws permit abortions in certain circumstances.

In doing so, States usurp an authority they do not possess. No human legislators have the right to grant such permission. States are no more exempt from God's laws than are individuals, and they cannot declare to be lawful what God declares to be unlawful. Nor are individuals morally free to make use of such permissions wrongly granted by the State. Neither the Church nor the State made the law: "Thou shalt not kill." Neither the Church nor the State can dispense from it.

1258. At a meeting of the American College of Surgeons in San Francisco, in 1951, Dr. John Morton, of Los Angeles, said that the destruction of an unborn child to save a mother could not be called murder because murder is defined as the "felonious termination of life," and "therapeutic abortion is not felonious

The word "felonious" simply means "criminal" and a crime is a violation of the law. If therapeutic abortion, which is only a nice way of saying killing a living unborn child for medical reasons, violates no law, then it could not technically be described as murder. But is it true that such an action violates no law? It may be said that the law of the land permits it for medical reasons at the discretion of the doctor, and that it is not therefore regarded legally as murder in the eyes of the State. But in that case the law permitting therapeutic abortion is at variance with the law of God. And those who believe in the law of God are quite justified in declaring it murder in God's sight, whatever the law of the land may say.

1259. Does civil law deny an unborn child's right to life?

In permitting therapeutic abortion it behaves as if it did. Yet the same civil law acknowledges an unborn child's right to life. For it admits an unborn child's right to inherit its parents' property. In 1946 a legal judgment was given that an unborn child had the right to sue for damages against a woman who had persuaded its father to desert his family, leaving wife and children in poverty. The judge said: "An unborn child has as much right to be well born as it has a right to live." In 1951, Mr. Justice Duckworth, in Georgia, U.S.A., quoting the great English jurist Blackstone, ruled that an unborn child can sue for damages suffered through the negligence of others. In 1953, Judge Beavers, in Indiana, U.S.A., ruled the same. No law can logically acknowledge an unborn child's right to property, and to damages for injury, yet deny the child's right to life itself.

1260. If a Catholic judge can grant a divorce according to State law, why cannot a Catholic doctor take advantage of State law by aborting a child to save a mother's life?

The cases are not parallel. The State has no jurisdiction whatever over the life of the unborn child. But it has a certain amount of jurisdiction over marriage from the viewpoint of civil effects. A Catholic judge may declare the conditions required by the State for a civil divorce are realized, but in granting a decree he does not admit and does not intend that the decree dissolves the marriage in the sight of God and gives the right in conscience to remarry. And no Catholic believes that such a civil divorce gives the right to remarry. At most it gives the right to permanent separation, and freedom from marital obligations as far as the State is concerned. The violation of the divine law forbidding divorce and remarriage does not necessarily follow from a civil decree of divorce. But the violation of the divine law necessarily follows from the direct killing of an unborn child.

1261. Paul Blanshard says, in his book, "Freedom and Catholic Power," that Catholic doctors have a loophole which permits an indirect killing of a foetus by an operation necessary for saving the mother.

No Catholic doctor may intend the killing of the foetus, trying to ju&- tify himself by saying, "I'll do it indirectly, not directly." Any intentional destruction of innocent human life is forbidden under pain of grave sin by the law of God. If a pregnant woman is suffering from some disease needing surgical treatment, as for example cancer, the doctor is free to operate for the removal of the cancer, even though he foresees that it will indirectly result in the death of the foetus. Directly, the doctor is concerned with the cancerous growth as such, not with the foetus. His intention is the removal of the diseased tissue. He does not intend the destruction of the child. If the latter results, it is indirectly and unintentionally, and the doctor is not morally responsible for that. A fire-brigade can put out the fire on the top floor of a building, knowing that other firms on lower floors will have their goods ruined by torrents of water pouring down through the ceiling. But the other firms could not accuse the firemen of deliberately intending to ruin their stocks—only indirectly—and hold them responsible for it. There are times when actions will have two effects, one good and one bad. Granted that the action would be normally lawful, it is morally permissible for a proportionately grave reason, intending the good effect, and merely permitting whilst not intending the bad effect. To operate for cancer is a normally lawful action. The saving of a mother's life from the ravages of cancer is a proportionately grave reason. That is what the doctor conscientiously intends, and if the unborn child dies, it is an indirect and unintended calamity. But to perform an abortion, intending the death of the child as a means to any apparently good end at all, is to seek an advantage by way of deliberate murder; and that is never morally justified.

1262. In 1948, Pope Pius XII told a gathering of surgeons from 32 countries that they could not kill an unborn child directly, even in order to save a mother's life.

He did.

1263. How barbaric this doctrine is, is shown by the fact that he had to warn the doctors not to heed the "understandable anguish of husbandly love."

That the Pope termed the anxiety of a husband "understandable anguish" makes it evident that he is not inhuman and devoid of sympathy. And he does not ask doctors to be callous and indifferent to the feelings of others. He does insist that the very noblest of human sentiments must not supplant principles, and be made an excuse for a deliberate violation of God's law in this very serious matter. And, far from being barbaric, his teaching is opposed to the barbarism which is prepared to destroy innocent and living children on grounds of expediency.

