Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $36,774 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

your witness

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 07, 2008

Today is the memorial of Saints Felicity and Perpetua, martyred in Carthage on March 7, A.D. 203, in the reign of the emperor Septimius Severus. This detail in the Catholic Encyclopedia article is interesting:

Felicitas, who at the time of her incarceration was with child (in the eighth month), was apprehensive that she would not be permitted to suffer martyrdom at the same time as the others, since the law forbade the execution of pregnant women.

If it's true that the law of pagan Rome forbade the execution of pregnant women, it points to a recognition, however incomplete, that her child had a value distinct from that of its mother and was worthy of protection. Would NARAL and NOW, I wonder, be prepared to take a position contrary to that of Roman law -- viz., that pregnancy should not delay an execution in states with capital punishment -- on the grounds that there exists no moral entity distinct from the condemned woman to be taken into consideration?

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,153 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,847.05
83% 17%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 11:27 AM ET USA

    Romans had some meager regard for children and gave the father of the woman-to-be executed a chance to receive his progeny. But, if at birth, the *father* of Felicitas' child decided he did not want the baby, then the midwife was bound by law to turn the newborn head down into a bucket of water and drown it. Compassion and mercy to the weakest and most innocent in ancient Rome, as today, was as often as not dictated by 'choice' - just not the mother's.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 9:47 AM ET USA

    Great point! Even pagan Rome had more compassion and respect for the children. i would hazard a guess that the Romans did not belong to the Democrat party.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Church Moves On, Slowly 15 hours ago
Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? 19 hours ago
The Pope is not the problem October 23
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. October 23
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6