Thursday, April 02, 2009

Episcopal Womanpriest calls Abortion a "blessing"

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Well, lucky for you, I've saved your deathless words for posterity ... plus all the comments.

Ah, Anglicanism: A Prophetic Voice...

Katherine Hancock Ragsdale

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Our Work Is Not Done

The Democrats have removed "safe, legal, and rare" language about abortion from the platform. About time! I was reminded of a speech from last year that never made it onto this site.

Better late than never, perhaps ...


Our Work is Not Done
Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale
Birmingham, AL
July 21, 2007


Well Operation Save America came, they saw, they harassed, and they annoyed; but they did not close the clinic. The clinic stayed open, no patients were turned away, and the doors never closed. We remain victorious. And that victory is a good thing – but, make no mistake, even though OSA has gone home; our work is not done.

If we were to leave this park and discover that clinic violence had become a thing of the past, never to plague us again, that would be a very good thing, indeed; but, still, our work would not be done.

If we were to find that, while we were here, Congress had acted to insure that abortion would always be legal, that would be a very good thing; but our work would not be done.

If we were suddenly to find a host of trained providers, insuring access in every city, town, village, and military base throughout the world, that would be a very good thing; but our work would not be done.

When every woman has everything she needs to make an informed, thoughtful choice, and to act upon it, we will be very close; but, still, our work will not be done.

As long as women, acting as responsible moral agents, taking responsibility for their own lives and for those who depend on them, have to contend with guilt and shame, have judgment and contempt heaped upon them, rather than the support and respect they deserve, our work is not done.

How will we know when our work is done? I suspect we’ll know it when we see it. But let me give you some sure indicators that it isn’t done yet:

- When doctors and pharmacists try to opt out of providing medical care, claiming it’s an act of conscience, our work is not done.

Let me say a bit more about that, because the religious community has long been an advocate of taking principled stands of conscience – even when such stands require civil disobedience. We’ve supported conscientious objectors, the Underground Railroad, freedom riders, sanctuary seekers, and anti-apartheid protestors. We support people who put their freedom and safety at risk for principles they believe in.

But let’s be clear, there’s a world of difference between those who engage in such civil disobedience, and pay the price, and doctors and pharmacists who insist that the rest of the world reorder itself to protect their consciences – that others pay the price for their principles.

This isn’t particularly complicated. If your conscience forbids you to carry arms, don’t join the military or become a police officer. If you have qualms about animal experimentation, think hard before choosing to go into medical research. And, if you’re not prepared to provide the full range of reproductive health care (or prescriptions) to any woman who needs it then don’t go into obstetrics and gynecology, or internal or emergency medicine, or pharmacology. Choose another field! We’ll respect your consciences when you begin to take responsibility for them.

- Here’s another sign. Did you notice the arguments that were being shouted at us in front of the clinic? They’ve been trying for years, and seem to be pushing especially hard now, to position themselves as feminists – supporters of women. You heard them – yelling that they understand that it’s all men’s fault. That men must do better at supporting women and children so that women, presumably, won’t feel the need to abort. They yelled that they understood that the women going into the clinic had been hurt by men and were reacting to that pain and betrayal. They pledged to help men be more responsible so that women wouldn’t want abortions.

Let me tell you something. Any argument that puts men alone at the center – for good or for bad -- any discussion of women’s reproductive health that ends up being all about men, is not feminism. Nor, for that matter, is it Christian, or reflective of any God I recognize. And as long as anyone can even imagine such an argument, our work is not done.

- And while we’re at it, as long as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States can argue, as Justice Kennedy recently did, that women are not capable of making our own informed moral decisions, that we need men to help us so that we won’t make mistakes that we later regret; as long as a Supreme Court Justice can deny the moral agency of women simply because we are women – and can do it without being laughed off the public stage forever – our work is not done. What has happened to us that he could even think he could get away with publishing such an opinion? Our work most certainly is not done.

- Finally, the last sign I want to identify relates to my fellow clergy. Too often even those who support us can be heard talking about abortion as a tragedy. Let’s be very clear about this:

When a woman finds herself pregnant due to violence and chooses an abortion, it is the violence that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman finds that the fetus she is carrying has anomalies incompatible with life, that it will not live and that she requires an abortion – often a late-term abortion – to protect her life, her health, or her fertility, it is the shattering of her hopes and dreams for that pregnancy that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight -- only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

I want to thank all of you who protect this blessing – who do this work every day: the health care providers, doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, who put your lives on the line to care for others (you are heroes -- in my eyes, you are saints); the escorts and the activists; the lobbyists and the clinic defenders; all of you. You’re engaged in holy work.

