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What Vatican II said about abortion


Lothar Wolleh | CC BY-SA 3.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 01/11/22

The Second Vatican Council was clear in its teaching on the value of every human life, from conception to natural death.

While the modern world is continually changing its values depending on what’s popular at the moment, the Catholic Church has never ceased in its defense of every human life, from conception to natural death.

This includes the Second Vatican Council, which did not soften Church teaching, but reinforced it.

In particular, Vatican II was strong in its opposition to abortion, as well as all offenses against human life. The Church’s stance is laid out in the document Gaudium et Spes.

Coming down to practical and particularly urgent consequences, this council lays stress on reverence for man; everyone must consider his every neighbor without exception as another self, taking into account first of all His life and the means necessary to living it with dignity … Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person … all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.

Gaudium et Spes, 27

The ministry of safeguarding life

Not only did the Church speak out against abortion, but also the “ministry” of safeguarding life, placing upon all Catholics an obligation to do everything in their power to protect life.

For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.

Gaudium et Spes, 51

One of the most important ways to safeguard human life at conception is to simultaneously protect the dignity of marital love.

Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.

Gaudium et Spes, 51

This is no small task, but every Catholic can rest assured that the Church has not, and will not be changing her stance on such an issue.

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