View Full Version : Pastor's stand draws national spotlight

12-03-2008, 07:32 AM
CNN called Bishop Stephen Blaire of the Stockton Diocese, requesting an interview Monday. St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Modesto had all four of its receptionists answering calls throughout the day. The church even had to add a special link to its Web site to accommodate the surge of e-mail comments. The attention stems from a Nov. 21 letter from the church's pastor, the Rev. Joseph Illo, to his parishioners that referred to President-elect Barack Obama's stance on abortion.

Illo advised congregants that if they were "one of the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position, and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving communion. Don't risk losing your state of grace by receiving sacrilegiously." More here:

12-03-2008, 10:56 AM
It's a shame that this would even be news. The RCC has been crystal clear on this issue for quite a while and practicing Catholics ought to understand the concerns.

12-03-2008, 11:19 AM
Its interesting to look at the history of the abortion issue, within the church. When you do, it makes you wonder how priests of the currennt day can act so brazen and judgemental on this issue, when its clear that the church's present views are a fairly new thing.

Most people believe that the Roman Catholic church's position on abortion has remained unchanged for two thousand years. Not true. Church teaching on abortion has varied continually over the course of its history. There has been no unanimous opinion on abortion at any time. While there has been constant general agreement that abortion is almost always evil and sinful, the church has had difficulty in defining the nature of that evil. Members of the Catholic hierarchy have opposed abortion consistently as evidence of sexual sin, but they have not always seen early abortion as homicide. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the "right-to-life" argument is a relatively recent development in church teaching. The debate continues today.

Also contrary to popular belief, no pope has proclaimed the prohibition of abortion an "infallible" teaching. This fact leaves much more room for discussion on abortion than is usually thought, with opinions among theologians and the laity differing widely. In any case, Catholic theology tells individuals to follow their personal conscience in moral matters, even when their conscience is in conflict with hierarchical views.

The campaign by Pope John Paul II to make his position on abortion the defining one at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 was just one leg of a long journey of shifting views within the Catholic church. In the fifth century a.d., St. Augustine expressed the mainstream view that early abortion required penance only for sexual sin. Eight centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas agreed, saying abortion was not homicide unless the fetus was "ensouled," and ensoulment, he was sure, occurred well after conception. The position that abortion is a serious sin akin to murder and is grounds for excommunication only became established 150 years ago.



12-03-2008, 11:36 AM
Well, it's interesting to note that a lot of the first Christian were slaves who had no problem with the institution of slavery at that time but I'm pretty sure none of us feel like reimposing slavery simply because some notable Christians developed spiritual qualities as a result of that state of life. :rolleyes: