ABORTION, Early Church teaching, sources collected, mediated by Gígja Gísladóttir, PhD.

Verður birt hér 1) á ensku, 2) ís­lenzku, 3) vonandi pólsku líka.

Old Testa­ment Jer 1:5
„Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nation.“ [cf. Psalm 139.13-16]

The Didaché, 1st century „is a „short treatise in two parts called ‚Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles‘ written about A.D. 65 to 80, but attributed to the second century. The first part of it is moral and the second disciplinary, especially on the administration and ministry of the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist. It was highly regarded by the early fathers of the Church and provides interesting insights into the early practices of the Church and its governance.“ (Catholic Encyclopedia, editor Robert C. Broderick, Nashville, Atlanta, London, Vancouver, Thomas Nelson Publishers 1987)
A direct quote from the Didache: „You shall not kill an unborn child or murder a newborn infant“ (n. 2).

The teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in respect to the killing of the unborn conforms to the teaching expressed in the Didache, see quote above.
In the course of time the question, however, has been raised as to: At what stage of its development does a child receive its individual soul?
„By definition of the Catholic Church, the soul is present the moment the active principles of germination coalesce to form a definite entity. We therefore say that from the moment of conception, the soul is present.“ (Radio Replies vol. II #1004 Fathers Rumbly and Carthy.) In the same spirit of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, The eminent philosopher and theologian, unsurpassed in cogency and clarity, St Thomas Aquinas, is in agreement to this definition in the Summa.

From the very beginning of Christianity, the early fathers of the Catholic Church and preeminent scholars without hesitation condemned abortion, infanticide and practices aimed at preventing the conception of life in marital relations. The following are some direct quotations from the texts of the Fathers witnessing to a constant and categorical affirmation of the absolute respect due to human life.

The Letter of Barnabas, 2nd century
Echoing the „Didaché,“ the author of this letter repeats the condemnation of abortion:
You shall not murder a child by abortion, nor kill it after birth.“ (n.19)

Athenagoras of Athens, 2nd century, Supplications for the Christians, 35.
This Greek philosopher, in his apology addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, proscribes abortion with these very strong words: „Those women who use drugs to bring about an abortion commit murder and will have to give an account to God for their abortion.“

Minucius Felix, 2nd century, Octavius 30.
In striking contrast to his delicate desciption of pretty children playing on the beach of Ostia, the author of ‚Octavius‘ sums upp the pagan crimes against children. „I see newly-begotten infants at times exposed to wild beasts and birds, or killed by strangling; and there are women who destroy the life growing within their wombs: they murder the child before they have given birth.

Tertullian, 3rd century, Apology, 9, On the Soul, 37.
In defending Christians accused of murder for cannibalism, Tertullian proves the inconsistency of the charge by showing that Christian law considered as murder even the suppression of a child in the womb of his mother.
„For us, killing and murder being forbidden once and for all, it is not permitted to destroy even what is conceived in the mother‘s womb. To hinder the birth of a child is a faster way to murder. It makes little difference whether one destroys a life already born or prevents it from coming to birth. It is a human being and one who is to be a man, for the whole fruit is already present.
Moses imposed punishment for the man who was guilty of causing an abortion on the ground that the embryo was rudimentary „man,“ exposed to the change of life and death, since it has already entered in the book of life. And this, although it still dwells within the mother and shares with her their mutual life.“

St. Cyprian, 3rd century, Letter 52.
In his letter to Pope Cornelius, St. Cyprian proclaims abortion a sin even greater than idolatry.
„…he struck the womb of his wife with his shoe and a delivery was brought on…an abortion. And now he dares to condemn the hands of those who sacrifice although he himself is more guilty in his feet, by which his son who was being born was killed.“

Clement of Alexandria, 3rd century, Christ the Educator, II, 10.
In his writings this great teacher of the theological school of Alexandria clearly states that the purpose of marriage is the procreation of children, and any action contrary to it is a sin against nature. Through procreation man becomes similar to God and a benefactor of mankind.
„…If we would not kill off the human race born and developing according to God´s plan, then our whole live should be lived according to nature. Women who make use of some sort of deadly abortion drug, kill not only the embryo, but, together with it, all human kindness.“

Origen, 3rd century, Against the Heresies, 9.
Origen addressed the following passage to women who did not accept the message of Christ in its full implication.
„There are women of high social standing and great wealth, so-called believers, who began taking drugs to become sterile; and then they bound themsleves tightly to procure an abortion because they did not want to have a child born of a slave father or of a man of lower rank.“

St. Basil, 4th century, First Canonical Letter, 2.
Regarding a supposed distinction between „formed“ and „unformed“ life in the womb, St Basil answers in these terms:
A woman who deliberately destroys a fetus is answerable for murder. And any fine distinction as to whether it is formed or unformed is not admissible among us.“

St. Jerome, 4-5th centuries, Letter 22 (to Eustochium), 13.
In his letter to Eustochium on virginity, St. Jerome harshly attacks the evil practice of those pseudo-virgins who employed deadly drugs to destroy the fruit of their womb.
„Some virgins, when they learn they are with child through sin, practice abortion by the use of drugs. Frequently they die themselves and are brought before the ruler of the lower world guilty of three crimes: suicide, adultery against Christ, and murder of an unborn child.“

St Augustine, 4-5th centuries, De nupt. et concupisc., XV.
With strong words the Bishop of Hippo denounces the wretched parents who do not hesitate to kill their offspring.
„ Sometimes this lustful cruelty or cruel lust goes so far as to seek to procure a baneful sterility, and if this fails the fetus conceived in the womb is in one way or another smothered or evacuated, in the desire to destroy the offspring before it has life, or if it already lives in the womb, to kill it before it is born. If both man and woman are party to such practices they are not spouses at all; and if from the first they have carried on thus they have come together not for honest wedlock, but for impure gratification; if both are not party to these deeds, I make bold to say that either the one makes herself a mistress of the husband, or the other simply the paramour of his wife.“

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1 Smámynd: Kristin stjórnmálasamtök

Samanber, um kristna kenningu og einkum samþykktir Þjóðkirkjunnar (cf., on Christian teaching and especially the declarations of the National Lutheran Church of Iceland, in its Church Council and Synod of the Clergy, 1987-88):

Lífsvernd ófæddra er kristin skylda

(grein eftir Jón Val Jensson í Fréttablaðinu, 8. jan. 2019 -- an article: The Protection of the Lives of the Unborn is a Christian Duty, by Jón Valur Jensson, a theologian, in the widespread daily newspaper Fréttablaðið, 8 Jan. 2019). ---jvj.

Kristin stjórnmálasamtök, 10.2.2019 kl. 05:12

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