Rorate Caeli

Vatican versus Vatican: will the "Real Vatican" stand up, please?
Abortifacient in 2000 and 2008, "example to be followed" in 2013

Could it be another instance of "real" versus "virtual"?

If so, first the REAL VATICAN:


As is commonly known, the so-called morning-after pill recently went on sale in Italian pharmacies. It is a well-known chemical product (of the hormonal type) which has frequently - even in the past week - been presented by many in the field and by the mass media as a mere contraceptive or, more precisely, as an "emergency contraceptive", which can be used within a short time after a presumably fertile act of sexual intercourse, should one wish to prevent the continuation of an unwanted pregnancy. The inevitable critical reactions of those who have raised serious doubts about how this product works, namely, that its action is not merely "contraceptive" but "abortifacient", have received the very hasty reply that such concerns appear unfounded, since the morning-after pill has an "anti-implantation" effect, thus implicitly suggesting a clear distinction between abortion and interception (preventing the implantation of the fertilized ovum, i.e., the embryo, in the uterine wall).
Considering that the use of this product concerns fundamental human goods and values, to the point of involving the origins of human life itself, the Pontifical Academy for Life feels the pressing duty and definite need to offer some clarifications and considerations on the subject, reaffirming moreover already well-known ethical positions supported by precise scientific data and reinforced by Catholic doctrine.
*   *   *
1. The morning-after pill is a hormone-based preparation (it can contain oestrogens, oestrogen/progestogens or only progestogens) which, within and no later than 72 hours after a presumably fertile act of sexual intercourse, has a predominantly "anti-implantation" function, i.e., it prevents a possible fertilized ovum (which is a human embryo), by now in the blastocyst stage of its development (fifth to sixth day after fertilization), from being implanted in the uterine wall by a process of altering the wall itself.

The final result will thus be the expulsion and loss of this embryo.

Only if this pill were to be taken several days before the moment of ovulation could it sometimes act to prevent the latter (in this case it would function as a typical "contraceptive").

However, the woman who uses this kind of pill does so in the fear that she may be in her fertile period and therefore intends to cause the expulsion of a possible new conceptus; above all, it would be unrealistic to think that a woman, finding herself in the situation of wanting to use an emergency contraceptive, would be able to know exactly and opportunely her current state of fertility.

2. The decision to use the term "fertilized ovum" to indicate the earliest phases of embryonic development can in no way lead to an artificial value distinction between different moments in the development of the same human individual. In other words, if it can be useful, for reasons of scientific description, to distinguish with conventional terms (fertilized ovum, embryo, fetus, etc.) different moments in a single growth process, it can never be legitimate to decide arbitrarily that the human individual has greater or lesser value (with the resulting variation in the duty to protect it) according to its stage of development.

3. It is clear, therefore, that the proven "anti-implantation" action of themorning-after pill is really nothing other than a chemically induced abortion. It is neither intellectually consistent nor scientifically justifiable to say that we are not dealing with the same thing.

Moreover, it seems sufficiently clear that those who ask for or offer this pill are seeking the direct termination of a possible pregnancy already in progress, just as in the case of abortion. Pregnancy, in fact, begins with fertilization and not with the implantation of the blastocyst in the uterine wall, which is what is being implicitly suggested.

4. Consequently, from the ethical standpoint the same absolute unlawfulness of abortifacient procedures also applies to distributing, prescribing and taking the morning-after pill. All who, whether sharing the intention or not, directly co-operate with this procedure are also morally responsible for it.

5. A further consideration should be made regarding the use of themorning-after pill in relation to the application of [Italian] Law 194/78, which in Italy regulates the conditions and procedures for the voluntary termination of pregnancy.

Saying that the pill is an "anti-implantation" product, instead of using the more transparent term "abortifacient", makes it possible to avoid all the obligatory procedures required by Law 194 in order to terminate a pregnancy (prior interview, verification of pregnancy, determination of growth stage, time for reflection, etc.), by practising a form of abortion that is completely hidden and cannot be recorded by any institution. All this seems, then, to be in direct contradiction to the correct application of Law 194, itself debatable.

6. In the end, since these procedures are becoming more widespread, we strongly urge everyone who works in this sector to make a firm objection of moral conscience, which will bear courageous and practical witness to the inalienable value of human life, especially in view of the new hiddenforms of aggression against the weakest and most defenceless individuals, as is the case with a human embryo.

Vatican City, 31 October 2000.

