Follow usTwitterFacebook


28 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (1)

Does the Catholic Church send missionaries to spread the gospel?

Full Question I was recently reading about a Protestant organization that sends out missionaries to teach the faith to illiterate populations, making Bible…

Read more

24 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

Does God have a body like ours?

Full Question A Pentecostal friend of mine says God has a body just like ours. This is why the Bible talks about human beings being made in his image and w…

Read more

14 Oct 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

Bishop asks for prayers for burglar who stole cross given to him by Benedict XVI

The pectoral cross was stolen from the home of the US bishop on Saturday Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, in Nebraska, is asking Catholics to pray for “a conv…

Read more

28 Mar 2015 Q&A No comments

Do I need to confess a mortal sin committed before I was baptized?

Full Question I was baptized and confirmed 7 years ago. Before my conversion, I committed a mortal sin which I have never confessed to a prie…

Read more

23 Jan 2017 Q&A Comments (2)

Is confirmation mentioned in the bible?

Full Question Is confirmation as a sacrament mentioned in the bible? Answer The sacrament of confirmation is the reception of the Holy Spirit through the…

Read more

03 Jun 2015 Articles Q&A Comments (2)

What is the Church’s teaching concerning Mary’s divine maternity?

Discussion: The first and foremost revealed truth about our Blessed Mother, from which all her other roles and honors flow, is that she is the Mother of God. …

Read more

25 Mar 2015 Q&A No comments

Can the devil really make us do it?

Full Question You often hear of people discussing Satan trying to attack them and lead them to sin, but what really is within Satan’s capabilities? …

Read more

13 Dec 2016 Articles Comments (1)

Uptight About Divorce, ain't people suppose to be able to freely divorce and remarry if they choose?

CHALLENGE “The Catholic Church is too uptight about divorce. People ought to be able to freely divorce and remarry if they choose.” DEFENSE The Church’…

Read more

30 Aug 2016 Uncategorized No comments

Newly ordained Boston bishops to look out for ‘the lost sheep’

Bishops Robert Reed and Mark O’Connell were ordained at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston Two new priests were advised to “have a special love for the …

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Academic urges Polish bishops to support ‘early, safe and legal’ abortion for disabled babies

Prof Tina Beattie has signed a letter to Polish bishops opposing plans to ban abortion in the country

Theologian and professor of Catholic Studies at Roehampton University, Tina Beattie, has signed a letter to the Polish Bishops’ Conference supporting “early, safe and legal” abortion.

Although the letter begins, “We uphold the sanctity of all human life, including the right to life of women and their unborn children”, it goes on to say, “we also acknowledge that sometimes women and girls face agonising decisions about whether or not to continue with a pregnancy that is the consequence of an act of sexual violence; that poses a serious threat to their own health, or that would result in the birth of a profoundly disabled or terminally ill child.”

The letter follows proposals by the Polish government to make abortion illegal in the country. Along with her academic duties Prof Beattie also volunteers for CAFOD’s Theological Reference Group.

The letter has been signed by fellow academics, lay people and theologians of varying nationalities, with signatories describing themselves as “concerned Catholics”.

“While we respect those who decide to continue with such a pregnancy, we do not believe that this decision can be imposed upon them through moral coercion, and far less through the force of law,” the letter states.

“In our view, the latter constitutes a violation of a woman’s freedom of conscience and personal dignity, and it runs counter to the Catholic tradition’s distinction between morality and legality. The law should not be used to control a person’s moral life, except when that person’s behaviour poses a threat to society.”

They go on to criticise Poland’s current abortion law and argue that it discourages Polish doctors from allowing pre-natal testing for foetal abnormalities because of the fear of prosecution: “We understand that Poland already has laws restricting abortion to situations when a woman’s life or health would be endangered by the continuation of a pregnancy, when the pregnancy is the result of a criminal act such as rape or incest, or when the foetus is seriously malformed or terminally ill.

“We are aware that under existing Polish law it is medical assistants who perform illegal abortions and not the women who have the abortions who are subject to legal penalties. We are concerned that even under existing law, fear of prosecution might prevent doctors from agreeing to perform legal abortions, or might inhibit their willingness to undertake prenatal tests which could diagnose serious foetal conditions – some of which can be treated in the womb, but some of which might under current law permit abortion.

“However, despite this reservation, we accept that the present law goes some way towards addressing the concerns we express above with regard to balancing potential conflicts between freedom of conscience and the common good.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes clear that “the moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law,” and says that “the inalienable rights of the person must be recognised and respected by civil society and the political authority.

“These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2273)

The signatories of the letter also say that Mary’s choice to “conceive a child” was a free one and write: “When God chose Mary to become the mother of His Son, He did so not by force or compulsion but by invitation and request. Mary was free in deciding whether or not to conceive a child. Many women and girls do not enjoy such freedom.”

The letter continues: “We also believe that our Catholic faith calls us to be attentive to suffering in all its forms, and to respond with trust in the mercy, forgiveness and compassion of God when faced with with profound moral dilemmas that offer no clear solution.

“In situations where abortion is deemed necessary – such as those currently permitted under Polish law – we believe that access to early, safe and legal abortion is essential. Making abortion illegal does not save the lives of unborn children. It kills women who would rather risk death than carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

“Finally, there is a body of evidence to show that the best way to prevent abortion is to respect women’s human dignity and freedom of conscience with regard to reproductive decisions, by guaranteeing access to reliable methods of birth control. To deny such access and to criminalise abortion as well seems to instrumentalise women as reproductive bodies rather than as full and equal human beings made in the image of God.”

Prof Beattie is the director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing and of Catherine of Siena College and both are based at the University of Roehampton.


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories