Abortion 2016

The Abortion Act 1967 was frankly a disaster. The most emotionally effective argument in its favour was the prevention of illegal abortions (the number of which was grossly overstated at the time). The exceptions allowed by the Act – the physical or mental health of the mother or the severe disability of the child — turned out to be conditions of straw, as was well known to the lobbyists and indeed to anyone of common sense. So nowadays abortion is effectively a matter of choice, and we have approaching 200,000 legal abortions a year. What is more, our culture has moved on from regarding abortion as a sad necessity; it has become a virtue. It is now politically incorrect to object to it. Various estimates have been made about the attitudes of Catholics, but it is safe to say that a substantial number walk by on the other side, and include many who effectively approve.

In following discussions on the internet I find that three arguments predominate. The first is the ‘hard cases’ approach. How could we deny abortion to the mother of a baby who is severely handicapped or a baby who is the result of rape? We are of course instinctively sympathetic. But it is useful here to establish whether the arguer has only such extreme situations in mind or whether he or she would also support abortion in normal circumstances. If so, we can leave aside the hard cases and focus on the principles.

This may lead quickly to considering the status of the entity in the womb. I use a neutral term here because our instinctive use of the word ‘baby’ is likely to be attacked. So I settle for ‘individual human life’ and then ask what part of this description does not apply.

The question of exactly when a human conceptus becomes an individual is tricky. The encyclical Evangelium Vitae does not settle this but teaches that the human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception. Others, including respectable theologians, have argued that individuality is only achieved at the stage when the embryo can no longer split into identical twins. Since splitting may occur during the ten days or so following conception this has a bearing on the morality of very early abortion. This issue, and indeed many others, is argued at length in Norman M Ford’s When did I begin? Cambridge University Press).

The claim that a woman has the right to choose whether or not to be pregnant is made by Amnesty International. The Royal College of Midwives has formally recommended that there should be no legal constraint on abortions, including those at late term. Any male who criticises abortion in the public sphere is likely to be hounded for his anti-feminine obduracy. It seems odd to me that one can only defend a woman’s right to control her own body at the expense of another human being‘s right to life. It is accepted that, when a decision is made on behalf of another because of age or mental capacity, we act in the best interests of the subject. Apparently the best interest for the individual in the womb is death. Does not history warn us that making exceptions to those who have the right to life is the beginning of a sorry road?

In fact abortion is not a human right, although the UN Human Rights Committee, may appear to claim so. No UN committee can define a human right. Nor is it a requirement of international law. The UN Declaration of Human Rights declares that every human being has the right to life, liberty and security of person, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, claimed to be the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history, states in its preamble “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” So the boot would appear to be on the other foot.

We may wonder how so many of our decent citizens claim the right to exterminate a whole class of human beings because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. But ignored evil is not a novelty. As I have mentioned before, the execrable slave trade was accepted by our society and even found a champion in a pope. (Nicholas V) The respectable bourgeoisie, no doubt regular churchgoers, accepted and often directly benefited from slavery. For them it was not a moral issue.

Finally, here is my bête noire. Let us please avoid putting contraception and abortion into the same sentence. Whatever our view on contraception may be, it is minor league compared to abortion. Linking them merely invites the world to dismiss both as Catholics’ eccentricity.

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Catholic Herald columns, Church and Society, Moral judgment and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

131 Responses to Abortion 2016

  1. I fear that it is going to become increasingly difficult to be accepted as a medical student, if you are a Catholic, or to obtain a job when you qualify, because you will not collude in carrying out abortions.

  2. Brian Hamill says:

    I wonder how much, in terms of pounds and pence, is spent by any diocese on both promoting the alternatives to abortion, i.e. taking care of the child after birth through adoption etc., and also providing the necessary means in practical terms to achieve those alternatives. The Church has always been very good at castigating the evil of abortion without, it seems to me, often enough doing very much for those who follow its teaching and end up with the ‘hard-case’ child.

  3. Brendan says:

    The Catholic ‘ counter-cultural ‘ list is mounting up ! The time is not far way when the professed Catholic in Britain ( outside of the comfort-zone of like-minded people ) will be a social pariah in a sea of muted Christianity . With no ‘ natural ‘ political party to side with on such moral issues as abortion ; other Christians Churches and a growing number of family and friends at best ‘ confused ‘ on the issue …… the phrase ‘ stranger in ones own country ‘ comes to mind .
    Benedict ( Emeritus Pope ) , with all the gifts of intellect and erudition at his disposal , simply concludes in effect ; that modern man has lost the sense of personal sin in his life and therefore the need for Gods Salvation in this rudderless human condition.
    He goes on to say that to counter this deficient existence , the Catholic Church must re-vitalise its once sole dynamic and recapture .. ” motivation for for the missionary state ” …and…” motivation for The Faith .” …. in other words to present to the world ‘ Christ-crucified ‘ for us , in word and action.
    One can only start with ones Catholic Faith ; the only instrument in our world fully equipped and still having the moral authority through its dogma in the ‘ Divine rudder ‘ of The Church to achieve this end.

  4. Iona says:

    Brian – you suggest that the Church perhaps does not do enough for the “hard case child” and that child’s mother. You mention adoption specifically. Church adoption societies have had their hands tied by legislation forcing all adoption agencies to consider same-sex couples as adoptive parents. Catholic agencies won’t do this, of course, so they have been obliged to give up placing children for adoption (or to break their links with the Church) and close completely, or focus merely on following-up children they have already placed with adoptive parents.
    I have heard it said that Catholic adoption agencies were particularly successful in placing “hard case” children and in supporting them and their adoptive parents throughout childhood and into adulthood.

  5. Hock says:

    It might help if there was a clear statement from the leadership that to be a true Catholic means being opposed to abortion. The present Pope seemed to hedge his bets on the issue when he was first appointed and although he has since made his opposition clear in my opinion it still lacks sincerity. ; however his remark (and often quoted,) of “Who am I to judge” is one that clouds the issue as it was left without any explanation of what it meant exactly.
    The killing of the unborn is too big an issue to leave to chance and cannot be compared with other issues such as same sex marriage and just ‘lumped in’ with what is now seen as a list of optional Catholic teachings.
    We are talking here of protecting God’s creation, the very purpose of life. We are in grave danger of standing idly by and mute as the continued perpetration of the biggest crime in human history goes largely unchallenged.

    • St.Joseph says:

      There are seven or maybe more people involved in a pregnant women’s life.
      Father mother unborn baby, four grandparents also maybe greet grandparents.
      Holy Mother Church is responsible to teach the truth.
      Perhaps the responsibility doesn’t always begin with the Church.

