When does a baby receive it's soul?

Please help me know what The Church teaches. I’ve always believed that each baby receives it’s soul at conception – isn’t that what we are taught?
I just walked out of my Franciscan gathering because my leader and main members believe that female babies do not receive a soul until 40 days after conception. They got that from a book by Mary something I forget. They say there is no discrepancy between believing this and still being pro-life, believing that life is sacred from conception to grave, etc. But this just makes no sense. They say males receive their soul at conception, just not females. This seems to mean though that abortion of female babies before 40 days past conception should be fine since with no soul, it can’t really be a human can it???
Anyone - can you help me out here???

I was fortunate to attend a Dominican High School. We were thought that at the moment of Conception the baby regardless if it is a boy or a girl receives has a soul. It does not make any sense that there would be a diffence for male babies as opposed to female babies.

Tell your leader and others to PROVE it by Church teaching. They can’t do it. God Bless, memaw

The soul is what animates the living, so at conception.

According to Church teaching, ensoulment occurs at conception. This differs from Jewish teaching, which states that the baby receives its soul at the moment of birth.

Yes. This is what I maintain as well. I like your wording. The same is true for all living organisms, though we have a different kind of soul.

jewfaq.org/birth.htm

Can you explain this statement?

In Jewish law, although the human soul exists before birth, human life begins at birth,

Conception- no matter what gender the baby is!

Maybe they/or Mary ____ were thinking of Aquinas’ thought that male children received their soul at 6 weeks and that females received their soul at 8 weeks.

I based my statement on what I was taught about the human soul, which in turn is based on the Book of Genesis, that describes the breath of life (i.e. the soul) as being infused by G-d into Adam’s body only after Adam was created from the earth. I have no idea what this website means by the statement you have cited; perhaps it is referring to the fact that the unborn baby’s body is not fully formed. However, what is said about the soul is not what I had learned. Perhaps there is more than one teaching, not so surprising in Judaism. I do know Judaism believes that, although the unborn baby is considered human, s/he is not considered a fully human person until birth.

Father Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioehics Center:

"The Church has never definitively stated when the ensoulment of the human embryo takes place. It remains an open question. The “Declaration on Procured Abortion” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1974 phrases the matter with considerable precision:

“This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the spiritual soul is infused. There is not a unanimous tradition on this point and authors are as yet in disagreement. For some it dates from the first instant; for others it could not at least precede nidation [implantation in the uterus]. It is not within the competence of science to decide between these views, because the existence of an immortal soul is not a question in its field. It is a philosophical problem from which our moral affirmation remains independent …”

"And the moral affirmation of the Church is simply this: that the human embryo must be treated as if it were already ensouled, even if it might not yet be so. It must be treated as if it were a person from the moment of conception, even if there exists the possibility that it might not yet be so. Why this rather subtle, nuanced position, instead of simply declaring outright that zygotes are ensouled, and therefore are persons? Because, as the declaration stresses, there has never been a unanimous tradition on this point.

"The matter has been discussed for centuries, and delayed ensoulment was probably the norm for most of Christian history, with immediate ensoulment gaining some serious momentum of its own only in the 1600s. Aquinas, for example, held that ensoulment occurred not right at the first instant but at a timepoint removed from the beginning, in order to allow the matter of the embryo to undergo development and become “apt” for the reception of an immortal soul from God. Augustine seemed to shift his opinion back and forth during his lifetime between immediate and delayed ensoulment. Even today in various quarters, the discussions continue, with new embryological details like twinning and chimaerization impinging on the debate, and new conceptual questions arising from the intricate biology surrounding totipotency and pluripotency.

“In the final analysis, it is salutary to realize that it is God’s business as to when he ensouls the human embryo, and we may never categorically resolve the matter from our limited vantage point. More relevant to the discussion is the fact that we do not need an answer to this fascinating and speculative question in order to grasp the essential moral conclusion that human embryos are absolutely inviolable and deserving of unconditional respect.”

Source: ncregister.com/site/article/embryonic_ensoulment/#ixzz2srS9zuLC

Peace,
Ed

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS at conception. I don’t believe for a minute that Aquinas taught otherwise.

While the church definitely teaches that human life begins at fertilization, I’m reasonably sure that it does not definitively teach as to exactly when humans receive their rational souls.

While the church definitely teaches that human life begins at fertilization, I’m reasonably sure that it does not definitively teach as to exactly when humans receive their rational souls. See post #11 above.


If it’s true that as many as 50% of human zygotes fail to implant, I can easily see how teaching that humans receive their rational souls at fertilization could lead to some difficult questions as what happens to all of those unbaptized souls.

While the church definitely teaches that human life begins at fertilization, I’m reasonably sure that it does not definitively teach as to exactly when humans receive their rational souls. See post #11 above.


If it’s true that 50% or more of human zygotes fail to implant, I can easily see how teaching that humans receive their rational souls at fertilization could lead to the conclusion that most eternally-existing human souls never even made it to the embryonic stage of development.

It is instructive that we celebrate the Incarnation of the Lord on the same day as the Feat of the Annunciation. When Mary gave her “yes” to the angel Gabriel, Jesus was conceived in her womb. He took on a human nature. The date is celebrated March 25th, 9 months before Christmas.

In previous times there were arguments about ensoulment, but no one knew the facts of embryology. A new human individual has its beginning at conception.

That doesn’t mean they didn’t have an eternal soul to begin with and will live on for all eternity. And nothing gives us the excuse to take the lives of unborn babies for any reason. God Bless, Memaw

You can see that it’s true, especially since you can find that a child receives a soul at conception.
"Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me." NRSV-CE
-Psalms 51:5
The fact that is in the state of sin presupposes that there is a soul in that person, since sinfulness is a spiritual quality.

Here’s an article regarding St. Aquinas and his 40-day soul idea: catholic.com/quickquestions/did-st-thomas-aquinas-believe-ensoulment-occurred-40-or-80-days-after-conception-maki

Some more Biblical evidence regarding abortion: catholic.com/quickquestions/where-in-the-bible-does-it-say-that-abortion-is-wrong

Thanks!, God Bless, Memaw

I also considered the conception of Jesus and Mary after reading the OP. :slight_smile:

Luke 1:

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called** the Son of God.** 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

By what is written :“the Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” it seems the ensoulment and divinity will occur at the time of conception. It may otherwise say; the Holy Spirit will come on you and then on such a time the soul and divinity will occur. But, it the angel does not say this and so it seems it all happens at once.

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