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 Post subject: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:17 am 
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Would it be a sin for a rape victim, made pregnant against her will, to pray to have a miscarriage?

Suppose a young Catholic teenage girl was raped and made pregnant, and very understandably doesn't want to have the child but also doesn't want to have an abortion as the Catholic Church teaches that abortion even in the case of rape is a very serious sin. Would it be a sin for the teenage girl to pray for a miscarriage?


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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:34 pm 
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Praying for one's untimely death doesn't suggest a Christian attitude.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:44 am 
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It's like asking God to do it instead of a doctor.

I can't see how this isn't a sin.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:06 am 
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It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to desire the death of another human being.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:30 am 
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Doom wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to desire the death of another human being.

I don't know about that, but certainly it would be wrong in this case, to desire for someone to die before he or she can receive the sacrament of Baptism.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:08 am 
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I agree that it is certainly wrong, but I do not know if that means it is necessarily a serious sin in every case. As always, subjective culpability is a separate question. Just one example. Perhaps the young mom praying for a miscarriage isn't really thinking at all that she's asking for her baby to die. (Though obviously that's what she is asking for.) All she's thinking is that she's afraid to carry the baby to term, for all kinds of reasons. It prolongs, she might think, the psychological trauma of the rape. It puts her health in some jeopardy. It might be very costly. It is surely a serious inconvenience. All this weighs heavily and so she asks, so to speak, that this cup pass from her, without pausing to think through what that actually means. That's not saintly, and in fact she is more or less asking for the death of the baby--but whether it is a sin, or at least whether it is seriously sinful, I am not so sure. So much depends on the particulars. She should discuss it with her confessor.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:30 am 
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gherkin wrote:
I agree that it is certainly wrong, but I do not know if that means it is necessarily a serious sin in every case. As always, subjective culpability is a separate question. Just one example. Perhaps the young mom praying for a miscarriage isn't really thinking at all that she's asking for her baby to die. (Though obviously that's what she is asking for.) All she's thinking is that she's afraid to carry the baby to term, for all kinds of reasons. It prolongs, she might think, the psychological trauma of the rape. It puts her health in some jeopardy. It might be very costly. It is surely a serious inconvenience. All this weighs heavily and so she asks, so to speak, that this cup pass from her, without pausing to think through what that actually means. That's not saintly, and in fact she is more or less asking for the death of the baby--but whether it is a sin, or at least whether it is seriously sinful, I am not so sure. So much depends on the particulars. She should discuss it with her confessor.


The whether it is a sin at all is surprising.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:45 am 
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Well, I'm nobody's spiritual director. But it's obvious that at least in some hypothetical cases it wouldn't be sinful. Imagine someone so tremendously mentally ill, or perhaps mentally handicapped, that she really lacks any capacity to sin. I don't know how common it would be for a person to have the intellectual capacity to make a specific request such as "may this pregnancy be spontaneously aborted" (probably not in quite those terms) but lack the capacity for moral culpability, but I don't know of any good reason to deny it could ever happen. How far you can extend out this lack of culpability to people with a more normal psychology, I do not know. I'm just saying, really, that it's a mistake to conflate sinfulness with wrongness.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:48 am 
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Doom wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to desire the death of another human being.

May we pray for the death of an old and suffering person?

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:00 am 
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gherkin wrote:
Well, I'm nobody's spiritual director. But it's obvious that at least in some hypothetical cases it wouldn't be sinful. Imagine someone so tremendously mentally ill, or perhaps mentally handicapped, that she really lacks any capacity to sin. I don't know how common it would be for a person to have the intellectual capacity to make a specific request such as "may this pregnancy be spontaneously aborted" (probably not in quite those terms) but lack the capacity for moral culpability, but I don't know of any good reason to deny it could ever happen. How far you can extend out this lack of culpability to people with a more normal psychology, I do not know. I'm just saying, really, that it's a mistake to conflate sinfulness with wrongness.


I understand that.

I just think it's rare. Even those that lack formation at the very least are aware of a potential life.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:52 am 
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What about the lack of the ability to at least empathize with the thing that you're desiring the death of? The child growing in the womb is as least as much a victim in this situation as the mother. Why does it deserve the vengeance and punishment due the father? Ought the mother at least consider whether or not she should deserve such vengeance if she was the product of rape?

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:59 am 
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Jack3 wrote:
Doom wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to desire the death of another human being.

May we pray for the death of an old and suffering person?

Yes.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:22 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
Doom wrote:
It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to desire the death of another human being.

May we pray for the death of an old and suffering person?

Yes.


I've always struggled with this one. Thank you Father.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:25 pm 
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I had to face this when my father was failing and in pain. I asked my spiritual director. We can say, "Lord, I don't understand why he's still here. I trust in your goodness, but please let him go soon." Or something like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:28 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I had to face this when my father was failing and in pain. I asked my spiritual director. We can say, "Lord, I don't understand why he's still here. I trust in your goodness, but please let him go soon." Or something like that.


I went through that with my mother, after hearing her scream in pain and beg for mercy for days. We knew she wasn't going to recover or get better. I couldn't offer her any comfort, she couldn't bear to be touched for even a gentle hug. I prayed for many hours for a quick end to her suffering.

My dad, in his last days, didn't suffer in pain like that. I simply prayed for a peaceful death when it should come.

ETA: It would have been a wholly different thing if I had prayed for my mother to die soon simply because spending days and nights at the hospital was an inconvenience, and I wanted to get on with my own life.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:33 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I had to face this when my father was failing and in pain. I asked my spiritual director. We can say, "Lord, I don't understand why he's still here. I trust in your goodness, but please let him go soon." Or something like that.


But you didn't "desire his death" you simply wanted for the inevitable to occur sooner rather than later to limit suffering, that isn't the kind of thing that I'm talking about.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:13 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I had to face this when my father was failing and in pain. I asked my spiritual director. We can say, "Lord, I don't understand why he's still here. I trust in your goodness, but please let him go soon." Or something like that.


But you didn't "desire his death" you simply wanted for the inevitable to occur sooner rather than later to limit suffering, that isn't the kind of thing that I'm talking about.


Right. This isn't wanting the death of someone to proceed to end their own suffering, this is wanting the death of someone else to (supposedly) end your own suffering.

Not only will it not end your suffering, it's only going to invariably end up compounding it, adding your own guilt and shame on top of that in the process.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:14 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I had to face this when my father was failing and in pain. I asked my spiritual director. We can say, "Lord, I don't understand why he's still here. I trust in your goodness, but please let him go soon." Or something like that.


But you didn't "desire his death" you simply wanted for the inevitable to occur sooner rather than later to limit suffering, that isn't the kind of thing that I'm talking about.


I believe he was responding to Jack3's question, and the follow-up by Byblos.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:27 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I had to face this when my father was failing and in pain. I asked my spiritual director. We can say, "Lord, I don't understand why he's still here. I trust in your goodness, but please let him go soon." Or something like that.


But you didn't "desire his death" you simply wanted for the inevitable to occur sooner rather than later to limit suffering, that isn't the kind of thing that I'm talking about.


I'm not sure there's a distinction to be made here.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it a sin for a rape victim to pray for a miscarriage?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:29 pm 
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Gandalf the Grey wrote:
What about the lack of the ability to at least empathize with the thing that you're desiring the death of? The child growing in the womb is as least as much a victim in this situation as the mother. Why does it deserve the vengeance and punishment due the father? Ought the mother at least consider whether or not she should deserve such vengeance if she was the product of rape?

All goes to objective wrongness, not necessarily to sinfulness.

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