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|a brief history of what the R. C. Church |
has taught about abortion
over the centuries :
Leontina Albina from San Antonio, Chile is only able to produce birth certificates for 55 of the 64 children she claims to have had with her husband. So this couple has been dropped from the Guinness Book of World Records, where they were listed prior to the year 2000 as having the record for the highest number of children born to a single couple (in modern times).
But even if they only gave birth to 55 children, shouldn't the pope be using this couple as the very definition of marriage for Roman Catholics? If anybody has taken the Catholic Church's objections to birth-control seriously, surely it is them!
Thanks to the powerful influence of the Roman Catholic Church, the very poor women of the Philippines have been veritable baby factories, producing more babies than most any other Asian nation, and far more than they can afford to raise in dignity.
In recent years, however, rallies such as these have helped persuade the country's legislators and President to defy the Catholic Church's bishops and pass legislation supportive of family planning.
In their important July 7, 2004 official directives, called "Catholics in Political Life", it appears that not one of the bishops of the U.S.A. had any reservations about making the following false claim (in its 2nd paragraph) :
"It is the teaching of the Catholic Church from the very beginning, founded on her understanding of her Lord’s own witness to the sacredness of human life, that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified. If those who perform an abortion and those who cooperate willingly in the action are fully aware of the objective evil of what they do, they are guilty of grave sin and thereby separate themselves from God’s grace. This is the constant and received teaching of the Church."
As the famously witty and scholarly Catholic Senator Patrick Moynihan used to say, "People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts." If only the church would select its bishops on the basis of their theological expertise, instead of their achievements as administrators or their loyalty to the Vatican, the church might not embarrass itself by such official misstatements. The fact is that history does not bear out the claims of the recent popes and America's bishops that their present opposition to contraception represents "the constant teaching of the Catholic Church from the very beginning, founded on her understanding of her Lord's own witness to the sacredness of human life, that the killing of an unborn child is always intrinsically evil and can never be justified." The truth is that the Catholic Church's teaching regarding abortion , and when human life begins, is nowhere near as constant as is claimed. And considering the use made by the hierarchy of this teaching to influence the government of the United States (and of the rest of the world to some extent), it is important to set this record straight :The following are excerpts from the book, Vicars of Christ, by Peter De Rosa (former professor at the prestigious Gregorian University, in Rome):
How much of this is constant Catholic teaching? The answer is: none of it. Every stage in his argument is untraditional, which makes it imperative that his reasoning on abortion, like Paul VI's on contraception, be subjected to close scrutiny.
Is the Soul Infused at Conception?
Most Catholics assume that the soul is infused at conception. They may take it as an article of faith. In fact it is not. Vatican II deliberately left the issue aside and for a very good reason. For fourteen hundred years until late in the nineteenth century, all Catholics, including the popes, took it for granted that the soul is not infused at conception. If the church was wholly opposed to abortion, as it was, it was not on the basis of the conceptus starting as a human being.
From the fifth century, the church accepted without question the primitive embryology of Aristotle. The embryo began as a non-human speck that was progressively animated. This speck had to evolve from vegetative, through animal to spiritual being. Only in its final stage was it a human being. This is why Gratian was able to say: `He is not a murderer who brings about abortion before the soul is in the body.'
The characteristics of the foetus were attributed solely to the father. It (and it was correct to refer to the embryo as `it') became human at forty days for the male and eighty days for the female. A female resulted, said Aquinas, from defective seed or from the fact that conception took place when a damp wind was blowing. It followed that to abort a foetus in the early stages of pregnancy was wrong, since it was the destruction of a potential human being. It was not murder, since it was not the killing of an actual human being.
In the fifteenth century, moralists began to ask whether it was not possible in certain circumstances to get rid of the foetus without fault. For example, when it results from rape or incest or even from adultery, thus threatening the husband's rights and the marriage itself. The same dilemma arose in the case of a mother whose health would be endangered if she had to bring a foetus to full term. Was it not a moral duty to save a human life at the expense of a non_human if potentially human life? Some of the best theologians answered Yes.