  6. galerimo says:

    Thanks Quentin – and it is right not to connect the issue with contraception as there is no evidence to suggest that availability of contraception reduces the number of abortions. It is still the most common surgical procedure in the world.

    God does make his sun to shine on good and bad alike.

    In view of the huge dimensions of the evil that it is we ought to still guard against throwing our hands up in despair in the face of what seems to have become a necessary evil so widespread in our world.

    Everyone who minimises the harm that Abortion does to all who are involved, the unborn, family and friends, counsellors and clinicians and the wider community of a rapidly ageing society, have a low view of the human spirit.

    We need to get much smarter too about our messaging in support of women and families as screaming into the storm gets less effective when it appears as the standard.

    A prayer for all who suffer the evil of aborting the unborn from the womb and for ourselves.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Does anyone on SS Blog know of anyone who had an abortion. Are we not so far apart from the actual suffering.
      Catholics need to come involved through our parishes, through supporting the pro-life movement, especially the March for Life needing more support in the UK. Voting for pro-life MP. not doing what some Bishops recommend !!!

      • St.Joseph says:

        P.S A women will not know she is pregnant until her next period and then will not be certain,
        I don’t see how the 10 days can be a question for abortion., other than the morning after Pill.

      • ignatius says:

        Yes, I know two or three.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Ignatius
        And I feel sure that you have given your heart to them.
        We are all called to do some sort of spiritual works for God through His Holy Church.
        I believe that we as Christians do receive the Grace from The Lord if we listen to the calling as you answered Him by the good work you do,
        There are times we must listen to this call, some for one thing another for another
        Perhaps He calls us into a different vocation, and I believe that we as laity are ‘all called to support the unborn child’. As St Mother Teresa did even though her vocation was a Holy Nun.

  7. John Thomas says:

    Great article, Quentin; above all, the so-called “Christians” who support, or are indifferent to, the evils of this megaholocuast, should be effectively shamed. First and foremost I think that mass abortion is an inevitable product of materialism, or a society entirely ruled by the non-values of materialism (which of necessity produces self-ism, which is what abortion is a product of, putting self first). Above all, the fact of mass abortion exposes the total lies and (self-)deception among people whom claim that in some sense our age is more compassionate, or “better”, than ages that have gone before. Our age has enthroned (as in the Amnesty International position) the greatest evil in the whole history of human evil, and hence any belief in our moral superiority is complete hypocrisy – and it is this hypocrisy, among our rulers, that characterises the fallen world we live in. Jesus did tell us that the “ruler of this world” was the Evil One; how right he was!

  8. Iona says:

    St. Joseph – to your seven people might be added the siblings of the unborn child.

    The only person who has ever talked to me about her abortion was someone I used to work with. She had a severe post-natal depression after her first child, and when she was pregnant again (an unplanned pregnancy) her husband told her that if she did not abort the baby he would leave her. She was reluctant to abort, especially as the pregnancy was by then past the earliest stages, but went ahead and did so. And he still left her.
    When surveys have been done, it usually turns out that considerably more men thatn women are in favour of abortion being freely available. I don’t know whether anyone has any theories as to why this might be so?
    “Who am I to judge?” was not said about abortion; abortion, being a violation of “Thou shalt not kill” scarcely needs any considered “judgement” to be made about it.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Iona.
      Listening to the sad stories from mothers who testify their experiences after an abortion
      when witnessing on the March for Life in the USA from Rachels Vineyard is heart breaking.
      I would think that it would be more obvious that men would be in favour of abortion than women, (present males not included) only through the fact that they have not the emotional feelings afterwards. I may be wrong.
      Praying outside an abortion clinic and seeing the young fathers with the smirk on their faces tell me this when they saw us praying the Rosary.
      I don’t think that they are more sadistic than females

    • twr57 says:

      Classic case history – abortion as the abuse of women by men.

  9. Iona says:

    I googled the phrase, and found that Pope Francis expanded (earlier this year) on what he meant:

    Francis’ reply appears in a new book The Name of God is Mercy to be released Tuesday.

    “On that occasion I said this: If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?” the pope says. “I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized.”

    “I am glad that we are talking about ‘homosexual people’ because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity,” he continues. “And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are
    destined to receive his infinite love.”

    Not really comparable to the case of someone who has an abortion, still less to someone who pressurises someone else to have an abortion, or who makes a living from carrying out abortions.

  10. galerimo says:

    Hi St Joseph

    In Response to your question about
    Knowing someone who has had an abortion

    Dorothy Day – the founder of the catholic worker movement is a prominent Catholic and well known woman who has had an abortion.

    When I googled her I found a link to a very good article on her experience in the Catholic Herald.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2015/09/04/dorothy-day-is-the-perfect-role-model-for-post-abortion-women/

    • St.Joseph says:

      Galerimo.
      Thank you for that.
      I can understand the suffering of a mother when she realises what she has done, however God is Good and He understands their suffering when they repent to Him and show their sorrow and mistake. That is why He died on Calvary, the forgiveness of our sins and Life everlasting with Him and His Holy Mother and all the Saints.
      I had various miscarriages and once I saw my baby of 3 months in a dish, it never leaves my memory. That was the reason my late husband and I turned our guest house into a safe home for pregnant girls whilst organising a SPUC Branch over 35 years ago.

      • galerimo says:

        What a great thing – well done -g

      • Martha says:

        That was a wonderful response to your tragedy St. Joseph. My reason for becoming active in our local Life group, many years ago now, was gratitude for the safe and healthy birth of our 5th child, when I was well into my 40’s, Our group helped many mothers keep their babies, with a house for them, and a counselling service, which inevitably needed also the extra work of fund raising and publicity.

        A recent development which I think holds great promise for helping individuals and influencing attitude, is the opening of Life charity shops, in Leeds, Eastleigh, Blackpool, and several other places. I worked in one for another charity for several years, and find that in addition to fund raising, they are great sources of social contact, and information and support, as well as useful for buying useful items at reasonable prices. They are very informal and non threatening places where anyone including pregnant mothers, can drop in confidently, with no pressure of any kind, and then find that a look around, or a small purchase, can lead to much more.

      • St.Joseph says:

        galerimo . Thank you
        Martha that is such a wonderful thing, the Life Charity Shop.
        HLI I know are in Knock Eire. and Dublin They have a charity shop under the name of ‘The Cloak of St Joseph’ in Knock
        Please God may it continue in every city town and village in the UK. I would love to be involved in that, but my health does not let me. But one never knows, God knows!!
        Perhaps parishes could organise them. Oh to be young!!
        Perhaps we could all but the ball rolling in our parishes.

  11. twr57 says:

    The BBC World TV programme is currently running a trailer in which a reporter claims that abortion is a human right. Why not tell them that this is offensive as well as inaccurate?

