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We must avoid judging the internal guilt of women who have had an abortion
La Salette Journey ^ | May 10, 2012 | Paul Melanson

Posted on 05/10/2012 6:54:21 AM PDT by cleghornboy

It was St. Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church, who said, "Interficere errorem, diligere errantem" - Kill the error, love the one who errs. I have actually taken that as the motto for this Blog. Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council put it this way: "..it is necessary to distinguish between error, which always merits repudiation, and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person even when he is flawed by false or inadequate religious notions. God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts, for that reason He forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone." (No. 28).

This teaching isn't always understood by some. In an article on abortion which may be found at LifeSiteNews, Stacy Trasancos, who writes a column for The Catholic Free Press, writes, "It's a faulty question to ask whether or not a woman suffers mental anguish after she kills her own child. Of course she does, a woman with her sanity and dignity intact doesn't do that in the first place....a woman who kills her child in the womb is suffering mentally and will suffer mentally afterwards. Something is terribly wrong in her soul and in her life."

But here we encounter an immediate problem. To say that there is something "terribly wrong" in the soul of a woman who has had an abortion and that her sanity and dignity are not intact is to make a judgment about her internal guilt and her motives. The very thing which the teaching of the Church forbids.

Pope John Paul II, in his wonderful Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae, explains that many factors influence the decision which a woman makes when she is burdened with an untimely pregnancy. He writes, "As well as he mother, there are often other people too who decide upon the death of the child in the womb. In the first place, the father of the child may be to blame, not only when he directly pressures the woman to have an abortion, but also when he indirectly encourages such a decision on her part by leaving her alone to face the problems of pregnancy...Nor can one overlook the pressures which sometimes come from the wider family circle and from friends. Sometimes the woman is subjected to such strong pressure that she feels psychologically forced to have an abortion: certainly in this case the moral responsibility lies particularly with those who have directly or indirectly obliged her to have an abortion. (EV, No. 59)

The Holy Father also places responsibility for the tragedy of abortion on, "doctors and nurses...when they place at the service of death skills which were acquired for promotion of life," and on "legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws," and, "to the extent that they have a say in the matter, on the administrators of the health-care centers were abortions are performed” (EV, No. 59).

It is always a tragedy when a woman makes the decision to have an abortion. But this decision to have an abortion is made in the context of multiple personal and societal pressures in what Pope John Paul II so aptly termed the "culture of death." Although the responsibility for the abortion decision is not entirely, nor perhaps even primarily hers, she must bear its burdensome consequences almost entirely alone for the rest of her life. So perhaps it's best to avoid questioning her sanity and dignity?

Perhaps instead, we should follow the lead of Pope John Paul II, whose pastoral outreach to women who have had an abortion is a model of tenderness and compassion [rightly understood] as well as being hopeful:

"I would like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases I was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation." (EV, No. 99).

Witness how the Holy Father does not condone sin or error? He rightly stresses that an abortion is, objectively speaking, a grave wrong even as he offers hope and encouragement by reminding women who have had an abortion that forgiveness and peace may be theirs in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

One would think that Stacy Trasancos would understand this better than most. For she has herself admitted, at the website Catholic Online, that she got pregnant in college, has had an abortion, that she's taken drugs and worked as a stripper, that she's been divorced, and that her seven children are from three different men.

The same Good God Who forgave Stacy her sins offers His Mercy to every woman who has had an abortion. Perhaps instead of questioning the souls of such women or their dignity and sanity, Stacy could follow Pope John Paul II's lead? As should we all.

Kill the error, love the one who errs. Hate the sin, love the sinner.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Moral Issues; Theology
KEYWORDS: abortion; internalguilt; judging; stacytrasancos
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1 posted on 05/10/2012 6:54:27 AM PDT by cleghornboy
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To: cleghornboy

But if she waited and drowned the baby when he/she was 2 years old....she’d go to jail. Sorry...it doesn’t wash.


2 posted on 05/10/2012 6:56:35 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: cleghornboy

THOU SHALT NOT MURDER.
I am Jewish and murder is the ONE sin there is not, and cannot ever be, forgiveness for. Ever.


3 posted on 05/10/2012 7:01:40 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: MestaMachine
I am Jewish and murder is the ONE sin there is not, and cannot ever be, forgiveness for. Ever.

Ever? Really?

4 posted on 05/10/2012 7:03:26 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: cleghornboy
Any woman who gets an abortion is as guilty of premeditated murder as the butcher who murders the baby.

