Church Doctrine against contraception goes back 2000 years February 16, 2012Posted by tantamergo in Abortion, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, sickness, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
Many, especially those who are not Catholic, do not realize that Church opposition to contraception, sterilization, and abortion goes back to the earliest, formative days of Christendom. Fr. Mitch Pacwa has done a great service by putting together an extensive list of references which make clear that this Doctrine has remained constant throughout the life of the Church:
The earliest reference to contraception and abortion is in the Didache, a document from the second half of the first century or early second century. Didache reads: “You shall not practice birth control, you shall not murder a child by abortion, nor kill what is begotten” (2)…..
…..Another early text is the Epistle of Barnabas: “You shall not slay the child by procuring abortion, nor shall you destroy it after it is born” (19). This also shows that the earliest Christians forbade abortion.
In the second century, St. Clement of Alexandria wrote in the Paedagogus (2.10.96): “Women who resort to some sort of deadly abortion drug kill not only the embryo, but along with it, all human kindness.” This passage supports our translation of the Didache by mentioning the use of drugs to induce abortion.
In 177, Athenagoras of Athens wrote in the Supplication for the Christians: “And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder?”
This is the first of many patristic texts identifying abortion with murder, thereby indicating a high value to the personhood of the fetus. Tertullian’s Apology in 197, while he was still in union with the Church, says, “In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth.”
In fact, this belief had remained a constant Dogma of all Christendom, even among the schismatic orthodox and the protestant sects, until 1930, when the Anglicans broke for the first time with this belief. It’s been downhill ever since.