Abortion teaching infallible?


#1

Is the Church’s teaching on abortion infallible?


#2

The Church teaches that the deliberate taking of innocent human life is always gravely wrong. Given that it concerns a matter of morality, and the church has condemned abortion often throughout its history, I would say yes.
catholic.com/library/abortion.asp


#3

Doctrines of the Church are irreformable. The teaching on abortion cannot be reversed.


#4

“Thou shaly not procure an abortion, nor take the life of the new-born child.” (Didache circa 140 AD.)

The Didache is also called “The Teachings of the Apostles.” For almost 2,000 years the RCC has held to this view no matter what changes in views or desires world population has gone through.

If it is not infallible, the Holy Spirit has sure put a lot of effort into preserving it.

Thal59


#5

Further it is an issue of objective morals so it does not need to be infallibly declared because something that is immoral can never be made moral.


#6

Yep. I believe it is case in which we would say that it is infallible by virtue of the ordinary magisterium.

Scott


#7

[quote=tlangenfeld]Is the Church’s teaching on abortion infallible?
[/quote]

Think of it this way…what is it an abortion of? Is it simply a pregnancy that is ended or aborted? Or is it a human life, a person, that is being aborted or terminated. Another word for wilfully ending an innocent human life is murder. You can be guaranteed that God, or his Church, are not going to change their teaching on the evil of murder.


#8

Materially, but perhaps not formally.

De facto, but perhaps not de jure.


#9

Very few of the Church’s teachings are infallible, but this is one of them.

From Evangelium Vitae 62 (bold added):

Given such unanimity in the doctrinal and disciplinary tradition of the Church, Paul VI was able to declare that this tradition is unchanged and unchangeable. Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

From a statement by Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (bold added):

… In the various critical stances towards the recent documents of the Magisterium it is often forgotten that the infallible character of a teaching and the definitive and irrevocable character of the assent owed it is not a prerogative belonging solely to what has been solemnly “defined” by the Roman Pontiff or an Ecumenical Council. Whenever the Bishops dispersed in their individual Dioceses in communion with the Successor of Peter teach a truth to be held in a definitive way (cf. Lumen gentium, n. 25, 2), they enjoy the same infallibility as the Pope’s ex cathedra Magisterium or that of a Council.

It must be stressed then that in the Encyclicals Veritatis splendor and Evangelium vitae and in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, the Roman Pontiff intended, though not in a solemn way, to confirm and reaffirm doctrines which belong to the ordinary, universal teaching of the Magisterium, and which therefore are to be held in a definitive and irrevocable way.


#10

Very few of the Church’s teachings are infallible, but this is one of them.

You are correct that this is an infallible teaching you are wrong that there are few such teachings. Perhaps you mean declared different horse.


#11

[quote=adrift]You are correct that this is an infallible teaching you are wrong that there are few such teachings. Perhaps you mean declared different horse.
[/quote]

From Jimmy Akin’s blog entry on non-infallible teachings:

A reader writes:

Is there such a thing as non-infallible church teaching?
Yes. In fact, as Cardinal Dulles points out in his book The Splendor Of Faith, most of the Church’s teachings are proposed non-infallibly.


#12

Pick up a copy of Ott’s “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma”. It lists the various doctrines of the Catholic Church and their level of certainty.

Anything marked as De Fide, or Of the Faith, is considered an infallible teaching.

And, yes there are lots.


#13

May I introduce a twist on this question?

Yes the CC teaching on abortion is infallable and it is so because of the reasons given by the CC.

The CC teaching on Artifical Birth Control is infallable but the CC reasons miss the main point. The CC bans ABC because it is against marital chastity and because it is selfish and because it is not a full giving of oneself…etc etc. All this is true but the main point is missing that ABC prevents a life from comming into existance. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”. God knows all children by name before they are concieved and he intends that they should be born. When they are not-- that is the real sin of ABC. So the teaching is correctly infallible, but the Church’s explanation is incomplete.

Any thoughts?


#14

[quote=chrisg93]The CC teaching on Artifical Birth Control is infallable but the CC reasons miss the main point. The CC bans ABC because it is against marital chastity and because it is selfish and because it is not a full giving of oneself…etc etc. All this is true but the main point is missing that ABC prevents a life from comming into existance. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”. God knows all children by name before they are concieved and he intends that they should be born. When they are not-- that is the real sin of ABC. So the teaching is correctly infallible, but the Church’s explanation is incomplete.

