Rorate Caeli

Vatican II at 50: German Bishops, in "Sede Vacante" mood,
OK abortifacient "morning-after pill"

In truth, most of them have been practical Sedevacantists for a long time, including during the entire pontificate of their fellow countryman. The German Episcopal Conference has now made its own the approval given by Cardinal Meisner to the "morning-after pill" in cases of rape.

Germany's Roman Catholic Church said on Thursday it had decided to permit certain types of "morning-after pill" for women who have been raped, after two Catholic hospitals provoked an outcry last month for refusing to treat a rape victim.

The German Bishops' Conference said church-run hospitals would now ensure proper medical, psychological and emotional care for rape victims - including administering pills that prevent pregnancy without inducing an abortion.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch said a four-day meeting of German bishops in the western town of Trier had "confirmed that women who have been victims of rape will get the proper human, medical, psychological and pastoral care".

"That can include medication with a 'morning-after pill' as long as this has a prophylactic and not an abortive effect," he said in a statement. "Medical and pharmaceutical methods that induce the death of an embryo may still not be used."

That means there is no change to the Catholic church's ban on the so-called abortion pill based on the drug mifepristone or RU-486, and marketed as Mifegyne or Mifeprex. (Source)


Precisely because the distribution of the pills will always happen in an emergency situation, it will often be hard to know if fertilization has occurred or not - and therefore there is always a great, even overwhelming, chance that what is done by the pill is plain abortion. Even the contraceptive guide of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - not exactly a pro-life organization...-, following a serious controversy on the actual consequences of the "morning-after pill", describes that the mechanism of emergency contraception works in one of the following ways:

It works mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. It may also work by preventing fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg) or by preventing attachment (implantation [of the newly-conceived human being]) to the womb (uterus). (Link and background information provided by a professor in a... Baptist seminary.)

Let us make clear: this is not a discussion on specific arguments of Moral Theology on the licitude of contraception for victims of rape - but on the fact that the "morning-after pill" not only can be abortifacient, but has abortion (prevention of the implantation of the newly-conceived human being) as one of the explicit scientific mechanisms through which its goal may be reached.

The matter if not even that new, quite the contrary. 18 years ago, Pope John Paul II stressed the abortifacient consequences of many contraceptives:

The close connection which exists, in mentality, between the practice of contraception and that of abortion [...] is being demonstrated in an alarming way by the development of chemical products, intrauterine devices and vaccines which, distributed with the same ease as contraceptives, really act as abortifacients in the very early stages of the development of the life of the new human being. (Evangelium vitae, 13)

Therefore, if the woman who is an unfortunate victim of such crimes is in her fertile period, there is an incredibly high chance that the use of emergency contraception, now liberally provided by German Catholic hospitals, will result in the abortion of a newly-conceived human being. 

At the very least, the German Bishops should be honest: "Yes, we know that some newly-conceived human beings will be eliminated and destroyed as a result of substances given in our hospitals, but that is quite fine because in most cases that will probably not occur, though we cannot even really be sure of that!" Alas, honesty is not to be expected from the princes of Catholic sophistry, for whom there is only one adage: Roma locuta, causa infinita...


  1. Benedict Carter7:06 PM

    The truth begins to come out?

  2. Good thing those German bishops are in "full union"; good thing they are "canonically regular"; that's whats important after all :)

  3. Benedict Carter7:19 PM

    Soon we'll have Tom on here telling us that all this was mandated by Vatican II.

  4. How do we complain ?

  5. Wake Up England7:42 PM

    No wonder The Pope's resigned. With bishops like these, who needs Protestants?

  6. Write the CDF and Pontifical Commission for Life and the Congregation for the Laity and Congregation for the Bishops.

    Each letter should be slightly different. The CDF one should focus on the doctrinal issue of contraception. The PCL should be the same. The CL should be focused on advocacy for the rape victim's right to not be given Contraception and the whole faithful's right to not have catholic institutions provide contraception. The CB letter should focus on the right the faithful have to Bishops defending the Church's teachings.

