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Source: (consider it) Thread: Hell: She's only nine years old! (abortion thread)
Ley Druid

Ship's chemist
# 3246

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Dear Jesuitical Lad,
In all honesty I have sometimes wondered as to your motives for your exposition of Catholicism on these boards. What is special about April 1?

Confronted with this scandal of evil in the rape of this nine year old girl your answer has repeatedly been:
quote:
My opposition is to the deliberate termination of innocent life

The deliberate killing of an innocent is always wrong, and there are no circumstances which would justify resorting to such a wrong

The deliberate killing of a person - regardless of how long they have left to live in this world - is impermissible

From the beginning, this thread was about the scandal of evil, not the morals of abortion
quote:
OP, originally posted by Elizabeth Anne:
I just found this horrible news story:

Raped nine-year-old girl now faces motherhood

I don't give a damn what your views on abortion are.

In the face of outrage at the existence of evil, you have answered with simple morality lessons. Perhaps, initially you thought people were seeking advice on the morality of abortion. However, you obviously glimpsed at the deeper problems involved when you said
quote:
the conclusion one should draw is that God allows good to come out of the worst of human evils; not that deliberately killing innocents is somehow ethically justifiable
A shame you didn't pursue this line of thinking further.
Mother Church wisely points out the inadequacies of quick answers to difficult problems:

quote:
Providence and the scandal of evil
309. If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question...


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Xavierite
Shipmate
# 2575

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Ley Druid,

Actually, I think you need to re-read the OP, especially the last section of it. The complaint was that the girl was being told to go through with the pregnancy, rather than taking the allegedly more humane, easier option of abortion.

But thanks for your comments, all the same.

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Big Yellow Taxi
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# 2869

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Unfortunately I haven't had time to read all the posts here. But having gone through 2 planned pregancies in my 30s, and knowing what it's done to me - no 9 year old should have to go through this (at least in these circumstances). I hate the thought of abortion (once you have a small being inside you, you realise just how quickly it becomes a child to you), but she's only a child herself. Who is having her childhood cruelly torn away from her. Not to mention the tremendous impact on the rest of her life. [Mad]

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"Travel is a return towards the essential."

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Callan
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Originally posted by Amos:

quote:
I can't remember this detail from my Moral Theology lectures: does a rapist automatically excommunicate himself by virtue of his actions?
Not according to the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church (at least, not under the chapter dealing with the 6th Commandment). Nor does murder, from what I could make out. So Peter Sutcliffe didn't automatically excommunicate himself but the parents of a raped nine year old who decide that an abortion is the best thing to be done in a horrible situation do. Of course, these things are, properly, condemned in the strongest terms by the Holy See - but the rapist and mass murderer apparently warrant more pastoral sensitivity than the concerned parents.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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Xavierite
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# 2575

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CODE OF CANON LAW: BOOK VI
Sanctions in the Church


PART I: OFFENCES AND PUNISHMENTS IN GENERAL
PART II: PENALTIES FOR PARTICULAR OFFENCES

Might be useful for those who like to be informed before working themselves into a righteous froth.

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Trevor
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Thanks for the info, JL.
I'm not trying to attack anyone, but I would like my ignorance relieved, because I'm really confused. I thought that the whole point of opposing abortion is that the zygote, embryo, or fetus human being has the same value and "person" status as an already-born human being. The links say that someone can be excommunicated for killing not-born people, but not for offing the born.

My brain has started to hurt, because this seems to place a greater value on those persons who are not yet born as compared to those who are. Again, this is a sincere request for explanation.

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my joy has been transfinite

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Xavierite
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Trevor,

One thought which occurs to me is that the Church can still rely - for the time being - on the State to deal with those who murder humans outside the womb. Those whose victims are not yet born, however, often have full State approval for their actions; thus one might argue that the Church needs to emphasise the gravity of the crime in a situation where the State too often instead offers applause.

That's my take on the affair, anyway. And excommunication is an option in cases of murder where the victim is born - it's just not automatically incurred.

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Ley Druid

Ship's chemist
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Dear Jesuitical Lad,

I will be very disappointed if you evade my question:
When someone confronts the scandal of evil, do you feel the Church suggests that it is sufficient to expound upon the wrongness of the evil?

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Callan
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# 525

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If Jesuitical Lad had any sense of irony, he might appreciate that linking to not one, but two collections of canon law as a response to the complaint that the Roman Church is, in this instance, behaving somewhat legalistically was perhaps not the response best calculated to answer the complaint. The relevant passage would appear to be:

quote:
Can. 1397 One who commits murder, or who by force or by fraud abducts, imprisons, mutilates or gravely wounds a person, is to be punished, according to the gravity of the offence, with the deprivations and prohibitions mentioned in can. 1336. In the case of the murder of one of those persons mentioned in can. 1370, the offender is punished with the penalties there prescribed.