  12. Martin says:

    Aren’t mainstream views on the morality (or otherwise) of abortion a symptom of a widespread malaise? It seems unrealistic to think that society in general can be persuaded that abortion is wrong, without putting the issue into a broader moral context.
    But before the Church can provide the leadership that’s so urgently needed, it does need to make a quantum leap into the 21st century.

    • twr57 says:

      Martin, I don’t say you’ re wrong, but I’m not sure what you propose. Is this quantum leap into a higher energy (less stable)state? What might it involve?

  13. Brendan says:

    Post – Brexit may well open up a better chance to reform Abortion Law given the chance to cast off the restraints posed by the European Courts and its obsession with ‘ equality ‘ legislation taken up by its members .

    • twr57 says:

      Brendan, I hope you’re right. I fear there may be almost as many pro-abortion zealots in UK as in EU. But (I think) UK MPs are likely to be more responsive to electors than MEPs have been.

      • Brendan says:

        European politics is driving such a paganised political social agenda – it will be refreshing to cut ourselves adrift from such machinations emanating from Brussels/Strasbourg – consequently , we British can take stock and realise what almost ‘giving away our sovereignty ‘ implied. It won’t change matters overnight , but we will be in charge of our own destiny without interference from disastrous ‘ European
        legislation with ‘ political strings attached .’
        Remember, Europe as a whole has the Court of Human Rights in the Hague.

  14. Brendan says:

    Unless anyone is left with any doubts about how much the world is in serious ‘ spiritual ‘ and ‘ moral ‘ trouble over the issue of human ‘ abortion ‘ ; the figures are really , near unbearable to relate. According to World Heath Organisation figures there are about 125,000 ‘ terminations ‘ worldwide…..daily.
    England and Wales for 2014 recorded an annual figure of 190,092…………’ and the band plays on ‘ ?
    Who cannot but be concerned about a ‘ rich first-world mechanism ‘ which – no matter what the reason or circumstances – has resulted in such human destruction over such a long period of time.
    Mother Teresa said before she left us ( perhaps with only the certainty that a ‘ saint ‘ can know )…. ” You must have peace in the womb , in order to have peace in the world.” Just look at our world now ?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Add to that the hidden number caused by the abottfacient pill.enable ing a soul to continue the life God would plan for him/her.

    • Martha says:

      The whole situation is a complete mess. Most aborted babies should not have been conceived at all. That is not their fault of course, and it compounds the sin immeasurably to kill them. Should we start further back by trying much harder to explain and spread the Church’s teaching that sex should only take place within marriage? I can hear the gales of laughter and incredulity now . . .

  15. Alan says:

    Are there any cases where people feel there might be harm done by not performing an abortion? If the outcome is likely to be physical or mental damage to mother or child or both (or perhaps even others), is that also weighed in the balance or is it always thought to be the better choice to proceed with the pregnancy because it is part of God’s plan?

  16. Brendan says:

    Just so Alan – for the Christian ( with a deep faith steeped in St.Joseph’s quote ) it is ‘always ‘ the better part to preserve life where humanly possible….the rest is Gods domain ( miracles ?) Imagine a world where everyone/each soul complied with ‘ Gods plan ‘ for him/herself ; would not human abortion/killing of each other be unknown ? Echoes of Isaiah here… ” the lion will lie down with the lamb ..” etc. , scenario. To me it is possible ( if unlikely in this world ). But with this hope , little by little ‘ wickedness ‘ has been vanquished from this world – maybe to be replaced by another form of ‘ evil ‘ ; but that’s what Gods promise ( the hard path ) entails to those who love and follow His Path. Our existence for all that is not static, but dynamic and for the Christian is aimed irrevocably towards one ‘ visible ‘ end…. the life which God ( Christ ) promised those who remain faithful to His covenant with Creation.
    I can only say in all humility to try ( take up ) it ….there just is no other way/explanation to this ‘ life ‘ of ours … this creation of ours. This is not an ‘ insurance ‘ policy ‘ …. but simply to take up the ‘ existential life ‘ offered through Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour.

  17. Geordie says:

    Brendan
    “European politics is driving such a paganised political social agenda – it will be refreshing to cut ourselves adrift from such machinations emanating from Brussels/Strasbourg – consequently , we British can take stock and realise what almost ‘giving away our sovereignty ‘ implied. It won’t change matters overnight , but we will be in charge of our own destiny without interference from disastrous ‘ European legislation with ‘ political strings attached .’”
    I agree with the above. In the great debate about Brexit, these points were rarely made. All people talked about was “Are we going to be richer or poorer?” No-one or very few people raised any moral issues as far as I can recall. Yet the moral issues are more important than wealth and have greater and longer lasting consequences.
    Thank you Brendan.

    • Brendan says:

      Geordie – Although our politicians are loathe to acknowledge this ; remoteness from the electorate ( distance as well as policy ) is one of the main reasons for disenchantment with politics in general. At least on socio-political issues there is far less reason for elected representatives to be ‘ left of the hook ‘ now the concentration is solely on ‘ home ‘ affairs. To this extent an issue such as ‘ abortion ‘ can be firmly kept in the public arena/spotlight.
      There is strong evidence I feel that ‘ same-sex ‘ marriage – implemented through indecent haste in Britain – gained extraordinary impetus and prominence through the drive/pressure from our EU partners.

  18. Hock says:

    I once ( fairly recently,) attended a talk from a leading person in a Pro Life organisation. It had been well publicised beforehand and took place in a major city in England. Only one member of the clergy or religious from the whole city and its surrounds attended. The entire audience consisted of about 8 persons of which me and my wife and my sister and her husband made up half of that number.
    It makes me think there is no real appetite for an anti abortion message among the leaders of the Church in this country.
    I note I have been criticized for use of the phrase: ‘ Who am I to judge?’ but surely this is applicable to a whole list of sins, or was the Pope merely excusing just one? ( And if so, why is it that it is OK to , in effect, excuse that particular one but retain all the others?)

    • ignatius says:

      Hock,
      I think you are right about this. If the talk were on in my town I probably wouldn’t go either.
      For lots of people the issue of abortion is not high on their agenda, its not particularly high on mine. Perhaps I should make an issue about it as everyone else on here seems to, but I just don’t.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Ignatius,
        There are times in our life we need to stand up and be counted.
        I don’t believe that is making an issue by protecting the unborn and saving the souls of those who will suffer the pain of hell in this life when they understand they have ended the life of their child! Maybe there are no regrets by some however we may be saving their souls by their repentance before they meet their maker.
        Surely that is a worthwhile vocation , even if it is financial help towards those who do care.

