|Type of paper:||Research proposal|
|Categories:||Christianity Church Abortion Community Social issue|
A clash between cultures constitutes one of the significant issues and challenges that affect the Catholic Church in the current era. Like any other ecclesiastical organization, the church is guided by various fundamental beliefs and practices, most of which are drawn from the scriptures of the Holy Bible as well as the teaching of Jesus Christ about multiple issues. Specifically, the cultural wars between the Liberal Catholics and the Conservative Catholics have recently taken a new turn, thereby portraying a strong division in the church (Manning, 1997).
One of the primary issues that have contributed to these divergent views is the debate on abortion as well as other topics that affect the well-being of women and their sexuality (Altbregen, 2016). While one group has always advocated and supported one idea, the other has consistently rejected it. In recent times, the Catholic Church leader, Francis acknowledged that the church leaders were tremendously obsessed with the imposition of strict rules related to abortion, homosexuality, and the utilization of contraceptives on the faithful detriment of the church (Ben Hafsa, 2015; Gula, 1989).
However, other groups of Catholics with different perspectives have always believed that the hierarchy's obsession moves beyond the church and therefore influences the entire humanity (Stephens, Jordens, Kerridge, & Ankeny, 2010). The culture war is, consequently attributed to Christians across the world. Studies have shown that while the culture wars are usually assigned to the rights of the Christians, the US Catholic Bishops have been made responsible for beginning the culture wars that have continued to cause a tremendous polarization of the society, leading to the paralysis of the many nations' political processes (Eberts, 1998).
In this paper, therefore, I will provide a diagnostic of a cultural war as experienced by the Catholic Church as an ecclesial organization. Specifically, the paper discusses issues of abortion about the church and consequently provides a proposal or recommendations for what ought to be done for successful development of the Catholic Church.
Religious Overview of Abortion
The church provides clear teaching about abortion (White, 2012). Notably, like any other organization as its fundamental belief and principles, the church's teaching directs that induced abortion is always pure evil. This means that people must be aware of induced abortion and any other type of abortion (Stephens, Jordens, Kerridge, & Ankeny, 2010). This kind of teaching is what has primarily caused a cultural war and divergent in opinions among the members of the Catholic Church. The primary teaching is made regarding moral law as conceived in the Catholic Church as well as the canonical penalty (Manning, 1997; Kaczor, 2014; Kerr, 2007).
Surprisingly, the moral law has always given a classification that every destruction of the unborn fetus is gravely sinful (Fleishman, 2000). However, its canonical penalties have ever experienced an enormous variation throughout history because of the possible and constant modification by either the scientific opinions prevailing in given time or cultural attitudes. The case study by Rev. R. J. Huser regarding abortion offers extensive insight into this argument or view. In 1588, for instance, Pope Sixtus V attempted to discourage humanity and the church from practicing abortion through the issuance of severe penalties (Stephens, Jordens, Kerridge, & Ankeny, 2010).
Such penalties would include reserving absolution from ex-communication for all people who procured an abortion. While his method seemed appropriate regarding the Christians' teaching about life, it was not only ineffective but focused on the spiritual harm of humanity (Fleishman, 2000). In this way, people were tremendously discouraged from confessing their sins. The most important thing to note in this case is that the Canon law cannot determine the morality of abortion (Doerflinger, 1999). This is because of its assumption and proceeds to examine how the church, as a community of believers, should handle its members who are found guilty of practicing abortion (Fleishman, 2000). The opinion that there have always been canonical penalties for abortion is merely a reflection of the position that the church holds regarding the evilness of abortion (Ben Hafsa, 015). However, canon law cannot prescribe any kind of penalty for such sins. In fact, prayers and good deeds have always been preferred as sufficient for this role (Stephens, Jordens, Kerridge, & Ankeny, 2010).
A second difference offers a strong separation of the principal teachings of the church from the opinion of the many or individual ecclesiastical authors who have always given their thoughts regarding the whole issue of abortion. To a given extent, the church has always considered these opinions but not adopted them as part of its teachings. For instance, a decree of the Holy Office in 1679 under the authority highly condemned the views and perspectives of the two most influential writers and theologians of that century. Both writers held that abortion was lawful in certain circumstances.
Specifically, Thomas Sanchez held that it was allowed if the fetus is unanimated when the intention is to prevent a girl from being killed because of the then traditional beliefs on baby girls (Cited in Machado, 2017). Marcus Joannis, on the other hand, argued the fetus has no rational soul until it is born (Cited in Machado, 2017). It is therefore evident that these arguments have been deeply enshrined and embraced by different members of the Catholic Church, with one group supporting abortion while others strongly coming out to condemn it (Cohen & Hall, 2009).