Can. 1398 A person who actually procures an abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.

Which implies that excommunication is not automatic in the case of murder or rape but is in the case of procuring an abortion, even if the person whom the abortion is procured for is a nine year old girl who has been subject to a horrifying and degrading assault*. Which is, I believe, what I said the first time round. So nice of you to back my point up JL.

The point that you appear to be missing is that, whatever one's views on the licitness of abortion, and my position is closer to yours than it is to the classic pro-choice stance, in the case of a nine year old the situation is deeply tragic. Given the reality of the situation confronted by two parents one would imagine that a degree of pastoral sensitivity would be appropriate. "By the way, you've just tripped the automatic excommunication switch" especially when murder (and the argument is abortion=murder right?) does not trip the automatic excommunication switch. On this reading there are sometimes mitigating reasons where murder takes place, but never when an abortion takes place? Not even in these circumstances? One doesn't expect the Canon Lawyers to start handing out planned parenthood leaflets at the beginning of Mass, but some recognition of the traumas undergone by the nine year old girl and her parents would be reasonably appropriate in giving some kind of account of the ethical issues at stake here.

*If you think that this is righteous froth as opposed to a reasonably accurate account of what took place may I suggest that rejoining the human species is in order before commenting on their affairs.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9757 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Newman's Own
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Thank you, Professor Yaffle.

JL, I have a question (and this is because I genuinely do not know - it is not 'bait.') I realise that matters of canon law, specifically those related to excommunication, usually developed because a particular practise (selling indulgences, violence towards the clergy, false accusations, violating the confessional seal) had serious effects on the church at large at the time the legal point was addressed (and perhaps continuously.)

Would you know why abortion, specifically, was made a condition for this automatic excommunication? I realise, of course, that one guilty of murder, rape, or assault would not be able to partake of the sacraments - but why are those who have committed such crimes not been subjected to excommunication if those who procure abortion are? It would not seem to be because of criminal law not dealing with abortionists, given that it is only in the 20th century that abortion became legal.

I believe I recall reading, a few years ago, that absolution of those who procured abortion still was reserved to the bishop, though many bishops chose to give their priests delegated authority in this area. Would murderers and rapists be able to be absolved directly by priests, with no special authority?

Little trivia note, for anyone interested: Until the modern era, people guilty of very grave sins often were penanced for extended periods, and may have had to do such penance for a long time before being re-admitted to communion. The mediaeval penitentiaries set this forth. However, except for cases involving excommunication reserved to bishops or to the Holy See, I believe such penance was at the discretion of the confessor.

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Cheers,
Elizabeth
“History as Revelation is seldom very revealing, and histories of holiness are full of holes.” - Dermot Quinn

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Xavierite
Shipmate
# 2575

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Ley Druid,

No, I don't.

Professor Yaffle & Newman's Own,

I may be wrong - and I'm sure you'll tell me if I am! - but I think my response to Trevor should answer your queries.

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Elizabeth Anne

Altar Girl
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Enough! Everyone's shown their true colors here. Just let the thread die already, please.

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Born under a bad sign with a blue moon in my eyes...

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Amos

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# 44

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Thanks to Prof. Yaffle, Newman's Own, and JL for unfolding the implications of my question.

JL--when I studied Moral Theology, it was in a class, with other students (Jesuit Scholastics, mostly) and a teacher (SJ). It occasionally seems to me as if you have studied Moral Theology on your own, enthusiastically, with a stack of books. When you do things this way, one of the dangers is to miss nuances and truly problematic points, not to mention the Church's own internal discussion over the years on these points. IMO the dialogic method is better!

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At the end of the day we face our Maker alongside Jesus--ken

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Newman's Own
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No one is forced to read this or any thread - if people want to make comments, they have no obligation to make a thread die.

I am not a moralist, of course, JL, but my own instruction in moral theology was in a setting similar to that of Amos. Perhaps you do not intend this, but you are arguing from a seeming standpoint (in relation to the canons) of 'it is the law because it is in the law.' The response you gave to Trevor does not seem adequate, and the links provide no explanation of the history of or reasoning behind that on which I requested your response.

My own studies were before the new Code was issued. Just borrowing a similar situation, related to killing, those who participated in a duel were automatically excommunicated, though not those who killed another under most under circumstances. (And this despite that one who killed another with pistol or sabre tended to be violating the penal code in any case.) There always are reasons why particular situations are singled out in forming just about any form of law.

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Cheers,
Elizabeth
“History as Revelation is seldom very revealing, and histories of holiness are full of holes.” - Dermot Quinn

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Xavierite
Shipmate
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Well, it seems that the best approach might be to ask a canon lawyer then, because I simply don't know. All I can offer are guesses, and those clearly aren't what's wanted.

Apologies.

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