      • Martha says:

        Ignatius, would you take part in an afternoon of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, for adoration and prayer especially for abortion and in reparation? This is arranged in our parish about 4 times a year, and is supported by a faithful few who are able to come at that time.

  19. Iona says:

    Alan asked if there are any cases where abortion might be justified.
    Ectopic pregnancy – where the baby is developing somewhere else than in the womb (usually in a fallopian tube) – if it continues, the fallopian tube will rupture and the mother will die, and inevitably so will the baby. Abortion is justified to save the mother’s life. The baby’s life cannot be saved. Not in the present state of medical knowledge, anyway.

    Hock – the Pope was speaking specifically about a gay person who is “seeking the Lord”. So yes, he was talking about a specific sin, and it was not abortion. Saying “Who am I to judge?” is not excusing the sin as such but recognising that the man may be genuine in seeking the Lord despite being caught up in a sinful life style.

    • twr57 says:

      Yes – ectopic pregnancy is a genuine instance. How common is it? Look at the official statistics. The number of abortions done to save the life of the mother is infinitesimal in comparison with those done for trivial or no reasons.
      We cannot yet save the child of an ectopic pregnancy. But maybe good will come from the evil of in vitro fertilisation – if we learn how.

    • Vincent says:

      In the circumstances described by Iona the claim is made that the abortion is indirect. That is, the damaged fallopian tube is removed (an acceptable moral action) and the death of the baby is an unwanted side effect . More difficult is the situation where the presence of the baby and its placenta is in effect poisoning the mother. If the baby is not directly aborted the mother will die — and so will the baby. If the baby is removed it will die but the mother will live. What is the moral position here?.

  20. Brendan says:

    The Church ( its laity and priests and hierarchy ) has a serious problem confronting them accumulated over decades of poor catechesis , ‘ creeping ‘ protestantisation of the Faith in some areas , resulting in a growing gulf between subjective Faith belief and practice. The resulting widespread consequence in the West today , spiritual and secular ? – ‘ indifferentism .’
    In the debate on abortion , this has serious consequences for the placing of the onus of responsibility on all in upholding Church Teaching.
    Apologies ….more later when I get more time.

  21. ignatius says:

    Martha,

    ” Ignatius, would you take part in an afternoon of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, for adoration and prayer especially for abortion and in reparation? This is arranged in our parish about 4 times a year, and is supported by a faithful few who are able to come at that time…”

    Not sure if you are issuing me with an actual invitation here or just asking an opinion Martha?
    I might go, for the opportunity of exposition and to pray about this area which is not usually on my mind. But, too be honest I’m busy enough with prison work so probably wouldn’t just have the time or focus.

    • Martha says:

      Probably too far for you to accept an actual invitation for the next occasion, but thinking that you might consider a time of special prayer more worthwhile than the meeting and talk that was mentioned. Of course we need both, as long as the talks and discussion reach those who need enlightenment and not just those already convinced.

  22. Brendan says:

    It has been known for sometime that practicing gynaecology in Britain is not a good career move for the Catholic doctor , nor for preferment when already in that medical discipline. With 9-10% of Great Britains’ population as Catholic it is obvious that the abortionist comes from a much wider range of a religious and non-religious pool with little or no scruples. Figures of course are difficult if not impossible to determine ; reasons for doing so are many , but it would seem then , that the aware Catholics’ way to abortion services would be as untrammelled as any in this land mainly for that very reason. Sadly, it must be something of a silent, anonymous ,even sometimes solitary process….indicative often of hiding some hurt /shame ?
    To the dedicated British Catholic gynaecologist I could suggest …learn Italian and move to Italy where you would be in good company. A country whose population is a little less than the UK ‘s whose annual abortion figure is around 103,000 ( half the UK’s ) . Predominantly Catholic of course , it is struggling to find enough gynaecologists who are willing to perform the operation.
    I came across an article by Gaia Pianigiani written earlier this year on the Italian abortion issue – easily found when ‘googled’. In it she stated that 70% of gynaecologists refuse to undertake the procedure , rising to 83% in the more conservative south of the country. Of the well over 10,000 in the country , just 1,200 were prepared to operate in this area ; and as she related…..” the situation is getting worse ” ….with more doctors opting out.
    So, echoing Martin’s ( with Hock ) earlier moral ” widespread malaise ” in society , doesn’t this strongly hint at Catholic ‘ indifferentism ‘ – on the one hand ( in the case of Great Britain ) taking advantage of a non-Catholic country allowing abortion , practically on demand ; while on the other , a Catholic people ( in Italy ) who put intolerable onus on their fellow Catholic doctors in ‘ sorting out their ills ‘ , knowing they would be defying Church Teaching … and endangering their immortal souls.
    How on earth can one expect to ‘ re-evangelise ‘ the Faith of Europe with such examples as these …. that may well be the tip of a very big iceberg !
    Plainly getting our own house in order is the primary job of fidelity to our Catholic Faith ….from the Bishops down !

  23. ignatius says:

    ST Joseph, and everyone else:
    “There are times in our life we need to stand up and be counted.
    I don’t believe that is making an issue by protecting the unborn and saving the souls of those who will suffer the pain of hell in this life when they understand they have ended the life of their child! Maybe there are no regrets by some however we may be saving their souls by their repentance before they meet their maker.
    Surely that is a worthwhile vocation , even if it is financial help towards those who do care.”

    You misunderstand me. I’m not doubting your commitment or belief. The point is that no one I know believes as you have posted, above, and nor do I. This is just honesty I’m trying out here, make of it what you will.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius
      What I make of it what I will, and I am sure you are an intelligent person, and that is- Conscience!! Everyone must have an informed conscience and it is our duty as Christians to lead those who are living in the dark –into the Light! Before they meet their Maker.
      I would rather suffer hell on earth than in everlasting life!

    • Martha says:

      Abortion in itself is of course a mortal sin, but no one can judge in individual cases whether all 3 conditions are fully present, serious matter definitely, but full knowledge, and free consent are both very subjective. The possibility of Hell which was discussed very recently on the blog is certainly very real for some in this area. St. Joseph is right.

      • Vincent says:

        Martha, suppose that you were a judge deciding on the sentence for someone who has killed a small child. It’s serious crime, and if the criminal was deliberate, you might decide on a life sentence. Perhaps in other cases you might take into account the desperation of the criminal and give a lesser sentence.

        But you seem to be suggesting that some of those criminals should have an infinite sentence. By the time they reached their billionth year they would in effect not yet have started. And, by the way, instead of the boredom and inconvenience of prison, your criminal would be very much awake and paying attention because he would be continuously experiencing active torture.