1. She knows damn well that the baby is alive in her.
2. She conspires with someone to take her to the place where she'll murder her baby.
3. She makes an appointment with the abortionist to murder her baby.
4. The person who checks her in at the abortuary knows fully well that this woman is going to murder her baby.
5. The abortionist murders her baby.
6. She pays the abortionist after having had him murder her baby.

Sure seems like premeditated murder to me. The baby is nothing more than a defined "fetus," and is therefore able to be murdered with no consequence.

5 posted on 05/10/2012 7:05:31 AM PDT by laweeks
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To: cleghornboy

what a pile of baloney

how can some wannabe theologian lecture Catholics about “not judging” women who abort their children while denying communion to those who divorce?


6 posted on 05/10/2012 7:05:50 AM PDT by silverleaf (Funny how all the people who are for abortion are already born)
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To: MestaMachine

Even Jesus forgave from the cross.


7 posted on 05/10/2012 7:05:51 AM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: All

Remember, we are all sinners in need of repentence.


8 posted on 05/10/2012 7:07:21 AM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: MestaMachine

David the King was never forgiven?


9 posted on 05/10/2012 7:09:47 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: cleghornboy

Evil is evil, no excuses. I personally know of too many cases where the woman was begged by the man (in several cases her own husband) to have the children, and her family, and the church, but she murdered them anyway because there is nothing the man can do to stop her, except kidnap her forcibly. I personally experienced this with an allegedly pro-life catholic girl, who said she wanted children as much as I did; she wasn’t even going to tell me she was pregnant, but at the last minute she did, two days before she murdered them. I gave her contacts and paperwork for adoption, offered her $40k cash plus paying ail here medical expenses to have the twins, offered to sign a legal agreement that she would have no responsibility, and other arrangements. Of course I would have married her even before this, but she was not interested... She killed them; she already had three children, so she knew what she was doing. I know of way too many other men that have been through the same, so lets not pretend these women are always victims.


10 posted on 05/10/2012 7:11:34 AM PDT by LambSlave
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To: MestaMachine

Well, that definitely leaves out David, who had Bathsheba’s husband killed so he could steal his wife, and perhaps even Moses himself, depending on the circumstances when he killed the Egyptian and then fled the country.


11 posted on 05/10/2012 7:12:24 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (We're not Republicans or Democrats. We're Americans. Visit SelfGovernment.US.)
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To: Sacajaweau
What "doesn't wash"? A person who kills any child, 2 months gestation, 6 months gestation, newborn, toddler, teen--- could well be sent to jail under a just legal system. But there's nothing in this article that says otherwise. There's nothing here referencing legal, criminal culpability at all.

If I've missed something, please give me the direct quote.

Internal guilt is not identical to legal culpability.

12 posted on 05/10/2012 7:14:58 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: laweeks
What you're saying is certainly consistent from a criminal justice point of view.

However it is not relevant to this article. This aticle is about internal guilt, not criminal culpability. Two different things.

13 posted on 05/10/2012 7:17:11 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
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To: Mrs. Don-o
This aticle is about internal guilt, not criminal culpability.

Well, yeah. Not sure how you can separate internal guilt from the actual crime. A woman murders her baby and later feels guilty. I guess she should. But to absolve her from her criminal actions is absurd.

14 posted on 05/10/2012 7:22:23 AM PDT by laweeks
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To: justice14

Yes, ever. Here is why. To be redeemed, you MUST be able to ask your VICTIM for forgiveness, and you MUST repent so that the victim knows. You cannot ask the VICTIM of a murder to forgive you like you can ask someone you robbed or hit or even raped. You cannot say you are sorry to the dead.
Abortion is not an accident, it is a choice. Furthermore, it is premeditated. The combination compounds the issue. The dilemma is irreconcilable and you could live like Mother Theresa for the rest of your natural life and still not be redeemed. It is impossible. EVER.


15 posted on 05/10/2012 7:24:44 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: EternalVigilance

You are exactly right. Ever wonder why Moses never crossed over Jordan?


16 posted on 05/10/2012 7:27:28 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: MestaMachine

What about the sinner on the cross. He didn’t ask for forgiveness and Jesus said He’d see him in eternity.


17 posted on 05/10/2012 7:30:19 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: justice14

The sinner was a thief, not a murderer.


18 posted on 05/10/2012 7:33:01 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: cleghornboy

In relation to a Christian’s response to a continued sin, was Paul being judgmental when he told the Corinthian Christians to remove themselves from the man who had taken his father’s wife?

In order for sin to be forgiven, it must be repented of. If sin is not seen as sin by the sinner, the sinner cannot repent. How can sinners be taught, unless someone teach them?

