Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Will Dan Maguire EVER STFU?

Well, the MSM had to have some 'Catholic' quote, and sure enough, they found Dan Maguire, execrable worm-in-the-apple at Marquette University.

USAToday printed an article on the topic of abortion and said that a certain St. Antoninus 'endorsed' abortion.

Only in the fevered mind of a proof-texter who denudes the statement from historical context, and even THEN it's questionable--but the fevered mind was inside the cranium of Dan the Cancer:

In a recent statement, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops described abortion as a fundamental threat to the health of civil society (news article, Nov. 19). In fact, the church's ban on abortions is a novelty of this century. Pro-choice and no-choice positions have co-existed throughout the church's history. St. Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence, the 15th-century Dominican who wrote the first treatise on abortion, taught that early abortion to save a woman's life was moral. (Letter to the Editor, NYTimes, 1996.)

So what did this maligned Saint actually say?

It was not until the late Middle Ages that Christian theologians begin to address directly the question of abortion to save the woman's life.

One of the first to discuss this case was Antoninus of Florence. He declared that it was neither legitimate to kill the woman to save the child (by Caesarean section) nor to kill the infant to save the woman (by abortion). If the only way to save someone is by killing someone else, it is better to do nothing. However, he made one exception to this rule. Citing fellow Dominican John of Naples, he argued that before the soul was infused into the embryo (which, following Thomas Aquinas, he regarded as occurring at 40 days for males and 80 days for females) it was legitimate to abort the embryo to save the mother's life. This was not homicide, strictly speaking. However, an act that destroyed the early embryo and so prevented a child from coming to be was very close to homicide, therefore it could only be justified to save the mother's life. Furthermore, if it were doubtful whether or not the embryo possessed a human soul then it was not to be harmed. Antoninus only permitted abortion of the pre-ensouled embryo to save the mother's life. Nevertheless, it was very significant in explicitly allowing an exception to the traditional prohibition. Antoninus had great authority and was followed by several theologians such as Sylvester Prierias (d. 1523) and Martin Aspilcueta (1493-1586), more commonly known as Doctor Navarrus. [pp. 178-179; emphasis added]

Dan Maguire "forgot" to mention in his letter that in ca. 1400AD, there was not too much knowledge about what went on in the womb--certainly not as much as we have now.

So if you look at the red-italic-bold portion of the quote, you see Catholic teaching on the topic (without the "double effect" addition) and teaching which was as sound then as it is now.

HT: Amy and Curt Jester

1 comment:

Brother James said...

I guess that the Heliocentric theory of the solar system should be tossed as well, since the Church thought otherwise for a while? What a lame and weasely maneuver. For a theologian who spends so much time contextualizing the meaning right out of the Gospel, he's sure missing a bit of context in this instance, eh?