        I do hope you’re not a JP because if I were caught doing a little shoplifting I reckon that you’d probably give me a thousand lashes with a cat o’ nine tails.

      • Martha says:

        Vincent, 3.28.

        I think your last sentence is very much over the top, as I hope you will realise if you reread it. It is Christ and His Church you are addressing, not me personally.

        I find the possibility of Hell for anybody totally terrifying, believe me, but it is the traditional teaching of Christ and His Church that it is the destination of those who do not repent of serious mortal sin. This was discussed on the blog very recently. I hope very sincerely that the three conditions for mortal sin, set out so legally in Catechisms, are rarely, even never, fully present in any individual action, however objectively evil, and I am learning to have great trust in the mercy of God. Even if they were all there at the time of the sin, I take great comfort in the possibility of “repentance between the saddle and the ground.”

        However, we must not be presumptuous either, and we must realise that abortion is a very grave sin, one of the sins which I think used to be included in those crying out to heaven for vengeance, and we must remember that the threat of Hell is there for all those involved.

      • Vincent says:

        Martha, I’m sorry if anything I said distressed you. I was trying to show up the difference between your judgment as a good human being and the extreme judgment you appear to impute to God because of the ‘tradition’ of the Church.

        While I accept that God gives us the freedom ultimately to reject him, the Church’s tradition in such matters is 2000 years old; it comes from a culture which knew little psychology and habitually spoke in terms of extreme and brutal punishments. We have a better understanding now of the mixed motives for human choices, and so we have a better idea of condign punishments. We certainly know that ever increasing threats for bad behaviour are counterproductive.

        Many of us, perhaps you too, were brought up in an atmosphere where mortal sin, and therefore damnation, was always around the corner. Of course some simply ignored this, others were psychologically damaged by it. Unfortunately we still describe a whole range of possible actions as mortal sin and in doing so we trivialise the awful act of rejecting God. The best we can do is simply to say and believe that God will always judge us with loving justice and mercy, We know no more than that.

  24. ignatius says:

    Just to clarify here though StJoseph. Are you saying that persons who have abortions are in serious danger of hell? There are two possible readings for your statement and I just want to be sure. If this is the correct reading, does anybody else hold that view?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      I hope the above post of mine makes it clear in your mind.
      That above post was meant to be here. In case you are confused.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Martha. Your post at 1.03 pm Sept 17th.
        I thank you for bringing the Life Charity Shops to my attention.
        I am starting the ball rolling by writing to the next Deanery Meeting to place it on the agenda. For a shop in my local town, there are plenty of empty ones.
        I already have my families help, my daughter being a business manager in a secondary school and my 23 year old grandson who is charity minded hopefully he will help also the other parishes in the deanery.(please God)
        I ask for prayers for this venture.

      • St.Joseph says:

        P.S
        My brother is involved with the refugees, and has a shop in the town, so it can not be too difficult.

      • Martha says:

        That is very good news St. Joseph, and I hope your initiative will take off with all that experience and knowhow from your family. You see God is showing you, as you said, that you still have work to do here. It might be a good idea to contact Life HQ right from the start as they have people who know all the ropes, and have been involved in several recent startups.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Martha.
        Thank you.
        I have been in touch with various shops and Life HQ yesterday and waiting for a reply from Life HQ . Thank you for your help and any suggestions will be appreciated if you think of some.

    • Martha says:

      Ignatius, I hope this comes in the right place.
      I think it is quite understandable that abortion is not at the top of your agenda. It is not always at the top of mine, nor are the needs of prisoners, though both are very important and challenging issues, and need to be on the list somewhere. Also I think the use of certain terms can blunt our reactions. The word abortion in itself is a neutral and impersonal term which, often deliberately, hides the reality of what is happening when it is applied to babies in the womb rather than to the take of of a plane for instance,

  25. Brendan says:

    Ignatius – I have been preoccupied following a different line of thought regarding the issue of ‘ abortion ‘, which no one has picked up on as yet . However , regarding St.Joseph’s statement with which you disagree and appear to find ‘ unusual ‘….I associate with entirely . ‘ Hell ‘ for us Christians is ( should be ) of course very real – we have Christs testimony for it . We cannot judge who will end up there but – owing to the fact that there is an alternative , heaven – plainly some already have and some will . St. Joseph’s point I believe, is that the whole Church is concerned about one another’s mortal soul , and not just ones own. In this way we nurture the everlasting virtues of faith, hope and love in and for each other ……..until in the end there is just love.
    I found a very human quote from Dawn Eden ( My Peace I Give You ,.2012 ) an American author and Catholic spiritual writer , which I feel makes the point beautifully.
    ” When I am standing in a crowded subway car and someone steps on my toe , I know that it is my toe that was stepped on , because I feel the pain. Somebody didn’t just step on my toe they stepped on me.”
    As a purely rhetorical question and in the same vain , following on from the last quote to make my point earlier regarding ‘ indifferentism ‘ – I quote Anthony Hofler ( Legal academic and Catholic solicitor ) :-
    ” When someone ‘ steps ‘ on the faith of the Church , they ‘ step ‘ on me . That is how closely I identify with it . Do you ? “

    • Martha says:

      Yes, indeed Brendan, that is why we have to be so concerned about our lack of success in having much influence on public opinion, and why we have to do what we can to help those involved, and pray in reparation.

      • Brendan says:

        Your suggestion to Ignatius is well-taken. Our parish holds all day Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every First Friday. There is a strong ‘ Chaplet of Mercy ‘ group in reparation , and to invoke Gods Mercy our troubled world. Many of us have taken up praying the ‘ chaplet ‘. on a regular basis. Pray of course is never wasted , and always answered albeit even in mysterious ways.

  26. Ignatius says:

    It can be surprisingly difficult to get a straight answer from anyone about anything on this blog, you all seem to enjoy speaking in code. So let me try again. Does anybody here believe that having an abortion is punishable by eternal damnation? A simple yes or no will suffice as an answer.

    • Brendan says:

      Objectively speaking – yes.

    • Martha says:

      As Brendan says, objectively speaking, yes. I thought I had made my view crystal clear, today, 20th, 10.50 am and 4.17 pm, which is the teaching of the Church. It is not really code, Ignatius. Your question is in reality very complicated and requires more than yes as an answer to a very subjective situation.
      And, no, despite Vincent’s hyperbole, I am not at all vindictive, and trust greatly in the mercy of God, as I have also already said.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      If you would like some straight speaking-not in code. take a look in LifeSite news daily and you will find some there.
      It may make you feel a little sick, however you might realise what is going on in the world.
      The latest from The Society for the Protection of unborn Children (SPUC) today.
      That is Dutch doctor predicts child euthanasia Centre within one year from 1 to 12yrs old.!!
      And worse!!