Whenever possible, live at peace with all men is a Christian mandate. Certainly, in dealing with sinners, compassion must be our first emotion, as Christ exemplified, but that does not mean we are never to make judgment calls. Telling someone they have no right to judge others is out of harmony with Bible teaching. But the judgements Christians are encouraged to make are for the purpose of growing the Kingdom and safeguarding the Truth, not for determining who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Only God can do that.

“Hate the sin, love the sinner” is instructional to a degree, but does not completely cover the entire issue. Many have taken from this phrase that active sin should not be addresses as wrong, but that we should just love the person into seeing for themselves without giving them instruction, that their sin is wrong.


19 posted on 05/10/2012 7:37:13 AM PDT by daisy mae for the usa
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To: MestaMachine

Badabing.


20 posted on 05/10/2012 7:38:56 AM PDT by EternalVigilance (We're not Republicans or Democrats. We're Americans. Visit SelfGovernment.US.)
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To: laweeks

I feel a lot of the fault also rests on the men in their lives. Aside from the heartbreaking story here on this thread, where someone tried everything they could ....TOO many men are the ones leading women to the deed.

A friend of mine, I was assured, wanted a baby. It was her soon to be husband who could not face a pregnancy, as to tell the family would have risked the rath of his parents,
and the postponement, perhaps forever, of their beautifully planned upcoming wedding ceremoney and reception. This couple was in their late 20’s, for crying out loud. Why would ANY parent condemn someone at this age?? Why would anyone be SO afraid of their parents still at this stage? I personally feel they were just worried that they’d lose financial support of their parents - seriosly.

In other words, they would have been too ashamed and embarrased, and risked whatever THEY perceived as scorn from their family. So, before actually becoming man and wife, they aborted their first child. I was distraught over it for months, as I’d tried for hours to talk some sense into her, but she was completely following the lead of her boyfriend. They were from a pretty religious Baptist family background.

If people would just get RID of these ideas that APPEARANCES must be perfect — or that a baby RUINS a women’s life ...that a baby is an EMBARASSMENT, etc ....a lot of abortions would never happen. We need to get rid of these unrealistic stigmas.

We need to start truly supporting women, and families — in much deeper ways than ever before, as Christians.

I faced an unplanned pregnancy at a young age, but thankfully I had important and KEY people around me who steered me in the right direction — namely my then boyfriend now husband, AND a best friend who was a strong Catholic. However, I sort of instinctively knew who to go to and who not to go to — as if I’d gone to my mother, she would have pushed me into an abortion, I’m sure of it.

Then, of course, there ARE those women who have all that, but still choose to abort. It’s for THESE women, whose reasons seems purely and utterly selfish, that I just don’t have much pity for. I don’t know how they live with it. My daughter is the most precious person, and raising her has been the crowning achievement of MY life. But it really was my husband who stuck by me who made it possible ... he could have had so much power over the situation.


21 posted on 05/10/2012 7:39:14 AM PDT by LibsRJerks
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To: MestaMachine

“The sinner was a thief, not a murderer.”

By this logic, suicides are also condemned as they premeditate and take their own lives.

You can get off your high horse regarding this.


22 posted on 05/10/2012 7:40:27 AM PDT by marychesnutfan
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To: daisy mae for the usa

As I said in this piece, abortion is always objectively sinful. It is a grave evil, objectively speaking. But we cannot judge a woman’s internal guilt. That is for God alone.


23 posted on 05/10/2012 7:40:47 AM PDT by cleghornboy (La Salette Missionaries in crisis)
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To: marychesnutfan

Nope. Suicide is premeditated murder of a soul. Massada is a perfect example of this rule. They drew lots precisely because no one wanted to be the one to commit suicide. In fact, in some circles, the story is that Josephus was the one who was supposed to, but instead he ran away rather than commit suicide.


24 posted on 05/10/2012 7:46:50 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: MestaMachine

I’m calling the Viking Kitties on this one.

I think there are several posters of FR who hammer hard at women’s guilt over abortions, supposedly from a ‘religious’ perspective, with the hope of driving all women who have had abortions away from conservative Christianity or Judaism. The posters themselves probably being liberal/left agitators.

Of course abotion is forgiven if the woman repents of her sin and changes her life. That’s why Christ died on the cross. It is silly to think otherwise. Millions of women have had abortions and if the liberal left could drive them all away from basic religious thought and adherence, they would very much like to do so.

So go play your scare tactics somewhere else.


25 posted on 05/10/2012 7:50:37 AM PDT by squarebarb
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To: MestaMachine

Well, being Jewish your approach is from THE LAW.

The Christian approach is from THE GOSPEL.

There is a lot of difference between the two. The law has is moments but there are times, depending on the situation, when the gospel is to be applied, not the law.

