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« Pelosi Violates Mythical Church/State Wall | Main | Pro-life gov Sarah Palin tapped as McCain's VP »

August 28, 2008

Comments

Jamie Beu

Gotta love that Newsweek decided to print an article by JP2's biographer.

Did somebody finally smack some sense into the MSM all of a sudden?

bill912

Nah! Even a blind robin gets a worm once in a while.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

I was watching FOXNEWS & Mort Kondracke claimed Pope Innocent III said you can have an Abortion before the Fetus quickens.

This is crap of course. I have little doubt Pope Innocent might have believed having an abortion before a fetus got it's soul was less evil(hence he removed the penalty of canonical irregularity for wicked clergy who get their mistress' early abortions) but that is not the same as claiming Pope Innocent III allowed for abortion. It's less evil to murder someone painlessly then it is to torture them to death in severe pain but it's still forbidden. One will get you twenty years to life & the other life or the death penalty.

Neither Mort nor Pelosi get it.

CT

There's IMO half-truths on both sides.

It is true that what we today call "abortion" would have been at all stages considered a sin by all the relevant theologians and officials and so forth and by the authors of the universal Roman Catechism.

However if you replace "sin" with "the sin of murder" it would of course not be true.

And no one thinks all sin should be made illegal. Even Aquinas (I don't recall if this was his own words or assembled later from notes or both) opined that prostitution should be legal. Catholics here have recognized some sins should be legal. Murder is a sin that most say should be illegal. Thus if abortion is not clearly the sin of murder, then the fact that there has been consistency that it is a sin does not give any weight to the argument that abortion as an act of murder should be illegal. Any honest person should see this.

Since leaving the Catholic sociological unit I have not kept up fully with all the latest doctrinal developments, but in Donum Vitae -- that is Donum, not Humanae -- it expliclty says that the Church does not commit herself expressly to a philosophical position on the issues surrounding when a rational soul is present in the course of the physical development. So Archbishop Chaput's statement that "human life" begining at "conception" -- these quotes all being the words of the questioner Neil Cavuto -- is a "dogma" is puzzling and in any event misleading as far as I can tell. Here is Donum Vitae:

Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person? The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable

http://www.usccb.org/prolife/tdocs/part1.shtml

There are in fact very thorny philosophical issues associated with the claim that the rational soul (above termed the "spiritual soul") exists in every case at the moment of conception. IIRC JA has done some amateur work addressing this (on issues involving twinning and the like) but I highly doubt that the Magisterium since DV has worked this all out and is ready to unequivocally and categorically say that in each and every case the rational soul is as present at conception. I should note that I am acquianted with pro-life Christian philosophers who disagree amongst themselves over the ontological issues related to these thorny matters (whether there was orginally two souls informing a single body etc...)

So I think Speaker Pelosi and "Father"* Bishop* Chaput are in the same camp here except that it is plausible that Pelosi is unaware of the half-truth/un-truth of what she states whereas it is not equally plausible that Chaput would be unaware of this statement in DV ... but when the Vatican employs an obscured definition of "authentic" in a case of perhaps mental reservation which JA rightly and harshly criticized due to its affect on Peggy Noonan etc. it would not be surprising if someone like Chaput would engage in a perhaps less controversial case of artful speech (which may not be classed mental reservation at all)

*Interestingly Cavuto, who disclosed he was Catholic during the interview, referred to him at times as simply in the 3rd person as "Bishop" and when addressing him, addressed him as "Father" .... anyway, if a devout Catholic in the mold of Cavuto can be ignorant of the customary form of address in Catholic circles then surely a devout Catholic in the mold of Pelosi can be likewise ignorant of more arcane issues.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

>Thus if abortion is not clearly the sin of murder, then the fact that there has been consistency that it is a sin does not give any weight to the argument that abortion as an act of murder should be illegal. Any honest person should see this.

>Since leaving the Catholic sociological unit I have not kept up fully with all the latest doctrinal developments, but in Donum Vitae -- that is Donum, not Humanae -- it expliclty says that the Church does not commit herself expressly to a philosophical position on the issues surrounding when a rational soul is present in the course of the physical development.....

I reply: You proof text with a sophistry a Protestant Fundamentalist would be proud of CT. I'm reminded of their isogesis verses like "Call no man Father"......but I digress.

Here is the context of your proof text.