Any thoughts?
[/quote]

It’s an interesting theory. I think one of early Church fathers said something similar, that contraception is murder.

Faithful, orthodox Catholics can and do have many different opinions about the infallibility of the Church’s teaching on contraception.


#15

[quote=Brendan]Anything marked as De Fide, or Of the Faith, is considered an infallible teaching.
[/quote]

A slightly more accurate statement is that anything that Dr. Ott marked as de fide, he considered to be an infallible teaching.


#16

Interesting how people balk at infallibility. Well meaning Christians around the globe, sola scripturists, fundamentalists, Orthodox- everybody. The RCC Creed and the Nicene Creed open with “We believe in one God, the Father almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.” It continues later with Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.
How interesting. Everyone professes to believe that God created the universe and set the stars in place. He created earth and all living things. He created a Son who died and then rose again, alive. They believe that he parted the Red Sea- sent a flood that covered the earth and then allowed it to dry again. Thye believe he can make the blind see, the lame walk and the dead to be raised to life. But somehow this all powerful God who can do all of this falls short in his power when it comes to Papal Infallibility. Somehow he is not powerful enough to make one man speak without error on one subject. Fascinating. The RCC proposes Papal Infallibility and the world cries that no God has the power to do that. He can only speak through Abraham, Moses, Isiaah, Elijah and ultimately through his One and only son, Jesus Christ, but somehow not through the Pope. Please, those who are anti Papal Infallibility, please explain how your God falls short?


#17

[quote=Catholic2003]A slightly more accurate statement is that anything that Dr. Ott marked as de fide, he considered to be an infallible teaching.
[/quote]

An even more accurate statement would that all the teachings marked as “De Fide” are considered infallible by Dr. Ott, the theologian who gave it the Nilh Obstat and the Bishop who gave it the Imprimatur, and all the Bishops who approved it as a source of information on doctrinal certainly in their Seminaries.

As we’ve discussed before, the position of a single, or group of theologians as a definitive source of doctrine is meaningless. It is only the postion of the bishops in union with the Holy Father that matters.


#18

[quote=chrisg93]May I introduce a twist on this question?

Yes the CC teaching on abortion is infallable and it is so because of the reasons given by the CC.

The CC teaching on Artifical Birth Control is infallable but the CC reasons miss the main point. The CC bans ABC because it is against marital chastity and because it is selfish and because it is not a full giving of oneself…etc etc. All this is true but the main point is missing that ABC prevents a life from comming into existance. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”. God knows all children by name before they are concieved and he intends that they should be born. When they are not-- that is the real sin of ABC. So the teaching is correctly infallible, but the Church’s explanation is incomplete.

Any thoughts?
[/quote]

I think the Church was very careful in its wording. ABC is wrong for the reasons cited, not primarily because it simply prevents a birth. Total abstinence for an unselfish reason also prevents a birth. The preventing of a birth isn’t intrinsically sinful.

Peace.
John


#19

[quote=john ennis]I think the Church was very careful in its wording. ABC is wrong for the reasons cited, not primarily because it simply prevents a birth. Total abstinence for an unselfish reason also prevents a birth. The preventing of a birth isn’t intrinsically sinful.
[/quote]

Note that reasons typically aren’t infallible even when the conclusion is infallible. For example, the book of Hebrews is in the New Testament canon because the early Church thought that it had been written by St. Paul. We are free to disagree with St. Paul’s authorship of Hebrews, but its canonicity is infallible and irreformable.


#20

[quote=Brendan]An even more accurate statement would that all the teachings marked as “De Fide” are considered infallible by Dr. Ott, the theologian who gave it the Nilh Obstat and the Bishop who gave it the Imprimatur, and all the Bishops who approved it as a source of information on doctrinal certainly in their Seminaries.
[/quote]

Technically speaking, the Nihil Obstat only means that it is consistent with the Catholic faith to believe that all the teachings that Ott listed as de fide are infallible. The theologican who gave the Nihil Obstat could very well have disagreed with many of Ott’s conclusions, but would approve the work anyway, as long as Ott’s conclusions were permissible.

Similarly, using Ott’s work as a textbook does not constitute 100% absolute endorsement of every single word on every single page.


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