When does ensoulment occur? I always assumed it was at conception, but someone told me that the Church doesn’t actually say. I can’t seem to find any information online. Anyone know?
It occurs at conception.
The following passages are from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Remember, you cannot have a human person without a soul. So when the Catechism refers to a human person existing from the moment of conception, that person’s soul exists from that moment.
1703 Endowed with “a spiritual and immortal” soul,5 The human person is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake."6 From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude.
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.
From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.71
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.72
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.73
2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual…
It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."81
The argument my friend was making was there is only a “human person” after ensoulment. The Catechism just says that the embryo must be treated “as a person” from conception. It doesn’t say it is a person.
My friend said that there are three distinctions: “human life,” “human being,” and “human person.” Now, she is a very orthodox Catholic and she stands and prays outside of abortuaries every Saturday and is involved in all sorts of pro-life stuff, so I don’t think this is a pro abortion argument. She heard it at some lecture by some priest who is an expert in this field. I forget his name.
Has anyone ever heard this before? Is there anything that says directly that ensoulment happens at conception?