>At the Second Vatican Council, the Church for her part presented once again to modern man her constant and certain doctrine according to which: "Life, once conceived, must be protected with the utmost care; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes."[23] More recently, the Charter of the Rights of the Family, published by the Holy See, confirmed that "Human life must be absolutely respected and protected from the moment of conception.[24]

This Congregation is aware of the current debates concerning the beginning of human life, concerning the individuality of the human being and concerning the identity of the human person.

(note this part)
The Congregation recalls the teachings found in the Declaration on Procured Abortion: From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun which is neither that of the father nor of the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth..........

It would never be made human if it were not human already. To this perpetual evidence. . . modern genetic science brings valuable confirmation. It has demonstrated that, from the first instant, the program is fixed as to what this living being will be: a man, this individual�man with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Right from fertilization is begun the adventure of a human life, and each of its great capacities requires time...to find its place and to be in a position to act.[25] This teaching remains valid and is further confirmed, if confirmation were needed, by recent findings of human biological science which recognize that in the zygote (The zygote is the cell produced when the nuclei of the two gametes have fused.) resulting from fertilization the biological identity of a new human individual is already constituted.

Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person? The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable.[26]

Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.END QUOTE

I reply: Anyone who knows anything about Catholic theology or the development of doctrine would take the above to simply mean the Maggisterium has not ruled in an Extra-Ordinary fashion as to when a fetus receives it's rational soul. But it is clear it is the Ordinary Teaching of the Magestarium that a fetus is a human being/life from the moment of it's conception regardless of when it may get it's soul & thus it's murder to kill it at any point. If I hypothetically got my soul 30 days after conception it would still be murder to kill me from day 1 to 29 since I would still be a human being. Even Aquinas said killing a pre-quickened fetus expressed a homicidal will.

Development of Doctrine, Extra-Ordinary Magestarium, Ordinary & Universal Magestarium and Ordinary Magestarium. Terms & concepts you should take the time to learn before shooting from the hip CT.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

It's ironic, Pro-abortion Atheists don't believe ANYBODY has a soul & yet the ethical humanists among them(excluding the followers of PZ Myers of course as ethical) still believe the murder of human beings is wrong.

So what does having a soul got to do with it? Like Peter Kreef said in the UNABORTED SOCRATIES. What do the gods have to do with the humanity fetus?

I've always like the Prolife Atheist case against abortion. I don't agree with the philosophical presuppositions mind you but I like it just the same. In sum it goes something like this if there is no God then this world is all you get. When you abort a person you rob them of their only chance at existence since there is no afterlife for them to go too. Thus in an Atheistic Universe abortion is all that much more of an abominable crime.

http://www.godlessprolifers.org/library.html

Good stuff.

SDG

However if you replace "sin" with "the sin of murder" it would of course not be true.

Even if they would not all have classified procured abortion as technically murder -- and I'm not clear that anyone, including Augustine, would have denied that it was murder, as opposed to refraining from affirming that it was -- the offense would still, I think, have been universally classified as a grave violation of the fifth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill."

And, as has been pointed out, whatever imprecision on this point existed was closely linked to a complete lack of understanding of genetics, embryology and gestation.

Also has has been pointed out, Pelosi seems disingenuous in claiming that her thinking as a Catholic on the beginning of life is informed by Augustine, who posited that ensoulment takes place at 30 days for males and 90 days for females. Augustine is the last person Pelosi would be inclined to accept on any point of faith except as a convenient pretext for rejecting Church teaching.

CT

@Ben

I am aware of all those distinctions but it seems that the statement excludes as you yourself noted the possibility that it is a teaching of the Extraordinary Magisterium and also (IMO) of the "ordinary and universal" magisterium (if it were a matter of this, then the organs of Church authority could observe it nevertheless and say that it was so explicitly as they have done with respect to certain other issues moral in nature when Benedict was head of the CDF). So *at best* it is a teaching of the ordinary magisterium, without infalliblity having been engaged. If so, then I don't see how Chaput's response to Neil Cavuto's question which asked if "human life" beginning at "conception" was a "dogma" could be but a potentially misleading equivocation of the word "dogma" (since "dogma" of course need not refer to infallibly taught truths but can refer to simply a revealed truth) OR a potentially misleading equivocation of the word "human life" (since that term I suppose need not refer to a human life in possession of a rational soul).