Five years ago Bishop -- now Cardinal -- Elio Sgreccia (Vice President of the Pontifical Academy for Life from 1996 to 2005 and President from 2005 to 2008) declared that the "morning-after pill" cannot be used even in cases of rape. As reported at that time by LifeSite News (Head of Pontifical Academy for Life Reconfirms Morning After Pill Cannot be Used Even in Cases of Rape): asked Bishop Sgreccia if there was an exception in cases of rape. The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life replied, "No. It is not able to prevent the rape. But it is able to eliminate the embryo.  It is thus the second negative intervention on the woman (the first being the rape itself).


German bishops’ decision on morning-after pill is an example to be followed:
Vatican Insider interviews the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life. He defends the German Catholic Church saying: Catholic hospitals have been handing out contraceptive pills to rape victims for 50 years

...The President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Mgr. Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, spoke to Vatican Insider about this at the end of the Academy’s plenary assembly.

Critics say this type of medication can cause an abortion, albeit unintentionally, and that this is not a risk we can afford to take. What are your thoughts on this?

The Church needs to shape people’s consciences. What Church teaching says in this case is: in cases of rape all possible action must be taken to prevent a pregnancy but not to interrupt it. Whether a given medicine is classed as a contraceptive or abortion-inducing medication, is up to doctors and scientists, not the Church.

Bp. Carrasco: your own Pontifical Academy, 13 years ago and as is well known, made clear that the "morning-after pill" is abortifacient. Being abortive (preventing, among other things, the implantation of a newly-formed human being) is one of its stated goals. It not only may be abortive - as a flight of stairs may provoke abortions if a pregnant woman accidentally falls off it -, it has among its objectives not only preventing a future fertilization but preventing the implantation of an already formed human being.

Once again, the enemies of life, the promoters of the culture of death, use extreme cases to make the Church seem fickle and unprincipled in the defense of life. And once again, with malice or naïveté, Church officials fall for it. And once again the media takes the hit: the Bishop says that, "journalistic language is different from theological or clinical language. The 'morning-after pill' is a journalistic, not a medical term"; when the Pontifical Academy itself, in its document, does not have any problem in using the popular name of the pill.

[P.S. - Augustinus] Unfortunately this is not the first time that Msgr. Carrasco has acted questionably in his capacity as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, a post he has held since 2010 after the "promotion" of his predecessor Abp. Salvatore Fisichella in the aftermath of the Olinda and Recife Abortion case. It was under Carrasco's leadership that, almost exactly a year ago, the Academy held a conference with speakers who openly spoke in favor of IVF. (Cf. Trouble in Vatican: Pontifical Academy members upset with ethics deficit at infertility conferenceVatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life is in ‘great danger,’ warns eminent member in open letterControversies prompt call for resignation at Vatican's pro-life academyVatican board courts controversy with neutral scientists.) During last year's controversies Msgr. Carrasco received the backing of another influential figure in the Roman Curia -- Cardinal Ravasi, who denounced the "opponents of dialogue" as fundamentalists.


  1. But Rorate! "Archbishop" Zollitsch is in "full-communion"!

  2. Is this being clueless about the media, or something more sinister?

  3. Our Lady pray for us and in particular the bishops who are on the road to hell ( both in Germany and inside the Vatican) who lie (play with words and are so, so clever) about the killing of babies in the womb.

  4. As far as I'm concerned, each bishop who voted in favor of the abortion pill has apostatized.

  5. RogerThat11:39 PM

    Rorate Caeli's staff:

    Keep up the good work.

  6. Fides quaerens11:43 PM

    I think that our problem here is that we trads have been conditioned to believe in something called the principle of contradiction. But in the post-modern cookie wookie world of Vatican II Church no such principle is acknowledged. We just need to get with it and accept that 2+2 can equal 4, but if the "magisterium" decides so then it can also equal 5. and damn those peskie integristes for insisting otherwise. First rule for full communion- throw reason out of the window and be prepared to assent to whatever the magisterium might seem to be teaching at any particular moment. And don't ask awkward questions.

  7. Fides quaerens12:14 AM

    In my previous post, please read "principle of non-contradiction" rather than "principle of contradiction"

  8. Can you blame Pope Benedict for retiring? He's surrounded by heretics and apostates. Then again, that should be reason enough for him to hold on to power until death.

  9. Sickened12:59 AM

    One thing is for sure. This couldn't have happened if Pope John Paul II were in the Vatican right now.

