Saturday, April 29, 2006

The "Foetus" Is a Person -- Athenagoras (c. 133 - c. 190)

Here's an interesting quote from a brother in Christ from the second century. It reveals what the early church thought and taught about the practice of abortion. He too lived in a world where abortion was considered normal and right, but from the admonishments of the early Church Fathers, it is obvious that though abortion was a common practice by many in the ancient cultures of the world, it was not to be so among Christians. Athenagoras, one of the Church Fathers, forbade the practice by any means and was one of the first to actually use the term "foetus" in public preaching.
And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God's care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it. But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it.1

1 Athenagoras, "A Plea for the Christians," in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 12 (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956), 147. In other translations see: Chapter 35.

1 comment:

Craver VII said...

Although I have heard about "exposure" as a way to kill unwanted children, I was not aware that they had access to abortifacient drugs at that time.

Either way, it's horrifying!