      • ignatius says:

        St Joseph,
        All I wanted and asked for was a simple yes/no answer, not complicated, still not had one from you. You know St Joseph I worked for several years in Chinese hospitals in the early 90’s when abortion was compulsory and in an orphanage part of which was a dying room for infants. so I don’t need any advising as to the nature of things thanks. All I asked was a simple question requiring a simple answer. Does having an abortion lead a person to hell?

      • St.Joseph says:

        Ignatius.
        Am I really reading you right?
        Have we not posted on this subject enough for you to understand,
        Yes, if one does not repent before they die-it is our duty to enlighten them. no one in todays world are ignorant of the fact that an abortion is killing the unborn .

        No, if they do repent and ask for forgiveness. like us all when we commit sin especially a mortal sin.
        You forget about Purgatory have you forgotten that?
        Do you not think it is our duty to inform our conscience and teach the Word of God or sit back and indulge ourselves in todays modern world of ignorance to what sin is?

    • G.D. says:

      Simply …… No……
      Because ….

      The only sin that can’t be forgiven is the refusal to accept God’s mercy and Love. (Sin against the ‘action’ of the Holy Spirit).
      Only that choice keep’s a soul in eternal damnation. It’s not a punishment.
      There is no punishment in God.

      Am almost 100% certain God will ‘wear down’ all the unrepentant (for all types of sin) with Eternal Love.

      (I jest of course but ….) Eternity is a very very long time you know! My money is on God to outlast any stubborn soul.

  27. Brendan says:

    Ignatius- I detect that for most of our fellow human beings ( not confined just to this blog ) ; to speak about killing human beings is as difficult a subject to contemplate as is for the Christian …’ eternal damnation’ . One always lives in hope of a merciful God ‘ intervening ‘ in such a situation when the two are combined. Indeed The Church when declaring someone ‘ excommunicate ‘ on such an occasion …” thereby not intending to restrict the scope of mercy ..” CCC 2272 .. leaves the way open through The Sacrament of Reconciliation.

  28. ignatius says:

    St Joseph,
    “You forget about Purgatory have you forgotten that?
    Do you not think it is our duty to inform our conscience and teach the Word of God or sit back and indulge ourselves in today’s modern world of ignorance to what sin is?..”

    No I haven’t forgotten purgatory, thats where I’m heading so how could I?
    You can rest assured that I have read all the catechism has to offer on mortal sin plus lots more So I don’t much need much instruction on how to inform my conscience. But I do simply want to know what other people think; hence the simplicity of my questions. Tell me then, do people who commit suicide go to hell as well?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ok Ignatius-inform me of my conscience if you will?

      • St.Joseph says:

        Ignatius.
        Always remember that we as Catholics always have the CCC to inform our conscience.
        It is our duty as Christians to inform others, even though other Christians do not live their lives by the teaching of the Catholic Church.
        The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. The Agony in the garden, The Scourging of Jesus,
        The Crowning of thorns, The Carrying of the Cross and the Crucifixion. Jesus suffering on the Cross, He may have died for our sins, and opened up Heaven. However so that we would believe in Him and listen to His Word. We are supposed to be His disciples, I don’t believe we can pick and choose what we believe in.

    • Martha says:

      It certainly was considered so in the past, and they would be denied Christian burial, or even a space in the cemetery, but again, as each individual tragedy is different, a subjective judgement is made by a merciful God, we cannot do so. Fr. Ronald Rolheiser has written a number of powerful articles on this subject

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      Why are you so interested in hell? We ought to be more interested in keeping people from going there.
      What we do know and that is there is one as the children at Fatima saw the vision of hell.
      Unless God closed the gates lately.!!!!

  29. Brendan says:

    St.Joseph – When responding on this blog concerning matters of our Faith – and for that matter to principally make sure I am in line with , and can work from , clear Catholic Doctrine – I always keep The Catechism of the Catholic Church near…….” a sure and authentic reference text ..” ( Pope St.John Paul ii)

    • St.Joseph says:

      Brendan.
      I don’t mean to be presumtous here, however if my conscience is wrong please inform me!

      • Brendan says:

        St Joseph – Be assured , if I believe you to be wrong I will tell you straight . I have earlier said in this blog that I …” associate myself ” with your thoughts entirely on this topic of abortion . My last piece is meant to find a home with Catholics at least ,as it does with myself.

  30. Brendan says:

    My answer to Ignatius’ question regarding a ‘ suicide is …. possibly ? To help each other out , the CCC. 2280-2283 gives The Church , I believe a balanced and proper/grace-filled incite into the possible judgement of God on this taut ( in human experience ) issue. On this issue at least , I believe I can echo Pope Francis…. ” who are we to judge ? ”
    Only but for ‘ the grace of God ‘ I myself could have faced such a ‘ judgement ‘ in my past.

  31. Martha says:

    Vincent, 9.08 Thank you for explaining your thinking. However the Catechism of the Catholic Church still contains Christ’s teaching about Hell, 1034 – 1037, and about sin, mortal and venial, 1846 – 1869, and I do not think those who continue to be members of His Church can dismiss it as no longer applying to our more enlightened age. I think rather, we can use the modern understanding of psychology which you mention, to help us understand more fully, how deep is God’s mercy and readiness to forgive, as He sees and knows all the motivations and influences which affect every individual action. I trust that He can often say, Father forgive them for they know not what they do, to those involved in abortion.

    • Vincent says:

      it’s really quite straightforward. The Church identifies the matter which is serious enough for mortal sin. When I was a boy I was taught that to steal £5 or more constituted grave matter. Abortion is in that category in spades. But I suspect that very few people involved in abortion.are aware that they are doing something wicked; even if some are — and can make the choice absolutely freely — we only know that they may have separated themselves from God. What God does about that is his business.

      My concern is that we Catholics (hierarchy and all) flash mortal sin and perpetual torment around like a pirate’s banner on a flagpole. Not only do we look remarkably stupid to outsiders but we risk substantial psychological damage to the worrying anxious.

      • Martha says:

        I sense more complaints about the Church saying very little, than about flashing around like pirates. This post is about how attitudes can be changed, and I think you are right in that hostility and threats do not work. That is why, personally, I became active in Life when I was younger, to give positive help to those facing difficulties, but there is a place also for spelling out the reality, so that more people realise that this is a better alternative. I think information does work as well, and Lienart Nielson’s wonderful photographs of all the stages of development in the womb should be publicised as widely as possible, and should definitely be shown and given to all students at school. That is my positive suggestion.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Martha,
        All the more reason I wish to start a Life Charity Shop in my home Town.
        To show there is an alternative.

