St. Antoninus is often brought up to PROVE that Catholics at one point supported abortion. I guess if one looked at the topic face value than, yes, a very prominent bishop wrote that he did. Let us look at what the article that sparked this post said:
“There is even a pro-choice Catholic saint, the 15th century archbishop of Florence, St. Antoninus. He approved of early abortions when needed to save the life of the mother, a huge category in his day. There is thus no one Catholic view.”
I want to pause for a moment and look at the author, Tom Ehrich is an Episcopal pastor, author, teacher and writer, thats right boys and girls. Ol’ Tom is a PASTOR. The original article can be found here. He goes on to point that even scripture is a little off. Sheesh.
Back to the Abortion loving Saint. I guess if you looked at his original writings and had no desire to look at them deeper you could say that he was an abortion loving bishop. If you know me, this is something I am unable to do. This Bishop was living 700 years ago. Let me set the stage…medical field was just getting her start following the middle ages and things like conception and such were not well known. St. Antoninus relied on the distinction between the animated and unanimated fetus that was prevalent before the process of fetal development was understood. Antoninus condemned abortion of the animated fetus in all cases. For the unanimated fetus, Antoninus allowed abortion to save the life of the mother. Now lets fast forward to today. We would be able to tell St. Antoninus that the fetus is “animated” form the moment the sperm enters the egg. In his time he believed that for males the soul was enfused at 40 days for males and 80 days for females. So using what he would have considered the basis for animated and unanimated fetus, his test would always be never allowed. Would it not by his own words? In his day there was a toally different understanding of when that animation occured. I guess if you felt the need to be childish you could continue to use his writings as Catholics supporting abortion. Those needs would be incorrect.