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  #1  
Old Sep 8, '06, 9:30 am
rj04 rj04 is offline
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Default Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

It's clear that elective circ is immoral, but knowing that the US has a very high rate of elective circ (55-60%) in comparison to other countries (Canada = 9%, UK =<1%), I was wondering if US Catholics understand the problems with the procedure.

No. 2297 of the Catechism, "Respect for bodily integrity," states in part:
"Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law." The American Heritage Dictionary defines amputate as "To cut off (a part of the body), esp. by surgery," and it defines therapeutic as "Having healing or curative powers." In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics described circumcision as "amputation of the foreskin," and the American Medical Association called elective circumcision "non-therapeutic" (Council on Scientific Affairs 1999). Elective circumcisions are directly intended, nontherapeutic amputations of healthy foreskins. As such, they do violate the moral law. [source]
The Ecumenical Council of Florence states:
Therefore it denounces all who after that time observe circumcision, the sabbath and other legal prescriptions as strangers to the faith of Christ and unable to share in eternal salvation, unless they recoil at some time from these errors. Therefore it strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practise circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation.(emphasis added)
Also, Pope Pius XII said this in 1952:
"From a moral point of view, circumcision is permissible if, in accordance with therapeutic principles, it prevents a disease that cannot be countered in any other way." (Discorsi e Messaggi Radiodiffusi, t. XIV, s. 328-329)
The AAP in 1999:
Existing scientific evidence . . . [is] not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.
So, circ violates the moral AND it's not medically defensible. The foreskin has a purpose and a function. Further, Christ had to submit himself to the law because he was Jewish. He didn't need baptism, either, but he did it show obedience.

Some Christians justify circ by saying "Christ was circ'd," but that is not logical because the New Covenant replaces circ with baptism.

St. Augustine:
Accordingly, when you ask why a Christian is not circumcised if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, my reply is, that a Christian is not circumcised precisely for this reason, that what was prefigured by circumcision is fulfilled in Christ. Circumcision was the type of the removal of our fleshly nature, which was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, and which the sacrament of baptism teaches us to look forward to in our own resurrection.(Reply to Faustus the Manichaen. Book XIX. Paragraph 9. In: Dods M (ed). The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. 1872. vol. 15, p. 334.)
Circ was introduced as a mark of the covenant following Abrahams adultery with Hagar. St. Thomas Aquinas has three reasons for circ as a mark of the Old Covenant and his third reason echoes punishment for adultery:
1) Abraham was to be blessed in his seed;
2) The rite was to take away original sin, which comes by generation
3) It was to restrain concupiscence, which is found especially in the generative organs (De Sac., Summa III, Q. lxx, a. 3).
Saints and Church Fathers have reiterated that Christians should not circ such as Tertullian 197 AD: "We do not follow the Jews in their peculiarities in regard to food, nor in their sacred days, nor even in their well-known bodily sign."

The circumcision Christ experienced in the 1st century removed only the very tip of the foreskin, that which extended beyond the glans of the penis. The rabbis in the 2nd century changed that so that now the complete foreskin is stripped back from the glans and them amputated- far more severe than what Jesus underwent. [source]

There is evidence that circ does affect the marital act for both men and women.

Catholics need to do research on this painful, unnecessary procedure. 80% of the men in the world are intact.
  #2  
Old Sep 8, '06, 9:37 am
Karin Karin is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Yes, as an Catholic living here in the States I have gotten both of my sons circ.
  #3  
Old Sep 8, '06, 9:47 am
Jennifer J Jennifer J is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

First, I would mention that circumcision in and of itself is NOT immoral--after all Jesus was circumcised. A Catholic should not be circumcised for religious reasons, as there are none. Baptism replaces circumcision. I do agree that parents should research and decide for themselves about it. It is not a matter of doctrine or faith or morals. For Christians it's a matter of medicine and personally I don't think it's medically neccesary which is why my ds is not circ'd and any future sons will not be. But it was a personal medical decision....No need to cause disunity and discord in our faith community where there need not be any...

