Catholics For Choice Produce “The Made-up History of Sex, Choice & Catholics” Video

Okay, technically it’s called “The Secret History of Sex, Choice & Catholics”, but that’s not as accurate as my title.

Catholics For Choice (or as I prefer to call them, Apostates for Choice), you must realize, is nothing more than a liberal lobbyist group, a political organization based in Washington DC that has as much to do with practicing the Catholic faith as a frenetic herd of cattle beset with mad cow disease does. Actually, the cattle are probably closer to being better Catholics than this bunch. What’s really sad about that is that you can’t baptize a cow, where ostensibly the members of this group have been.

Bottom line: Apostates for Choice are fakers and frauds, they have pernicious goals and objectives, and they have hijacked the name “Catholic” merely to give themselves an air of credibility. They really need to be prayed for – a lot.

On to the video. Here’s how they describe it:

“The Secret History of Sex, Choice and Catholics” features interviews with leading experts in the fields of theology, philosophy and ethics who examine Catholic traditions, teachings and beliefs on the following key issues:

Abortion & Contraception
HIV & AIDS
Sex & Sexuality
New Reproductive Health Technologies
Religion in Public Policy

All those things have a secret history that they and they alone have uncovered, a la Dan Brown, bravely and boldly telling Catholycs all the things the Vatican doesn’t want you to know.  Who knew?

Now, I’m not going to post the video here, but they produced several short clips to promote the video, and I snagged the one on abortion.

Was the hierarchy always against abortion? from Catholics for Choice on Vimeo.

Whaddya know! Apparently they want to keep their Secret History video a secret from everybody else! To watch it, you have to click on the secret link underneath the secret video of the Secret History.

Provided you’ve watched it – it’s a couple minutes long – the vid prominently features Fr Dan Maguire from Marquette. Now here’s what’s funny about that. What’s the one thing Catholycs like to complain about when it comes to priests and sex? “How can a priest talk about sex? What does he know about it?” So what does Apostates for Choice do?  They get a priest to talk about sex; or in this case, abortion.

So here’s what he says: the Church used to allow for abortions. The implication being, there was never a clear and definitive teaching on the prohibition of abortion throughout the history of the Church, so therefore the teaching can – and probably should – change.  To bolster his argument, he references two people from the Middle Ages: Fr. Thomas Sanchez and St Antoninus of Florence.

Fr. Sanchez was a Spanish Jesuit (1550-1610) who “held that abortion is lawful if the fetus is not yet animated when the intention is to prevent a girl, detected as pregnant, from being killed or defamed.” That’s pretty much in line with what Maguire says about Sanchez. However, what he fails to mention, is that Pope Innocent XI condemned Sanchez’s work in 1679. So what we have here is a Catholyc holding up an opinion as doctrine – which was far from the truth – along with neglecting to admit that Sanchez’s writings on abortion have been condemned by a person in a position of authority – namely, the Pope. Expect nothing less from such people – it is their modus operandi.

St. Antoninus, a Dominican, believed that abortion was permissible – which Maguire stated – but only up until the time of ensoulment (he held to the theory that ensoulment was not instantaneous, but occurred after 40 days (80 days for a female). Maguire conveniently omits that point. Here’s some additional information on St Antoninus:

It was not until the late Middle Ages that Christian theologians begin to address directly the question of abortion to save the woman’s life.

One of the first to discuss this case was Antoninus of Florence. He declared that it was neither legitimate to kill the woman to save the child (by Caesarean section) nor to kill the infant to save the woman (by abortion). If the only way to save someone is by killing someone else, it is better to do nothing. However, he made one exception to this rule. Citing fellow Dominican John of Naples, he argued that before the soul was infused into the embryo (which, following Thomas Aquinas, he regarded as occurring at 40 days for males and 80 days for females) it was legitimate to abort the embryo to save the mother’s life. This was not homicide, strictly speaking. However, an act that destroyed the early embryo and so prevented a child from coming to be was very close to homicide, therefore it could only be justified to save the mother’s life. Furthermore, if it were doubtful whether or not the embryo possessed a human soul then it was not to be harmed. Antoninus only permitted abortion of the pre-ensouled embryo to save the mother’s life…

and

… a principle that was accepted as early as Antoninus of Florence: if there is uncertainty as to whether the soul has been infused, then it should be assumed for practical purposes that it has. It is unethical to risk homicide.
(Source)

Today, the Church teaches that ensoulment occurs at the moment of conception, thus making Antoninus’ teaching moot for us in the modern world. But, that doesn’t fit the Apostates for Choice template, so they have to rely on obsolete teaching.