  10. Gregorian Mass1:15 AM

    It does feel that although we have retained out Faith we have been abandoned by the Church, not by God, but by the keepers of the Church. A painful process of separation that only God in his mercy can heal. Notice they say they have been giving this pill for the last 50 years in the German Church. Coincidence it correlates to the time of the Vatican II Council and that school of thought? You decide. My true sympathy are for the women who are confronted with the awful human choice now developed. Seems the root of the evil is rape. God have mercy on the human race.

  11. Bootach1:16 AM

    Now a subtle point arises. Let us pray that Benedict's successor has the mind and the fidelity to correct and clarify this matter.

  12. This is how the Conciliar "Church" operates. Best to stop focusing on it and those who run it, and focus rather on the Catholic Church and its eternal Head.

  13. SlipperySlopeOfCompromise1:33 AM

    Follow the USCCB:

    NIH 1999. A survey of 589 US Catholic hospitals conducted by Catholics for a Free Choice found that 82% refused to supply emergency contraception--even to rape victims. Directive 36, which governs cases of sexual assault, could be argued to sanction the provision of emergency contraception. It states, "A female who has been raped should be able to defend herself against a potential conception from the sexual assault. If, after appropriate testing, there is no evidence that conception has occurred already, she may be treated with medications that would prevent ovulation, sperm capacitation, or fertilization. It is not permissible, however, to initiate or to recommend treatments that have as their purpose or direct effect the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum." Because the process of conception takes approximately 2 days, it would be consistent with the Catholic Church's position to offer emergency contraception within 24 hours of a rape. Since no currently available test can confirm or deny conception as early as 72 hours after unprotected intercourse, the timetable for emergency contraception, Catholic hospitals should be able to provide this service to all women and still abide by the directives.

    Then killer Keehan's CHA leapt in to agree in 2002:

    Now papabile Sean O'Malley's Massachusetts Catholic Conference website defends the practice:

    "That explains why Catholic hospitals may distribute contraceptives in some rape cases, particularly within 24 hours after the assault."

    "papabile" Dolan's archdiocese also dispenses:
    " 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."

    This same wing of the AmCatholic Church is feverishly wheeling and dealing w/HHS to facilitate some way that Catholic employers can cover contraception and still be opposed to contraception! A deal is expected any day.


    It's not only the Germans who are at it; three weeks ago we had an American Bishop saying the same thing; and plenty of others too, in other countries, I suspect. WHAT IS ROME GOING TO DO AbOUT ALL THIS? The Softly Softly approach has proven a disaster. Let us pray for a new Pope who will have the strength and determination to pull the Church back from the brink of disaster - which looms large.

  15. No wonder Catholics continue to flounder! May God have mercy on us and send us a good and holy Pope to set the record straight!

  16. There is a clear contradiction here and it is the sort we have been accustomed too for 50 years. even authority has to follow reason and be a voice for continuity not use its authority to contradict itself. The good Archbishop as with all of us has to conform himself to reason and the Church. To intervene at any stage to PREVENT a pregnancy is a negative act. Rape is an evil but the German bishops might remember we do not kill the children or Nazis or criminals. Nature itself is blind when it comes to the circumstances of conception. A+B =C There are many examples of woman even religious sisters who have been raped and become pregnant but NEVER took it out on the innocent baby. Many loved their babies. I write as the child of a single mother. The Archbisop is a smug moron with no grasp of his duty. The joke goes "what is the Italian miltary salute?" "Arms in the air!"

  17. St Jerome refers to an apparent oral form of contraception: "Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception."[

  18. As the time of Sede Vacante approaches, the sheep no longer recognize the faces of their shepherds, and they mourn the passing of their great shepherd.

    Yet, with a new great shepherd, they'll rejoice. Yet, the faces of their shepherds, they'll recognize once more, in the masks that they put fore.

  19. Benedict Carter4:54 AM

    What is Rome going to do about it, someone asked?

    NOTHING - because these people ARE Rome. Can't you get that into your heads?

    It's time for me to lay my cards on the table on all this.

    There is no doubt in my mind that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI were convinced that we are living through the days of the Apocalypse. There is a lot of evidence in their various allocutions (JP II in Fulda, Germany was one of several) and in the fact that both called for meetings with the little children of Garabandal. Their great interest in Fatima is well-known.