Jennifer
  #4  
Old Sep 8, '06, 9:51 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rj04 View Post
It's clear that elective circ is immoral, but knowing that the US has a very high rate of elective circ (55-60%) in comparison to other countries (Canada = 9%, UK =<1%), I was wondering if US Catholics understand the problems with the procedure.
.
it is by no means clear that elective circumcision is immoral, because it is by no means the consensus of medical science that circumcision is not of therapeutic or preventive value. It is a matter of opinion, and is not immoral if done because of a putative therapeutic or preventative value.

whether it is wise, prudent or necessary is a matter of judgement, and either way is not immoral for Catholics or anyone else, unless they belong to a religion that either prescribes or forbids it.

please don't make blanket statements about what is or is not a sin unless you are blessed by the Church with the authority to do so.
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  #5  
Old Sep 8, '06, 10:22 am
djrakowski djrakowski is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Wow, rj04, you couldn't even quote the Catechism correctly in condemning all the parents who've made a free (and moral) choice to circumcize their sons.

I've found only two paragraphs in the CCC that even mention the word 'circumcision':

Quote:
527 Jesus' circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth, is the sign of his incorporation into Abraham's descendants, into the people of the covenant. It is the sign of his submission to the Law and his deputation to Israel's worship, in which he will participate throughout his life. This sign prefigures that "circumcision of Christ" which is Baptism.
Quote:
1150 Signs of the covenant. The Chosen People received from God distinctive signs and symbols that marked its liturgical life. These are no longer solely celebrations of cosmic cycles and social gestures, but signs of the covenant, symbols of God's mighty deeds for his people. Among these liturgical signs from the Old Covenant are circumcision, anointing and consecration of kings and priests, laying on of hands, sacrifices, and above all the Passover. The Church sees in these signs a prefiguring of the sacraments of the New Covenant.
You obviously didn't check your sources, as your quote of paragraph #2297 is grossly incorrect:
Quote:
2297 Kidnapping and hostage taking bring on a reign of terror; by means of threats they subject their victims to intolerable pressures. They are morally wrong. Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations, and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law.
Nope, nothing condemning circumcision here, either.

Your quote from the AAP is more interesting in what it doesn't say, rather than what it does say. Note that it didn't condemn the practice, but rather, doesn't recommend it.

I agree with Jennifer J - you've picked a strange issue to use in dividing the Church.
  #6  
Old Sep 8, '06, 1:40 pm
sanctareparata sanctareparata is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

DH and I are Catholic and we don't circumcise.

It's not because a moral issue, however, but because:

1. There is no good reason we can find to do it in infancy
2. Statistically, there are more complications from circumcising than from not
3. It is an unnecessary pain which we don't wish to put our newborn son through
4. It is not our body to choose to make such an irreversible, permanent decision about
5. The foreskin serves a purpose and was created by God to be part of the male body
6. Men will have foreskins in Heaven....after all, their bodies will be perfect again.
7. And I think intact boys look so much more modest. I don't like that "thing" staring at me.
8. The rates are dropping so our sons won't feel odd man out in the locker rooms - though that argument hardly holds water to me anyway.

If our adult/teen sons want to be circ'ed later, then that is their option and they will receive anesthesia and pain killers to cope.

I do have to disagree however with the PP who said that it can't be immoral because Jesus was circumcised. There are many things that were allowed in those times - incest, adultery, divorce, etc. that were allowed as well which today we consider immoral. But that's just my two cents.
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  #7  
Old Sep 8, '06, 2:06 pm
Teakafrog Teakafrog is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Oh no, here we go again... Just becaue YOU don't believe in doing it, it does not make it a sin. The Church has never said it is a sin, as PP have stated the Catechism doesn't mention it in this context AT ALL, which means it is basically a non-issue.
Going by your logic, I could say that anyone who eats meat is a sinner, or driving a SUV is a sin, or....yada yada yada. It's all a political argument.
It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Catholicism. It is a parent's choice, nothing more or less.

And for the answer, yes, some Catholics in America DO circumcise. Some don't. Again, personal choice.
  #8  
Old Sep 8, '06, 2:30 pm
vluvski vluvski is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

1. Based on Biblical passages in which Peter himself debated with Paul whether or not circumcision would be required, it doesn't seem like the interpretation of circumcision as a form of non-therapeutic mutiliation could possibly be correct.

2. Also, consider that both Mary and Jesus are perpetually free of sin of any kind. If it is a sin for a parent to circumcise her child, Mary could not be sinless. If it is a sin to be circumcised, Jesus would not be sinless.