Some went further. They said it was permissible to save a mother's life even after the foetus was humanized, that is, after the soul was infused. For what reason? Because the foetus' life had no absolute value; its value had to be weighed with others. What, then, in the classical case, when it came to a straight choice between saving the mother or the child? Was not the mother's life more valuable than the child's? Many hesitated. They said it was always wrong to kill an ensouled foetus directly. They were content to say it is permissible to kill it indirectly, that is, when medical treatment to help the mother incidentally and without intending it also killed or expelled the foetus The aim was solely to save the mother; the death of the foetus was sad by-product of that virtuous act.
History shows that popes, far from being able to solve these difficult moral dilemmas once and for all, were as mystified as anyone else They had no access to privileged information. They had to put forward arguments that were subject to rebuttal. For example, Gregory XIII (1572-85) said it was not homicide to kill an embryo of less than forty days since it was not human. Even after forty days, though it was homicide, it was not as serious as killing a person already born, since it was not done in hatred or revenge. His successor, the tempestuous Sixtus V, who rewrote the Bible, disagreed entirely. In his Bull Effraenatum of 1588, he said all abortions for whatever reason were homicide and were penalized by excommunication reserved to the Holy See. Immediately after Sixtus died, Gregory XIV realized that, in the current state of theological opinion, Sixtus' view was too severe. In an almost unique decision, he said Sixtus' censures were to be treated as is he had never issued them. Popes can be precipitate. They never did have answers up their sleeve to ongoing moral problems. Moral judgments depend on facts and circumstances, all of which must be kept under review. The nineteenth-century papacy forgot this basic principle on every issue related to liberty. Twentieth-century pope, have forgotten it on every issue relating to sex. Paul VI was not alone in reissuing ancient teachings regardless of entirely changed circumstances and the findings of science. In particular, the morality of abortion depends on biological facts.
In 1621 a Roman doctor, Paulo Zacchia, suggested that there was no biological basis for Aristotle's view that ensoulment was delayed for some time after conception. Zacchia was the most honoured physician in the papal court, yet his view had no impact on papal theological teaching. The Vatican issued a pastoral directive permitting but not enforcing the baptism of foetuses less than forty days. As late as the eighteenth century, the church's greatest moral theologian, St. Alfonsus Liguori, was still denying that the soul was infused at conception. Like Aquinas before him, he did not say direct abortion was right, but his view allowed a flexibility of approach to abortion, especially when the mother's life was in danger. After 1750, this flexibility disappeared. For the first time in centuries, the church started to return to the intransigent attitude of the Fathers." (p. 375)
"In the US: Many pregnancies are not viable. According to estimates, 50% of pregnancies terminate spontaneously before the first missed menstrual period; these abortions usually are not clinically recognized. Spontaneous abortion typically is defined as a clinically recognized (ie, by blood test or ultrasound) pregnancy loss before 20 weeks' gestation."
Now, according to the Church's official teaching, the best that babies and foetuses that die without the benefit of a good Catholic baptism can hope for in the hereafter is an eternity in the state of "Limbo".
Since that has been the fate of the majority of children in the underdeveloped parts of the world throughout history as well as today, and it is estimated that for every human pregnancy that produces a live baby, one and perhaps even two pregnancies are aborted spontaneously, those who accept the official teaching of the Catholic Church must believe that there are destined to be many more souls in "Limbo" for all eternity than in heaven and hell combined. And yet, the Bible never said a single word about this eternal resting place for the majority of mankind!
“I am convinced that some political and social activities and practices of the Catholic organizations are detrimental and even dangerous for the community as a whole, here and everywhere. I mention here only the fight against birth control at a time when overpopulation in various countries has become a serious threat to the health of people and a grave obstacle to any attempt to organize peace on this planet.” [ Albert Einstein, in a letter, 1954 ]
"In his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II laid out the Church's definition of 'pro-life' behavior. His starting point was the Didache , the most ancient non-biblical Christian writing. The Didache explores the differences between 'a way of life and a way of death.' 'The way of death is this...they show no compassion for the poor, they do not suffer with the suffering, they do not acknowledge their Creator, they kill their children and cause God's creatures to perish; they drive away the needy, oppress the suffering, they are advocates of the rich and unjust judges of the poor; they are filled with every sin.' Thus the Didache teaches us that to evaluate whether an individual is pro-life depends on far more than his or her position on abortion.
