Pope Condemns Abortion… in 1588

January 22, 2014

In the U.S., today is the March for Life. Over 500,000 pro-life Americans will gather in the nation’s capitol to remember the 56 million children lost to the violence of abortion and to call for an end to this crime against humanity.

But it is important to remember that abortion didn’t start with the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, and neither did the Catholic Church’s opposition to it. Way back in 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued an apostolic constitution, called Effraenatam, excommunicating anyone directly involved in abortion, and calling on civil authorities to punish abortionists severely. He uses strong language to condemn the evil of aboriton, calling attacks on the unborn person “brutal, cruel, ferocious and inhuman crimes.” Here’s some more from the declaration:

Who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the impiety of him… who has deprived children of life before they could naturally see light or could be protected by maternal body from ferocious cruelty?

Who will not abhor the cruelty and unrestrained debauchery of impious men who have arrived into such a state of mind that they procure poisons in order to extinguish the conceived fetuses within the viscera, and pour them out, trying to provoke by a nefarious crime a violent and untimely death and killing of their progeny?

Finally who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the crimes of those who with poisons, potions and evil actions sterilize women or impede that they conceive or give birth by pernicious medicines and drugs?

We are willing to exterminate in our times also this evil as much as a We can by the strength given to Us by the Lord….

While it is fascinating to see the Church fighting abortion centuries ago, it is also a grim reminder that the battle to protect the sanctity of human life will continue as long as there are those who would harm the innocent.

Men, let’s rise up and combat abortion wherever it is found. I strongly encourage you to find a pro-life group in your area and get involved. Abortion is a satanically inspired evil that we can fight with our prayers, sacrifices, and activism.

Sam Guzman


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Reader Interactions


  1. mcrognale says

    I have always described “men” who support abortions as “pseudo-males”(pm). No real man wants to see his child destroyed, ever. The pm wants this because, hey, if she kills the kid, he’s off the hook for child support, parenting and so forth. There is NEVER a reason to abort a child. Period. Not even in the case of rape or incest. Here’s a fill in the blank question you can ask pro-death supporters. “Why must the child die for the ______ of the mother?” They will never have a logical answer because there isn’t one.

  2. litsrb says

    I was reading an article on birth control back in the 1500s. You must understand that this was a time when the Church wielded a much more secular power than it does today, so the guidelines– especially towards the clergy– were much more lax (“don’t do it, but if you do, don’t create a baby, but if you do, raise it in the Faith”).
    Knights of Columbus are the go-to for men’s pro-life activity, in my opinion. Not only will they sponsor and fundraise for pro-life events, but they also support charities for people with disabilities, who are extremely vulnerable in the womb. And if you go grocery shopping and can spare it, pick up a container of formula or some really good diapers to donate to a crisis pregnancy center. They always need basic baby supplies.

  3. Liam says

    Here’s a good way to fight – take an hour on your birthday, go to an abortion house, and pray all 20 decades of the Rosary. Share your birthday with those who might not have one.

    I did it yesterday (January 23) for mine. It not only made my birthday so pleasant and enjoyable (no doubt thanks to some grace from on high!), but also helps to fight this. We take our birthdays for granted. These children are so deprived they have not even that.

    I didn’t do it perfectly – nerves from being alone led me to make myself inconspicuous – but I reckon it’s a great way to spend some time on your birthday. After all, there’s nothing so gentle as true strength, nothing so strong as true gentleness.


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