It seems that our American brothers and sisters have a big election coming up and abortion is one of the major issues. Let us read and understand what the Popes (magisterial teachings) have to say about this grave sin. In the following passages the Popes talk about abortion leading to a weakening of the social fabric and eventually its destruction.
* "Those who hold the reins of government should not forget that it is the duty of public authority by appropriate laws and sanctions to defend the lives of the innocent, and this all the more so since those whose lives are endangered and assailed cannot defend themselves. Among whom we must mention in the first place infants hidden in the mother's womb. And if the public magistrates not only do not defend them, but by their laws and ordinances betray them to death at the hands of doctors or of others, let them remember that God is the Judge and Avenger of innocent blood which cries from earth to Heaven.”(1) Pius XI
* "But another very grave crime is to be noted, Venerable Brethren, which regards the taking of the life of the offspring hidden in the mother's womb. Some wish it to be allowed and left to the will of the father or the mother; others say it is unlawful unless there are weighty reasons which they call by the name of medical, social, or eugenic `indications.' . . . There are those, moreover, who ask that the public authorities provide aid for these death-dealing operations, a thing, which, sad to say, everyone knows is of very frequent occurrence in some places... 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 shall not kill.' The life of each is equally sacred, and no one has the power, not even the public authority, to destroy it." (2) Pius XI
* "Moreover, every human being, even the child in its mother's womb, receives its right to life directly from God, not from his parents, nor from any human society or authority. Therefore there is no man, no human authority, no science, no 'indication' whether medical, eugenical, social, economic or moral, that can show or give a valid juridical title for a deliberate and direct disposing of an innocent human life, that is to say, for an action which aims at its destruction, whether such destruction be intended as an end or as a means towards some other end which may itself be in no way illicit. So, for example, to save the life of the mother is a most noble end, but the direct killing of the child as a means to that end is not lawful. The direct killing of the so-called 'valueless life,' whether born or unborn, which was practiced a few years ago in numerous instances, can in no way be justified." (3) Pius XII
* "Indeed, all must regard the life of man as sacred, since from its inception, it requires the action of God the Creator. Those who depart from this plan of God not only offend His divine majesty and dishonor themselves and the human race, but they also weaken the inner fiber of the commonwealth." (4) John XXIII
* "Vatican II reiterated the point: 'Abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.' . . . The first and most fundamental right of man is the right to life, that is, to the protection of his life. And no one can have a contrary right where an innocent person is concerned. The weaker the subject is, the more he needs protection, and the more all have a duty to protect him. The mother is particularly accountable as long as she has the baby in her womb." (5) Paul VI
* "I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life—from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages—is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God. . . . Let me repeat what I told the people during my recent pilgrimage to my homeland: "If a person's right to life is violated at the moment in which he is first conceived in his mother's womb, an indirect blow is struck also at the whole of the moral order, which serves to ensure the inviolable goods of man. Among those goods, life occupies the first place. The Church defends the right to life not only in regard to the majesty of the Creator, who is the first giver of life, but also in respect to the essential good of the human person." (6) John Paul II
* "I wish to recall emphatically to your memory today only the following: the killing of unborn life is not a legitimate means of family planning. I repeat what I said on May 31st of this year to workers in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis: 'The first right of man is the right to life. We must defend this right and this value. In the contrary case, the whole logic of faith in man, the whole program of really human progress, would be shaken and collapse.' " (7) John Paul II
* "On my part I owe it to my apostolic office to reaffirm as clearly and as strongly as possible what the Church of Christ teaches in this respect, and to reiterate vigorously her condemnation of artificial contraception and abortion. Yes, from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages, all human life is sacred, for it is created in the image and likeness of God." (8) John Paul II
* "Dear brothers and sisters: on this evening when we celebrate life, we are also mindful of the many threats to life which exist in our technological society. Of incalculable danger to all humanity is the rate of abortion in society today. This unspeakable crime against human life which rejects and kills life at its beginning sets the stage for despising, negating and eliminating the life of adults, and for attacking the life of society." (9) John Paul II
* "Over the last twenty years, many states have renounced their dignity as defenders of innocent human life, enacting laws permitting abortion. A real slaughter of the innocents is being carried out every day throughout the world ." (10) John Paul II
1. On Christian Marriage, St. Paul Editions, Boston, pp. 33-34.
2. Ibid., pp. 31-32.
3. Address of Pope Pius XII to the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives, The Clergy Review, vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 382-383.
4. Mater et Magistra, St. Paul Editions, Boston, p. 55.
5. The Pope Speaks, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 334-335.
6. Homily at the Mass on the Capitol Mall, Washington, D.C., October 7, 1979, Sacred in All Its Forms, St. Paul Editions, Boston, pp. 160-161.
7. Homily at the Mass for families, in Cologne, Germany, November 15, 1980, Sacred in All Its Forms, St. Paul Editions, Boston, p. 196.
8. Homily at the Mass for families, in Cebu City, the Philippines, February 19, 1981, Sacred in All Its Forms, St. Paul Editions, Boston, p. 204.
9. Address to the youth, to the aging, and the disabled in Vancouver, B.C., L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, October 8, 1984, p. 17.
10. L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 11, 1988, p. 6.
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