Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tabula Delenda Est...?

I don't read the dreadful "fishwrap" (to use Fr. Z's phrase) often referred to as The Bitter Pill, but which I think is more accurately described as The Suppository. It just upsets me to see a publication which is in such obvious opposition to the Holy Father and the teachings of the Church being allowed to call itself a Catholic newspaper.

Seeing that it is supported by the Hierarchy of England & Wales (it is, after all, on sale openly at the back of both Westminster's and Southwark's Cathedrals) makes me fume.

Generally, as I say, I succeed in avoiding it.

Occasionally, however, it outdoes itself and its erroneous (and heretical) articles need to be challenged.

Like the issue which has tried to suggest that actually the Church's teaching on abortion isn't quite as definitive as we've been led to believe, and that the Church's "current position" is open to further change.

James Preece did a very good piece on this issue. But WHY is it being left to bloggers to challenge heresy?

As far as I can see from the parts of Tina Beattie's article I could bring myself to read, she is trying to suggest that direct abortion of the foetus before ensoulment was considered to be less grave than a later abortion.

"But there are grounds for reconsidering the Catholic Church’s present position on abortion by appealing to the wisdom of its own tradition, which is less rigid than the present hierarchy would have us believe. The claim that all abortion is tantamount to murder finds little support in pre-modern theology. Until the late nineteenth century there was widespread debate as to the morality of early and late abortion, with a widespread consensus that early abortion was a less grave sin than late abortion. This was informed by the belief that ‘ensoulment’ was not simultaneous with conception, but that the early foetus went through various stages of pre-human development before it acquired a soul and became fully human."

It may have been considered "less grave" to abort , but it was still a mortal sin. I believe that the "less grave" distinction was only relevant to the Confessor in deciding what penance should be given. In addition, as Red Maria has pointed out previously in an excellent article, the whole "ensoulment" argument is a massive red herring employed by the pro-abortion lobby when trying to argue against the Church's teaching.

Ensoulment is an Aristotelian concept, which wasn't ever official Church teaching. In contrast, the prohibition against direct abortion has always been official Church teaching - it was something that marked out Christians from the society around them, as noted in the Didache, a document from the first century, and by Tertullian, a second century writer.

The fact that this appalling dissent from Church teaching is being given a platform in what is supposedly a Catholic publication is a disgrace. It does not reflect well on the Hierarchy of England and Wales that this sort of dissent is allowed to pass unchallenged.

It's time that The Suppository was flushed down the toilet.

Admittedly this might be considered unkind to sewer rats.

5 comments:

The Cellarer said...

Our parish sells The Universe, Catholic Herald, Scottish Catholic Observer etc but mercifully no Tablet.

PP at old parish when I was young and foolish (as opposed to old and foolish now!)when I mentioned I read it, made a face and explained 'because it's not really Catholic at all' - which I now completely agree with...

Dominic Mary said...

Thank you, Mac.

The problem with that rag, as with many other manifestations of 'modern thought', is thay they confuse theological speculation (ie the theoretical discussion of questions from within a firm understanding and acceptance of the truth) with the possibility of dissent.

Theological speculation is a legitimate academic activity, designed to achieve the useful end of formulating the truths of the faith more precisely for a given set of circumstances : uninformed dissent is neither legitimate nor useful.

It all comes back to one of my hobbyhorses : the appalling lack of proper catechesis over the last few decades, which has meant that the majority of the Catholic population are not sufficiently informed to recognize the errors of such propositions : and as the propositions are in accord with 'modern thinking' (as in the worldly viewpoint) they appear to be right and proper, and thus (regrettably) command support.

Gregory the Eremite said...

"Ensoulment is an Aristotelian concept, which wasn't ever official Church teaching."

In the pursuit of paedantic exactness, one has to be cautious here: the Council of Vienne taught that the rational soul is the form of the body (see the Catechism p 365). Therefore the "matter" (in the Aristo-Thomistic sense) has to be "informed" by the soul at some point.

What the Church has never defined is the point at which this ensoulment occurs. However, as the more with-it commentators point out, this is irrelevant to the abortion question.

Delia said...

Wouldn't mind what the Pill wrote if it described itself honestly as a 'Dissident Catholic' weekly!

Hestor said...

It is a scandal to have to encounter this rag at the back of the cathedral, every time I go to confession. The fact that the so-called "conservative" Archbishop Nichols has not done anything about this (and he knows very well what The Tablet stands for) speaks volumes.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...