Pro-life question regarding Pius IX

Good Morning,

Can anyone confirm whether Pius IX changed canon law or otherwise defined that life begins at conception?

Thanks,

Jim

He may have affirmed the teaching. But the teaching itself goes back to the Didache and St. Augustine.

Of course you’re right, but there is a pro-abortion letter in our newspaper that alleges that Pius IX “changed Catholic law” in 1869, and I was wondering whether anything happened with Canon Law with respect to life issues in that year.

I believe the writer may be referring to the definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, which of course says that Mary was preserved free from sin from the first moments of her existence. But before I respond I was wondering whether there is more to this.

Thanks,

Jim

Can you give us the complete reference?

Sure. This letter was published in the Medford (OR) Mail Tribune, 12/6/2009:

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island recently banned Rep. Patrick Kennedy from receiving communion because of his stand on a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. This attempt by the bishop to use the Catholic Church’s power to impose its will on public officials underscores several basic facts. They are:

  1. The Catholic Church is an authoritarian institution and does not respect the right of individuals to make moral decisions that differ with Catholic doctrine.

  2. The Catholic Church contends that life begins at conception, a view that is not universally accepted by all faiths or within the scientific community. (The Catholic Church came to this conclusion only in 1869 when Pope Pius IX changed Catholic law.)

  3. The Catholic Church refuses to recognize the moral complexities and health complications faced by women having to deal with problem pregnancies. The Catholic Church has only one prescription — all pregnancies must go to full term regardless of the consequences. That is not pro-life. That is abuse of power.

Gerald V. Mann

Medford

mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091206/OPINION/912060303*

As you can see, the usual self-contradiciting stuff. I have already responded to the editor, but it was tough to keep under the 200-word limit with so much that needs refuting.*

Nonsense. The Church is asking Catholics to live like Catholics. Kennedy is free to reject the Church. No one is forcing him to be in full communion.

  1. The Catholic Church is an authoritarian institution and does not respect the right of individuals to make moral decisions that differ with Catholic doctrine.

How does one make a moral decision by rejecting Christ through His Church? Is there some new source of morality that contradicts the creator?

  1. The Catholic Church contends that life begins at conception, a view that is not universally accepted by all faiths or within the scientific community. (The Catholic Church came to this conclusion only in 1869 when Pope Pius IX changed Catholic law.)

Claiming life starts at any time other than conception is arbitrary. The person who wrote this letter would better serve himself by actually stating what the church teaches, and has always taught, rather than substituting his erroneous ideas and imputing them to the Church.

  1. The Catholic Church refuses to recognize the moral complexities and health complications faced by women having to deal with problem pregnancies. The Catholic Church has only one prescription — all pregnancies must go to full term regardless of the consequences. That is not pro-life. That is abuse of power.

Again, before he attacks he should first state what the Church actually teaches rather than substituting his erroneous ideas and claiming that is what She teaches.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.