Why is abortion the worst of crimes?

By Cristiana de Magistris

What is the eternal destiny of children who die without baptism and, therefore, of those who are aborted? The common doctrine (until 50 years ago) answers that their destiny is Limbo. According to the teaching of St Thomas, Limbo is a state of natural happiness, different from Paradise where there is supernatural happiness. It is therefore without suffering or punishment. St Pius X wrote in his Catechism:

“Children who die without Baptism go to Limbo, where there is no supernatural reward or punishment; because, having original sin, and that alone, they do not deserve Paradise, but neither do they deserve Hell or Purgatory.”[1]

This is the constant doctrine of the Church, reaffirmed by Pius XII in his famous address to midwives (29 October 1951) in which he said among other things:

“… the state of grace is absolutely necessary at the moment of death; without it salvation and supernatural happiness – the beatific vision of God – are impossible. An act of love is sufficient for the adult to obtain sanctifying grace and to supply the lack of baptism; to the still unborn or newly born this way is not open.”

But the idea of the eternal salvation of children who died without baptism was already spreading in the Catholic world and the Theological Commission of the Second Vatican Council, therefore, prepared a draft that provided a clear affirmation of the traditional doctrine of the Church:

“The Council declares void and without foundation all judgments which admit a means [of salvation] for children other than Baptism that they have in fact received. Nonetheless, there is no lack of reasons to believe that they will receive eternally a certain happiness appropriate to their state.”

This text – unfortunately opposed by the modernist fringe at the Council and consequently not included in the final documents – proves that the doctrine of Limbo was an indisputable property of the Church until the last Council. The constant practice of the Church corresponds to these documents of the Magisterium, which have never in two thousand years given parents the slightest hope that their desire or that of the Church could make up for the absence of Baptism.

The new Catechism has not helped to clarify the matter, stating that it is licit (however, not obligatory) to hope that there may be a means of salvation for children who die without baptism. In this statement, there is nothing certain or imperative to be believed. The Church’s doctrine of two thousand years, therefore, remains valid, despite the contrary opinions that are spreading and which are likely to underlie the scandalous concept of mercy that not a small number of churchmen would like to make use of for those who support abortion. After all, there is an internal consistency in evil. If the aborted children all go happily to Heaven, perhaps with the crown of martyrdom, we should rejoice at every new abortion just as the early Christians rejoiced at the martyrdom of their brothers in the faith! And in that case, the first enemy of abortion should be the devil. But the perennial doctrine of the Church is quite different.

With the spread and extent of abortion and abortion laws the number of human beings increases who will not enjoy the vision of God. This is the greatest crime that man can commit. Between the (just and lawful) right of the unborn child to earthly life and the (unjust and unlawful) pseudo-right of the mother to kill her child, there is the right of God to delight in His creatures, towering higher than anything we can imagine. At the moment of conception, God infuses the soul into an infinitesimal body, but this microscopic being was created for the glory of God: God wants to glorify Himself in it (whatever its destiny may be) and this tiny being will be able to enjoy (if it is faithful to grace) the greatest good conceivable to a human creature: the vision of his God. This highest good is not a pale shadow compared to earthly life, which, however long it may be, is still going to end and, whatever happiness it can experience, will always be limited and temporary.

The seriousness of abortion lies precisely in this: preventing God from glorying in His creatures by communicating His vision, and depriving the aborted children forever of the beatific vision of God, which is the supreme happiness of a human being. A worse crime cannot be conceived, for no other crime has such a consequence.

The idea of a mother killing the child she carries inside her is certainly repugnant, not only for Christian but also for simply human sense: because this is a murder, with the aggravating circumstance of being perpetrated against someone who cannot defend himself. But this – let us repeat – is not the worst of evils. That child is condemned to an inescapable destiny: left without the supreme good, the vision of God. Before depopulating the earth, abortion depopulates Heaven, and this is certainly an infinitely greater evil.

The anti-Covid vaccines have revived the debate on the crime of abortion. This is right, as long as we remember that using foetal cells for vaccines or any medicine is not the worst fate for foetuses. The loss of the vision of God is the loss of a good that is incomparably greater.

We must create a common front to fight this abominable crime of abortion and those who support it, reaffirming the primacy of grace over nature, of eternal life over earthly life, and above all remembering that before defending the right of children to earthly life, it is necessary to defend their right to eternal life; and that even before these inalienable rights, it is necessary to defend the supreme rights of God.

[1] Pio X, Compendio della dottrina cristiana (Catechismo Maggiore)