Remember whether the immorality of abortion is taught by the "ordinary and universal" magisterium is a distinct question from whether a certain ontological philosophical position is with all its rigor expressly committed to by the magisterium (one could argue that the magisterium IS committed to it by virtue of its other committments, but that would not be an "express" committment ... and I don't see why one would want to make more committments than necessary here since making one too many that one is not fully certain of may end up manifestly falsiflying one's religion one day)

Now it may be that Chaput is on a linguistic crusade to spark awareness as to the alternative meaning of the word "dogma" which I would respect and is something which had not occurred to me until now.

@SDG

Regardless, how is it not plausible for Pelosi to be ignorant of the nuances of Augustine when

(1) it is plausible for Neil Cavuto to be ignorant of customary address as regards a Bishop (though perhaps Cavuto just prefers addressing bishops as "father"): "Father, thank you very much for joining us"; "I'm sorry, Sir"
(2) Neil Cavuto himself expressed ignorance on these nuances of Augustine

Here's the clip with Cavuto

Even granted that:

1' It is not true that Catholicism claims that all grave sin should be made illegal -- so the fact that it is a grave violation does not by itself mean it should be illegal
2' This sin, also considered a grave violation of the rubric of that same commandment is mentioned in the new catholic Catechism:

Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm.

So someone who hates another to the point of wishing that something very bad happened to him would be guilty of "grave sin" and it is a grave violation of the rubric of the commandment you referred to -- yet no one would think such hatred (suppose it were exposed by a verbal statement and didn't however involve harassment and the hated one was not named) should be made illegal when in cases where it is prosecutable.

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a5.htm

I do not believe Pelosi is being disingenous. I believe a more likely explanation is that her studies are not complete or those whom she relies on to give her data give her incomplete information. As Speaker of the House, she probably does not have the time to study theological texts with depth and breadth on her own. She quite frankly probably relies on a priest to help her or maybe a nun -- just as Robert Novak once expressed on Catholic Answers Live IIRC, that he relied on certain theological advisors (I don't remember the exact words he used to describe them) ... I believe he said something similar in mainstream media as well and this was on some moral political issue other than abortion.

SDG

So *at best* it is a teaching of the ordinary magisterium, without infalliblity having been engaged.

Just because the extraordinary magisterium has not solemnly and definitively spoken does not mean that infallibility has not been engaged. Infallible exercises of the ordinary magisterium must also be recognized and accepted by the faithful. From Lumen Gentium (25):

In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held. This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.

If 2000 years of unanimous teaching on the evil of abortion doesn't constitute an infallible exercise of the ordinary magisterium on morals, nothing would.

since "dogma" of course need not refer to infallibly taught truths but can refer to simply a revealed truth)

I think the Archbishop is making a different distinction: "Dogma" here refers neither to the total body of revealed truth nor to those truths infallibly proposed, but only to those truths solemnly defined by the extraordinary magisterium. Truths infallibly proposed by the ordinary magisterium are just as infallible, but not solemnly defined and thus not "dogma" in this precise sense.

It is not true that Catholicism claims that all grave sin should be made illegal

This is trivial since it has been clear for at least a century and a half that procured abortion takes a human life. One cannot dodge behind earlier ignorance on this point.

Having said that, it would be hard to argue that acts which constitute definitive and grave violations of the fifth commandment should be legally protected. Yes, hatred can be a grave sin, but it's a matter of degree. Homicide, euthanasia, suicide or abortion are not matters of degree (even though within homicide we distinguish different "degrees").

I do not believe Pelosi is being disingenous. I believe a more likely explanation is that her studies are not complete or those whom she relies on to give her data give her incomplete information.

It would be nice to think that you are right, though her response so far to her episcopal critics isn't encouraging in this direction.

CT

If 2000 years of unanimous teaching on the evil of abortion doesn't constitute an infallible exercise of the ordinary magisterium on morals, nothing would.

You seem to have misunderstood me. I was not disputing that the evil of abortion is considered to be taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium. I was disputing only that the existence of the rational soul at the moment of fertilization is considered to be taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium. It clearly isn't and nothing in your own post affirms that it is.

Whether there are other reasons to believe in it all the same is a separate question.

CT

PS According to the bulk of historic Catholic theology, and the teaching present in the new catholic Catechism, all sins, including grave sins can be judged to be more or less grave. So your comment that "Homicide, euthanasia, suicide or abortion are not matters of degree" is factually incorrect on Catholicism.

