An Old Catholic Church located in Clarksville, Tennessee. Married Clergy allowed.
Ordination information, Old Catholic Church History, and more.
AKA as the Old Catholic Church of America Inc.*
Old Catholic Church of North America
POSITION on ABORTION
How many abortions have there been since 1973?
Total abortions since 1973 -- 38,010,378 1
Of this number how many abortions have been the results of maternal or fetal health problems, rape, or incest? 1
Less than 7% of all abortions are for these reasons. This means that 35,349,652 pregnancies were terminated by the use of abortion for contraceptive purposes.
What does all this really mean?
According to the World Fact Book published by the CIA2 the mortality rate for infants is 6.63 deaths per 1,000 live births. This would mean that of the 35,349,652 pregnancies that could have been full term there would have 35,137,554 more children in our country.
What does the Old Catholic Church believe regarding abortion?
The OCCNA, like the Roman, Orthodox, and the majority of other Christian denominations, as well as the majority of other religions believes that abortion is the willful taking of an innocent life.
But how can any church or religion make this claim since even with our advanced science we can't determine when life actually begins?
As stated above based on statistics, which is a science, abortion has resulted in the loss of over 35 million future lives. Does it really matter so much as when "life" begins when one really considers the undeniable fact that a future human being was denied life.
As Old Catholic we take our guidance from the Early Church. Is not abortion a new issue?
The position of the OCCNA and the Early Church Fathers are in total agreement that abortion is a sin. Fortunately, abortion, like all sins, is forgivable and clergy should make every effort to help women experiencing the grief and remorse of an abortion return to the Father. Included in this document you will find some of only a few writings from the Early Church regarding abortion.
What can I do to help prevent the loss of life due to abortion?
First of all one must not resort to violence as some have done. It is the responsibility of the faithful, especially the clergy, to educate others as to what the Church believes. It is the responsibility of the faithful to voice the beliefs of the church to elected officials to stop the use of abortion as a contraceptive. It is the responsibility of the faithful to place the welfare of the innocents above their own comforts and desires when making a determination as to how to vote.
House of Bishops
Early Church Writings:
"The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child" (Didache 2:1–2 [A.D. 70]).
The Letter of Barnabas
"The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. . . . Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born" (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]).
The Apocalypse of Peter
"And near that place I saw another strait place . . . and there sat women. . . . And over against them many children who were born to them out of due time sat crying. And there came forth from them rays of fire and smote the women in the eyes. And these were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion" (The Apocalypse of Peter 25 [A.D. 137]).
"What man of sound mind, therefore, will affirm, while such is our character, that we are murderers? . . . [W]hen 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? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very fetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are
chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it" (A Plea for the Christians 35 [A.D. 177]).
"In our case, a 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 the 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 birth. That
is a man which is
going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed" (Apology 9:8 [A.D. 197]).
"There are some [pagan] women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth. And these things assuredly come down from the teaching of your [false] gods. . . . To us [Christians] it is not lawful either to see or hear of homicide" (Octavius 30 [A.D. 226]).
"Women who were reputed to be believers began to take drugs to render themselves sterile, and to bind themselves tightly so as to expel what was being conceived, since they would not, on account of relatives and excess wealth, want to have a child by a slave or by any insignificant person. See, then, into what great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by teaching adultery and murder at the same time!" (Refutation of All Heresies [A.D. 228]).
"When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but he warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. . . . Therefore, let no one imagine that even this is allowed, to strangle newly born children, which is the greatest impiety; for God breathes into their souls for life, and not for death. But men, that there may be no crime with which they may not pollute their hands, deprive [unborn] souls as yet innocent and simple of the
light which they themselves have not given.
Council of Ancyra
"Concerning women who commit fornication, and destroy that which they have conceived, or who are employed in making drugs for abortion, a former decree excluded them until the hour of death, and to this some have assented. Nevertheless, being desirous to use somewhat greater lenity, we have ordained that they fulfill ten years [of penance], according to the prescribed degrees" (canon 21 [A.D. 314]).
Basil the Great
"Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years’ penance, whether the embryo were perfectly formed, or not" (First Canonical Letter, canon 2 [A.D. 374]).
"Wherefore I beseech you, flee fornication. . . . Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit?—where there are many efforts at abortion?—where there is murder before the birth? For even the harlot you do not let continue a mere harlot, but make her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to prostitution, prostitution to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then
do thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with his laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine" (Homilies on Romans 24 [A.D. 391]).
"I cannot bring myself to speak of the many virgins who daily fall and are lost to the bosom of the Church, their mother. . . . Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when, as often happens, they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder" (Letters
22:13 [A.D. 396]).
The Apostolic Constitutions
"Thou shalt not use magic. Thou shalt not use witchcraft; for he says, ‘You shall not suffer a witch to live’ [Ex. 22:18]. Thou shall not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. . . . [I]f it be slain, [it] shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed" (Apostolic Constitutions 7:3 [A.D. 400]).
1. Based on numbers and estimates reported by the Alan Guttmacher Institute 1973-1996, with NRLC estimates of 1,365,730 for 1997 and 1998. AGI estimates a possible 3% underreporting rate, which is factored into the total.
2. CIA - The World Factbook -- United States (http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html)