Thank you for allowing me to join you in that work for a few days here in Alabama. God bless you all.

posted by KHR+ | 10:50 AM
59 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abortion is a blessing? Wow, that's brilliant.
9:36 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sick, sick, sick. And evil.
12:28 AM
Blogger Jonathan said...

My God have mercy on your soul.
5:55 AM
Blogger paul said...

I will pray for you for you need you eyes opened.
7:39 AM
Blogger Grace said...

What and evil agenda you have and you claim to be doing the work of God! Satan has you well trained. May God have mercy on your Soul!
8:15 AM
Anonymous Karen said...

So let me see if I understand you correctly...if a doctor feels called to heal but not to kill, he should choose another field?
9:00 AM
Anonymous Bryan said...

Incredible. And not in a good way.
9:16 AM
Anonymous Lord have Mercy said...

"our work is not done"

The child was born alive after an attempted abortion.The grandmother finished killing her grandson by placing the baby boy in a garbage bag and throwing him in the trash.

Tonuya Rainey was charged with illegally terminating a pregnancy, child abuse and improper disposal of human remains. The news over the weekend covered the horrible incident which occurred in Miramar, Florida. Tonuya Rainey, now free on bail, was initially jailed by a Broward County Court Judge for giving her 16 year old daughter poison (that is what “RU - 486” is) in order to intentionally kill the 24 week baby boy in her womb. However, the story gets even worse.

The 16 year old mother testified at a bond hearing that the child was born alive. So, this mother and grandmother finished the act of killing her grandson by placing the baby boy in a garbage bag and throwing him away in the trash. She was charged with "illegally terminating a pregnancy, child abuse and improper disposal of human remains." The Broward County Court Judge increased her bail when he heard the testimony of the child’s mother that the little boy was "breathing and moving his arms after birth". He called it a crime that was "tantamount to murder."


Lebensunwertes Leben! Ms Ragsdale you are the true deciple of the odeous Margaret Sanger

"our work is not done"
9:42 AM
OpenID montymark said...

Sickening, truly sickening.. Abortion is murder, no matter the context.
11:12 AM
Anonymous Manlius said...

Ms. Ragsdale, I wish you had done a little thinking before choosing your profession as a minister of the gospel. If you don't like to defend the weakest among us, then you really should consider another career.
12:37 PM
OpenID Viva said...

Job 17:12 "They make night into day, saying, 'The light is near,' in the presence of darkness.

Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.

Amos 5:7 For those who turn justice into wormwood And cast righteousness down to the earth."

Matthew 6:22-23 "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

I will pray for you. Unless you repent, you will have much to answer for before God. Unless you repent, each tiny little life - killed in its mother's womb - will point its bloody finger at you. Woe to the sheep you are leading astray. Unless you repent, you will be guilty of them as well.


Matthew 17:27 "However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me."

Mark 9:42 "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.

Luke 17:2 "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.

1 Corinthians 8:12 And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
1:25 PM
Blogger Baroquem said...

This is quite literally diabolical.
3:28 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron"--1 Timothy 4:1-2
6:15 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Revolting hubris.
7:10 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an Episcopal seminarian and a pro-choice woman, but this sermon makes me very sad! I agree that in situations like lethal fetal anomalies and risks to the woman's health, or rape and incest and many other circumstance, abortion may be the best option, but it is NEVER a blessing!!! I believe strongly in choice, but I pray that if possible women choose life and I pray that God comforts them when they can't b/c I think it would have to be a heart-wrenching decision!
9:44 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crushing life in its infant stages is a blessing? Just be glad your mother didn't subscribe to the same demonic philosophy you do.
9:46 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RUN don't walk to your nearest confessional!
10:55 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rarely do I feel compelled to say anything so harsh, but I must say it: you are not a Christian, you do not represent God, and any church that would not excommunicate you does not deserve to be called one.
1:20 AM
Blogger Pentimento said...

True Christianity would offer help to those women who are consumed with fear about bringing new life into the world, whether the fear is related to financial worries, relationship worries, or what have you. Would it not? True Christianity would never endorse a band-aid "solution" to an unplanned pregnancy, a "solution" which is itself an act of violence, and then call that act of violence a blessing. True Christianity would work to ameliorate the social conditions that lead women to make tragic choices that they almsot unanimously regret -- choices, it must be emphasized, that take the life of another human being, one totally dependent on the woman for its life.

In what gospel do you find the basis for your assertion that abortion is a "blessing"? (You seem to believe it is a blessing always and everywhere.)

No wonder your church is imploding.
8:12 AM
Anonymous The Englishman said...