    Clearly a decision was taken to keep this well under wraps, to the extent that only the first part of the Third Secret has been revealed and in saying no more Rome has, in effect, chosen to lie about the matter.

    The reason is probably that they are hedging their bets: unwilling to frighten anyone, yet with that gnawing doubt in their minds that it may not come to pass.

    We see in our sad days Cardinal against Cardinal, Bishop against Bishop, just as Our Lady foretold. We see the Faith being treated as a commodity by these people, as an object for their experimentation and political manouvering. They try to recapture a mostly-uninterested mob by expending compromises to it, which are all in the moral sphere as the mob is first of all interested in its stomach and then its genitals. Spiritual tools have long ago been tossed aside and those Catholics who insist still on the primacy of the spiritual are persecuted by their own nominal brethren.

    We see the destruction of the priesthood and of the Sacraments. We see the collapse of the institutional Church so that the facade remains but there is no life within, like the walls and buildings of a Roman town after the Empire abd its people were driven away like an early morning mist by the hordes of invading Goths, Vandals and Huns.

    This then is the Great Apostasy foretold in Scripture and alluded to, so say people who have read the Third Secret, by Our Lady.

    To live in such times is of course a misfortune, but to be on Christ's side is to make the so-called "Traditionalist" (in my view the faithful remnant that Christ will find at His Coming) the most exalted of all people in the world.

    When either the Great Chastisement follows, or Christ Himself returns, those who have remained faithful will earn His great reward.

    As for me, I hope to be allowed into Purgatory until the end of time. After 25 years of living a pagan life, there is a lot of jail time to do.

    So be of good cheer dear friends, despite the appalling daily evidence that the dragon, the devil, he who was a murderer from the beginning, and his many, many servants in this world are stirring, flexing their muscles and looking to their weapons in preparation for the great battle to come!

    We have Christ.
    We have Mary, forever a Virgin and our Mother.
    We have St. Michael Archangel and all the Angels of Heaven.
    We have all the Saints before the Throne of God.

    It's going to get worse, a lot worse, before the Divine Rescue comes.

    Be prepared. This is a spiritual battle. Use spiritual food to fortify yourselves, and spiritual arms as your weapons.

  20. The Real Vatican needs to stand up AND take action. For one, time for Carrasco and Ravasi to be put out to pasture. For some bizarre reason, Rome thinks promoting these characters is somehow "charitable" so that by promoting them they are able to move them. How about merely saying one's services are no longer needed and that they have thirty minutes to clear out. Done. Tell them to go find something to do in their own diocese. Everyone in Rome thinks their job is owed them, entitled to them. Evidently Rome thinks so too. It's more fun I suppose for the virtual Vatican to be at hand because one can make up all kinds of stuff and make the consequences be whatever they want it to be.

    Something as fundamental as life is being debated and skewed in order to achieve a point of convenience is absolutely dabbling with death and not promoting life at all.

  21. Total confusion! What in the world is going on in the Church? This has to stop.

    The largest circulation newspaper in Cologne, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, claims that in an interview with Cardinal Meisner on his decision, Meisner asserted that the Pope himself had approved.

    The paper alleges that Meisner spoke of a conversation he had with Pope Benedict XVI’s secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, about the ethics of the use of the pill in rape cases. “The Pope knows, it’s all right,” was the supposed reply.

    However, has confirmed that, as the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reports, Manfred Spieker a Catholic professor at the University of Osnabrück questioned Archbishop Ganswein about the account by e-mail.

    In an e-mail reply, Archbishop Ganswein says it is “not true” that Cardinal Meisner called and spoke with him about the morning after pill situation.

  22. It's actually worse in the original Italian than in the translation.

    The translation makes it sound like an abstract philosophical discussion ; Monsignor de Paula's statements in the Italian directly contradict the clear teachings of the Catechism in several places.

  23. I agree that we seem to be in the time of worldwide apostasy and we continue to not be able to trust many of our shepherds. Lord, have mercy!

    I left my career as a pharmacist because I will NOT dispense birth control and Plan B and etc. This is what many medical personnel are going to have to do for our souls are more important than our paychecks. Yet how many "Catholic"doctors are prescribing birth control? How many "Catholics" take it with no qualms of conscience? When you have bishops or your pastor say it is okay, that is what so many want to hear. Too many shepherds are leading their flocks to hell, but they go first into the fire.

    I will not leave Peter however. The Holy Father is still the Vicar of Christ.

