Abortion

THERESA OF CALCUTTA (conference of Cairo): “Each of us is here today, thanks to the love of God which created us and thanks to our parents who accepted us and wanted to give us life. Life is the greatest gift of God. Therefore, it is very sad to see what happens today in so many places of the world: life is deliberately destroyed by war, by violence, by abortion. Yet, we have been created by God for greater things: for loving and being loved. I have often said and I’m sure of this, that the most important destroyer of peace today is abortion. If a mother can kill her own child, who will prevent us from killing each other? The only one who has the right to take life away is The One who created it. Nobody else has such right; not the mother, the father, the doctor, an agency, a conference, or a government (…) I’m terrified by the way of thinking of all those who kill their conscience in order to be able to perform the abortion. After death, we shall meet face to face with God, Giver of Life. Who will take the responsibility before God for the millions and millions of children, to whom the chance to live, to love and to be loved was denied?(…). A child is the greatest gift for a family and for a nation. Let’s never refuse such a gift from God”.

Another time, mother Theresa of Calcutta herself told us: “Some days ago a woman came to me and started to cry. I never had seen anybody crying so much. She told me: “I read what you have written about abortion, I have aborted twice. Can God forgive me?”

I answered: “Yes, indeed, if you are sincere in your repentance. Go and confess and your sins will be washed away by absolution. You just have to be sure about your heart’s displeasure”. She said: “But I’m not a Catholic!”. I said to her: “Pray, according to your religion. I shall pray to God that He forgives you”.  She then made a nice act of contrition. When I finished praying, she looked completely different, fully recovered. What a horrible suffering has to be to realize that one has killed, has murdered her own child!”

Starting at such words by Mother Theresa (a holy life, which we all remember a short time after her death) we can already say two things: Abortion is a horrific crime and can be forgiven by God on condition that we repent with all our heart and we ask for forgiveness and, in case we are Catholics, we confess with the full intention to repudiate, repair and never again commit such a horrible sin.

Even among the non-believers, love for the not born yet child exists and it is even stronger than the love for one self. We can mention the case a of woman, a non believer, who sacrificed her life for her child, who would have been killed by a drug against cancer that the mother -Roberta Magnani- had to take.

We know the case from a letter appeared in ABC, 10-8-98:

“Roberta Magnani, 31 years old, had lung cancer and sacrificed her life in order to save her not yet born child.

Roberta Magnani had tried for many years to become pregnant. At last, she had succeeded and she was very happy. Yet, two months later, Roberta started to feel hard pains. Doctors told her that she had cancer. Once the sickness was diagnosed, the doctors recommended chemotherapy but the use of such therapy would have provoked the death of her baby.

During the months of her pregnancy, she only took the strictly necessary medicines, although this meant to suffer a lot. Everything under condition that the life of the baby, who was born July16th, after 32 weeks of pregnancy, was safe. Some days later, Roberta died exhausted by cancer” (…).

The case of Roberta has something special, for her husband declared that they were not believers,

That’s why many people see the case as a proof that the value of life is not something that is only supported by religious belief. Once more, mother’s love, which we forget often, has shown itself to be stronger than death.

We can quote two fragments of the Bible, referring to non believers which (consciously) act heroically with love:

(Rom 2, 13-15):“For it is not they who hear the Law that are just in the sight of God, but it is they who follow the Law that will be declared just. When the gentiles, who have no law, do by natural reason what the Law prescribes, those having no law are a law unto themselves. They show the work of the Law written in their hearts. Their conscience bears witness to them…”

(James 2, 17-18):“So faith too, unless supported by works, is dead in itself. But someone will say, “Thou hast faith, and I have work” Show me thy faith without works, and I from my works will show thee my faith”.

So, unfortunately, it can happen that people who apparently do not have any faith, show with their works much more faith than many of us, who call ourselves Catholic. Certainly, if God is love, what greater confession of faith in Him than to give her own life for her child? If Roberta’s lips didn’t proclaim her faith in God, so her life, her heart proclaimed her love for this God, whom she loved without knowing Him. She followed the voice of her conscience, without knowing the written Law of God, and like the good gentiles who followed the voice of their hearts, the Law of God printed on her heart was the torch that lit for her the ways of the Lord, which aren’t but ways of love. And she was heroic in such love, so that we can suppose that Our Lord, rich in mercifulness, received her in His bosom, when she died; furthermore, her life and her death set a nice example for mothers that are afraid to have a child and could be tempted by the black and desperate idea to kill the child of their bosom.

