medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

> Movement in the womb was a sign of ensoulment.
> The Western Church allowed the abortion of an unborn child up until the
> when it was believed to receive its soul.  This was known to the Church
> Fathers as animation, ensoulment, quickening.
> For Saint Augustine this was 40 days for a boy and 80 days for a girl.
> Benedict placed the ensoulment time at 17 weeks.

It is worth remembering that in pre-scientific days this was the moment when
a woman could be SURE that she WAS ACTUALLY "quick with child": the other
early symptoms of pregnancy may be caused by something else - stress,
disease or malnutrition, for example.

Off topic - George, forgive me ! - but perhaps the next Pope might care to
reconsider this earlier doctrine ?


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