1264. He admitted that a doctor may be faced with the choice between mother and child.

A doctor may be of the opinion that, if he does not destroy the child, the mother will die. But doctors are not infallible. Time and again results have proved doctors wrong in such opinions. But granting that a doctor is of such an opinion, his duty is to do his utmost to save both mother and child, keeping within the law of God. He may succeed in saving both. But if he does not, and the mother dies, he is not responsible for that. Having done all that it is morally lawful for him to do, he and all concerned can but accept as God's providence whatever God has chosen to permit.

1265. As soon as the Pope's utterance was published in England, newspapers reported a storm of opposition against it in floods of letters they received.

Such a storm of opposition in Britain is surely not surprising, for England generally is no longer a Christian country. As John Galsworthy once remarked, the average Englishman long ago ceased to be a Christian and became a Confucian in his mental outlook.

1266. Dean W. R. Matthews, of St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, London, said: "The Pope's ruling will be regarded by most normal people as inhuman."

That merely means that he thought most normal people would not like the Pope's ruling. But whether a thing is morally right or not is not a question of human likes and dislikes. Nor is it to be determined by a majority vote of ordinary ill-instructed people which more often than not merely records popular caprice, based on standards of utility, convenience, sheer sentiment or pleasure.

1267. Protestant doctors who regard therapeutic abortion as "accepted medical practice," are just as Christian in their outlook as Catholic doctors.

No really Christian outlook can justify therapeutic abortion. But in this matter, Protestant doctors are at a disadvantage from the moral point of view as compared with Catholic doctors. In a book entitled, "The Doctor's Profession," published in 1949 by Daniel T. Jenkins, himself a Protestant, we are told, on p. 10, "The Roman Catholic Church has a particularly clear conception of its duty in these matters, and has left its members, whether they are doctors or patients, in no doubt whatever about what it conceives to be their duty in relation to them. Other Churches do not possess such clearly defined views, and sometimes acute disagreement is to be found among them, particularly over matters like therapeutic abortion and the use of contraceptives." And the same writer adds: "These problems are clearly of great importance, and it is essential that Christians should know where they stand in relation to them. The Protestant Churches, in particular, would do well to give a much clearer lead than they generally do, and not leave individual doctors so much to their own devices." It is surely not surprising that Catholics, not to speak of Protestants, lack confidence in the moral guidance of Protestant doctors!

1268. The medical profession has its own rigid moral code.

I'm afraid it's a very fluid code. At one time, most qualified doctors would acknowledge the classical medical standards embodied in the Hippocratic Oath, which forbade assisting any woman to destroy an unborn child. But such respect for human life is not very evident in modern medical and surgical practice in non-Catholic circles, Where at one time no reputable doctor would have anything to do with abortion, regarding it as his mission to preserve life and not to destroy it, more and more doctors are forsaking such standards. Many abortions are performed which are not "therapeutic" at all, and the conduct of doctors who engage in the nefarious practice is unethical even from the viewpoint of normal medical practice.

1269. Ordinary humanity demands that exceptions be made in some cases.

Not where the direct killing of unborn children is concerned. In any case, humanity lacks the right to make exceptions. The Pope rightly said: "The principle is inviolable. God alone is the Lord of life." There is no law, the strict enforcement of which will not sooner or later cause some hardship to somebody. And if it seems hard in some cases that the law forbidding the killing of unborn children permits of no exceptions, it is the truest kindness to humanity that there should be no exceptions. Once grant exceptions in this matter and a multitude of abuses will inevitably result.

1270. If by terminating an unborn child's life a mother is saved, she might live to have three or four later children to replace the one lost.

No argument of expediency can justify doing evil that good may i come. In any case, the three or four children she might have would not compensate for the tens of thousands destroyed once men begin making exceptions and dispensing themselves from the law of God. Dr. Ralph Cilento, Director General of Health, has recently told us that j there are between 45,000 and 50,000 deliberate abortions yearly in Aus- j tralia. If we had a list of 45,000 casualties amongst our Australian soldiers \ for the year during a war, we would think it serious enough. But such ; casualties are not all deaths. They include the wounded and missing. What 45,000 abortions mean is the actual killing of 45,000 young Aus- j tralians by our own people, a wanton slaughter of civilian children which, Ii under normal circumstances would fill us with burning indignation. In U.S.A. it has been estimated that there are over 500,000 abortions yearlyhalf a million young Americans put to death by the American people them- j selves. That is what comes of "making exceptions." Had the law of God j been accepted as permitting no exceptions whatever in this matter of human life, this tragic state of affairs would never have existed. The Catholic Church, at any rate, simply cannot alter her teaching j on this subject. It is never lawful deliberately and directly to destroy the life of an unborn child for any reasons at all. It is murder to do so, I violating God's commandment: "Thou shalt not kill".

1271. To terminate the life of an unborn child is not quite the same thing as the deliberate killing of a child already born.

Why not? It is exactly the same child, and a living child, with the ; same human rights three months before birth as three months, or three years for that matter, after its birth.

1272. Such a child has not yet a separate physical existence and personality.

From the moment of its conception and the creation of its soul the child has its own distinct existence and personality. Although the unborn child does not yet exist in a st^te of separation from its mother, it has its own proper life. In the Gospel of St. Luke, I, 44, we have the words of St. Elizabeth, when Mary visited her: "For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy." Three months before his birth St. John the Baptist certainly gave evidence of his own distinct existence and personality, both in body and in soul.



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