  32. ignatius says:

    Vincent,
    Yes, we also risk substantial psychological damage to ourselves.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Yes, we also risk substantial psychological damage to ourselves
      I did not find any substantial and psychological damage either to my late husband or myself, when we were organising an SPUC Branch or giving up my home to pregnant girls
      They would have been the ones that were damaged, if they had no support when their parents turned their backs on them and their boyfriends. and went ahead and had an abortion

  33. ignatius says:

    St Joseph,
    “Why are you so interested in hell? We ought to be more interested in keeping people from going there.
    What we do know and that is there is one as the children at Fatima saw the vision of hell.
    Unless God closed the gates lately.!!!!..”

    Actually I’m not much interested in Hell, but I do have to talk about it to serious criminals, who are often very interested in the subject, particularly if they are Catholic.
    The point of my asking was to do with you, bringing up the subject as you did, in your post on September 20, 2016 at 8:23 am and the subsequent discussion amongst you all on the topic. I have this perception that many Catholics try jumping through all kind of mental hoops trying to believe things that they actually do not believe..but think that they should. This struggle, in my view is one of the principal reasons for the lapsing of so many. As to Hell, can’t remember which Saint it was said that Hell must exist because of God’ justice but was most probably empty on account of His mercy..anybody know who it was?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      Sept 20th 8.23 Quote. I would rather suffer ‘hell on earth’ than in life everlasting.
      Read my post again and take it in this time,
      There is no one in the world that can believe that a child in the womb is not a human being . I would rather to be told the truth than wait until I meet my Maker.
      Isn’t that the reason you teach your people in prison?? Or do you do that for your own salvation.
      John the Baptist came shouting Repent Repent.

  34. Ignatius says:

    St Joseph,
    Alas I can only ‘take in’ what is clearly spoken. I have taken your post to indicate you believed that to have an abortion is to render yourself liable for hell, that interpretation of your post led me to want to check my interpretation and ask the questions I have asked to see if others thought the same. I do not think that many people believe as you seem to, though they may say they do and profess the catachesim to back them up.This is really a very simple and straightforward thing which has nothing to do with any other issues; I am simply engaged in information gathering about what some of you believe. What is it about my asking that you do not appear to like? Why should I not be interested in what people believe about things St Joseph?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      I am surprised that you being a Deacon would not discuss your problem with your Spiritual Director. He will be able to speak to you spiritually with regards to your confusion.
      I will pray for you.

  35. Ignatius says:

    So, to sum up, abortion is a grave matter in Catholic eyes. This means that a Catholic who freely has an abortion, in full knowledge of the graveness of their act, then persists in refusing to ask for forgiveness in till the end of their days ,despite their conscience and wilfully, may possibly separate themselves from God for eternity….I guess that’s what the position is. So how about the many who do not believe, what about them?

    • Brendan says:

      It comes as a surprise we are under such a microscope on this ‘ blog’.

    • Martha says:

      I think that also depends on all the factors you have mentioned which only God knows for each individual. You are maybe thinking of the people you worked with in China? This is standard, surely non contentious, teaching.

  36. Quentin says:

    I think we are all agreed that abortion is a seriously wicked act. I think we are all agreed that those who perform abortions are always mistaken but not always necessarily evil. However we cannot judge individual cases. In so far as they are guilty God will deal with them justly and with mercy. Whether any, a few, or many separate themselves from God for all eternity we do not know. Our job is to witness to the truth, showing proper respect to everyone involved.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Quentin.
      In the case of those who perform an abortion especially late abortions. must be able to understand that it is an evil act. I don’t believe they are always mistaken when a child is ripped asunder.
      My friend an ex nurse left because she was carrying live babies to the incinerators.
      May the Lord forgive and have pity on their souls. He as you say is the judge.
      That does not mean that we as Christians close our eyes to it without calling on the law to intervene.

  37. Brendan says:

    St. Joseph – Thinking of your post, 1 Cor. 8:12 comes to mind….” And then it would be through your knowledge that this brother from whom Christ died , vulnerable as he is , has been lost. So sinning against your brothers and wounding their vulnerable consciences , you would be sinning against Christ. ”
    Luke 17 :1 prefiguring Paul; Christs’ solemn ‘ warning ‘ … ” thrown into the sea with a millstone round the neck…etc ” .

  38. ignatius says:

    Brendan: ” It comes as a surprise we are under such a microscope on this ‘ blog’.”

    And I’m not quite sure why a little simple catechesis should come as such a surprise, particularly in a public forum

    Martha: No I am not thinking about anyone in China but about the lady I brush past in Marks& Spencers or the non church going chap walking down the high street, looking in the shop window as he goes and who has agreed with his girlfriend that an abortion is the best thing right now…I want to know if he is going to hell?

    St Joseph,
    Don’t panic, I already have a spiritual director who is very good, catechisms coming out of my ears and the discipline of running catechesis classes weekly at least. I also have my mates Google and You tube to look up sermons on anything and everything, it is the views of this blog I am seeking at the moment, views which all are free to give or not give; but I would welcome your prayers anyway 🙂

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      I don’t believe too much in ‘views’ as you call them, only faith hope and love.

    • Martha says:

      Ignatius, I really thought I had made my view quite clear, and I am sorry you can’t accept it. Only God knows what pressures are on the people you mention and those who used to come in to the Life counselling room, or the motives of those who are ready and willing to destroy the life of their
      unborn baby. Many are more sinned against than sinning themselves. I think it is unlikely that most would be so evilly disposed that God would punish them in Hell, but the act of abortion is intrinsically evil, and we must try to get this realised and accepted and to reverse its sanction by the state. More impossible ventures have succeeded, forlorn though the situation seems now. If the Church’s teaching about sex outside marriage were to be followed . . .

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius You say 22nd 12.06 A non church going chap walking down the high street looking in the window as he goes and has agreed with his girlfriend that an abortion is the best and right thing to do,. I want to know is he going to hell.

      What gives you the right to ask that question when you don’t know the answer.?
      It would be better if you, opened your house to that couple and offered them a home until the baby was born then could be adopted if that is what they want.
      Talk is cheap!!!! Action speaks louder than words.!!

      • ignatius says:

        St joseph,
        What gives you the right to ask that question when you don’t know the answer.?

        I thought this blog was about asking questions? What point would there be in asking questions to which we already knew the answers? The question is quite simple really, if you want I will put it differently: Does Catholic teaching on abortion apply to non believers who, by definition, are unable to have a properly informed conscience? What do you think? As to how much or how little we all do, well I’m happy to be judged on that when the time comes, St Joseph.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Ignatius.
        That is why, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the graces we receive from our Baptism and the Sacraments to help people who are living in ignorance (without pushing it down their throats)and show them the way of salvation.
        ‘Do unto others what we would want to be done to us’.
        I believe that is our vocation as Christians.
        Every one has heard of Jesus, it is sorrowful that other Christians do not believe in what we believe. They all read the Bible. We must believe in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded on the Rock of St Peter.
        We can not be luke warm and follow the crowd .
        And if you believe that people are entitled to sin against God if they do not believe-then what does it prophet a man to if he gains the whole world but loses His soul?