3. It is not possible for God to command us to do something intrinsically evil and actually allow us to go through with it. It would simply go against His very nature. To say that circumcision is mutilation is to say that God has commanded His chosen people to commit a sin against each one of their male children.
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  #9  
Old Sep 8, '06, 3:32 pm
Laurie1992 Laurie1992 is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

I'm very thankful, that while going through RCIA I spoke with the priest about routine infant circumcision (RIC). Father Page told me that RIC was "not a requirement in the Roman Catholic Faith"! Then I asked our OB/Gyn who informed us that RIC was NOT medically necessary. So it wasn't an issue for us , and now I am the proud mother of 2 sons that are perfect the way that God delivered them - with foreskins (intact). Neither have had any issues related to remaining intact, either at schools, church, with peers, doctors, or any other people or places. We are VERY blessed. I continue to educate others about RIC, Breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and even Silent No More Awareness, a support group for anyone affected by abortion!
  #10  
Old Sep 8, '06, 4:01 pm
Glupen 5 Glupen 5 is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Take it from a pathologist, amputation of the prepuce, i.e. prepucectomy, is circumcision. So 2297 was correctly quoted. In addition, a nonmedical prepucectomy performed on a nonconsenting individual, be it an adult or a minor, be it a male or a female, is by definition mutilation. Again 2297 is correctly quoted. Also remember, performing a nonmedical prepucectomy on a minor female is a felony in this country.

Is it ethical for physicians to tie down an infant boy, tear the prepucet from the underlying glans like a fingernail from its bed, crush it, and cut it off for nonmedical reasons? Remember, infants can and have died of this procedure. No, I could not justify it.

Is it moral for parents to choose to have their infant son tied down, have his foreskin ripped of the underlying glans like a fingernail from its bed, have his foreskin crushed, and finally cut off just because they want to? Having any other organ removed from his body for a similar reason would land parents and physician behind bars and rightfully so. So, no, it’s not moral. Parents are supposed to be advocates for their children, minors and adults.

Is it wise for us parents to have our children circumcised these days? No, of course not. We know that circumcision cannot be medically justified any longer and our children will know this and their respect for those who engage in circumcision will suffer. At least it would have in my family.

Yes, Jesus was circumcised. Mary and Joseph and their families did not know any better. We are more knowledgeable today. In addition, Jesus was spat on, crowned with thorns, whipped, crucified and a whole bunch of other things. None of these things are moral for one person to do on another, including infant boys. Why would anyone even think so?

Why would anyone think that making a medically, morally, ethically, and religiously correct decision ( to keep one child as God made him) divides the Catholic Faith when it would solidify it considerably?! Perhaps people may want to look at Fr. Dietzen’s comments regarding nonmedical circumcisions. So, no, real Catholics treat their children with dignity and forego monmedical circumcision.

Pax.
  #11  
Old Sep 8, '06, 4:15 pm
djrakowski djrakowski is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glupen 5 View Post
Take it from a pathologist, amputation of the prepuce, i.e. prepucectomy, is circumcision. So 2297 was correctly quoted.
No, it isn't. Your interpretation adds to the text that was written, so you're completely wrong. Your definition says that Mary and Joseph sinned in having Jesus circumcised. Furthermore, your interpretation forces you into the position that God commanded the Jews to sin for several millenia in commanding them to circumcise their sons - a position, I might add, that is utterly unjustifiable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glupen 5
Yes, Jesus was circumcised. Mary and Joseph and their families did not know any better. We are more knowledgeable today. In addition, Jesus was spat on, crowned with thorns, whipped, crucified and a whole bunch of other things. None of these things are moral for one person to do on another, including infant boys. Why would anyone even think so?
If Mary and Joseph didn'tt know any better, then God didn't know any better. Do you see how quickly your position becomes untenable in light of what we know of the character of God?

Your comparison of crucifixion - an unjust punishment given to Our Lord - and circumcision - a commandment and sign of the old covenant for the Jews - is absolutely ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glupen 5
Perhaps people may want to look at Fr. Dietzen’s comments regarding nonmedical circumcisions. So, no, real Catholics treat their children with dignity and forego monmedical circumcision.
And precisely why should I care what Fr. Dietzen says about a matter of conscience like this, one that hasn't been ruled as sin by the Church?

I guess, by your definition, I'm not a "real Catholic." Funny, the bishop who is confirming me tomorrow morning, and our pastor (who knows that our son was circumcised and did not object), think differently.

If this procedure is so medically unneccessary and brutal as you've described it, then why do the doctors and nurses who performed them on both of my children still hold licenses to practice medicine?

