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View Diary: And so it begins....Church lays down the law. (185 comments)

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  •  here is a nice summary of augustine's position (2.50)
    Showing that he was completely wacked sexually but did not think life began at conception:

    The authors begin with Augustine and demonstrate quite convincingly that Augustine made a sharp distinction between early and late abortions. He condemned abortion in both instances, but for different reasons.

    In the early stages of pregnancy, Augustine views abortion as evil, not because human life is present, but because the purpose of sex is destroyed. For Augustine, sex had value only if it intended procreation. It was, nonetheless, always sinful, even for spouses seeking to have children, unless they managed to have sex without pleasure. Pleasure vitiated sex, which was already corrupt in its essence. The best way to deal with sex was to abstain from it.

    Only through procreation could sex gain some limited meaning. Augustinian principles eventually condemn contraception, the rhythm method, post-menopausal sex and sex for infertile couples. Abortion in the early stages is evil, according to Augustine, because it destroys the conception, which is the only justification for sex.

    It is clear that Augustine did not believe human life is present from conception. He said he did not know when the life in the womb is human (ignoro quando incipiat homo in utere vivere). He assumed that "unformed fetuses perish like seeds that have never been fructified." It is not the loss of human life or a person which grieves Augustine, but the loss of the purpose of sex. Even conservative theologians today reject Augustine's analysis of sex and his reasons for condemning early abortion.

    It is instructive to note that Augustine presupposed development of human life in the womb and not the immediate identification of conception and ensoulment. Abortion in the later stages is evil, Augustine believed, because human life is present-after sensation and quickening occur.

    I got this from, which nicely explains the position of early catholic.

    •  Sounds much like PA Santorum (none)
      I believe he's wanting laws which agree with this, sex only for procreation, no pleasure allowed.  He's also involved with much of the weakening of the constitution proposed legislation and impossible reproductive rights (keep us barefoot and pregnant).  Maybe the US could implement the practice of mutilation to prevent pleasurable sex like they do in other third world areas.  If they could pass some of this year's pending legislation they'd be well on the way for states to be able to pass biblical laws, and this could be one.

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