Sanctity of human life glaringly evident in scripture
Brian McClinton's view (Write Back, May 6) that "throughout the Bible neither God nor His followers treat the foetus as in any way sacred" is mistaken.
Likewise, his stated opinion that the Christian understanding of human life being present from the moment of conception originated in the mid-19th century.
Sacred scripture, in the Book of Psalms, says: "For it was You (the Lord) who created my embryo and knit me together in my mother's womb." The Psalmist goes on to thank God "for the wonder of my being" (Ps 139:13-16).
The Christian Church has clearly taught from its earliest days the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception and regarded abortion as a grave moral evil.
In the year AD70, the Didache declared: "You shall not procure (an) abortion, nor destroy a newborn child." The Letter of Barnabas in AD75 teaches clearly: "Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion." Tertullian, in the second century, said: "We may not destroy even the foetus in the womb."
There are numerous other examples which show clearly that the Church has always recognised abortion for what it is: "Abortion willed as an end, or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God." (St John Paul II).
FR PATRICK McCAFFERTY
Crossgar, Co Down