Despite the title, it is very possible that Nancy Pelosi was trusting someone else’s research. BTW “doctors of the Church” refers to theologians that have obtained the honor of the title of Doctor. It does not mean medical doctors which some, who are unfamiliar with Catholic vocabulary, might surmise. What Did the Doctors of the Church Really Say?
Excerpted from Catholidoxy
That the doctors of the church have not been able to decide when life begins. But if she’d really studied the issue (as she expressly claims), she would know that no doctor of the church in particular and no orthodox father of the church has ever said abortion is OK, as we’ll see at great length. It’s true that some doctors and fathers and theologians of the Church raised the question of “ensoulment,” asking when an unborn baby receives a soul, and given different answers. But in Christian (as opposed to Gnostic) tradition, humans are not only souls but also bodies. And thus no Father ever, ever used the idea of later ensoulment (often borrowed from Aristotle) to excuse or permit abortion. Contrary to what Pelosi expressly says, Augustine never ever said life begins at three months. In Christian tradition, until the 1960s, life was thought to begin at conception, regardless of the details certain thinkers put forth about speculative embryonic anthropology. Here’s what the USCCB website says about this:
Since its beginnings, Christianity has maintained a firm and clear teaching on the sacredness of human life. Jesus Christ emphasized this in his teaching and ministry. Abortion was rejected in the earliest known Christian manual of discipline, the Didache. Early Church fathers likewise condemned abortion as the killing of innocent human life. A third century Father of the Church, Tertullian, called it “accelerated homicide.” Early Church councils considered it one of the most serious crimes. Even during periods when Aristotle’s theory of “delayed ensoulment” led Church law to assign different penalties to earlier and later abortions, abortion at any stage was still considered a grave evil.
Again, delayed ensoulment never in point of fact did and never in point of theory can permit early abortion.
Further, even if some Father or theologian did say that delayed ensoulment permitted early abortions, it wouldn’t necessarily matter. The Church does not follow every jot and tittle that Augustine or Aquinas, for instance, ever wrote. It’s what the Church teaches that matters, what the magesterium says that matters, the Church having sifted and sorted the opinions of theologians and having come to a definitive and binding conclusion.
Excerpted from Cathlidoxy
Filed under: Abortion |