Dear Episcopal seminarian and a pro-choice woman,

I have a problem with using hard cases to justify social engineering especially when it is state sponsored and on such a large scale, but if you insist on using hard cases to justify abortion then I have a few of my own.

There once was a Prime Minister of Great Britain, William Pitt the Younger who said

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”

Think about that for a second. Now this was at a time when the British Royal Navy ruled the waves and all but stopped the Atlantic transportation of slaves by intercepting US registered slave ships and freeing the survivors, it nearly caused a war. My question is who was right, in Law and morally?

The slaves had no one to protect them from the freedom of the US citizen to enslave them, the law said they could have slaves and many believed it with every fiber of their being, after all the African had no soul! You see abortion is very much like this, it is promoted for the convenience of the mother who is told she has every right to an abortion. It is her right to choose, but what you may ask is she choosing, it is the choice of life or death for the baby she carries, and don’t let anyone tell you it is just cells or fetus or zygote etc these are just smoke screens of convenience, It is a human being in the earliest stages of Life, and the abortion mills take it to the bank, it is big business now in the US.

But who pays the price, the one individual who has had no say in the process but is to suffer to consequences and the one individual who does not have a hope the British Royal Navy will save its life.

Can you explain in what way the child of rape or incest or any other ‘circumstance’ is any less worthy of life than you are? In other words what makes your life sacred and theirs disposable? Who are you to say who can live and who shall die? This may seem an odd thing to site but in The Lord of the Rings Movie - The Fellowship of the Ring there is an exchange between Frodo and Gandalf, it goes like this:

Frodo: "It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him when he had the chance!"

Gandalf: [glancing sharply at Frodo] "Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death, and some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo?"

[Frodo looks down, silently.]

Gandalf: "Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise can not see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill…"

OR as you say you are Episcopalian read the book of Job chapter 38 – 40, would you say God was wrong to bring forth life in your hard cases, destruction is easy but can you create life, can you animate a house fly? Yet you claim to support the death of the innocent in the womb in accordance with your sense of justice. In the UK now the NHS will not tell you the sex of your child because too many ethnic parents were aborting the girls and keeping the boys, does that offend against your sensibilities, do you consider equality in death to be more important than the killing itself?

If you a are a Christian you should understand that your life is not yours, it is a gift from God and one day you will have to give it back and account for what you did with it, what was the great commandment of Jesus Christ? Do unto others as you would have done to you, did the Gospel writers forget to include ‘except if it is inconvenient’.

The New Testament is our guide but it is not the only source of Christian knowledge and wisdom, the Early Church Fathers and some early Christian documents still survive.

The Didache The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles(1st Century AD)
The Lord's Teaching to the Heathen by the Twelve Apostles:
1 There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference.
2 Now, this is the way of life:…
The second commandment of the Teaching: "Do not murder; do not commit adultery"; do not corrupt boys; do not fornicate; "do not steal"; do not practice magic; do not go in for sorcery; do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant.
Early Church Fathers

The Apocalypse of Peter (ca. 135)

"I saw a gorge in which the discharge and excrement of the tortured ran down and became like a lake. There sat women, and the discharge came up to their throats; and opposite them sat many children, who were born prematurely, weeping. And from them went forth rays of fire and smote the women on the eyes. These were those who produced children outside of marriage and who procured abortions."

2:26

"Those who slew the unborn children will be tortured forever, for God wills it to so."

2:64

Tertullian (c. 160 - 240)

That the unborn child is alive:

How are they dead unless they were first alive? But still in the womb an infant by necessary cruelty is killed when lying twisted at the womb's mouth he prevents birth and is a matricide unless he dies. Therefore there is among the arms of physicians an instrument by which with a rotary movement the genital parts are first opened, then with a cervical instrument the interior members are slaughtered with careful judgment by a blunt barb, so that the whole criminal deed is extracted with a violent delivery. There is also the bronze needle by which the throat - cutting is carried out by a robbery in the dark; this instrument is called and embryo knife from its function of infanticide, as it is deadly for the living infant.

This Hippocrates taught, and Asclepiades, and Erasistratus and Herophilus, the dissector of adults, and the milder Soranos himself, - all of them certain that a living being had been conceived and so deploring the most unhappy infancy of one of this kind who had first to be killed lest a live woman be rent apart. Of this necessity of crime, Hicesius, I believe did not doubt, as he added souls to those being born from blows of cold air, because the word itself for "soul" among the Greek relates to such a cooling.

- De Anima 25.5 - 6

They [John and Jesus] were both alive while still in the womb. Elizabeth rejoiced as the infant leaped in her womb; Mary glorifies the Lord because Christ within inspired her. Each mother recognizes her child and each is known by her child who is alive, being not merely souls but also spirits.