The Pope maintains that life must be protected 'from the moment of conception to one's natural end.' The Church opposes abortion, stem cell research and physician assisted suicide. It also opposes contraception and views its practice as inherently linked to these other mortal sins. '(D)espite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree,' Pope John Paul II observes, 'the negative values inherent in the 'contraceptive mentality' are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected.'
The Pope maintains that abortion at any time constitutes murder. However, he concedes that 'the texts of Sacred Scripture never address the question of deliberate abortion and so do not directly and specifically condemn it.' Indeed, although he doesn't discuss this, for more than 1500 years the position of the Catholic Church on abortion was very close to that of the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade: Early term abortion is not a mortal sin.
St. Augustine , Bishop of Hippo (ca. 415 AD), one of the most influential of all Catholic theologians, persuaded early Church leaders that abortion should not be regarded 'as homicide, for there cannot be a living soul in a body that lacks sensation due to its not yet being formed.' He, and Thomas Aquinas after him, taught that the embryo does not acquire a human soul until the end of the first trimester. At the beginning of the 13th century Pope Innocent II proposed that 'quickening' (the time when the woman first feels the fetus move within her) should be the moment at which abortion becomes homicide. Abortions occurring prior to that moment constituted a less serious sin. Pope Gregory XIV's declaration in 1591 that early abortion was not grounds for excommunication guided Church policy until 1869. In that year, Pope Pius IX eliminated the distinction between the animated and non-animated fetus and insisted on excommunication for anyone having or providing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy. That instruction was written into the Canon Law in 1917.
Aside from the question of which sins should result in the denial of Communion is the question of how broadly the sanctions should be applied. Pope John Paul II has declared that the mortal sin attached to the woman who has an abortion and the doctor who provides it must be borne equally by those who encouraged the woman to have the abortion and the medical administration that enabled the operation. The current discussion focuses largely on whether sanctions should extend to politicians at the local, state or national level who support policies that allow access to abortion. Denver Bishop Sheridan would extend sanctions to those who vote for such politicians. Given recent election results and public opinion polls, this would result in the majority of practicing Catholics being denied Communion. In their June resolution, the U.S. Bishops warned, 'the polarizing tendencies of election-year politics can lead to circumstances in which Catholic teaching and sacramental practice can be misused for political ends.' The denial of Communion must be applied even-handedly or it will be viewed as a political rather than a moral act, a way to influence elections, not behavior.
So far sanctions have been applied in a decidedly partisan manner. While Catholic Democratic Governor McGreevey was sanctioned, in part for his support for abortions, Catholic Republican Governor Pataki of New York, who holds similar views on abortion, was not. Sacramento Bishop Wiegand chastised Catholic Democratic Governor Gray Davis for supporting abortion rights and recommended that he refrain from taking Communion. But he has issued no warning to Catholic Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also supports abortion rights.'
In a private mass in 2003, the Pope himself gave Communion to Tony Blair, a pro-abortion Episcopalian." (who has since become a Roman Catholic)
Vatican City (CNS) – When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent out a brief memo in June, 2004 when Catholic U. S. Senator John Kerry was running for the Presidency, about politicians and Communion, he asserted that when a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered "remote material cooperation," which is "permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."
Few Roman Catholics seem capable of understanding that these principles cannot be applied logically by today's church leaders to American politicians unless they are also applied to the political situation that prevailed in Nazi Germany, when and where the Roman Catholic hierarchy, led by Pope Pius XII they allowed millions of their faithful to engage in infinitely more than "remote material cooperation" with Hitler in the mass-murder of 10 million innocent citizens, including millions of fellow Roman Catholics!
“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.' ”
And the archbishop continues: "Resistance to abortion cuts across all religions. It’s not a “Catholic” issue. In fact, it’s finally not a religious issue at all, but a matter of human rights, reinforced by the irrefutable scientific fact that life begins at conception."
(The Archbishop's Column - Sept. 22, 2004)
Is it ignorance or dishonesty that causes this prelate to pretend that
1) all religions are in agreement with the Catholic views of abortion and
2) that just because it's an obvious fact (not even requiring scientific knowledge) that there is "life" from the moment of conception that the life in question is the life of a distinct human being?