  24. Br. Gabriel, OP said...
    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.

    21 February, 2013 22:48

    Was the approval of the abortifacient really no big deal?

    Awaiting clarification

  25. The Baby Kill Pill is supported by a Conference of Bishops and those who object are the ones deemed worthy of correction.

    Ain't that always the way of the modern world?

  26. How much influence is Fr Rhonheimer of Opus Dei having on these seeming conflicting statements from the Church on the morning after pill, hitherto regarded as an abortificant? Fr Rhonheimer has suggested that condoms can be used to prevent Aids - citing that is the lesser evil (which is quite contrary to Church teaching) and his comments seems to be what led to Pope Benedict's about face on condoms. He has also stated that where a baby and a mother's life is at risk and the child would die in any event, that it is acceptable to kill the baby to preserve the life of the mother. You can read the debate here:

    . "In “Vital Conflicts in Medical Ethics,” he states:

    “The decision to allow both mother and child to die — when at least the mother can be saved and the child will die in any case — is simply irrational, and particularly from the perspective of the doctor. The norm that prohibits the killing of a human being appears, in this case, to be simply pointless and nonsensical. In fact the meaning of the norm is that no unjust killing be committed; it is simply beyond comprehension, therefore, to claim that the child’s right to life is disregarded in such cases. One cannot ‘take away’ a life for which it is already clear that it will never even be born” (Page 123).

    Rhonheimer is clearly suggesting that is permissible to kill a fetus in some situations. His defense for this position is that such a killing is not “unjust.” I do not believe that I have misrepresented his view.

    Very worrying when you consider the sway that Opus Dei exerts on the Church.

  27. Fatimist1:18 PM

    Bloggers,I think Benedict Carter has said it all quite clearly!!!

  28. Cyril1:30 PM

    Fatimist, I agree. Our Lady said secret societies are destroying the Church.

  29. Manfred1:37 PM

    When I am asked by friends if they should join the Catholic Church, I have recently taken to replying: "Only if you would be comfortable on the Costa Concordia."

  30. Where do they dig these guys up? Are there no criteria for being a second-tier curial bureaucrat? This is bananas.

  31. A Mom2:27 PM

    Benedict Carter - thank you for your post. I was especially moved by this line:
    "We see the destruction of the priesthood and of the Sacraments. We see the collapse of the institutional Church so that the facade remains but there is no life within..."

    You have no idea how true that rings for me, and I just recently realized it. Whitewashed sepulchers.

    Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis!

  32. APSTEMP4:14 PM

    @ Benedict Carter:

    I, too, have lived a great portion of my life as a pagan in action and attitude.

    I am constantly amazed that God called me back to Him, and that he gave me the grace to respond to His call.

    We must pray for our brothers who are in the same situation we have miraculously escaped.

    No one, not even these bishops & cardinals, are beyond His merciful help.


  33. Eremita OSPPE4:27 PM

    hasn't the church always had a problem with the German nation? Reich, holy Roman empire, German Bishops conference. I mean, surely they are all not that thick in the head?

  34. A Mom said...

    "Benedict Carter - thank you for your post. I was especially moved by this line:
    "We see the destruction of the priesthood and of the Sacraments. We see the collapse of the institutional Church so that the facade remains but there is no life within..."

    You have no idea how true that rings for me, and I just recently realized it. Whitewashed sepulchers."


    Nowhere to kneel
    No Tabernacle
    No candle red
    Just a cantor's cackle

    A sepulchre
    Deathly white
    To help good souls
    Despair, take flight

    That's WHAT they want
    That is their plan
    Then mock, "You dis -
    obedient man!"

    But in the depths
    Of doctrine deep
    Sails the Ship
    That will not sleep

    Full of disobedient
    Obeying Christ
    In priests that keep

    The Barque of Peter
    On its course
    Though her bowels be bricked
    By a sinister source

    Then damn the torpedoes
    Will blast through the block
    Full speed ahead

    No sepulchre whites
    Only seas of gold Masses
    Steered by the Archbishop's Peres!

    ...and Benedict also said:

    "We have Christ.
    We have Mary, forever a Virgin and our Mother.
    We have St. Michael Archangel and all the Angels of Heaven.
    We have all the Saints before the Throne of God."

    ...and joy comes in the morning!

  35. Belgian Catholic5:27 PM

    These conflicting reports coming out of the Vatican are typical for a coup d'état.

    The rebel clique even seems to control (parts of) the Vatican media.


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