- De Anima 26.4

Thus, you read the word of God, spoken to Jeremias: "Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee." If God forms us in the womb, He also breathes on us as He did in the beginning: "And God formed man and breathed into him the breath of life." Nor could God have known man in the womb unless he were a whole man. "And before thou camest forth from the womb, I sanctified thee." Was it, then, a dead body at that stage? Surely it was not, for "God is the God of the living and not the dead."

- De Anima 26.5

It is not permissible for us to destroy the seed by means of illicit manslaughter once it has been conceived in the womb, so long as blood remains in the person.

- Apologia, cap 25, line 42

To the governors of Roman provinces and to the Emperor Septimus Severus, defending Christianity against various charges:

'That I may refute more thoroughly these charges ['we are accused of observing a holy rite in which we kill a little child and then eat it', Apologia 7.1], I will show that in part openly, in part secretly, practices prevail among you which have led you perhaps to credit similar things about us.

- Apologia 9.1

In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man - killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in the seed.

- Apologia 9.6

Give us your testimony, then, ye mothers, whether yet pregnant, or after delivery (let barren women and men keep silence), - the truth of your own nature is in question, the reality of your own suffering is the point to be decided. (Tell us, then,) whether you feel in the embryo within you any vital force other than your own, with which your bowels tremble, your sides shake, your entire womb throbs, and the burden which oppresses you constantly changes its position?

Are these movements a joy to you, and a positive removal of anxiety, as making you confident that your infant both possesses vitality and enjoys it? Or, should his restlessness cease, your first fear would be for him; and he would be aware of it within you, since he is disturbed at the novel sound; and you would crave for injurious diet, or would even loathe your food - all on his account; and then you and he, (in the closeness of your sympathy,) would share together your common ailments - so far that with your contusions and bruises would he actually become marked, - whilst within you, and even on the selfsame parts of the body, taking to himself thus peremptorily the injuries of his mother!

Now, whenever a livid hue and redness are incidents of the blood, the blood will not be without the vital principle, or soul; or when disease attacks the soul or vitality, (it becomes a proof of its real existence, since) there is no disease where there is no soul or principle of life. Again, inasmuch as sustenance by food, and the want thereof, growth and decay, fear and motion, are conditions of the soul or life, he who experiences them must be alive. And, so, he at last ceases to live, who ceases to experience them. And thus by and by infants are still - born; but how so, unless they had life? For how could any die, who had not previously lived? But sometimes by a cruel necessity, whilst yet in the womb, an infant is put to death, when lying awry in the orifice of the womb he impedes parturition, and kills his mother, if he is not to die himself.

Accordingly, among surgeons' tools there is a certain instrument, which is formed with a nicely - adjusted flexible frame for opening the uterus first of all, and keeping it open; it is further furnished with an annular blade, by means of which the limbs within the womb are dissected with anxious but unfaltering care; its last appendage being a blunted or covered hook, wherewith the entire fetus is extracted by a violent delivery. There is also (another instrument in the shape of) a copper needle or spike, by which the actual death is managed in this furtive robbery of life: they give it, from its infanticide function, the name of ….., the slayer of the infant, which was of course alive.

Such apparatus was possessed both by Hippocrates, and Asclepiades, and Erasistratus, and Herophilus, that dissector of even adults, and the milder Soranus himself, who all knew well enough that a living being had been conceived, and pitied this most luckless infant state, which had first to be put to death, to escape being tortured alive.

Of the necessity of such harsh treatment I have no doubt even Hicesius was convinced, although he imported their soul into infants after birth from the stroke of the frigid air, because the very term for soul, forsooth, in Greek answered to such a refrigeration! Well, then, have the barbarian and Roman nations received souls by some other process, (I wonder) for they have called the soul by another name than ….? How many nations are there who commence life under the broiling sun of the torrid zone, scorching their skin into its swarthy hue? Whence do they get their souls, with no frosty air to help them? I say not a word of those well - warmed bed - rooms, and all that apparatus of heat which ladies in childbirth so greatly need, when a breath of cold air might endanger their life. But in the very bath almost a babe will slip into life, and at once his cry is heard! If, however, a good frosty air is to the soul so indispensable a treasure, then beyond the German and the Scythian tribes, and the Alpine and the Arguan heights, nobody ought ever to be born!

But the fact really is, that population is greater within the temperate regions of the East and the West, and men's minds are sharper; whilst there is not a Sarmatian whose wits are not dull and humdrum. The minds of men, too, would grow keener by reason of the cold, if their souls came into being amidst nipping frosts; for as the substance is, so must be its active power. Now, after these preliminary statements, we may also refer to the case of those who, having been cut out of their mother's womb, have breathed and retained life - your Bacchuses and Scipios.