    It may also be good to mention that the Bishop's decision seems to rest on either proprtionalist or consequentionalist reasoning. These are two philosophical dispositions that cannot be used to make sound catholic moral decisions.

  7. They "refused to treat a rape victim"‽ I think they mean they refused to kill her baby.

  8. Thank you very much Br. Gabriel. I shall take all that information into account definitely.

  9. The German Episcopal Conference has clearly committed a schismatic act, as did the Canadian Episcopal Conference with their Winnipeg Statement in Sept. 27, 1968, a few months after the promulgation of Humanæ Vitæ.

  10. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. It's got nothing to do with Vatican II.

    Seriously, the key question: will the pope actually do anything about this?

  11. Does this act suspend them from Ministry?

  12. Benedict Carter said...

    "Soon we'll have Tom on here telling us that all this was mandated by Vatican II."

    ...or by "VIRTUAL Vatican II"?


    (w/apologies to the Rolling Stones)

    Please allow me to introduce myself
    I'm a man of wealth and lace
    I've been around for a long, long year
    Stole many a soul of the human race

    Was around the Vatican
    When Ecumenical had begun
    Made sure the media
    Any good Bishop - they would shun

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name
    But what's puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game

    The First of equals
    Says they caused "calamity"
    Was "virtual media"
    Not the Council's hierarchy

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guessed my name
    But what's confusing you
    Is the nature of my game

    I've watched with glee
    As your seminaries have closed down
    "The Liturgy trivialized"
    The Pope just said so in Rome's downtown

    And so you're sinners
    You know you can not - can't all be Saints
    Just call me prince...and
    We'll work together without restraints

    Now when you meet me
    Have some sympathy and some taste
    Just blame the media
    Or I'll lay your soul to naught and waste

    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guessed my name
    But what's puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game...

    woo - who?
    woo - who?
    woo - who?
    woo - who?

  13. Benedict Carter8:47 PM

    Things are building up nicely I reckon to a final battle. Just as in the world, the forces of evil have become even more open and militant against Christ, so too within the Church Herself the forces of evil are coming into the open and declaring themselves.

    Catholic orthodoxy will be seen to lose this final struggle, only to emerge, finally, gloriously victorious in the final moments.

    I myself am more than ever convinced that the actuation of the warnings of Akita, Fatima and Garabandal (I am personally convinced of the authenticity of the latter) are not far off now.

    As Long-Skirts isn't around, here is a First World War poem by Richard Aldington (killed in action) that beautifully sums up my vision of the poor, almost-invisible bride of Christ at the present moment:

    Why should you try to crush me?
    Am I so Christ-like?
    You beat against me
    Immense waves, filthy with refuse.

    I am the last upright of a smashed breakwater,
    But you shall not crush me
    Though you bury me in foaming slime
    And hiss your hatred about me.

    You break over me, cover me;
    I shudder at the contact;
    Yet I pierce through you
    And stand up, torn, dripping, shaken,
    But whole and fierce.


  14. "Since abortion is the purposeful murder of an innocent, unborn child, the Church indeed imposes the most severe penalty of excommunication for this heinous action. A person who successfully procures an abortion receives this penalty automatically (Code of Canon Law, #1398). Unlike some offenses that require the competent authority to impose the penalty of excommunication (technically termed ferendae sententiae), the penalty here is automatic (technically termed latae sententia).
    Please note that this penalty is not just imposed upon the woman who has the abortion. Any Catholic accomplice in the act of procuring an abortion, even though not specifically mentioned in Canon #1398, receives the same penalty of automatic excommunication. Here an accomplice is one who assists in such a way that the heinous act would not have been committed without his assistance. Therefore, the doctor who performs the abortion, the nurse who assists in the procedure, the boyfriend who encourages the abortion, and the parent who pays for the abortion — all are accomplices, guilty of the act, and thereby receive the just penalty. (See Code of Canon Law, #1329.2.)"

    I see the German Bishops Conference is excommunicated and therfore suspended.