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

So murder of parents would be for example in itself graver than murder of a stranger. This is nothing new btw. Pre-Vatican II moral theology texts all recognize this. I am quite surprised that you would be unaware of it. I guess I concluded too much from your familiarity with Vatican II that you were familiar with this as well. Perhaps this adds yet another question mark to Vatican II as regards its catechetical potency.

PPS I hope my post above cleared up your confusion as regards what I was saying; in case it didn't. Let me repeat something from the original post:

I wrote:
Remember whether the immorality of abortion is taught by the "ordinary and universal" magisterium is a distinct question from whether a certain ontological philosophical position is with all its rigor expressly committed to by the magisterium

Abortion is taught by ordinary and universal magisterium as best as I can tell and it may even have been observed to have been as such by the CDF (some sins were mentioned by them including either prostitution or fornication but I don't recall them all). I never challenged that it was (ironically, SDG seems to have inadvertently done so above!). I was only challenging whether "a certain ontological philosophical position is with all its rigor expressly committed to" -- and that refers NOT to the immorality of abortion, but the existence of a rational soul. Perhaps SDG was thrown off by the word "rigor" -- that was referring to the rigor of philosophy, not anything SDG elaborated on his post.

Perhaps a clarification of terms is in order. I frankly did not fully read Ben's post as I assumed his post was accurate as regards terminology and once I got the gist of it, I felt it was all I needed. In any event, here is something from a Catholic organization at Columbia University, originally from "Catholic Position Papers, series A, no. 217. Published by the SEIDO FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF EDUCATION (12-6 Funado-Cho, Ashiya, Japan)"

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/jyoung.html

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

>I was disputing only that the existence of the rational soul at the moment of fertilization is considered to be taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium. It clearly isn't and nothing in your own post affirms that it is.

I reply: Well that claim is disputable & you need to cite a credible authority that EXPLICITLY says the ordinary and universal magisterium do not as yet teach the existence of the rational soul at the moment of fertilization. Why? Well I'm going to as a rule trust a faithful orthodox Bishop who has a professional understanding of theology over an apostate of dubious theological education any day of the week. But that is not relevant to the issue.

It IS taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium that it is murder to take a human life & a fetus is regarded as a human life regardless of when it gets it's soul.

>Homicide, euthanasia, suicide or abortion are not matters of degree (even though within homicide we distinguish different "degrees").

I reply: They are degrees in terms of punishment. Killing someone during the course of a crime merits a lesser punishment than plaining to kill someone & inflicting suffering on them while doing it.

Pope Innocent III made the punishment for a clergy who murdered his unborn child before quickening less than after. But it is still murder since as Aquinas said the act of killing a pre-quickened fetus expresses a homicide will.

Of course an Atheist doesn't believe anybody has a soul at any time & yet those who claim to be ethical claim to believe murder is still wrong. So in a weird way the Church affirms with ethical Atheists that souless human life has value & it is wrong to murder it.

>I was disputing only that the existence of the rational soul at the moment of fertilization is considered to be taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium. It clearly isn't and nothing in your own post affirms that it is.

I reply: In fact you have not shown us any evidence to back up your claim other then one ambiguous text that I interpret to mean the Extra-ordinary Magisterium but it's hardly clear & I am forced to go with the Bishop's interpretation as a successor to the Apostles over the bias self-serving opinions of an Apostate. That is only reasonable.

To kill a fetus is homocide regardless of when the fetus gets it's soul. All those who have responded to Nancy P. have pointed that out. It's documented on the Catholic League website & other websites of orthodox Catholic note.

Trying to change the subject buy introducing a tangent about when a fetus gets it's soul is a Red Herring. One Nancy has tried to use & has failed.

It is murder to kill a fetus at anytime regardless of when it may get it's soul. Deal with it.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

>So murder of parents would be for example in itself graver than murder of a stranger. This is nothing new btw. Pre-Vatican II moral theology texts all recognize this. I am quite surprised that you would be unaware of it. I guess I concluded too much from your familiarity with Vatican II that you were familiar with this as well. Perhaps this adds yet another question mark to Vatican II as regards its catechetical potency.

I reply; I am aware of this & I sure SDG is as well. It's not our fault you are unclear & ambigious in your statements. Plus I unlike SDG STILL don't trust your good will.

>"Homicide, euthanasia, suicide or abortion are not matters of degree"

I reply: In that they are objectively evil yes. In terms of how a civil government should punish them to keep order yes. God will of course send any unrepentant practitioner of these sins who commits them mortally to Hell. The person who steals but who wickedly refuses repentance is worse off in the eyes of God than the first degree murder who truly repents.