"The cardinal called this belief that has spread among Catholics the Donald Duck heresy,
In his recent book “God and Caesar,” the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, said a “common heresy of our times” is believing that Catholics can accept and practice contraception, using the “primacy of conscience” as a justification."
Let it be noted that, as of Feb. 2018, this very prelate has been on trial in Australia defending himself from charges of pedophilia in his past."Let Abortion Guide Vote", Catholics Told
"Abortion must outweigh every other issue for Roman Catholic voters, Atlanta's archbishop said Thursday after issuing an unusual letter telling his flock that Catholics are obligated to follow church teachings at the polls.
'You have an erroneous conscience if you think there is some case in which you can vote for a pro-abortion candidate,' Archbishop John Donoghue (Born in 1928, retired in 2004) said in an interview. 'You're wrong as far as church teaching is concerned.'
Catholics may debate other issues, like war or capital punishment, 'but there's no debate about abortion. It is intrinsically evil. It is way above other issues as far as evil is concerned.'
Donoghue's letter, 'On Conscientious Voting,' was posted on the archdiocese Web site and published in Thursday's edition of the diocesan newspaper, The Georgia Bulletin.
The archbishop, spiritual leader of North Georgia's 300,000 Catholics, wrote that he would not presume to say the faithful should vote for a specific candidate."
When a 9 year old 80 lb. girl in Brazil was found to be pregnant with twins after allegedly being raped by her stepfather, an abortion was performed to save her life. Now the girl's mother, the doctors who performed the procedure, and all of the other Catholic adults who had a part in saving her life are being kicked out of the Catholic Church. The girl whom the Church considered old enough to bear 2 children is not being excommunicated "because of her tender age".
Although abortion is illegal in this very Catholic country, the state allows for exceptions in cases of incest and to save the live of the mother. The Catholic president and Health Minister are siding with the "offenders" in this case.
"My brothers, What good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day and you say to them, 'Good-bye and good luck! Keep warm and well fed,' but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that? So it is with the faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless."
I am a Christian ethicist, and trained in statistical analysis. I am consistently pro-life. My son David is one witness. For my family, "pro-life" is personal. My wife caught rubella in the eighth week of her pregnancy. We decided not to terminate, to love and raise our baby. David is legally blind and severely handicapped; he also is a blessing to us and to the world.
I look at the fruits of political policies more than words. I analyzed the data on abortion during the George W. Bush presidency. There is no single source for this information - federal reports go only to 2000, and many states do not report - but I found enough data to identify trends. My findings are counterintuitive and disturbing.
Abortion was decreasing. When President Bush took office, the nation's abortion rates were at a 24-year low, after a 17.4% decline during the 1990s. This was an average decrease of 1.7% per year, mostly during the latter part of the decade. (This data comes from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life using the Guttmacher Institute's studies).
Enter George W. Bush in 2001. One would expect the abortion rate to continue its consistent course downward, if not plunge. Instead, the opposite happened.
I found three states that have posted multi-year statistics through 2003, and abortion rates have risen in all three: Kentucky's increased by 3.2% from 2000 to 2003. Michigan's increased by 11.3% from 2000 to 2003. Pennsylvania's increased by 1.9% from 1999 to 2002. I found 13 additional states that reported statistics for 2001 and 2002. Eight states saw an increase in abortion rates (14.6% average increase), and five saw a decrease (4.3% average decrease).
Under President Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed. Given the trends of the 1990s, 52,000 more abortions occurred in the United States in 2002 than would have been expected before this change of direction.
How could this be? I see three contributing factors: First, two thirds of women who abort say they cannot afford a child (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Web site). In the past three years, unemployment rates increased half again. Not since Hoover had there been a net loss of jobs during a presidency until the current administration. Average real incomes decreased, and for seven years the minimum wage has not been raised to match inflation. With less income, many prospective mothers fear another mouth to feed.
Second, half of all women who abort say they do not have a reliable mate (Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life). Men who are jobless usually do not marry. Only three of the 16 states had more marriages in 2002 than in 2001, and in those states abortion rates decreased. In the 16 states overall, there were 16,392 fewer marriages than the year before, and 7,869 more abortions. As male unemployment increases, marriages fall and abortion rises.