If, however, there be any one who, like Plato, supposes that two souls cannot, more than two bodies could, co - exist in the same individual, I, on the contrary, could show him not merely the co-existence of two souls in one person, as also of two bodies in the same womb, but likewise the combination of many other things in natural connection with the soul - for instance, of demoniacal possession; and that not of one only, as in the case of Socrates' own demon; but of seven spirits as in the case of the Magdalene; and of a legion in number, as in the Gadarene.

Now one soul is naturally more susceptible of conjunction with another soul, by reason of the identity of their substance, than an evil spirit is, owing to their diverse natures. But when the same philosopher, in the sixth book of The Laws, warns us to beware lest a vitiation of seed should infuse a soil into both body and soul from an illicit or debased concubinage, I hardly know whether he is more inconsistent with himself in respect of one of his previous statements, or of that which he had just made. For he here shows us that the soul proceeds from human seed (and warns us to be on our guard about it), not, (as he had said before,) from the first breath of the new - born child.

Pray, whence comes it that from similarity of soul we resemble our parents in disposition, according to the testimony of Cleanthes, if we are not produced from this seed of the soul? Why, too, used the old astrologers to cast a man's nativity from his first conception, if his soul also draws not its origin from that moment? To this (nativity) likewise belongs the inbreathing of the soul, whatever that is.

- De Anima 25

Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does" (ibid., 27).

The Law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties the man who shall cause abortion [Ex 21:22-24]" (ibid., 37).

Athenagoras (d.177)

What reason would we have to commit murder when we say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God? For the same person would not regard the fetus in the womb as a living thing and therefore and object of God's care [and then kill it]….But we are altogether consistent in our conduct. We obey reason and do not override it.

-Legatio 35

How, then, when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put people to death? 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 s 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.

-A Plea for the Christians 35.4

Minucius Felix (3rd Century AD)

There are some women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels, and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth. And these things assuredly come done from the teaching of your gods.

-Octavius 30

Basil (c. 329-379)

To Anfilochius, Bishop of Iconia:

She who has intentionally destroyed [the fetus] is subject to the penalty corresponding to a homicide. For us, there is no scrutinizing between the formed and unformed [fetus]; here truly justice is made not only for the unborn but also with reference to the person who is attentive only to himself/herself since so many women generally die for this very reason.

-First Letter 2

Canon II.

Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years' penance, whether the embryo were perfectly formed, or not.

- The First Canonical Epistle of Our Holy Father Basil, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia to Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium.

…those who give the abortifacients and those who take the poisons are guilty of homicide.

-First Letter 8

Ambrose (c.340-397)

Indeed there are those women who cut off the word prematurely born/aborted, before they give birth, there are those who have Christ in the womb but they will not yet have formed (him), to whom it is said: my children, whom I desire to bring forth again and again until Christ be formed in you.

Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam, lib. 10, line 252 [private translation]

But why the eye or the hand, since the aborted child has both a hand and an eye which has already been formed?

-Ambrose, Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam, lib. 10, line 283 [private translation]

And elsewhere the same Ecclesiastes, being an old man, guarded him better whom his mother had cast out by abortion, because he did not see these bad things which they make in this world, he neither came into these shadows nor walked in vanity, and for that reason he who did not come into this life will have more of a rest than he who came.

- De bono mortis, cap 2, par. 4, line 11

The poor get rid of their small children by exposure and denying them when they are discovered. But the rich also, so that their wealth will not be more divided, deny their children [when they are] in the womb and with all the force of parricide, they kill the beings of their wombs [while they are] in the same fruitful womb. In this way life is taken away from them before it has been given.

-Hexameron V.18.58 [private translation]

Jerome (347-420)

You may see many women widows before wedded, who try to conceal their miserable fall by a lying garb. Unless they are betrayed by swelling wombs or by the crying of their infants, they walk abroad with tripping feet and heads in the air. Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder.

- Epistula 22

John Chrysostom (347-407)

Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderer also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine. Hence too come idolatries, since many, with a view to become acceptable, devise incantations, and libations, and love potions, and countless other plans. Yet still after such great unseemliness, after slaughters, after idolatries, the thing [fornication] seems to belong to things indifferent, aye, and to many that have wives, too.

-Homily 24 on Romans

Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Sometimes, indeed, this lustful cruelty, or if you please, cruel lust, resorts to such extravagant methods as to use poisonous drugs to secure barrenness; or else, if unsuccessful in this, to destroy the conceived seed by some means previous to birth, preferring that its offspring should rather perish than receive vitality; or if it was advancing to life within the womb, should be slain before it was born.