But as a human judge I'd give the thief 5 years & the murder 25 years to life regardless.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

edit:In terms of how a civil government should punish them to keep order NO.

SDG

You seem to have misunderstood me. I was not disputing that the evil of abortion is considered to be taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium. I was disputing only that the existence of the rational soul at the moment of fertilization is considered to be taught infallibly by the ordinary and universal magisterium. It clearly isn't and nothing in your own post affirms that it is.

That isn't at all "clear" to me. Historical questions about ensoulment or animation have always turned on when in the process a human life exists. That a human life equals a human soul has never been in doubt in Catholic thought, AFAIK. Nor has the understanding that murder equals taking an innocent human life.

The modern scientific understanding of conception, genetics has rendered the old speculations of Augustine and Aquinas untenable. Given the historic Catholic understanding that a human life equals a human soul and that murder equals taking an innocent human life, the Church's firm teaching that the human being is a person from conception and that procured abortion is a direct violation of the letter of the fifth commandment (as opposed to violations of the principle, such as hatred) is the only tenable Catholic view.

According to the bulk of historic Catholic theology, and the teaching present in the new catholic Catechism, all sins, including grave sins can be judged to be more or less grave. So your comment that "Homicide, euthanasia, suicide or abortion are not matters of degree" is factually incorrect on Catholicism.

You aren't making any sense. Of course homicide can be more or less grave depending on circumstances. That doesn't make homicide properly so-called a matter of degree. Either the person is dead and you killed him, or not. This is different from a sin such as hatred, where dislike and resentment and conscience may ebb and flow over days and weeks and years, and whether hatred exists at any given moment may be hard to say even for the person.

Clarification to BenYachov: I never said I trusted CT's good will.

CT

I am not aware of a magisterial statement that declares that a human person exists from fertilization; only some that declare that it must be treated as such.

The Catholic anti-choice pro-life attempts to frame this as the opinions of an individual theologian here or there are disingenous and not acts of participants of good will engaging in transparent discourse. So much for SDG's claim that Augustine and Aquinas are against the "historic understanding" -- since the catholic Roman Catechism says:

But what surpasses the order of nature and human comprehension is, that as soon as the Blessed Virgin assented to the announcement of the Angel in these words, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word, the most sacred body of Christ was immediately formed, and to it was united a rational soul enjoying the use of reason; and thus in the same instant of time He was perfect God and perfect man. That this was the astonishing and admirable work of the Holy Ghost cannot be doubted; for according to the order of nature the rational soul is united to the body only after a certain lapse of time.

http://www.cin.org/users/james/ebooks/master/trent/tcreed03.htm

Note this contradicts SDG on more than one point. One is the notion that it was unCatholic to believe that a human body could exist without a rational soul -- the catholic Roman Catechism clearly taught otherwise -- that in the normal course of affairs in the order of nature, the human body does not possess a rational soul until later (unless you want to take the view that the catholic Roman Catechism was committing itself to the view that at some stages in pregnancy the body present there is not human -- which is a position that is condemned as a moral abomination by anti-choice pro-lifers). The other is the notion that only individual theologians here and there as opposed to a catholic Catechism affirmed this.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

Here is what CT also left out of his silly proof texting of the RC.

QUOTE"In this mystery we perceive that some things were done which transcend the order of nature, some by the power of nature. Thus, in believing that the body of Christ was formed from the most pure blood of His Virgin Mother we acknowledge the operation of human nature, this being a law common to the formation of all human bodies, that they should be formed from the blood of the mother."

I reply: Bodies are formed from the Blood of the Mother? I thought human bodies formed from the Ovum which formed the organs & blood? Your text out of context fails you again CT. The quote provided by the RC is hardly a definitive statement of Catholic Doctrine.

You are no better than a proof texting anti-Catholic fundie.

It is murder to kill a fetus at anytime regardless of when it may get it's soul. Deal with it.

SDG writes:
>Clarification to BenYachov: I never said I trusted CT's good will.

I reply: Ambigious. When you say "I absolutely don't trust him at all" we can talk.
It's not hard. Just read his posts & look at his history of dishonest proof texting & his tendacy to change the subject when it gets too hot for em.

Anyway I set him up with a little context you can knock him down.

Cheers.

