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 Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment... 
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Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 9:03 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
I think this sheds some light on the question and it settles it for me:

Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii wrote:
64. As to the "medical and therapeutic indication" to which, using their own words, we have made reference, Venerable Brethren, however much we may pity the mother whose health and even life is gravely imperiled in the performance of the duty allotted to her by nature, nevertheless what could ever be a sufficient reason for excusing in any way the direct murder of the innocent? This is precisely what we are dealing with here. Whether inflicted upon the mother or upon the child, it is against the precept of God and the law of nature: "Thou shalt not kill:"[50] The life of each is equally sacred, and no one has the power, not even the public authority, to destroy it. It is of no use to appeal to the right of taking away life for here it is a question of the innocent, whereas that right has regard only to the guilty; nor is there here question of defense by bloodshed against an unjust aggressor (for who would call an innocent child an unjust aggressor?); again there is not question here of what is called the "law of extreme necessity" which could even extend to the direct killing of the innocent. Upright and skillful doctors strive most praiseworthily to guard and preserve the lives of both mother and child; on the contrary, those show themselves most unworthy of the noble medical profession who encompass the death of one or the other, through a pretense at practicing medicine or through motives of misguided pity.

They are equals, the mother and child. I can't imagine a non-person being called an innocent. If not a person, an innocent what?


Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:45 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
I agree that adds weight to the modern view, but the Holy Father did not define when the embryo is a person. He didn't touch the issue at all. The reasonable inference which you draw is only an inference, so it cannot settle the question.

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Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:46 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Lane wrote:
I agree that adds weight to the modern view, but the Holy Father did not define when the embryo is a person. He didn't touch the issue at all. The reasonable inference which you draw is only an inference, so it cannot settle the question.

Yes, I agree and I understand, and that's why I only said it settles it for me. I guess I'm not really interested that much in the original question, only the possible (erroneous) conclusions one might draw. I've actually heard these false conclusions (supporting the direct killing of an innocent) and when I referred to Casti connubii, I was told "that's not infallible."


Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:42 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Lane wrote:
I agree that adds weight to the modern view, but the Holy Father did not define when the embryo is a person. He didn't touch the issue at all. The reasonable inference which you draw is only an inference, so it cannot settle the question.

What can settle the question? A quote from a medieval thinker?

I think that Uncle Tom's greatest contribution was in providing a good recipe for how to think; to give brains, logic, reason, wings... not a straightjacket. He said he "stood on the shoulders of giants" and I think he would be most disappointed to think that we were all too timid to stand on his shoulders.


Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:21 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Oldavid wrote:
What can settle the question?


A pope, insofar as this question of natural truth has implications for the faith.

Oldavid wrote:
I think that Uncle Tom's greatest contribution was in providing a good recipe for how to think; to give brains, logic, reason, wings... not a straightjacket. He said he "stood on the shoulders of giants" and I think he would be most disappointed to think that we were all too timid to stand on his shoulders.


Sure, but don't fall for the time-honoured stupidity of opposing him by pointing out that he wasn't infallible. If we stand on his shoulders and see further as a result - an unlikely event in the case of trained, holy, theologians, and desperately unlikely in the case of untrained laymen - that is one thing; but if we jump down to the ground whilst pretending to stand of his shoulders, that is another thing entirely.

Clearly this is a matter of natural science, not faith, anyway, so it's an open question. We can choose any solution we think makes sense.

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Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:21 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
John Lane wrote:
Sure, but don't fall for the time-honoured stupidity of opposing him by pointing out that he wasn't infallible. If we stand on his shoulders and see further as a result - an unlikely event in the case of trained, holy, theologians, and desperately unlikely in the case of untrained laymen - that is one thing; but if we jump down to the ground whilst pretending to stand of his shoulders, that is another thing entirely.

Clearly this is a matter of natural science, not faith, anyway, so it's an open question. We can choose any solution we think makes sense.

But what about the other, more common, time-honoured stupidity of opposing him by not pointing out that he wasn't infallible? By such one would surely be leaving his method open to unwarranted ridicule, simply because some of his conclusions were based on a poverty of information.

I don't think we could even be said to be having a face-to-face discussion with him while we're kissing his boots.
Quote:
Clearly this is a matter of natural science, not faith, anyway, so it's an open question. We can choose any solution we think makes sense.

No. If we are going to be faithful to Scholastic method we must cut it down to a logical progression to the truth using the best information available. Of course, any logical progression cannot ignore the law of non contradiction.