  15. You've outdone yourself this time, Long-Skirts!

  16. Canon 1398 provides that, "a person who procures a successful abortion incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication." This means that at the very moment that the abortion is successfully accomplished, the woman and all formal conspirators are excommunicated.


  17. Francis9:16 PM

    Let's hope the next Pope isn't from a Rhine or Danube country. There's been to much run off from these rivers into the Tiber for the last fifty years.

    Benedict Carter said...
    "Soon we'll have Tom on here telling us that all this was mandated by Vatican II".

    Lol, It will be interesting to see how our Rorate friend Tom spins this one.

  18. Benedict Carter9:20 PM

    Long-skirts just beat me to it!


    For the German Bishops to have published this at all is of course a disgrace, but to do it at this time is an atrocious fait accompli betrayal of the Church's teaching.

    One can only weep. And dream of meeting each of them in the boxing ring.

  19. Peter9:24 PM

    What happens in a conclave if a pope is elected by the vote of an excommunicated cardinal?

  20. There is no point in demanding they be disciplined because the detractors of The Society are too busy searching for a moat in eyes of Traditional Catholics.

  21. You are right What's Up but they still get Communion.

  22. WhatAboutUSCCB?9:38 PM

    “It can be difficult, if not impossible, to get emergency contraceptive pills (sometimes called “morning after pills” or “day after pills”) at a Catholic hospital in the United States...If you have been raped, however, a Catholic hospital might be able to provide emergency contraceptive pills to help you prevent pregnancy. Directive 36 [issued by USCCB in 90s or earlier] seems to allow providing emergency contraception to “a female who has been raped to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault . . . if, after appropriate testing there is no indication she is pregnant.” Catholic hospitals interpret the Directives and decide if they can provide emergency contraceptive pills to a woman who has been raped. In one recent survey, roughly one-third of the Catholic hospitals in three states were not complying with state laws that require…

    "Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina and Washington already require hospitals to dispense it."

    " has learned that some Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, California, Washington [in addition to WI & CT] also offer so-called ‘emergency contraception’ to some rape victims."

    Massachusetts Archdiocese website: "That explains why Catholic hospitals may distribute contraceptives in some rape cases, particularly within 24 hours after the assault. Immediate care is essential as well to address issues related to the transmission of venereal disease"

    In Wisconsin, Catholic hospitals make millions prescribing both emergency and habitual contraception:

    If the USCCB is self-excommunicated, it would explain a lot about the AmChurch, but what about all the Catholic faithful on this blog who continue to frequent their sacraments because they believe they aren't ex-communicate like the SSPX?

  23. Ferraiuolo9:41 PM

    Don't worry, the Catholic-friendly Bishop Muller will deal with this...

  24. Claudius10:24 PM

    More excellent news. Indeed, let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.

  25. Ben D., it is all in the main text (including the reference to the period of ovulation), no need to repeat it.

  26. CredoUtIntelligam10:45 PM

    Seriously, the key question: will the pope actually do anything about this?

    We have the unprecedented situation here of a "lame duck" papacy. Surely the Pope will not act on this since he is likely tying up loose ends before abdicating.

    I wonder if the German bishops were relying on a distracted pope with too little time to act. If so, I wonder if we'll see any more provocative acts in the coming week.

  27. Re: What's Up's interpretation of the CIC

    In fact, the provision only applies to those who formally cooperate in the act. It's possible that it can apply to those who materially participate proximately. There are two types of material participation (remote and proximate). Remote material participation does not invoke the penalty outlined. The German Bishop's Conference could only be accused of this sort of participation (if even that).

    Remember, in Church law, permissions are to be applied as liberally as possible and restrictions are to be applied as narrowly as possibly.

    Re: Alan Aversa's understanding of schism.

    This is most definitely not the case. A schismatic act is a clear and deliberate denial of the authority of the Church. This cannot be claimed in this instance. It's not even a doctrinal issue. This is more about a poor implementation of the moral teachings of the Church. It's not even clear that they're being disobedient.