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Dear Father Angelo,

the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded to this dubium: “When the uterus is found to be irreversibly in such a state that it is no longer suitable for procreation and medical experts have reached the certainty that an eventual pregnancy will bring about a spontaneous abortion before the fetus is able to arrive at a viable state, is it licit to remove it (hysterectomy)?”: “Yes, because it does not regard sterilization.”.

I read the article and I will link it to you below.

These are difficult topics but, in the case at hand, where do things stand?

Is the author of the article correct?

I thank you and wish you a happy and peaceful new year 2019.

Father G.A. 

Dear father G.A.,

1. I don’t think the arguments raised against the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Responsum are valid.

They leave out that we’re talking about removing a diseased organ.

2. It’s true that in that specific moment the reproductive organ isn’t in itself causing the woman any harm.

However, it can cause serious harm (certain death of the conceived child) if the spouses want to use, in accordance to God’s plan, the right to conjugal intimacy that they have received from Him.

3. One could object: “but in doing so, aren’t they frustrating the procreative function that is tied to conjugal intimacy?”

We can answer that that frustration is already in act because of the illness that is affecting the procreative system.

By removing the diseased reproductive organ, they are actually avoiding  to add to one evil (that of the illness, which isn’t however a moral evil) another more grievous still, which would be the certain death of the child.

4. Moreover, we must remember what is said in Veritatis splendor about the morality of acts depending on their object.

“By the object of a given moral act, then, one cannot mean a process or an event of the merely physical order, to be assessed on the basis of its ability to bring about a given state of affairs in the outside world.

Rather, that object is the proximate end of a deliberate decision which determines the act of willing on the part of the acting person.

The morality of the human act depends primarily and fundamentally on the “object” rationally chosen by the deliberate will, as it is borne out by Saint Thomas’ insightful analysis, which is still valid today.

In order to be able to grasp the object of an act which specifies that act morally, it is therefore necessary to place oneself in the perspective of the acting person” (VS 78).

5. Therefore, it’s true that the elimination of the reproductive organ causes the actual sterilization of the woman.

But we must here observe that, in the perspective of the acting person, the frustration of the possibility to become a mother is already in act.

6. As you can see, I don’t have any doubts about the veracity of the Responsum. You can rest assured the Magisterium did not deviate.

I wish you a fruitful ministry and gladly recommend you to the Lord.

Father Angelo