-De Nube et Concupiscentia 1.17 (15)

On the undeveloped fetus:

Hence in the first place arises a question about abortive conceptions, which have indeed been born in the mother's womb, but not so born that they could be born again. For if we shall decide that these are to rise again, we cannot object to any conclusion that may be drawn in regard to those which are fully formed. Now who is there that is not rather disposed to think that unformed abortions perish, like seeds that have never fructified? But who will dare to deny, though he may not dare to affirm, that at the resurrection every defect in the form shall be supplied, and that thus the perfection which time would have brought shall not be wanting, any more than the blemishes which time did bring shall be present: so that the nature shall neither want anything suitable and in harmony with it that length of days would have added, nor be debased by the presence of anything of an opposite kind that length of days has added; but that what is not yet complete shall be completed, just as what has been injured shall be renewed.

-Enchiridion 23.85.4

On therapeutic abortion:

And therefore the following question may be very carefully inquired into and discussed by learned men, though I do not know whether it is in man's power to resolve it: At what time the infant begins to live in the womb: whether life exists in a latent form before it manifests itself in the motions of the living being. To deny that the young who are cut out limb by limb from the womb, lest if they were left there dead the mother should die too, have never been alive, seems too audacious. Now, from the time that a man begins to live, from that time it is possible for him to die. And if he die, wheresoever death may overtake him, I cannot discover on what principle he can be denied an interest in the resurrection of the dead.

-Enchiridion 23.86

Therefore brothers, you see how perverse they are and hastening wickedness, who are immature, they seek abortion of the conception before the birth; they are those who tell us, "I do not see that which you say must be believed."

- Sermon 126, line 12

Theodorus Priscianus (c.4th -5th century AD)

It is never licit to give something that will cause an abortion. As Hippocrates points out, it is not fitting that the innocent office of a doctor be stained by complicity in such a serious offense. But if they attempt to avoid the birth on account of either a defect in their womb or the difficulties associated with their age, they greatly risk their lives to earn their health just as one risks killing the tree by applying something to the branches or boats which are tossed about by a storm must throw away their cargo.

-Euporiston III, VI, 23

Justinian (527-565)

Why a woman who procured an abortion would be punished:

-Because "it might appear scandalous that she should be able to deprive her husband of children without being punished".

-Digest 47.11

Because the thing is a bad example, lower-class people who give a drink to cause an abortion or to excite passion (although they do not do it deceitfully), are to be condemned to the mines, and more distinguished persons to be relegated to an island and deprived of a part of their wealth. If by this drink a woman or a man has died, they are condemned to capital punishment.

-Digest 48.19.38.5

Gregory the Great (540-604)

The aborted [fetus] because it is born before its due time, is immediately concealed [as] dead.

-Moralia, Bk. IV, line 3 [private translation]

Moreover this abortion is best said to be secret because from the origins of the world, when we know Moses was writing certain things, part of the human family was greatly unknown/concealed to us.

-Moralia, line 25 [private translation]

Disciple of Cassiodorus (after 540 AD)

He is said to be aborted who was born before the time, or who, alive, was given birth by a dead mother.

- Commentary on I Corinthians, cap. 15, line 49

The Apostolic Constitutions

"Thou shalt not use magic. Thou shalt not use witchcraft; for he says, ‘You shall not suffer a witch to live’ [Ex. 22:18]. Thou shall not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. . . . [I]f it be slain, [it] shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed" (Apostolic Constitutions 7:3 [A.D. 400] ).

The Letter of Barnabas

"The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following....Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born" (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74] ).

Hippolytus

"Women who were reputed to be believers began to take drugs to render themselves sterile, and to bind themselves tightly so as to expel what was being conceived, since they would not, on account of relatives and excess wealth, want to have a child by a slave or by any insignificant person. See, then, into what great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by teaching adultery and murder at the same time!" (Refutation of All Heresies [A.D. 228]).

St. Caesarius, Bishop of Arles (470-543)

Sermon 44 # 2
No woman should take drugs for purposes of abortion, nor should she kill her children that have been conceived or are already born. If anyone does this, she should know that before Christ’s tribunal she will have to plead her case in the presence of those she has killed. Moreover, women should not take diabolical draughts with the purpose of not being able to conceive children. A woman who does this ought to realize that she will be guilty of as many murders as the number of children she might have borne. I would like to know whether a woman of nobility who takes deadly drugs to prevent conception wants her maids or tenants to do so. Just as every woman wants slaves born for her so that they may serve her, so she herself should nurse all the children she conceives, or entrust them to others for rearing. Otherwise, she may refuse to conceive children or, what is more serious, be willing to kill souls which might have been good Christians. Now, with what kind of a conscience does she desire slaves to be born of her servants, when she herself refuses to bear children who might become Christians?
9:00 AM
Anonymous Arnobius said...

