When does the soul enter the body?


#11

But that still doesn’t mean it didn’t enter the body. When the sperm & the egg come together the soul enters at that moment.


#12

Then where did it come from, and where does it reside in the body?


#13

The doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God. Catechism 382


#14

Yes, and to say it enters the body is to imply it has a prior existence separate in space from the body. The catechism doesn’t teach that, does it?


#15

No it does not. The spirit of man is created by God immediately at the moment of conception.


#16

The same section of the catechism quotes Gaudium et Spes: “Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity.”

If the soul entered the body at some point in time, there would have to exist a disunity beforehand.


#17

It comes from God of course. And it resides within us. Not in any one particular place, just within us. I don’t know, perhaps our hearts? All I know is that I have a soul because God put it there so that I can live.


#18

Of course our soul existed before we were conceived and before we were born. God knew us before we were born. And our soul will keep on existing even after we are dead & gone from this world, whether we go to heaven or hell.


#19

Our soul can exist on its own and it will be a living soul after we pass away. But a “Man” is only a man if it has a soul. Otherwise the man’s body without the soul would be a corpse.

I would not want to say that the souls in heaven are a “disunity” since they do not yet have their bodies. They are souls alive in heaven.

The egg in a woman does not have a soul. It is just an egg. The sperm in a man does not have a soul. It is just sperm. But when the two come together that is when the soul enters. A soul in a man means “human life.” The egg is not a human life. It is just an egg. The sperm is not a human life either it is just sperm.


#20

So then all human souls preexist the body? This sounds like Hinduism, not Catholicism!


#21

Souls in heaven are disunited from the body. The resurrection will reunite body and soul.


#22

Souls of humans are immediately created by God at conception. The soul is the animating principal.


#23

Yes you’re right. But you made it sound like a soul is messed up or something. The soul away from the body is still alive. But the body without the soul is a corpse, dead. The soul is what animates us, gives us life because God breathed it into us.


#24

Actually the Catholic Church doesn’t really know when the soul enters the physical tissue that will become a human life. Footnote 19 of the Declaration on Procurement of Abortion released by the Vatican on November 18th 1974, states that the moment of the soul fussing with matter is unknown. And remember, according to the Catholic church a human life is the union of soul and body…thus, the Catholic Church admits that they are not sure when a fetus actually becomes a human, that is, a body with a soul.

Footnote 19 also states that there exists a length of time when the fetus dwells within the womb but is not yet human: “…supposing a belated animation, there is still nothing less than a human life, preparing for and calling for a soul in which the nature received from parents is completed.” This sentence from Footnote 19 admits first the fact that the fetus is not yet a human, rather is “preparing for” human-hood, much the same way that I am preparing for retirement but I am not yet a retiree. Preparation is not being, it is getting ready to be. In addition, this statement also admits that there must be a time when the physical fertilized body “calls out” for a soul, thus achieving “human life,” that is the union of soul and body, a time when the body is not yet human. Thus again, the Catholic Church admits that there is a length of time when the fetus dwells within the womb but is not yet a human being.

If one responds to this fact with any other Catholic Church documentation that counters this footnote, then there exists contradictions in Church theology, and thus the Church, as an extension of the infallible Pope, is in fact fallible and Church theology breaks down.


#25

zachforn, How about supplying a link to the document. That way we can show your (deliberate?) misinterpretation of it.

In the meantime, I am providing you with this link

ewtn.com/library/PROLENC/ENCYC043.HTM

that explains all that you need to know about the Church’s stance, both historical and current, on abortion. Here are pertinent excerpts:

“And the Catholic Church has never accepted the theory of delayed animation. The only time that the Church has ever addressed this question is when Pope Innocent XI officially condemned the theory that animation took place at birth.”

  • and -

“The teachings of the Catholic Church have been uniformly against abortion in any form, and have been stated and restated consistently through the centuries.
Those who believe otherwise are hereby challenged to produce a statement by any Pope, cardinal or bishop supporting abortion from any period in history (declarations by Modernist priests with suspended teaching authority don’t count).”


#26

conception


#27

zachforn,

Welcome to the forums.

You seem to be misunderstanding some points in the footnote that you referred to. Here is note 19 in its entirety:This declaration expressly leaves aside the question of the moment when the [size=2]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. 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 for two reasons: (1) supposing a belated animation, t****here is still nothing less than a human life, preparing for and calling for a *(spiritual - my addition, VC) *soul in which the nature received from parents is completed, (2) on the other hand, it suffices that this presence of the soul be probable (and one can never prove the contrary) in order that the taking of life involve accepting the risk of killing a man, not only waiting for, but already in possession of his soul.[/size]

It is important to note in the footnote that it is referring to a spiritual soul. There are two types of souls (animating principles of life): spiritual and material. All living things have souls.

