Ask a Priest

Your opinion

Jul 28, 2014

Dear Father
I wanted to ask about your opinion about a certain case that has been a major discusion in my country. And as such it reallly divides people christian and non-christian in my country. Maybe you heared about it.

Some time ago many doctors signed a document called “Declaration of faith” also known as “Conscience clause”. In this document they declare that in some cases they will do their work againts polish law and according to their morals and faith.

One such case is the case of professor B. Chazan. One day he was visited in the hospital by a pregnant woman. He made an USG which showed that the baby will be borned with anencephaly and die shortly after. Also there was a risk of womans utreus being damaged
Normally polish law allows abortion in such cases. And even if the doctor doesent want to do such thing he should point a diffrent one who would

Proffesor Chazan who signed the mantioned declaration refused to do an abortion and didnt point a diffrent doctor since he as a christian is against abortion an killing not borned babies.

I am not sure what happened to that woman I belive she had an abortion elsewhere. However she sued prof. Chazan and in the end he was fined and removed from being the hospital director by the city president.

This is a topic of major disscusion currently Mr. Chazan that he was doing everything for the good of the child. Many people though back him up including polish episcopal

Personally I am divided in this topic. I am againts abortion but in a case like this…

Also I heared that the baby was made by in vitro but this is not important

What is your opinion Father?

Asked at 05:55 am on July 28th 2014

Dear Pawel:

Yes, I have heard about this and I think this article is a good summary of the situation. The underlying theme is one of conscience and whether a doctor should be obliged to act in a way contrary to his conscience. Whether as a result of his religious belief or his ethical convictions this doctor is clearly opposed to the taking of an innocent life.

On the matter of referring the woman to somewhere else, where she could obtain an abortion, the problem with this is that the Church regards such an act as cooperation in evil. Some years ago the issue of German Catholic clinics arose as to whether – while clearly not performing abortions – they could refer patients to a place where they could obtain one. The Vatican intervened and said that this was not allowed as it makes them directly complicit in helping the women obtain an abortion.

It is as if a person comes to you wanting to purchase a gun to kill someone, but you refuse their request, and then tell them where they can obtain the gun. There is a moral responsibility involved in giving someone information so that they can perform an immoral act.

In his encyclical on the Gospel of life St John Paul II said:

“The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity.” (No. 57)

Concerning the conflict between civil laws and conscience the encyclical goes on to explain that:

“Certainly the purpose of civil law is different and more limited in scope than that of the moral law. But “in no sphere of life can the civil law take the place of conscience or dictate norms concerning things which are outside its competence”,90 which is that of ensuring the common good of people through the recognition and defence of their fundamental rights, and the promotion of peace and of public morality. 91 The real purpose of civil law is to guarantee an ordered social coexistence in true justice, so that all may “lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way” (1 Tim 2:2). Precisely for this reason, civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being.”

And further on it says:

“73. Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.”

Therefore, I think that the doctor was acting correctly and that his right to act according to his conscience should have been respected.

Replied at 06:56 am on July 28th 2014