What an amazingly wretched sermon. Most pro-abortion people at least try to pretend it is a necessary evil, but not here it seems.

One hopes you will come to recognize the great and irreconcilable difference between the preaching the Gospel of Christ, and preaching the gospel of Choice.
9:56 AM
Blogger teaching with Christ said...

I can't even begin to put into words how horrific these words are. Why didn't you just say "if it is inconvenient to have a child at that time abortion is a blessing"? I would like for you to look my unplanned son in the eyes and tell him that I should have taken advantage of my access to a safe abortion when I discovered that I was pregnant while applying for master's programs. My son who had a heart beat before I ever knew I was pregnant. My son who is his sister's best friend. My son who brings joy and love into every life that he touches. Tell him that I should have stopped his beating heart because the timing was bad. How dare you count yourself among the believers?
1:21 PM
Anonymous Bobadilla said...

And you'll be directing the formation and education of future leaders of the Episcoplians?

WOW...simply and truly...wow.
1:41 PM
Blogger Mikey said...

Yes, our work is not done, you should be defrocked and excommunicated
2:12 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what about those who put her there? Among those who work to destroy the Christian faithful, the Episcopal church has become the training camp of choice.
2:59 PM
Anonymous Jenni said...

I am physically ill after reading this. So let me see if I understand...

Murder=a Blessing.

That contradicts the very basic understanding of the tenets of Christian law. Think _The Ten Commandments_.

Evil. Pure and simple evil.

We don't just have to worry about current politics destroying life in today's world...we have to worry about the "church" doing it too.

Come soon Lord.
3:30 PM
Anonymous Fr Craig (Roman Catholic Priest...a real one) said...

I am not sure how one can preach such a thing in the name of Christianity. What was said is foolishness.

Why can't you respect the conscience of a health care worker who values life? You are an oppressor.
3:57 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pro-choice, but abortion is most certainly not a blessing. What a prehistoric perspective!
4:38 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and you called that a sermon? Christ was not mentionned once!!!!
4:56 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is sick. You have a warped mind. Please pray for enlightenment with some true humility concerning this matter.
5:27 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abortion is evil and so is your sick ideology. Another thing Kathy, you're not a "reverend" either--just a wolf in sheep's clothing.
5:35 PM
Anonymous Thomas A. said...

Madam, you are doing the work of the devil! Your words are sick and evil.
5:49 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May God open your eyes to faith in Christ first, and through that gift of grace help you realize that His word overpowers human words.
6:08 PM
Blogger ukok said...

From the point of conception a baby will grow in the womb until it has reached the point when it is born into the world. (call the unborn what you will, they will become babies, not apples or tube trains - if allowed to grow to full term).

If you are so very passionate about supporting the rights of the individual, where are the rights of the babies that are aborted and why are you not so passionately defending them?


Or don't the unborn have a voice?

Oh of course, i forgot, they don't, because those who abort babies and support abortion won't ever hear their childens voices, they make sure they snuff out their life, snuff out their voice, try to blot out the fact that they ever existed and 'get on with their lives'.

But the unborn should have a voice...and we should be that voice. If we speak about abortion, we should be speaking on their behalf.

Pro Choice is no choice. It is only the choice of the MOTHER, to terminate, abort, murder a life that is gorwing inside her womb.

Where is the babies choice? Do you seriously believe that if an aborted baby could have a choice, that it would say 'okay momma, i understand you want me to die, i hope you have a happy life without me'?

What an arrogance, to assume that any woman should have the right to eradicate 'the problem' of being pregnant.

I would imagine, that there are many in heaven who are praying for your soul, amongst them, the millions of aborted babies, who have found welcome and love with the Lord, where none was offered when they were bought into existance on earth.

"...I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' ~ Matthew 25:40

Do you skip over that bit of the Gospel in your sermons by any chance?
6:10 PM
Anonymous John Kirk said...

Follow the link and check out the manifest irony on the "Rev." Katie's "church" website: a picture of Sweet Kate HOLDING A BABY!

One more reason I'm glad I swam the Tiber.

Dear Katherine: Some day your work will be done, as will the work of the one who has so obviously inspired you. The Holy One called him "The Father of Lies." Take care you do not catch yourself in the same chain prepared for him.
6:14 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you’re not prepared to provide the full range of reproductive health care (or prescriptions) to any woman who needs it then don’t go into obstetrics and gynecology, or internal or emergency medicine, or pharmacology. Choose another field!"

Sniff ... sniff ... ah, I love the smell of seared conscience in the morning!