Arguing further is a waste of time since you do not believe in the Gospel.


26 posted on 05/10/2012 7:53:11 AM PDT by marychesnutfan
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To: silverleaf
how can some wannabe theologian lecture Catholics about “not judging” women who abort their children while denying communion to those who divorce?

Your question is based on a false premise. It cannot be answered until the inherent falsehood is corrected.

Please do some real research, correct the falsehood (I have underlined it for your convenience), and then post the corrected question.

27 posted on 05/10/2012 7:56:13 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: MestaMachine

Your stance is completely at odds with the New Testament.


28 posted on 05/10/2012 7:58:34 AM PDT by Blue Ink
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To: MestaMachine

Actually, your stance is completely at odds with the Old Testament. God forgave David for the murder of Uriah. Look it up.


29 posted on 05/10/2012 7:59:32 AM PDT by Blue Ink
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To: ArrogantBustard

to those who divorce...and REMARRY


30 posted on 05/10/2012 8:17:07 AM PDT by silverleaf (Funny how all the people who are for abortion are already born)
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To: laweeks
Who's absolving her? Not me. And not the author of this article. Where does he even mention criminal culpability? Nobody's absolving her.

Moral guilt can apply to the abortionist-mother, the abortionist-doctor, the abortionist-political-advocate, the abortionist-boyfriend/husband, the abortionist-legislator, thre abortionist-judge, and any of the other accomplices, according to their direct, willing cooperation with evil.

That's the moral aspect. The article doesn't even mention the secular legal aspect. Show me where it does.

31 posted on 05/10/2012 8:18:52 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.)
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To: cleghornboy

In relation to a Christian’s response to a continued sin, was Paul being judgmental when he told the Corinthian Christians to remove themselves from the man who had taken his father’s wife?

In order for sin to be forgiven, it must be repented of. If sin is not seen as sin by the sinner, the sinner cannot repent. How can sinners be taught, unless someone teach them?

Whenever possible, live at peace with all men is a Christian mandate. Certainly, in dealing with sinners, compassion must be our first emotion, as Christ exemplified, but that does not mean we are never to make judgment calls. Telling someone they have no right to judge others is out of harmony with Bible teaching. But the judgements Christians are encouraged to make are for the purpose of growing the Kingdom and safeguarding the Truth, not for determining who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. Only God can do that.

“Hate the sin, love the sinner” is instructional to a degree, but does not completely cover the entire issue. Many have taken from this phrase that active sin should not be addresses as wrong, but that we should just love the person into seeing for themselves without giving them instruction, that their sin is wrong.


32 posted on 05/10/2012 8:29:27 AM PDT by daisy mae for the usa
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To: silverleaf
to those who divorce...and REMARRY

Thank you.

The question can now be addressed.

1) Abortion is a hideous act; a matter of mortal sin. One who commits it, with full knowledge and consent, damns himself to Hell (and cuts himself off from Holy Communion. He faces an immediate and automatic excommunication). One who, having committed it then repents and asks God's forgiveness can be forgiven, can be saved from Hell by the unmerited grace of God, and restored to Communion. That is the Gospel.

2) Divorce is a matter for civil governments to argue about. The Church rejects the notion that a marriage, validly contracted, can be ended other than by the death of one of the spouses.

3) "Remarriage" following a civil divorce, is a misnomer. It is, in fact, an ongoing and institutionalized situation of public and unrepented adultery. It is a matter of mortal sin. Those who engage in it damn themselves to Hell (and cut themselves off from Holy Communion.) They too can repent, be forgiven, and be restored to Grace ... persistence in the ongoing and institutionalized situation of public and unrepented adultery would contraindicate repentance.

33 posted on 05/10/2012 8:34:54 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: cleghornboy

A sin that has not been repented of continues to be a sin. We can and should make a judgment call in these areas. Should the woman confess her sin, then we no longer worry or concern ourselves with the past sin. It is in the past.


34 posted on 05/10/2012 8:36:31 AM PDT by daisy mae for the usa
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To: Blue Ink

Actually, no G-d didn’t. The first child of that union was stillborn and his family was torn asunder. Their son presided over the destruction of Israel. That ain’t my idea of forgiveness.


35 posted on 05/10/2012 8:54:32 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: MestaMachine; justice14

Someone needs to do some brushing up on this Jewish guy Moses then...


36 posted on 05/10/2012 8:54:59 AM PDT by rwilson99 (Please tell me how the words "shall not perish and have everlasting life" would NOT apply to Mary.)
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To: cleghornboy

Let’s not confuse three separate issues:

We must always be willing to allow for forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is ultimately between the woman and God. He forgave Saul (Paul) who was guilty of putting many Christians to death so His capacity to forgive those who truly repent is quite vast. We should be equally willing.

