In the “Excom Or Not” thread, John asks a direct question of me. I try to address every direct question that comes my way:
You seem to suggest that this abortion might have been justified, Todd. Do I misunderstand you?
It is an act of heroism to save the life of another human being. Heroes do it all the time, rising above the instinct for self-preservation, putting themselves in agony, injury, and dying so that others may live. Sometimes the heroism is direct, and a soldier places himself or herself in harm’s way so that comrades may live.
What happens when there are three parties, though? Suppose one person will die unless another saves her, and a third person is the one who must make the decision. The classic pre-conciliar conundrum for a Catholic husband, perhaps, who was faced with a choice: his wife or their unborn child.
This Brazilian abortion justified? I know barely more than Archbishop Sobrinho about this affair. Do I presume the doctors and the grandmother agonized over this decision and made the least horrific choice? CCC 2478 would seem to dictate I do, barring anyo other information not forthcoming.
For the unborn twins at four months’ gestation in the womb of a child, survival for another two to three months to get to viability may not have been assured. If so, I can understand that abortion would seem to have been the only alternative: lose all three lives and cling to an absolute principle, or save the only one one could save.
My wife and I are parents of a daughter who, as we are told by two different sets of cardiologists, is unable to bear a child. Heaven forbid, we might face a similar choice in the future. Our daughter, certainly if she marries, will face the choice with a husband in the future beyond. I have spent time pondering the possibilities. Her current cardiologist is hopeful that adult stem cell research will, within fifteen to twenty years, be able to produce a cloned heart from her own tissues. And that might resolve the dilemma she will face as an adult.
So was this abortion justified? I wouldn’t say it was, but it also wasn’t excommunication material. Unless, that is, they wanted to make a public example of the father of the unborn twins. Maybe he deserves excommunication. I know we deserve to forgive.