Abortion is the murder of the own child, before it is born and when it is most defenseless: the mother’s womb, which for the not yet born child has to be a sacred area of protection, becomes the antechamber of a chirurgical extermination camp, where he is killed with pitiless coldness. Its own mother becomes its butcher.

For the believer, it is clear that the conceived and not yet born child is a person with all its rights – the right to love and protection being the main one – as in the following words of the Gospels:

“Now in these days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town of Judea and she entered the house of Zachary and greeted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe in her womb leapt. And Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And how I have deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, behold, the moment that the sound of thy greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord, shall be accomplished.”(Luke 1, 39-46)

We see how the child, Saint John the Baptist, which Elisabeth carried in her womb, feels happy and leaps for joy, by hearing the Blessed Virgin Mary, also pregnant with Jesus. That means that a conceived and not yet born child feels joy and we can suppose that sorrow as well, that he has feelings, that he is conscious (that has a soul).

But, as well, if we believe, as authorized commentators tell us, that child John did leap out of joy in his mother’s womb, because he was filled with Saint Spirit (as it was prophesied) at the human presence of Jesus (man and God) in pregnant Mary, we can also assure that a child just conceived (a few days ago) (after the Conception Mary went “in a hurry” to visit St. Elisabeth) is already an human being.

And as we will see afterwards, the primitive tradition of Church (I century), condemns abortion.

Yet, we have already seen how people who are not believers also prefer to die than hurting their not yet born child. They demonstrate that, even if they don’t believe explicitly, they really believe in the most beautiful love for their child and this is a way to believe in God, who is Love. Certainly, they also believe that their not yet born child is a person who is entitled to be loved with all their love. And this feminine intuition that most mothers have to her not yet born child, whom they speak as a person is as well a not mere logical reason to know that he is actually an human person.

The philosopher Julian Marias says that abortion is “one of the worse tragedies of our time” and that “the social acceptance of abortion is the most serious moral problem that has appeared in the 20th century”: we shall agree if we think that abortion is equivalent to the massive death of innocent and defenseless beings, perpetrated by those who should give them most protection and love.

Sometimes, we hear arguments for the de-penalization of abortion, that abortion be not punished by law, as a right of women: But how can a woman or anybody have the right to kill an innocent being? Would we perhaps accept that a murderer be not punished? Would we accept that our lives were without protection against pitiless beings? How can we leave without protection the child that must be born, an innocent and defenseless being? Can the right of a man to murder be defended? Can we defend the right of a woman to murder the innocent and defenseless fruit of her womb?

Another reason used to legitimate abortion is that the majority has so decided. But, if the majority decides to kill an innocent being, this majority agrees to a criminal action, this majority is a murderer. It cannot be argued that the majority will never allow a murder. We all know how in the 20th century, in Germany, the majority of German people democratically brought Hitler to power and gave him later further support. And, among other crimes, Hitler murdered 6 million Jews. Or how communism produced one hundred million victims, or how some centuries ago the majority supported slavery.

On the other hand, a true democracy has to lean on and respect human rights. What sense would have to say we all have democratic rights if they didn’t respect our right to life when we are innocent? We cannot ask in a referendum for the right of life or for other fundamental rights. Such human or natural rights must bethe baseof a true democracy and they can never be violated. If it were not so, democracy would degenerate into a horrible tyranny. No majority can legitimate or justify abortion, the murder of an innocent and defenseless human being.

Another reason adduced is that a woman who aborts, does it because she feels extremely oppressed by several circumstances. This is, of course, an extenuating circumstance, but can we allow that somebody murders because of no money, because by doing so life will not suffer psychic disturbance or because health will be improve? For the same reason, it will never be licit to kill an innocent. Furthermore, the end never justifies the means. It will never be licit to commit a perverse action in order to obtain something good. One never can justify a crime under a coat of good. As Saint Paul says, the Lord reproves those who say “let us act bad to obtain good”.