A Jackass can cite more quotes than a wise man can answer.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

Here is what CT also left out of his silly proof texting of the RC.

QUOTE"In this mystery we perceive that some things were done which transcend the order of nature, some by the power of nature. Thus, in believing that the body of Christ was formed from the most pure blood of His Virgin Mother we acknowledge the operation of human nature, this being a law common to the formation of all human bodies, that they should be formed from the blood of the mother."

I reply: Bodies are formed from the Blood of the Mother? I thought human bodies formed from the Ovum which formed the organs & blood? Your text out of context fails you again CT. The quote provided by the RC is hardly a definitive statement of Catholic Doctrine.

You are no better than a proof texting anti-Catholic fundie.

It is murder to kill a fetus at anytime regardless of when it may get it's soul. Deal with it.

SDG writes:
>Clarification to BenYachov: I never said I trusted CT's good will.

I reply: Ambigious. When you say "I absolutely don't trust him at all" we can talk.
It's not hard. Just read his posts & look at his history of dishonest proof texting & his tendacy to change the subject when it gets too hot for em.

Anyway I set him up with a little context you can knock him down.

Cheers.

A Jackass can cite more quotes than a wise man can answer.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

Again with the double posts! What the......!!!!

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

Again with the double posts! What the......!!!!

CT

I am aware of scholar, amateur or professional, who interprets the RC to mean something other than stating that the rational soul ordinarily does not exist when the human body first exists. I am sure that some who had the interpretive skills necessary such as Ed Peters or perhaps Jimmy Akin, would be able to say otherwise on this particular point.

Perhaps I misunderstood you Ben and you are conceding what the statement says but simply doubting its "definitiveness" or truth. I never said it was true and I never claimed it was definitive (on Catholicism, that is).

In which case, you and I were in agreement on this matter all along.

CT

significant typo

"I am aware of scholar"

should read

"I am aware of no scholar"

SDG

I am aware of [no] scholar, amateur or professional, who interprets the RC to mean something other than stating that the rational soul ordinarily does not exist when the human body first exists.

Your mistake, as any qualified scholar could tell you, lies in the words "human body."

The assumption underlying all Catholic theories of post-conception "animation" is that the preanimate body is a form of life that is less than fully human. Thus Aquinas supposes that the fetus develops first as vegetative life with a vegetative soul, then becoming a sensitive or animal being with a sensitive soul, until finally becoming a human life with a human soul.

What neither Aquinas nor any other pre-modern Catholic theologian ever questions, AFAIK, is the fundamental precept that a human life equals a human soul. The only question was when embryonic life became human.

The error of Aquinas and of the Roman Catechism was in fact the pre-scientific theological equivalent of the old "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" error -- the assumption that the embryo develops through various sub-human forms of life before becoming fully human.

Modern genetics and embryology has debunked this false assumption: We now know that the zygote is fully human from conception onward. Any scholar of Aquinas or Bellarmine could tell you what follows from the basic guiding principle that a human life equals a human soul.

So much for SDG's claim that Augustine and Aquinas are against the "historic understanding"

When did I say that Augustine and Aquinas are against the "historic understanding"?! What I said is that the historic understanding is that a human life equals a human soul. I take for granted that both Aquinas and Augustine agreed with this.

Note this contradicts SDG on more than one point. One is the notion that it was unCatholic to believe that a human body could exist without a rational soul -- the catholic Roman Catechism clearly taught otherwise -- that in the normal course of affairs in the order of nature, the human body does not possess a rational soul until later (unless you want to take the view that the catholic Roman Catechism was committing itself to the view that at some stages in pregnancy the body present there is not human -- which is a position that is condemned as a moral abomination by anti-choice pro-lifers).

The Roman Catechism did indeed presuppose, following Aquinas, that the preanimate body was not human. This was a prescientific error that has since been debunked.

CT

SDG I took your last sentence to contradict what Ben was saying and that was the essence of my criticism of Ben. But, it appears that I had a case of dislexia as I read the quote from the catholic Roman Catechism to read "the rational soul is united to the human body only after a certain lapse of time." The word "human" is obviously not present in the text. Until I realized this I was very puzzled by your response. Perhaps I also misunderstood Ben as well. So my original sentence should be rephrased as:

"I am aware of no scholar, amateur or professional, who interprets the RC to mean something other than stating that the rational soul ordinarily does not exist when the body first exists."