Seriously, can't you folks find something better to worry about?
  #12  
Old Sep 8, '06, 4:39 pm
Jennifer J Jennifer J is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanctareparata View Post

I do have to disagree however with the PP who said that it can't be immoral because Jesus was circumcised. There are many things that were allowed in those times - incest, adultery, divorce, etc. that were allowed as well which today we consider immoral. But that's just my two cents.

Yes, but as other posters have pointed out, Jesus and Mary were sinless, so even if they didn't "know any better" as someone else wrote, God commanded it and Mary and Joseph followed God's command. Can God give us a command that is immoral???? No. Therefore it follows that circumcision in and of itself is not immoral. I do think that Catholic parents who choose the procedure for religious reasons or for vanity reasons might be committing a sin, but that's not for me to decide!!!

Jennifer
  #13  
Old Sep 8, '06, 4:44 pm
djrakowski djrakowski is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer J View Post
Yes, but as other posters have pointed out, Jesus and Mary were sinless, so even if they didn't "know any better" as someone else wrote, God commanded it and Mary and Joseph followed God's command. Can God give us a command that is immoral???? No. Therefore it follows that circumcision in and of itself is not immoral. I do think that Catholic parents who choose the procedure for religious reasons or for vanity reasons might be committing a sin, but that's not for me to decide!!!
well-said, Jennifer!
  #14  
Old Sep 8, '06, 4:50 pm
djrakowski djrakowski is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

Consider also the following threads from the "Ask an Apologist" forum:

What is the Catholic Church's position on circumcision?

Can Catholics circumcise their sons?

Should Catholics circumcize their children?

The apologists, including Fr. Vincent Serpa (a Catholic priest and the chaplain of Catholic Answers), regard circumcision as a matter of conscience.
  #15  
Old Sep 8, '06, 5:01 pm
Glupen 5 Glupen 5 is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics in the US Circumcise?

djrakowski,

I specifically said that Mary and Joseph did not know any better regarding circumcision. Not knowing any better means that their actions were not sinful, although wrong nonetheless.

“No, it isn't. Your interpretation adds to the text that was written, so you're completely wrong.” What qualifications do you have to say this? In addtion, we cannot take the Old Testament literally. Like the story of Genesis did not happen as presented in the OT (Catholics believe in evolution), so is the story of Abraham not to be taken literally. It is a nice story how circumcision came about, but we also know that circumcision was around before Abraham’s time.

Where did you get this: “If Mary and Joseph didn'tt know any better, then God didn't know any better. “ ???? Certainly neither logical nor taught by the Church. God always knew better than Mary and Joseph.

Where is the argument: “Your comparison of crucifixion - an unjust punishment given to Our Lord - and circumcision - a commandment and sign of the old covenant for the Jews - is absolutely ridiculous.” ????

“And precisely why should I care what Fr. Dietzen says about a matter of conscience like this, one that hasn't been ruled as sin by the Church?” Circumcision is a matter of bodily harm (mutilation), not a matter of conscience.

”I guess, by your definition, I'm not a "real Catholic." Funny, the bishop who is confirming me tomorrow morning, and our pastor (who knows that our son was circumcised and did not object), think differently. “ Many bishops and priests are ignorant on the harm circumcision does. In addition they have difficulty accepting that they were mutilated. So I don’t doubt that they think differently. They are, however, wrong. How do you know that your son was not objecting when his synechia was ripped apart, his prepuce was crushed, and his foreskin cut off? Perhaps you should watch a circumcision clip.

”If this procedure is so medically unneccessary and brutal as you've described it, then why do the doctors and nurses who performed them on both of my children still hold licenses to practice medicine?” Doctors and nurses who perform abortions and, thus, kill babies still hold licenses. Unless, of course, you suggest that abortions are accebtable ....

”Seriously, can't you folks find something better to worry about?” Ask the nephew of former neighbors of mine, who died following a nonmedical circumcision. As a pathologist, a scientist, a Catholic, an American, a human, I have an obligation to speak out on the subject.

“And precisely why should I care what Fr. Dietzen says about a matter of conscience like this, one that hasn't been ruled as sin by the Church?” As a Catholic I would hope that you would be open to learn (let the light shine in every once in a while). Please check with “Catholics against Circumcision” on what the Catholic Church has said regarding the sin of circumcising.

Why did you feel a need to mutilate your sons deny them the full God-given pleasure of sexuality, and expose them to medical complications?
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