Cultural War (on Abortion) among the Catholicism
The divergent views on abortion within the Catholic Church is not a new thing. Other than basing its teachings on the biblical and ecclesiastical teachings, the Church laws are based on the opinions and views of the society as well as the individuals across the world (Cohen & Hall, 2009). In the same way, the Catholics Bishops created the right-to-life movement that strongly discouraged abortion. The book, "Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic" offers a detailed exposition of the cultural war as experienced in the church. Abortion was not a serious issue in the mid-1960s (Cited in Hornsby-Smith, 2009).
In the United States, for example, it was regulated by states. In this way, it was a banned issue except where the woman's life was at risk and had to be saved (Hornsby-Smith, 2009; Johnston, 2013). While this is so, the Catholic bishops who viewed sexual morality their special purview opted to subject the prevention of liberation of abortion law the leading cause of various movements such as the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The view of abortion among the Catholic Church has, therefore, been supported by Pope Francis, who has held that abortion is a verdict of murder. Although the majority of bishops across the world have argued in defense of Francis, a group of the American bishops and others across the globe have continued to attack (Ben Hafsa, 2015; O'Brien, 2010).
If the Catholic Church's teaching is to remain clear and consistent, then it is critical to eliminate the confusing, misleading, and contradictory opinions. In the same way, if the teaching of the church is to develop, then research and comprehensive discussion about it is needed. In reality, nobody familiar with the development of the Church of teachings of the church about abortion throughout history could be able to recognize that such teachings demonstrate a given extent of clarity and consistency.
The truth about Christianity and Abortion
Irrespective of which argument the church holds regarding abortion, a very clear line regarding abortion must be drawn. Ideally, the truth must be told. A well-formulated moral, spiritual, and political arguments on abortion from both the Catholic and Protestants Christian view is considerably new within the scheme of things (Curran, 1973; Machado, 2017). However, it must be known that there is no specific reference to abortion in the Holy Bible. Neither the laws of the Old Testament nor the teachings of Jesus within the New Testament speak about abortion. The majority of the life advocates among Christianity, have used the arguments enshrined in the Ten Commandments to support the prohibition of abortion. In Exodus 10:13, the Bible says. "You shall not Murder." In the same way, the descriptions such as "You knit me together in my mother's womb" (Psalms 139: 13) are believed to be sufficient to offer an extrapolation of command regarding abortion. However, this is simply opinion based on the observation that reference to end the pregnancy is not mentioned in the texts (Stephens, Jordens, Kerridge, & Ankeny, 2010).
Moreover, the history of the church throughout the middle-ages period provides little information regarding abortion, and therefore, it is not a great topic as amplified by some of the contemporary leaders (Sullins, 1999; Belmonte & Cranston, 2013). This means that there is no need to make any case for a definitive Christian stance on both the spiritual and moral position of the abortion. It is important to note that focus on the three of the essential authorities on the Christian doctrines provides Christians with the opportunity to determine the morality behind abortion. These include the Apostle Paul, St. Augustine in the 5th Century and St. Thomas Aquinas (Curran, 1973). Theologians generally agree that these three figures were mostly silent on the issue of abortion (Machado, 2017).
As an organization that wants its members to follow a given fundamental belief and principles, the leaders of the Catholic Church must first adopt and learn from the teachings of St. Augustine (Sullins, 1999). In reality, he is considered as a Christian doctrinal authority in all respects and who helped in shaping Christianity through exceptional elements in his doctrines and practices (Dombrowski & Deltete, 2000; Torrance, 2016). His views and teachings on abortion can be totaled in the quote, "The law does not provide that the act (abortion) pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation" (Haldane & Lee 2003).
Through this statement, St. Augustine was simply reiterating the views of the traditional Jews, who held that the fetus destruction could be treated as a homicide only at a considerably late stage within the fetal development (Jakobvits, 1965; Dombrowski, 2014; Hoswell, 2016). The brevity in Augustine's comments provides an adequate indication of a relatively low level of importance that he assigned to the issue of abortion compared to others (Haldane & Lee 2003). In the same way, other prominent people such as the St. Aquinas also held a similar view in not referring to abortion as a homicide until in the later century (Amerini, s2013). Just like his Augustine, he held a loose belief in life at conception, but instead "ensoulment." He did not defend abortion but also failed to assign the matter much attention when compared to its other work (Fleishman, 2000).
Historians agree that the famous theologians took a less strong stance on abortion (Dombrowski & Deltete, 2000). Also, they demonstrated less focus on the strictest laws of the Old Testament. People who have studied the Old Testament adequately will agree with the fact that everything that involves the life of a human being is addressed, from the style of hair to the attire choice (Finnis, 1999).
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