To be fair, I didn’t waste 45 minutes of my time watching the entire video (I may later), so I can’t comment on the whole thing. But I don’t think I have to, in order to know what I’m going to hear. I did watch half of the snippet on contraception, but had to stop when a theologianette said that what’s truly immoral is that not all women in the world have access to basic contraception, not that contraception in and of itself is immoral. Based on that, I’m presuming the entire video is comprised of liberal talking points, feminist theology claptrap and magesterium-bashing. It’s all been said before – they have nothing new, just newer forms of media in which to say it.

I’d rather watch a frenetic herd of cattle beset with mad cow disease – at least they have an excuse for being demented. What’s this crowd’s defense?

I should add that I’m following Apostates for Choice on Twitter now – I wonder how long before I’m blocked from them too?

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16 responses

  1. All the enemies of the church (Islam, Protestants, Communists, etc.) make up false histories of the Holy Church to defame us and advance their agendas. It’s sad when this happens inside the bosom of the church, and by people who are CINO>

  2. So, before X-rays made it possible to see the child move, someone thought that boys weren’t alive until 40 days, and girls weren’t alive until 80 days — a wild guess, and an extremely anti-female one at that. Yet these “feminist” groups hang on to it as if it were meaningful. As a former girl, I can live without being spoken for by “pro-woman” people who are breathtakingly anti-girl, in many ways.

        • They were using cutting edge– for the time– science. IIRC, you can tell a miscarried boy was going to be a boy at 40 days– or they thought you could– but couldn’t tell a child would be female until about 80.
          No, I don’t know what details they were looking at; I’d guess well-defined primary sex characteristics.

  3. Sigh! Again we do not look to theologians for our decisions about what the church teaches. We look to the heirs of the apostles, especially the heir to the chair of Peter. Any one could probably winnow through history and find someone who was a catholic theologian to support their favorite theory (Arius anyone?)

  4. Actually the Church *doesn’t* have an opinion on ensoulment. The Declaration on Procured Abortion, issued by the CDF in 1974 under the orders of Paul VI in response to Roe v Wade, states it as such, but reminds the faithful that the actual moment makes no difference. Human life is still worthy of protection by its nature as human life.

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  6. Matthew_Roth beat me to it. It is not that the Church teaches ensoulment at conception, but rather that objective immorality of abortion doesn’t stand or fall on ensoulment timing at all! Here is the text from the CDF document:

    19. This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement. For some it dates from the first instant; for others it could not at least precede nidation. It is not within the competence of science to decide between these views, because the existence of an immortal soul is not a question in its field. It is a philosophical problem from which our moral affirmation remains independent for two reasons: (1) supposing a belated animation, there is still nothing less than a human life, preparing for and calling for a soul in which the nature received from parents is completed, (2) on the other hand, it suffices that this presence of the soul be probable (and one can never prove the contrary) in order that the taking of life involve accepting the risk of killing a man, not only waiting for, but already in possession of his soul.

  7. Matthew, Scott – completely agree. My only point was that Maguire is misleading people by relying on Antoninus without mentioning the greater details of the prevailing beliefs at the time. Maguire makes it sound like St Antoninus would permit abortion at any time during a pregnancy to save the woman’s life, which is totally false.

    If I gave the impression that I thought the Church’s teaching on the immorality of abortion hinges on ensoulment, that was not my intent. I was only showing that Maguire was leaving out important details when relying on St Antoninus in support of his claims.

    • That’s ok. It seems like a quibble, but this false notion that the Church has been wishy-washy in the past on abortion has filtered down to the pop culture. There was an episode of CSI in which Sarah interrogated a pro-life suspect (CSI guys interrogated witnesses…yeah, whatever) and appealed to Popes Gregory and Sixtus having different ideas on abortion. What actually happened was that Gregory and Sixtus had different ideas whether abortion rose the canonical crime of murder and they appealed to ensoulment for their position. What they (or Aquinas or anyone else) most decidedly didn’t do was say that abortion was ever acceptable.

  8. Although, I do admit that this paragraph –

    Today, the Church teaches that ensoulment occurs at the moment of conception, thus making Antoninus’ teaching moot for us in the modern world. But, that doesn’t fit the Apostates for Choice template, so they have to rely on obsolete teaching.

    – would have benefited from better editing and clarification.

  9. One minor and tangential quibble in describing Fr. Sanchez as medieval. As a working medievalist who regularly teaches medieval philosophers, Sanchez is early modern in his dates and in his thinking. It seems like a fine distinction, but the shift in thought post-Luther is important.

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