As you can see from the above footnote, it does recognize a human life from the first moments. The question is, rather, when a spiritual, immortal soul is infused. There is no question that some sort of soul is present. If the child is alive, then there is soul. And if it is alive, then it has human life. There are no other options since a)a dead thing doesn’t become a living thing. And b) a non-human doesn’t become a human.

That is right, because a soul is the animating principle of all life. But a human life could exist without a spiritual soul.

Untrue. If the fetus is alive, it has a soul. And it is human. Read over that footnote again.

I don’t see how you come to that conclusion. The footnote expressly contradicts what you are saying, since it says “there is still nothing lass than a human life.”

Again, welcome to the forums.
VC


#28

Thanks for the reply, can you provide links to offical Church documents that speak about two souls in a human being.

Also, I would say that that sentence contradicts itself: “…supposing a belated animation, here is still nothing less than a human life,preparing for and calling for a soul in which the nature received from parents is completed.” It seems to be saying that a human being (soul and matter combined) is a a human being before it is a human being. That sounds like a contradition.

I have to think that if the church were talking about different varities of souls they would have had to mention it, rather than relying on others to insert “Spiritual” before soul.

But, again I would appreciate a link to the Two-Souls issue.

Thank you.


#29

zach,

I added the word spiritual only to the *third *mention of soul in the footnote. The first mention is “spiritual soul”, the second is “immortal soul” and the third is “soul” but spiritual and immortal are implied, and I was just clearing that up for you and other readers.

The distinction of a spiritual soul is in the document that you are referring to. The soul is the principle of life in a body (soul, Latin: anima), that which animates a body. It is a basic principle that if a body is alive it has a soul.

You cited the document to show that the Church has never said when human life begins. But the document says the opposite – that human life begins at conception. The historical question that the document references isn’t about human life,. but rather what powers of the soul are present. Some thought that the rational (spiritual, immortal) soul wasn’t infused until later. This “progressive ensoulment” would move from an animal soul to a rational soul at some point in time. This document expressly declines to engage this argument on its merits or demerits. This is because*, in either case*, 1)human life is present and also because 2)doubt about the presence of a human person also morally prohibits directly attacking and killing the fetus.

VC


#30

So a human life is not present until the immortal soul of that future person (I say “future” because a human person is man and soul) is infused in the matter? Is that correct?

Here is how I reading the statement:
“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.” =no one is sure when the soul is infused with the matter.

“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.” = Science has no end-all of when life begins, however, and this may be a digression, it does have a legal definition of when life ends, when no recognizable EEG pattern is detected in the brain. That is as close as science (and legal system) will define the difference between life and no-life. That level of brain activity in a fetus is not reached until latter in a pregnancy.

“It is a philosophical problem from which our moral affirmation remains independent for two reasons…” = whatever science and legal systems say about when life begins, the church’s belief is “independent” of that view. The Church bases it’s “moral” stance independent of whatever views are expressed over the issue of when matter is considered human.

“(1) supposing a belated animation, there is still nothing less than a human life, preparing for and calling for a soul in which the nature received from parents is completed…” = The statement seems to ready a contingency plan, or at least admits the infusion of a soul may not occur at fertilization, which, again, this may be a digression, but there is no exact moment of conception, it is a dynamic process that takes place over a 12-24 hour period. At what point in that process is “conception,” because science shows us that just because a sperm cell enters an egg, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that egg will be come fertilized. So again, at what point during the process of fertilization is “conception”?

“2) on the other hand, it suffices that this presence of the soul be probable (and one can never prove the contrary) in order that the taking of life involve accepting the risk of killing a man, not only waiting for, but already in possession of his soul.” = Again, there seems to be an admitting of the fact that that the Church is not absolutely sure that the soul infuses with matter at “conception” (“probable”), which even “conception” begs for definition.

I mean no offense but I think you are reading what you want to read. And I am doing the same. You read it in a way that I’m wrong and you think you have Church historical texts on your side, and I read it where you are wrong and if you look at Church historical texts you will find points of faulty reasoning and inconclusive conclusions. But, there is enough contextual clues within the text to allow both readings.

Of course the debate is far from over, but I think it vital that the debate happen. It allows us to better understand the will of god.


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