  39. ignatius says:

    Hi Martha,
    Yes you had made your view clear, quite eloquently so. Its just that, having heard what we thought about Catholic people with informed consciences, I wanted to know what we thought about non Catholics/ non Christians. Since only now have we clearly articulated a view, what makes you think I cannot/ do not accept it?
    St Joseph, you may think you do not have a ‘view’ but you most certainly do!

    • twr57 says:

      Ignatius,
      Your problem (of the uninstructed conscience ) seems to be a general one. Why do you specifically link it to abortion? I don’t think this helps us to answer dispassionately.

  40. ignatius says:

    Hi trw57,
    Its all flowed out of the discussion on the blog and a comment from St Joseph on sept 18th 9.06 pm. But you are right, conscience is a general question.

  41. Iona says:

    Ignatius, I think you’re asking the impossible. You are asking us to make judgements which only God can make. We can tell you how we personally would judge a given case, but we don’t have access to all the facts of that case (how can we?).
    Many women who have abortions are coerced or frightened into it, or feel they have no real choice, or are persuaded that it is not what we Catholics would term “grave matter” because what they are aborting is not yet “really” a human person.
    The people who carry out the abortions, or who run abortion clinics, are more culpable because they are not coerced nor frightened. Some of them make a lot of money from it, a clear case of preferring Mammon to God. Other things being equal, they are probably more at risk of hell than are most of the women they are operating on. I read about a doctor in the USA who carried out large numbers of abortions including “partial-birth abortions” when the baby is full-term or nearly so, and is killed during the birth process (I won’t go into how, it’s too sick-making). This doctor was reported to make jokes about the process, for example commenting on one aborted baby that “he was big enough to walk down the road on his own”. Difficult to see how someone so hardened can be excused; nevertheless, only God knows all the circumstances.

  42. Ignatius says:

    Hi Iona,
    Thanks for that. I was only asking for people’s understanding, not for anyone to sever the Gordonian knot! I spend quite a lot of time in catachesis with all sorts of people and I think it’s not just a matter of giving a paragraph number in a moral conduct manual but of thinking and feeling ones way through the issues by what is called ‘Socratic method”. In other words proceeding by question and answer until we get to a place that we feel represents our true understanding. We have minds which are in the process, hopefully, of becoming sacred and,as such, they are in need of exercise. I am of the opinion that a conviction, firmly held in both heart and mind, is far more likely to produce sustained action than one held only by one of the two.

    So thank you for taking th time to take the question seriously. I have formed no opinion on the people who run the clinics as they weren’t the focus of my query.As I have said I speak abou issues of conscience quite a lot and can see that workers would either be convinced of the rightness of their actions or else deeply seared.I would say that the staff I knew at the orphanages in China fell into those two categories….but then there was direction of labour so you worked where you were sent.
    Personally speaking I remain fairly convinced that He’ll is not an especially crowded place.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Ignatius.
      Are you reading the mind of God now. I would not be too convinced about that. according to the vision of the children at Fatima!

      • ignatius says:

        St Joseph,
        You really should try and explain yourself a little, otherwise its easy to come across as just plain rude.
        “Personally speaking I remain fairly convinced that He’ll is not an especially crowded place.”
        Where, in the above sentence, can you find the idea that I am reading the mind of God?

      • St.Joseph says:

        Ignatius.
        Yes sometimes comments can sound rude and presumptuous yours too, when one can not see the person.!
        I believe my post to be simple enough, by saying ‘No one knows how many are in hell only God’ He spoke often of hell in his time on earth.
        I believe in the children of Fatima’s account of seeing hell.
        We know there is one but pray we wont end up there.
        This is my last post to you,’ever’
        Sorry Quentin.!

  43. Ignatius says:

    PS,
    Sorry about the typo’s, its first thing in the morning on my mini I pad!

  44. tim says:

    Ignatius
    Abortion is clearly a sin worthy of Hell. Do you disagree?
    But sinners may repent – in which case the death of Christ obtains forgiveness for them. Or they may not be fully culpable – for a whole variety of reasons, which you know at least as well as I – in which case they may not be in danger of Hell. What is difficult about this? I cannot understand what you are asking us or why.

  45. ignatius says:

    Hi Tim, if you go through the thread it should be pretty clear to you how the enquiry developed and why, I did try to be very plain about the reason I was asking. I know what the catechism says but I wanted to see how individuals worked it through for themselves. Till now I’d never heard anyone say directly that those having abortions were hellbound, indeed the catechism itself doesn’t say this directly. So I wanted to hear peoples views, what is so difficult about that, Tim?

  46. ignatius says:

    PS..Tim,
    Perhaps you could explain also to me why such a simple straightforward question as I was asking seemed to provoke such outrage?

  47. ignatius says:

    GD I have really no idea. Bu, to be honest, being accused of ‘playing God’, being confused, being in need of counsel, told I have no right to ask simple questions and that I am in need of praying for…simply because I show an interest in a particular line of thought, is pretty disheartening.

    • G.D. says:

      Take it with a pinch of the Cross .. Passionate topics often incite latent ‘resentments’ from past ‘battles’ on the topic. Sure it wasn’t (meant as) personal slight, even if it was produced in that way. Just carried away with repressed & misdirected angers.
      You didn’t help yourself by replying to it though. (Lol).
      Sure you’ve suffered worse with the prison chaplaincy.

  48. Nektarios says:

    Thank God, He is the judge and not us.
    I find so little of the love of God manifested on this topic let alone all the other sins of mankind against God.
    I am glad no one sees our souls, they are hidden from the eyes of men, and sadly so often from ourselves.
    The issue of sin for the Christian has been dealt with on Calvary’s hill. Christ died to redeem. He came not to judge the world but to save the world.
    Oh, that we would see all this issue through the eyes of God. Perhaps then, we would see our own soul’s need of God’s love and mercy, not presuming upon it and carrying on judging others with almost hatred.
    Yes, try and see this issue through God’s eyes -yes it can be done, but for that you will need love
    of God and with that the love of God towards mankind. For where love is such judgement does not exist.

  49. ignatius says:

    I think that’s something like the point…to talk about people being ‘worthy of hell’ for particular actions, very often carried out under great personal distress and hardship is, frankly speaking, quite repugnant.

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