And I took Ben to be disagreeing with me there. Sorry Ben if I misunderstood you due to my initial dislexic reading (I don't have dislexia but I do make these mistakes at times)

BTW, I am not sure that Aquinas would agree that he was being "prescientific" particularly given his view of what constitutes a science. Empirical science existed in his day.

I think that there is some disingenuous among educated anti-choice pro-lifers who have theological expertise. Aquinas' argument is not "debunked" by modern science. Aquinas held the view that rational souls were not infused until the body was made apt to receive one -- this is a theological or philosophical viewpoint that is independent of empirical data about the development of the body. A fertilized egg is not in a condition "apt" to receive a rational soul as it has no nervous system and no central nervous system. Aquinas may today adjust his other views (namely on when in fact the body is made apt to receve a rational soul -- perhaps tying it in with brain development) but that adjustment would leave his other aforementioned view wholly intact. There are other views of Aquinas to consider as well that would not be affected by new empirical data.

Some trivia: who said:

"no one with any sense accepts the view that an infant has a rational soul from the moment of conception"

Was it:

A. A pro-choice person
B. Anselm of Canterbury

More trivia: why does

Aquinas not bother to argue seriously against the view that no one with any sense would accept at an earlier time? Was it because:

A. It was still true that no one with any sense accepted it
B. An oversight on the part of Aquinas

Answers: B, A

I invite any person of good will open to the truth to read this scholarly work, in particular the Chapter "When human life begins" and the subchapter "Infusion and abortion" which *debunks* the claim that modern science would change Aquinas' views on this matter. Given the philosophical committments that Catholic anti-choice pro-lifers have (such as a committment against material reductionism among other things) and certain other issues, the author argues that Aquinas can potentially serve well in changing the minds of that segment of the movement. This sub-chapter is about 15 pages in length (and the chapter, 30 pages), so I can only invite you to read it. Simplistic arguments like the one SDG has made above are facilely demolished in this sub-chapter. The book's name is:

Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature: A Philosophical Study of Summa Theologiae
by Robert Pasnau

It can be purchased for only about 40 dollars and it is always available through inter-library loan (this is a system that networks libraries across the country, sometimes the world)

SDG

Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature: A Philosophical Study of Summa Theologiae
by Robert Pasnau

Heh. Coincidentally (?), the very article on ensoulment I've been occasionally cross-checking this evening http://www2.franciscan.edu/plee/aquinas_on_human_ensoulment.htm" target="_blank">specifically rebuts the very source you mention.

BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

I just read that link provided by SDG. WOW! So I guess CT is just parroting Pasnau's errors. It sort of reminds me of how the Protestant Fundie misuse Aquinas to deny the Immaculate Conception. It is clearly proven if Aquinas knew about modern embryology his views in both subjects (ensoulment & the IC)would have been difference BUT his underlying principles naturally lead to the modern Catholic teaching. Pasnau also clearly misrepresents the history & development of Catholic Teaching on this matter.

Best summery QUOTE from the article.
QUOTE "Quite contrary to this impression of concealment[i.e. of Aquinas alleged true views as claimed by Pasnau], however, it is a commonplace of informed, scholarly discussions in this area that Aquinas (along with other ancient and medieval writers) believed in late human ensoulment, often referred to as ‘delayed hominization’, and there is an extensive scholarly and semi-popular literature on it contributed to by parties from different sides of the interpretative, philosophical, theological and moral debates. In another footnote Pasnau mentions two authors (Stephen Heaney and John Finnis) who argue that if Aquinas had known the facts of embryology he would have held that the human soul is present from conception (fn. 11. p. 419). These and those mentioned above are just a few among many others who have contributed to the well-known, and still ongoing debate in Catholic theological and philosophical circles concerning immediate vs. delayed hominization and the relevance to this issue of Aquinas’s views. [5]

[love this part]

It is surprising that Pasnau seems unaware of the extent of this literature, not least because the few items he does mention contain references to other works. As it is, his treatment of the matter suggests an overly hasty rush to judgement. Indeed, echoing Pasnau, we are inclined to think that if this literature had been known and appreciated by him then much of the chapter would have been avoided or, at the very least , that it would have been different in tone and substance.END QUOTE


My advice to CT is he should continue his tactic of changing the subject & or pretending he was taking about something else so he can find another stick to beat the Church with.

I'm gonna have to rethink my previous statements to put them more in line with the Thinking of the Church.

Good find SDG.

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