“brutal, cruel, ferocious and inhuman crimes”

On the Pro Life Wisconsin blog there is a good remind of how strong has been the Church’s teaching – not “policy” as many liberals, even catholics, claim – about abortion.

In 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued a Papal Bull, called Effraenatam, excommunicating anyone directly involved in abortion, and calling on civil authorities to punish abortionists severely. He uses strong language to condemn abortion, calling attacks on the unborn person “brutal, cruel, ferocious and inhuman crimes.” Here’s some more from the declaration:

Who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the impiety of him… who has deprived children of life before they could naturally see light or could be protected by maternal body from ferocious cruelty? Who will not abhor the cruelty and unrestrained debauchery of impious men who have arrived into such a state of mind that they procure poisons in order to extinguish the conceived fetuses within the viscera, and pour them out, trying to provoke by a nefarious crime a violent and untimely death and killing of their progeny? Finally who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the crimes of those who with poisons, potions and evil actions sterilize women or impede that they conceive or give birth by pernicious medicines and drugs?

We are willing to exterminate in our times also this evil as much as a We can by the strength given to Us by the Lord….

Plus ça change.

Speaking of reactions in the past, remember this?  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. majuscule says:

    Surely this can’t be correct. It must be revisionist history.

    After all, devout practicing catholic Nancy Pelosi states that abortion is sacred ground. Didn’t she say that the church (her church at least ) has always allowed abortion?

  2. Cathy says:

    Strange that now our own Bishop’s charities think it reasonable to partner directly with the purveyors of the evils of birth control and abortion. I have to ask, why not give the monetary aid directly to the Catholic diocese nearest to the crisis? Would this mean the direct loss of funds given in the form of government grants – good! With all the revelations regarding funds going from CRS to groups whose foundational purpose is to root birth control and abortion in poor countries, CARE and PSI, the silence in regards to the Bishops directly related to the charities as board members is infuriating! Silence can be taken as advocacy, yet, I have not heard even one speak in regards to this revelation. Why!

  3. wanda says:

    Cathy, CCHD earns a spot on your list, as well.

  4. Cathy says:

    Wanda, I’ve gotten to the point of not trusting any USCCB charity or their response that they will clean up their act! I don’t want a response from their “spokesperson”, I want a direct response from the bishops who are members of their boards. To be honest, if you want to help the poor, find a good inner city parish with a good and faithful pastor, and send an offering to said parish. It amazes me, these parishes are perishing due to lack of financial support, and would thrive financially if their only income matched just one of the salaries of many of the executives running the charities at USCCB.

  5. Priam1184 says:

    Father this is in response to the post from 2008 you linked to about Ovid. I think that you are (were) being far to generous to the Romans in that post. While abortion, as in causing the death of the child in the mother’s womb, was probably only common among prostitutes or maybe the mistresses of the well heeled, infanticide was pretty pervasive throughout the Empire. It usually took the form of laying the child, who was usually a girl for whom the parents knew they would never be able or didn’t want to work to afford a dowry when the time came for her to be married, by the side of a road and leaving the poor child there to die. And in this the male head of the household had complete control over. The Church, to its great credit, put an definitive end to this practice and of course has never been given a shred of credit for that from feminists, and both infanticide and abortion on a wide scale disappeared from the Western world for almost 17 centuries. Now, as we descend back into the darkness, it has returned.

  6. rodin says:

    Question: “Finally who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the crimes of those who with poisons, potions and evil actions sterilize women or impede that they conceive or give birth by pernicious medicines and drugs?”

    Answer: Hippocrates–“I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.”

    Whether or not he, himself, actually wrote the Oath it is reasonable to believe he lived and practiced medicine following it. Since he pre-dates Christ by almost five centuries it is apparent this belief did not originate with Christianity. The ancients, being good thinkers, reasoned to the natural law.

  7. wanda says:

    You nailed it, Cathy. Were I able to award gold stars, you would have one. I would rather support Fr. Z. and the faithful work he does here for the Church and for our instruction.

  8. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Priam1184 said, “in this the male head of the household had complete control”. I once asked a scholar of Roman law in a more general way about the power over life and death of the paterfamilias, and recall his answer as being that the evidence suggests that, at least in later times, this was almost never exercised. And I recall mentally contrasting this apparently benign ancient ‘paternalistic’ exercise of power with the modern often emphatically legally protected murderousness of mothers (and the practical scope it allows for husbands, parents, ‘partners’, statutory rapists, et al., bullying many into such murder). But was exposing babies then the major exception to paterfamilial ‘restraint’?

  9. Priam1184 says:

    @Venerator Sti Lot Exposing children was indeed very common, though I admit that I am not sure of its relationship to the paterfamilias aspect of Roman law. I think you are correct that fathers would rarely just go about murdering their children by the time of the Empire; that seems more a feature of the aristocratic families of the early Republic but I could be wrong about that. I think that, sadly, exposing newborns (especially girls) was a fairly common practice throughout the ancient pagan world.

  10. Chuck3030 says:

    I blelieve that the condemnation by the Holy Father mentioned here is about 1400 years after the first Catholic condemnation, appearing in the Didache.

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