Third, women worry about health care for themselves and their children. Since 5.2 million more people have no health insurance now than before this presidency - with women of childbearing age overrepresented in those 5.2 million - abortion increases.
The U.S. Catholic Bishops warned of this likely outcome if support for families with children was cut back. My wife and I know - as does my son David - that doctors, nurses, hospitals, medical insurance, special schooling, and parental employment are crucial for a special child. David attended the Kentucky School for the Blind, as well as several schools for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. He was mainstreamed in public schools as well. We have two other sons and five grandchildren, and we know that every mother, father, and child needs public and family support.
What does this tell us? Economic policy and abortion are not separate issues; they form one moral imperative. Rhetoric is hollow, mere tinkling brass, without health care, health insurance, jobs, child care, and a living wage. Pro-life in deed, not merely in word, means we need policies that provide jobs and health insurance and support for prospective mothers.
Glen Stassen is the Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, and the co-author of Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, Christianity Today's Book of the Year in theology or ethics."
"the bishops (of the Roman Catholic Church) have no special mandate from their office to supplant the individual conscience with some divine imperative. For them to say that this is a matter of theology is, simply, bad theological reasoning. If they, as citizens, wish to express their opinion on the natural-reason arguments, they have every right to do so. But that does not give them the right to deny others the same kind of arguing, on the same grounds. The subject of abortion is not a matter of church-state relations, since the bishops as church authorities have nothing distinctive to contribute to the discussion."
"To have made the moral argument against abortion, for example, is not necessarily to have made the legal argument as well. St. Thomas Aquinas himself had insisted that if civil laws laid too heavy a burden on the "multitude of imperfect people," it would be impossible for such laws to be obeyed and this, in turn, could lead eventually to a disregard for all law.
Moreover, unenforceable laws are worse than no laws at all. And without a sufficient consensus within a society, no law is enforceable. Civil laws, therefore, can demand no more than a pluralistic society can agree upon."
The Catholic hierarchy has failed so miserably in convincing its own members that it wants to use the U.S. government to enforce its beliefs on both members and non-members of its church.
A reputable 2000-2001 survey found that the abortion rate among Catholic women was 22 per 1,000 women; while the rate for Protestants was only 18 per 1,000 women. (Surprisingly, 13% of the women surveyed actually admitted to being evangelical or "born again".)
[ factcheck.org/askfactcheck/do_catholic_women_get_abortions _more_frequently.html ]
Henry Hyde, the long time Republican Congressman from a Chicago suburb is famous for many things, including being a crusader against abortion, and promoting legislation against it, including his Hyde Ammendment, which is probably the reason for his being considered a model Catholic by the Holy See.
When Hyde was a state representative in Illinois his being a devout Catholic husband and father of four sons, , but didn't hamper his five (or seven) year affair with a married woman with three kids, an affair that continued even after the woman's husband, Fred Snodgrass, found out about it and pleaded with Hyde to leave his wife alone. Their long time sexual liason doesn't appear to have produced any children, so It's not known if "Mr. Roman Catholic Layman" and his married mistress practiced birth-control or abortion at the time. When this leader of the Clinton impeachment process in the Congress was asked how he felt about his own infidelity and the breaking up the Snodgrass family, he exonerated himself, `on the basis that it was "a youthful indiscretion" (committed in his early forties when he was not much younger than Bill Clinton !). ( See hypocrite of the House).
Although Jesus never said a word of condemnation about abortion, the Catholic Church can't say enough against it. Jesus did condemn divorce and adultery, but where its political friends in high places are concerned, these sins the Catholic Church rarely mentions.
Rep. DesJarlais, who is also a doctor, made the unfortunately rather common decision to cheat on his wife before assuming office. However, that’s not all he did. You see, besides cheating on his wife, Rep. DesJarlais’ choice of partners bears mention – specifically, he…
A decade before calling himself “a consistent supporter of pro-life values,” Tennessee physician and Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage, according to the congressman’s sworn testimony during his divorce trial, obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the couple’s 2001 trial transcript also confirms DesJarlais had sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn. During one affair with a female patient, , records show that DesJarlais prescribed her drugs, gave her an $875 watch and bought her a plane ticket to Las Vegas.