(Poor Katie might have blood and guts and skin and hair plastered all over her genteel establishment if she doesn't ban pussybears).


Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:28 am
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Dom Pook wrote:
Katie wrote:
Does God will the existence of some that will never exist? Well, I don't know. Probably another well versed in these things would know the answer. It does sound odd to me, though. Until I know or have further information, I think for now that if God wills someone to exist, then He has done that from all eternity and that this person will indeed exist and that the doing of man could not frustrate His will in something so fundamental as existence itself. I am open to correction if I am wrong, which happens all too often!

What is your reasoning for thinking as you do?


The killing of an embryo is an evil.
An evil is an absence of a due good.
God wills the due good.
Embryos are killed.

Therefore there is a due good that God wills that is both due and absent.

The question then is, what is the due good that is absent in the killing of an embryo where ensoulment has not taken place?


Hi Dom,

I've been pondering this for nearly a month... :wink:

This makes sense to me, and the question is indeed THE question. I don't know that anyone has the answer. Besides, this is only a question that is relevant to those who hold to the theory of mediate animation or at least allow for it. For the others, they can find other problems to ponder over.

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:05 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
If Dom Pook doesn't come good with a response I'll stick my oar in again.


Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:47 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
Dom Pook wrote:
Katie wrote:
Does God will the existence of some that will never exist? Well, I don't know. Probably another well versed in these things would know the answer. It does sound odd to me, though. Until I know or have further information, I think for now that if God wills someone to exist, then He has done that from all eternity and that this person will indeed exist and that the doing of man could not frustrate His will in something so fundamental as existence itself. I am open to correction if I am wrong, which happens all too often!

What is your reasoning for thinking as you do?


The killing of an embryo is an evil.
An evil is an absence of a due good.
God wills the due good.
Embryos are killed.

Therefore there is a due good that God wills that is both due and absent.

The question then is, what is the due good that is absent in the killing of an embryo where ensoulment has not taken place?


Hi Dom,

I've been pondering this for nearly a month...

This makes sense to me, and the question is indeed THE question. I don't know that anyone has the answer. Besides, this is only a question that is relevant to those who hold to the theory of mediate animation or at least allow for it. For the others, they can find other problems to ponder over.
Dom Pook wrote:
Katie wrote:
Does God will the existence of some that will never exist? Well, I don't know. Probably another well versed in these things would know the answer. It does sound odd to me, though. Until I know or have further information, I think for now that if God wills someone to exist, then He has done that from all eternity and that this person will indeed exist and that the doing of man could not frustrate His will in something so fundamental as existence itself. I am open to correction if I am wrong, which happens all too often!

What is your reasoning for thinking as you do?


The killing of an embryo is an evil.
An evil is an absence of a due good.
God wills the due good.
Embryos are killed.

Therefore there is a due good that God wills that is both due and absent.

The question then is, what is the due good that is absent in the killing of an embryo where ensoulment has not taken place?


Hi Dom,

I've been pondering this for nearly a month... :wink:

This makes sense to me, and the question is indeed THE question. I don't know that anyone has the answer. Besides, this is only a question that is relevant to those who hold to the theory of mediate animation or at least allow for it. For the others, they can find other problems to ponder over.


Hi Katie,

I've been a bit preoccupied so are only now replying to your latest post.

The following extract is taken from Canon Tim Bouscaren’s book, Ethics of Ectopic Operations (p.42), and gives the teaching of St. Alphonsus on why the killing of an inanimate foetus is mortally sinful. By the way, this work has been republished by Tradibooks with the new title When Mother or Baby Must Die.

“It is certain that to expel a fetus even though it be inanimate, is per se a mortal sin; and the person guilty of it is responsible for homicide…because, although he does not destroy a human life, yet his act has a close casual connection with preventing a human life.” (p.42)

Katie wrote:
I think for now that if God wills someone to exist, then He has done that from all eternity and that this person will indeed exist and that the doing of man could not frustrate His will in something so fundamental as existence itself.


The teaching of St. Alphonsus, in effect, denies this proposition.


Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:00 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Dom Pook wrote:

Hi Katie,

I've been a bit preoccupied so are only now replying to your latest post.

The following extract is taken from Canon Tim Bouscaren’s book, Ethics of Ectopic Operations (p.42), and gives the teaching of St. Alphonsus on why the killing of an inanimate foetus is mortally sinful. By the way, this work has been republished by Tradibooks with the new title When Mother or Baby Must Die.