There are still consequences to sin and one of those may be a lasting feeling of guilt over taking the life of a child and the knowledge that this can never be undone. Another consequence may be the shunning by friends and family members. I would not say that such shunning is judging, any more than a parent would willingly allow their children access to a repentant sex offender. We should, however, have compassion for those who admit that their actions were wrong.

The third issue is societal. Abortion should still be strongly condemned and we should not stop speaking out against abortion simply because some will feel “judged”. That is often the Holy Spirit at work pricking the conscience of one who needs repentance.


37 posted on 05/10/2012 8:56:01 AM PDT by OrangeHoof (Evil never reveals the truth until it's too late to flee.)
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To: ArrogantBustard; silverleaf

Agree. Arrogant is Biblically correct, except for the adultery question. Jesus did say that adultery was the one sin that breaks the covenant. Although the injured in the couple is always free to forgive the adulterer and continue in the marriage, but is not obligated to.


38 posted on 05/10/2012 8:56:01 AM PDT by daisy mae for the usa
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To: OrangeHoof

Amen.


39 posted on 05/10/2012 9:00:01 AM PDT by daisy mae for the usa
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To: rwilson99; MestaMachine

Good point.


40 posted on 05/10/2012 9:04:25 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: MestaMachine

You said that to be redeemed you had to ask forgiveness from the victim. The theif still committed a crime against someone. He did not ask forgiveness.


41 posted on 05/10/2012 9:07:11 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: daisy mae for the usa; silverleaf
Jesus did say that adultery was the one sin that breaks the covenant.

I presume that you're referring to Matthew 5:32 ... and simply note that the Catholic Church disagrees with your interpretation thereof.

Silverleaf asked about why the Catholic Church does certain things, particularly regarding marriage. Any answer to that must reflect how the Catholic Church understands marriage and again how the Catholic Church interprets any Scripture referring to marriage.

42 posted on 05/10/2012 9:09:12 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: cleghornboy
Cleghornboy, you are exactly right on this. But I can see that a lot of the FReepers who are responding, are making no distinction beween objective sin, internal guilt, and legal crime.

You are pointing out the differences, but it's flying right over a lot of people's heads.

43 posted on 05/10/2012 9:15:00 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("Justice and judgment are the foundation of His throne." Psalm 89:14)
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To: cleghornboy

Plenty women feel no guilt

Or shame

I am southern baptist

We are shame not guilt peoples


44 posted on 05/10/2012 9:20:41 AM PDT by wardaddy (I am a social conservative. My political party left me(again). They can go to hell in a bucket.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Thank you Mrs. Don-o,

They really do not understand the point being made here. But then, many haven’t the God-given gift of the fullness of truth which is to be found in Catholicism. I’m sure there will now be attacks on Catholic moral teaching and the Church in general now.

Hopefully this answer from a Catholic theologian will help:

http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?number=525543&Pgnu=&recnu


45 posted on 05/10/2012 9:21:54 AM PDT by cleghornboy (La Salette Missionaries in crisis)
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To: justice14

But he DID repent and in the most public of all places.
Look. The point is, if your victim is nhot murdered but remains alive, you always have the hope of redemption. There are many ways to repent. But murder is final. There are no more chances after that. Someone who commits the most heinous of crimes might never repent. Some might. Their choice. A murderer does not have that choice.
And just for the record, from a purely human standpoint, I can forgive a misguided person, but I am not the ultimate judge. And I honestly don’t believe that the majority of women who promote and have abortions are misguided.


46 posted on 05/10/2012 9:29:20 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: MestaMachine; Mrs. Don-o

I thought he was kept from Canaan because of his lapse of faith and tantrum at Sinai first go round with the tablets


47 posted on 05/10/2012 9:30:19 AM PDT by wardaddy (I am a social conservative. My political party left me(again). They can go to hell in a bucket.)
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To: rwilson99

Moses wasn’t a Jew.


48 posted on 05/10/2012 9:33:16 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: wardaddy

And others think it was because he swung away at the rock that poured out water instead of tapping it as he was instructed.

There was a point early on, that G-d intended to kill Moses, but his wife saved him by offering up the foreskin of their firstborn son. SHE made the Covenant permanent by interceding for him.


49 posted on 05/10/2012 9:44:13 AM PDT by MestaMachine (obama kills)
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To: MestaMachine

But your whole point is based on repenting and asking forgiveness from the victim. The thief did not. You said he did it publically. So then why is it different for someone who murdered someone to repent publically? Sin is sin.


50 posted on 05/10/2012 9:50:16 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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