[ from http://www.theblaze.com/stories/this-may-be-the-worst-congressional -sex-scandal-you-read-about/ ]
The Catholic Church did nothing about the forced abortions taking place in the Mariana Islands (Saipan), a U.S. territory, from 1981 through 2005. Various Catholic officials and groups were informed and asked to intercede on behalf of 11,000 women (not a child among them). However, they allowed the practice to continue and never interceded with any of the “pro-life” Republican politicians who were prevented U.S. labor law from being applied to the Marianas Islands, where powerless women were exploited and practically enslaved as workers in factories which were entitled to produce goods labelled "made in America"
The issue was only resolved after the Democrats took control of Congress away from “pro-life” Republicans in 2006.
80% of voters supported choice on Nov. 27, 2005 over the strong, but ineffectual, objections of the Catholic hierarchy.
Catholic Liechtenstein legalizes abortion
The Roman Catholic Church claims the right to practice medicine according to its own lights, as though it were a private institution. But in America, as in many other countries where it operates hospitals, those institutions are heavily subsidized by the government and patronized by a clientele which pays for the services provided - not with Roman Catholic - but with their own non-Catholic insurance dollars :
In a Denver Post article, in Nov. 2005, the Catholic Church was portrayed as part of the problem rather than the solution.
"For example, Centura St. Anthony North Hospital in Denver charged (uninsured) Jorge Martinez $15,411 for a one-day hospital stay to repair a broken ankle in 2003, according to his bill.
Medicare would have paid about $3,000 for the same procedure, according to federal fee schedules.
The hospital charged (uninsured) Jesus Marinelarena $3,905 for a three-hour hospital stay to treat stomach pain in 2004, according to his bill."
The purpose of this page has not been to examine what passes as "scholarship" in Catholic circles, but this issue is a good example. The further I get from the 24 years of education that I received in Catholic institutions, the more I realize that "truth" for Catholics in many instances is not established by evidence or proof, so much as by belief. All that many Catholics require to be persuaded that something is true is for someone in authority to say it is. And Catholic authorities assert all kinds of things on little if any evidence. One good example is the lives of the saints, most of which has little historical foundation. I recently experienced another very good illustration. In flipping through the channels, I stopped for a couple of minutes on EWTN (the largest world wide Roman Catholic "Eternal Word Television Network"). A priest promoting prayer to Mary was proclaiming with great authority that the importance of Mary was second only to the importance of Jesus, because she was the person mentioned most in the Gospels after Jesus. This didn't jive with my recollection, so I went to my electronic bible and in minutes I found that in contrast to the mention of Jesus' mother Mary, Mary Magdalene may have been mentioned as often, but the apostle Peter and John the Baptist were both mentioned more often than Mary. Here's the documentation showing among other things that in the four Gospels, there are about 84 references to John the Baptist and only about 44 references to Mary the mother of Jesus. (The total number of references to Mary by name in the Gospels of Mark and John appears to be 0 ! )
Gianna was the twelfth of thirteen children in her family, only eight of whom survived to adulthood.
In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. Outside of her schooling, she was active in Azione Cattolica. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics.
Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.
After bearing three children and having two miscarriages, during the second month of her sixth pregnancy, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, which would save her life and allow her to continue to have children; a complete hysterectomy, which would preserve her life, but take the unborn child's life, and prevent further pregnancy; or removal of only the fibroma, with the potential of further complications. Wanting to preserve her child's life, she opted for the removal of the fibroma.
After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other – I want them to save my baby." On April 20, 1962, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarian section. However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died at home of septic peritonitis a week after the birth.
[ from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gianna_Beretta_Molla#Canonization ]
May 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Mere days after 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations launched an unprecedented mega-lawsuit against the Obama administration over its contraception mandate, a new Gallup poll found that 82% of Catholics in America believe contraception is “morally acceptable". While critics say the poll is more evidence that the Church hierarchy is out of touch with its people in its fight against the Obama administration, Catholic commentators have responded that the data doesn’t affect the debate over the mandate, which is about "religious freedom". The same poll found that 89% of all Americans believe contraception is morally acceptable.
Overall, only 8% of all Americans and 15% of Catholics said they believe contraception is morally wrong.