Rev. Mark E. Rudolph
7:39 PM
Blogger Alcain Fem'at said...

An excellent polemic.

Thank you for showing me why I will never become an Anglican.
7:40 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate your mother didn't feel the same as you.
8:02 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My how Jesus' words were true. "A man who builds his house on sand, the sands will crumble. A man who builds his house on rock will stand." We know he made Peter the rock of the church. How happy I am to belong to the true church of Christ! The Patriarchical Latin Church headed by Peter of our day His Holiness Benedict XVI !!!!

Cross the Tiber, It's great over here !!!
8:15 PM
Anonymous Stephen said...

Well, what do you expect from a "priestess"?

CRAZY.

Kyrie Eleison!
8:36 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“It’s become increasingly difficult to distinguish the pronouncements of the Episcopal Church from the latest Madonna video.”-Ann Coulter
8:57 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been raped, that was horrible. I did not get pregnant but if I had, *that* would have been a blessing. Children are always a blessing and killing them is always evil.

Women are moral agents, true. I could pick up a knife and stab my roommate to death, that is a moral choice. But does that mean I am within my rights to stab her? Should murder be legal? If we legalised murder, would it be safe and rare?

We have legalised murder. Abortion is nothing new, it's been around for thousands of years, and it has always been murder, it has always been evil.

The solution isn't murder, it's community support. We are Christians, we help each other, we don't kill those who we feel are troublesome and not worth living. Christ died for those who were troublesome, the weak, the poor, the outcast. But you want to kill them instead. You think you deserve to live and they deserve to die? Who are you to rule over life and death?

Abortion is always a violent tragedy, an evil, and that much avoided phrase, a mortal sin. This includes those who actively participate in the murder and accomplices like you. God is not mocked!
8:57 PM
Blogger Steve Bowles said...

And, following Ragsdale's logic...If you can not in good conscience preach that life, especially innocent life, is sacred, then you need to find another field.

Pray for this women's soul because, when the time comes, she will be in dire need of salvation.
9:38 PM
Blogger *Michigan Momma* said...

My initial reaction is to cry EVIL, EVIL, EVIL!!! like many of the other like-minded people here.

Yet...I like Fr.Craig's comment....FOOLISHNESS. This is not Christianity. Christ is nowhere in that blog/sermon/whatever. And from works & deeds & words alone (as I cannot judge your heart), I have no doubt Christ is not honestly in this woman's heart either.

She needs our prayers, and those who listen to her words need them as well. Only God could possibly reach a heart such as that - only God...
10:00 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Episcopal = not a real church
Woman = can't be a Priest or minister

Her views = rubbish
10:14 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is evil. These are lies straight from Hell.
10:15 PM
Anonymous Angela Messenger said...

Katharine - why do you hate children so much? Why do you hate women so much? Did you have an abortion? Are you regretting it but have buried the pain so deeply that you are trying to justify your actions? The pain doesn't come from society - the pain comes from knowing that you went against the Natural Law. I pity you and the sinful agenda that shaped you. Lord have mercy.
10:16 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whose "truth" is really more inconvenient- Gore's or Ragsdale's?
- Vigilis
10:24 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock.(Psalm 137:9)

This Rev. Ragsdale is appealing to a barbarism which is more appalling than any of vengeance-hungry words of the Psalmist.
10:26 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. There is a real problem with people like this.
10:36 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You talk about aborting in order to pursue an education or career. When is a job more important than human life? Those aren't the teachings of Christ.
10:44 PM
Anonymous Mike M said...

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.
10:50 PM
Anonymous aquaviva said...

You are evil and you will rot in hell.
11:04 PM
Blogger Bravewolf, Shassi and Tierce said...

This is awesome. Yours is a kind of belief I could support. I hope the people who disagree with you have all adopted a bunch of unwanted, abused and needy children to prove their position.
11:34 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lord have mercy.
12:24 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only possible circumstance in which an abortion could be considered a blessing is IF YOUR MOTHER HAD ABORTED YOU!!!!
12:26 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your a SAD SAD lady, and I will not give you credence by referring to you as a "MINISTER???"

The devil is sitting on your shoulder and waiting to take you to hell after you complete HIS WORK.
12:41 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your a sick woman who I would BET is a LESBIAN ...which of course is your BUSINESS..................BUT YOU LADY do NOT DETEREMINE WHO LIVES AND WHO DIES...GOT IT????

The Devil sits are your shoulder laughing and clapping his hands, and waiting to take you with him to his place of flames at the end of you earthly life..............and thats for ETERNITY!.
12:44 AM
Blogger Kensington said...

Pray. Pray for this woman that she repents of the evil she advocates.
1:14 AM