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  #1  
Old Aug 17, '04, 4:42 pm
campbell campbell is offline
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Default Ensoulment

It is my understanding that Catholic doctrine is agnostic as to when the soul is infused. As one Catholic web site explains: "There is neither explicit dogma nor a coherent doctrine concerning the creation of soul at the moment of conception. The whole person is a creation of God directly and indirectly. How so? Speculations are allowed if you sustain that the soul is not a ‘product of man’" (http://www.catholic-church.org/mscpe...oul_origin.htm )

Augustine believed that a male fetus obtained its soul at 40 days and a female fetus, between 80 to 90 days. Aquinas concluded that the soul was developed in three stages during gestation so that by the time the fetus was born he ir she was fully ensouled. Classical Judaism believes the soul originates in heaven and joins the body at body at birth, based on the Bible’s conclusion, found in Genesis, that after God formed man from the dust, God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living thing."

While the question of when the soul is infused may be an unresolved question in Catholicism, the Church does not consider the question related to the issue of abortion or stem cell research. I'm not sure why because it seems to me ensoulment is what really distinguishes man from other animals.. Can anyone explain why when a person is infused with a soul is irrelevant to these two issues?
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  #2  
Old Aug 17, '04, 5:26 pm
yinekka yinekka is offline
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Default Re: Ensoulment

You wrote:

"As one Catholic web site explains Be careful of equating one opinion with Church teaching, not only on this matter but when considering all questions relating to the Faith.

Augustine believed that a male fetus obtained its soul at 40 days and a female fetus, between 80 to 90 days. Aquinas concluded that the soul was developed in three stages during gestation so that by the time the fetus was born he ir she was fully ensouled. Classical Judaism believes the soul originates in heaven and joins the body at body at birth, based on the Bible’s conclusion, found in Genesis, that after God formed man from the dust, God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living thing."

Classical Judaism, Augustine and Aquinas did not have the knowledge of embryology that we have now and attempted to explain ensoulment and many other questions of the day with the understanding they had then.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that if a body is human, then it has a spiritual soul: "The human body... is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul..." (No. 364). (Corpus hominis...est corpus humanum praecise quia anima spirituali animatur.)

When the sperm unites with the ovum a zygote is produced. the zygote possesses its own unique DNA; the zygote is human. Therefore the soul is present in the zygote.
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Old Aug 17, '04, 7:45 pm
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Re: Ensoulment

The Church teaches that the soul created by God is infused by God into the person at the moment of conception.
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Old Aug 17, '04, 7:56 pm
JimG JimG is online now
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Default Re: Ensoulment

Biologically, we know precisely when a new individual of the human species begins. A new human being begins at conception.

Biology is not concerned with soul or ensoulment.

But as Catholics, we believe that the soul is the vital principle of human beings. As quoted by yinekka in the post above from the CCC, "if a body is human, then it has a spiritual soul: "The human body... is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul..."

But biologically, we know when the human body begins, and consequently we must believe that it is animated by a human soul from conception.

It is remarkable that this issue keeps coming up, since most of those in the pro-abortion camp don't believe in souls anyway.

JimG
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Old Aug 17, '04, 8:00 pm
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Pug Pug is offline
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Default Re: Ensoulment

Does anyone know how this is supposed to work with identical twins? I even remember someone telling me that some split off cells could be reabsorbed. Can anyone clarify?
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Old Aug 17, '04, 8:17 pm
JimG JimG is online now
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Default Re: Ensoulment

Since no one can watch God create souls, it's pretty much speculation with identical twins. Some postulate that God creates a second soul when the split into two is made. Personally, I don't worry about it much.
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Old Aug 17, '04, 8:47 pm
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Pug Pug is offline
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Default Re: Ensoulment

I don't worry about it much either, but an ex-Catholic buddy of mine brought it up in a discussion about abortion. He is best categorized as in the "you generally shouldn't abort once it is viable" camp. I think I made a convincing argument against viability as the best line to draw, but I was tripped up with saying conception is the line to draw for when it is a person as soon as he brought up identical twins.
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Old Aug 17, '04, 11:01 pm
aridite aridite is offline
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Default Re: Ensoulment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pug
Does anyone know how this is supposed to work with identical twins? I even remember someone telling me that some split off cells could be reabsorbed. Can anyone clarify?
As stated before, the principle is, if you have a human individual, there mest be a spiritual soul there. If a twin splits off, then there is a new individual and a new soul. If one is reabsorbed, it died. These things happen. The only question is if one zygote splits equally into two, was the first one destroyed and two new persons ensouled, or one continues and one new one is ensouled? We don't (can't) know enough to make a determination. I agree, I don't worry about such bookkeeping. I believe it works out in God's providence.

What we do know from modern biology is that a new human cell comes into being with its own DNA at conception, and since its a human individual, it must have a spiritual soul. The Church clearly teaches this. This is the only reason the Church opposes abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Deliberately destroying an embryo is the destruction of a human person, no matter how small.
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Old Aug 17, '04, 11:20 pm
Peace-bwu Peace-bwu is offline
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Default Re: Ensoulment

Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell
It is my understanding that Catholic doctrine is agnostic as to when the soul is infused. As one Catholic web site explains: "There is neither explicit dogma nor a coherent doctrine concerning the creation of soul at the moment of conception. The whole person is a creation of God directly and indirectly. How so? Speculations are allowed if you sustain that the soul is not a ‘product of man’" (http://www.catholic-church.org/mscpe...oul_origin.htm )

Augustine believed that a male fetus obtained its soul at 40 days and a female fetus, between 80 to 90 days. Aquinas concluded that the soul was developed in three stages during gestation so that by the time the fetus was born he ir she was fully ensouled. Classical Judaism believes the soul originates in heaven and joins the body at body at birth, based on the Bible’s conclusion, found in Genesis, that after God formed man from the dust, God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living thing."

?
Augustine and Aquinas did not have the scientific study we have today, they were unaware of the mysterious development of a baby... we now have irrefutable evidence of the personhood of embryos and the fetus. We understand when the embryo has a spinal cord and can probably feel pain.(not that pain determines ensoulment) I have two friends who have sons who were born at 24 weeks gestation and survived, this was practically unheard of just 15 years ago.

I used to wonder when the soul entered a body before I was a mother. It may be unscientific but I swear to you I know the first day of conception for my children because I sensed their presence.. It felt like another person was with me, and I loved them right at that moment. We didn't "plan" any of our children, so I wouldn't attribute it to "trying" and wishful thinking... I just "knew" they were there, and I believe now that it was the presence of their souls I sensed. Take it for what it's worth, just the musings of a simple woman's experience with life being created within her body!
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  #10  
Old Aug 17, '04, 11:24 pm
Peace-bwu Peace-bwu is offline
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Default Re: Ensoulment

"A person is a person, no matter how small!"

---Dr. Suiss
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