Sunday, March 25, 2007


The Medieval Church

a) St. Augustine

i) According to St. Augustine, because God is the Creator of all men, all men are good "inasmuch as they are the work of God" (De nuptiis et concupiscentia, ii, 35 (ch. 20), P.L., xliv, p. 456).

ii) Even those conceived of adultery, or defective children have been formed by God and have a destiny only He knows: "For he is born feebleminded by an accidental defect, but he is created as a man by the work of God" )Operus imperfecti contra Julianum, iii, 160-61; P.O., xiv, 1313-1315).

iii) Augustine believed that God forms the person in the uterus by divine intervention. "A fetus is conceived and is born by a divine work, not a human one" (Contra Julianum, v. 34 (ch. 8), P.L., xliv, 804-05).

iv) He also believed that man is born in the uterus before he is born outside of the mother (Erarratio in Psalmum, lxii, P.O., xxxvi, 678).

v) He argues that the fetus is not part of the mother (Contra Julianum, vi, 43 (ch. 14); P.L., xliv, 847).

b) St. Aquinas

i) Aquinas is representative of Christian thought on abortion in his time. He argued that (1) the unborn, as soon as it has a soul, is wholly distinct from its mother, and (2) there is no spiritual soul in the "unformed" embryo.

ii) He also believed that the unborn "live with" God and are sanctified by Him.

iii) Whether "formed" or not, abortion is a serious sin (Summa Theologiae, iii, qu. 68, art. 22).
[to be continued]