“It is certain that to expel a fetus even though it be inanimate, is per se a mortal sin; and the person guilty of it is responsible for homicide…because, although he does not destroy a human life, yet his act has a close casual connection with preventing a human life.” (p.42)

Katie wrote:
I think for now that if God wills someone to exist, then He has done that from all eternity and that this person will indeed exist and that the doing of man could not frustrate His will in something so fundamental as existence itself.


The teaching of St. Alphonsus, in effect, denies this proposition.


Hello Dom,

I understand busyness - time is not of the essence on this particular forum. :)

Before I answer this I MUST make something very clear. I am not disputing for one moment that the killing of any embryo at ANY stage is a mortal sin.

I am in total agreement with the following position taken from the post on page 1, excerpted from John Canon McCarthy, Problems in Theology, Vol. I, 1956:

"In this theory, then, the deliberate expulsion, from the mother’s womb, of the human embryo, before the end of the third month of pregnancy, would not be the crime of homicide. This expulsion, however, as the defenders of the mediate animation theory hasten to assure us, is intrinsically and gravely sinful.[12] It is, they say, the destruction of a living being which is homo in potentia and, indeed, in potentia propinquissima."

I of course accept the same teaching of St. Alphonsus as quoted by you above. I hope no one for one moment thought that I held that the killing of an embryo at any stage was not mortally sinful!

However, I don't see why the teaching of St. Alphonsus and McCarthy is in opposition to my proposition. I am not disputing the sinfulness of the act of a killing of an embryo at any stage. I am taking the position of St. Thomas on mediate animation. Further to this I am questioning whether a person held in God's will from all eternity to exist can be frustrated by man and not exist. OR to put it another way, "How can God hold a person in existence in His mind from all eternity if that person never is?"

Does this make any sense?

_________________
On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus.

- St. Robert Bellarmine


Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:06 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Katie wrote:
Hello Dom,

I understand busyness - time is not of the essence on this particular forum.

Before I answer this I MUST make something very clear. I am not disputing for one moment that the killing of any embryo at ANY stage is a mortal sin.


Katie, I did not doubt that, and in fact I know that to be the case. The reason for quoting St. Alphonsus was to show why the killing of an inanimate embryo is sinful. (I had tried to indicate this more clearly by placing emphases on the relevant words, but was unable to do so due to this unexplained quivering effect on my computer. However, I have since found a way around the problem).

Katie wrote:
I am in total agreement with the following position taken from the post on page 1, excerpted from John Canon McCarthy, Problems in Theology, Vol. I, 1956:

"In this theory, then, the deliberate expulsion, from the mother’s womb, of the human embryo, before the end of the third month of pregnancy, would not be the crime of homicide. This expulsion, however, as the defenders of the mediate animation theory hasten to assure us, is intrinsically and gravely sinful.[12] It is, they say, the destruction of a living being which is homo in potentia and, indeed, in potentia propinquissima."

I of course accept the same teaching of St. Alphonsus as quoted by you above. I hope no one for one moment thought that I held that the killing of an embryo at any stage was not mortally sinful!



It would be wrong and unreasonable of me if I thought that you did.

Katie wrote:
However, I don't see why the teaching of St. Alphonsus and McCarthy is in opposition to my proposition. I am not disputing the sinfulness of the act of a killing of an embryo at any stage. I am taking the position of St. Thomas on mediate animation. Further to this I am questioning whether a person held in God's will from all eternity to exist can be frustrated by man and not exist. OR to put it another way, "How can God hold a person in existence in His mind from all eternity if that person never is?"

Does this make any sense?


I think I understand what you are saying Katie.

But if the killing of an inanimate foetus is sinful on account that it “[prevents] a human life”, and what is sinful is contrary to God’s will, then God must will the existence of a human life that will not eventuate. That seems to me the effect of St. Alphonsus’ teaching.


Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:00 pm
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New post Re: Is the Human Foetus a Person from the First Moment...
Dom Pook wrote:
But if the killing of an inanimate foetus is sinful on account that it “[prevents] a human life”, and what is sinful is contrary to God’s will, then God must will the existence of a human life that will not eventuate. That seems to me the effect of St. Alphonsus’ teaching.

I reckon you've palpitated the pulse here, D'Pook.
It should precipitate a debate on the notion of evil... and Predestination.... but, y'know, there are some things that some people just can't stand.


Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:15 pm
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