Saturday, November 29, 2008

Every now and then the clouds part and sanity prevails....


And in a court of law. Who would have thought? Maybe sanity in the courts will actually catch on. In the words of the late (great) F.J. Sheed: "..if we see anything - ourself or some other man, or the Universe as a whole or any part of it - without at the same time seeing God holding it there, then we are seeing it all wrong. If we saw a coat hanging on a wall and did not realize that it was held there by a hook, we should not be living in the real world at all, but in some fantastic world of our own in which coats defied the law of gravity and hung on walls by their own power. Similarly if we see things in existence and do not in the same act see that they are held in existence by God, then equally we are living in a fantastic world, not the real world. Seeing God everywhere and all things upheld by Him is not a matter of sanctity; but of plain sanity, because God is everywhere and all things are upheld by Him...To overlook God's presence is not simply to be irreligious; it is a kind of insanity, like overlooking anything else that is actually there." (Theology and Sanity, p.6).

5 comments:

Ellen Wironken said...

Our entire culture is mired in insanity. This is why Father Frank Pavone keeps saying that Americans need to be shown what abortion really is. When our sin-sick culture begins to recognize the institutionalized evil of abortion for what it is, the healing process will begin.

This recognition must comes first.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

And Fr. Pavone is right Ellen. As Donum vitae, No. 60, explains: "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."

Wendy said...

The CDF's Declaration on Procured Abortion [1974] had this to say:

"The tradition of the Church has always held that human life must be protected and favored from the beginning, just as at the various stages of its development. Opposing the morals of the Greco-Roman world, the Church of the first centuries insisted on the difference that exists on this point between those morals and Christian morals. In the Didache it is clearly said: "You shall not kill by abortion the fruit of the womb and you shall not murder the infant already born."

Athenagoras emphasizes that Christians consider as murderers those women who take medicines to procure an abortion; he condemns the killers of children, including those still living in their mother's womb, "where they are already the object of the care of divine Providence." Tertullian did not always perhaps use the same language; he nevertheless clearly affirms the essential principle: "To prevent birth is anticipated murder; it makes little difference whether one destroys a life already born or does away with it in its nascent stage. The one who will be a man is already one."

In the course of history, the Fathers of the Church, her Pastors and her Doctors have taught the same doctrine - the various opinions on the infusion of the spiritual soul did not introduce any doubt about the illicitness of abortion. It is true that in the Middle Ages, when the opinion was generally held that the spiritual soul was not present until after the first few weeks, a distinction was made in the evaluation of the sin and the gravity of penal sanctions. Excellent authors allowed for this first period more lenient case solutions which they rejected for following periods. But it was never denied at that time that procured abortion, even during the first days, was objectively grave fault. This condemnation was in fact unanimous. Among the many documents it is sufficient to recall certain ones. The first Council of Mainz in 847 reconsidered the penalties against abortion which had been established by preceding Councils. It decided that the most rigorous penance would be imposed "on women who procure the elimination of the fruit conceived in their womb." The Decree of Gratian reported the following words of Pope Stephen V: "That person is a murderer who causes to perish by abortion what has been conceived." St. Thomas, the Common Doctor of the Church, teaches that abortion is a grave sin against the natural law."

At the time of the Renaissance Pope Sixtus V condemned abortion with the greatest severity. A century later, Innocent XI rejected the propositions of certain lax canonists who sought to excuse an abortion procured before the moment accepted by some as the moment of the spiritual animation of the new being. In our days the recent Roman Pontiffs have proclaimed the same doctrine with the greatest clarity. Pius XI explicitly answered the most serious objections. Pius XII clearly excluded all direct abortion, that is, abortion which is either an end or a means. John XXIII recalled the teaching of the Fathers on the sacred character of life "which from its beginning demands the action of God the Creator."

Most recently, the Second Vatican Council, presided over by Paul VI, has most severely condemned abortion: "Life must be safeguarded with extreme care from conception; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes." The same Paul VI, speaking on this subject on many occasions, has not been afraid to declare that this teaching of the Church "has not changed and is unchangeable." (Nos. 6,7).

Sanctus Belle said...

Well that is a small glimmer of hope indeed but - I used to live in Texas and was an OR nurse there....I can tell you there are ALOT of abortions performed in Texas.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Wendy, I was just re-reading that CDF document last week. Glad to see another Catholic up on it. Sanctus, that wouldn't surprise me at all. I also lived in Texas (I served with Air Force Intelligence and was stationed in San Angelo). It's really a different culture down there.

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