And in another sense, we have to love God more than anything, even more than ourselves; therefore, no true good will be such if it is obtained in opposition to the Law of God, everything that is done with hate of God is bad, even if one apparently gets something good for oneself or for others. But what greater disobedience to the holy Law of the Lord than to kill his (her) own child, against the commandment “not to kill” and against the implicit commandment to love our children? What good can come from such a crime? That the murderous mother has in her conscience a horrible remorse and distress, that all her selfish benefits of comfort, freedom to go on “enjoying life” or of not living the humiliation to be a mother under an unclear situation are embittered by an inner worm which gnaws and gives no peace. How will she look at her own children if she ever gets to have new ones or at the children of others, thinking that she was the murderer of her own child? Is this the pretended psychological balance which one has to look for? Is this the false peace of comfort?

If that was all! How will she stand in front of God who has to judge her like He has to judge all of us, when she dies, if she does it without sincerely repenting of her terrible crime and sin?

But all this is not to condemn the woman who aborts but to condemn abortion. Sometimes, it is said that one has to allow abortion out of pity. They forget that the child which is to be killed is the most worthy of pity. Nevertheless, still in reference to the mother, what kind of pity is the pity that makes her a murderer? It means showing more compassion for poor material comfort than for her psychological health, than for her immortal soul. Therefore, by genuine love, one has to do everything possible in order that she does not abort, assuring, if necessary, a good future for her child, receiving her in our house, etc. But even in the case that the abortion takes place, one must remind the unlucky woman that she is at the same time a butcher and a victim, that God’s mercifulness is infinite, like an inscrutable sea, whose horizon, although we advance, is always far away. And that she only will find peace for her heart seeking refuge in this mercifulness, in this love of God. If she is Catholic confessing and having a sincere purpose of repair and no to commit again this sin. If she is not a Catholic, she must repent in her heart of having offended such a good God.

In sum, we must condemn the sin but not the sinner, we must save her, remembering that we all are sinners and that, had we fallen, we would wish for a helping hand to stand up again.

And all of us have to create not only a legal but also a social environment which protects the life of the not yet born child, starting with a change in some sexual moral that puts pleasure over real love, that prostitutes love subordinating it to delectation, that kills the child in order to go on enjoying life, that kills Love with capital letters, changing it for a fugacious and brittle pleasure; that corrupts our own life in the wave of an animal or instinctive life, leaving behind nothing to warm our own hearts with nothing more than a few false caresses. Who would calmly wish to loose his heart for such a worthless thing?

 

APPENDIX CONTAINING WHAT CATECHISM SAYS ABOUT ABORTION

2270- Human life must absolutely be respected and protected, from the moment of conception on. From the first moment of its existence, the human being must see his rights as person admitted, among which we have the inviolable right of every innocent being to life (…)“before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations”. ( Jr 1,5; cf Jb 10, 8-12; Sal 22, 10-11).“And thou was not unaware of my bones, when I was made in secret, woven in the deep bosom of the earth.”(Sal 139, 15)

2271-From the 1st century on, the Church has sustained the moral malice of any induced abortion. This teaching has not changed, it stays the same. Direct abortion, which means, as a goal or as a mean is seriously opposed to moral law.

“Thou will not kill the embryo by means of abortion, thou will not  kill the new born”

(Didajé, 2, 2; Bernabé, ep. 19, 5; Epístel to Diogneto 5, 5; Tertulian . apol.9) (early times of the Church). And the Vatican II Council:

“God, Lord of life has entrusted men the excellent mission of conserving life, a mission they have to fulfill in a way that is worthy of men. Therefore, life is to be carefully protected from conception on; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes” (GS 51, 3)

2272- Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a serious fault. The Church punishes with the canonical penalty of excommunication (privation of communication with the Church, which forbids the sacraments unless the authority abolishes the punishment, after a sincere repentance) such offence against human life. “Who furnishes the abortion becomes liable to latae sententiae excommunication, (CIC can. 1398) if this one takes place, “as well as becomes ipso ipso (for the same reason) reliable to whoever commits the fault (CIC can.1314), on the conditions foreseen by right (cf CIC can. 1323-1324).  In this way, the Church does not pretend to restrict the sphere of mercifulness; she only states the seriousness of the committed crime, the irreparable damage caused to the innocent murdered child, to its parents and to the whole society”.

2273- (…) “When a positive law deprives some rank of human beings of the protection that the Civil Code gives to them, the State is denying the equality of the law for everybody. When the State does not use its power to serve the rights of every citizen and, particularly, those of the weakest, the foundations themselves of the State of right start to break down…The respect and the protection, which, from the moment of conception on, has to be granted to the not yet born child demands that the law foresees appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of its rights” (CDF, instr. “Donum vitae” 3).