Skip to comments.We must avoid judging the internal guilt of women who have had an abortion
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.
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.
THOU SHALT NOT MURDER.
I am Jewish and murder is the ONE sin there is not, and cannot ever be, forgiveness for. Ever.
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.
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?
Even Jesus forgave from the cross.
Remember, we are all sinners in need of repentence.
David the King was never forgiven?
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.
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.
If I've missed something, please give me the direct quote.
Internal guilt is not identical to legal culpability.
However it is not relevant to this article. This aticle is about internal guilt, not criminal culpability. Two different things.
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.
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.
You are exactly right. Ever wonder why Moses never crossed over Jordan?
What about the sinner on the cross. He didn’t ask for forgiveness and Jesus said He’d see him in eternity.
The sinner was a thief, not a murderer.
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.