Ask Father Hardon
Vol. 3 - #4, Jul / Aug 1997
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Q. What are the limitations on St. Pauls admonition that wives
obey their husbands, for example, if a husband would permit his children to
do things that would definitely endanger their faith or morals? C.J., New Jersey
A. The limitations on St. Paul admonitions that wives obey their
husbands are the limitations of both the natural law and divine revelation.
The natural law does indeed prescribe obedience for the well-being of society.
But this obedience to another human being may never be in opposition with
the primary obedience we owe to God. His will is supreme. Consequently a wife
may never be subject to her husband in anything which is contrary to the divine will.
Moreover, Christian revelation tells us that the dependence of a
wife on her husband is a reflection of the Churchs dependence on Christ.
Consequently the only true obedience of a wife to her husband is obedience
which the Church owes to Jesus Christ as her Head. It is unthinkable that
Christ would ever require of His spouse, which is the Church, anything which
was not only sinful but not inspired by His selfless love for the Church which
He founded by His death on the Cross.
Q. What are we to believe about the eternal destiny
of the souls of aborted babies? Does the theology of the Holy Innocents shed
any light on the subject? T.R.B., Idaho
A. We may believe that the souls of the aborted babies reach heaven
and therefore enjoy the beatific vision. It is worth quoting the Catechism
of the Catholic Church on this subject. It declares, As regards children
who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy
of God, as she does in her funeral rite for them. Indeed, the great mercy
of God who desires all men should be saved, and Jesus tenderness towards
children which caused Him to say, Let the children come to me, do not hinder
them, allows us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who
have died without Baptism (1250).
The death of the Holy Innocents, murdered by King Herod, provides
another reason for hoping that aborted babies will reach heaven. Abortion
is a crime not unlike the murder of the Holy Innocents. Both are inspired
by criminal hatred of innocent children.
Q. Is it morally permissible to clone animals? I.R., Michigan
A. There is no moral problem involved in the cloning of animals. The
basic reason for this is that animals do not have immortal souls. Absolutely
speaking, therefore, it may be possible to reproduce an animal which is genetically
identical, and therefore a clone, with the animal from which it was produced.
However, no two human beings are ever perfectly identical. Why not? Because
at the moment of conception, God creates and infuses an immortal soul into
the fertilized ovum. And no two human souls are identical. Therefore, no two
children are perfectly identical.
Although not directly asked in the question, it may be added that
cloning of human beings is absolutely forbidden. It is a direct interference
with the divine law.
Vol. 3 - #4, Jul / Aug 1997, p. 56
Copyright © 1997 by Inter Mirifica
No reproductions shall be made without prior written permission