My Take: Catholics will accept a saint who had an abortion
Dorothy Day in New York circa 1969, addressing an anti-Vietnam War demonstration.
July 7th, 2011
01:43 PM ET

My Take: Catholics will accept a saint who had an abortion

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Can Catholics abide a saint who had an abortion?

Dorothy Day, who died in 1980, was an anarchist, a pacifist, and the co-founder of the Catholic Worker, a movement devoted to helping the poor and the homeless. Described by historian David O’Brien as “the most influential, interesting, and significant figure” in U.S. Catholic history, Day is currently being considered for canonization in the Catholic Church.

Before her conversion to Catholicism in 1927, however, Day lived what the late Cardinal O’Connor of the Archdiocese of New York has referred to as "a life akin to that of the pre-converted Augustine of Hippo." That bohemian life included common-law marriage and an abortion.

Some may feel that Day’s promiscuity precludes her cause for sainthood. But in his February 2000 letter to the Vatican in support of Day’s canonization, O’Connor contended “that her abortion should not preclude her cause, but intensifies it.” She is a model, he continued, “for women who have had or are considering abortions” because she “regretted” that action “every day of her life.”

Earlier this month, Father James Martin, the Jesuit priest, author, and go-to-guy on Roman Catholicism for Stephen Colbert (Colbert once called him “The Colbert Report chaplain”), reported on “A New Conversation” about Dorothy Day and abortion.

This private conversation with Catholic Worker member Daniel Marshall occurred in 1977 at a farm in Tivoli, New York. According to Marshall:

I seized the opportunity to ask Dorothy to write in the paper about abortion as possibly the central moral issue of our time.  She paused and gently answered, "I don't like to push young people into their sins" . . .

Then Dorothy said, "You know, I had an abortion.  The doctor was fat, dirty and furtive.  He left hastily after it was accomplished, leaving me bleeding.  The daughter of the landlords assisted me and never said a word of it.  He was Emma Goldman's lover; that's why I have never had any use for Emma."

I hung on every word that she said, not only because she was Dorothy, but because, although I had heard a rumor that she had an abortion, I was aware that few people knew of it from her.

I understood from Dorothy that she was asking me to comprehend what the consequences would be of a public statement from her on abortion and also that the public consequences might be a distraction from the issue and the cause.  What she thought of abortion was clear as a bell from what she said.

But what she thought of abortion is not “clear as a bell” from this interview. What is clear is her disgust over her procedure, and over the “fat, dirty and furtive” doctor who performed it.

Elsewhere, however, Day did make clear her opposition to abortion on pacifist grounds.

For example, in a 1974 interview, she turned a question about genocide into a discussion about birth control and abortion. “We do believe that there is not only the genocide of war, the genocide that took place in the extermination of Jews, but the whole program—I’m speaking now as a Catholic—of birth control and abortion, is another form of genocide.”

Some day, Day may be accepted into the communion of saints as a modern Augustine whose depths of youthful sin make her adult piety even more spectacular. But she could also be rejected as a figure who could well lead some Catholics to justify premarital sex and abortion on the grounds that “Dorothy Day did it.”

On a 2007 “Colbert Report” appearance, Father Martin was asked whether Mother Teresa’s feelings of being abandoned by God had earned her a one-way ticket to "the Lake of Fire." Revelations that Mother Teresa had said she had not felt the presence of God for half a century had raised questions in some circles about just how saintly she really was. Can you be a saint if God feels as distant from you as He does from an atheist–if your experience of God is an experience of lonely "darkness"?

Yes, Martin said, adding that in this case Mother Teresa could serve as a model for Catholics going through a dark night of the soul.

Day's case raises a parallel question. Can you be a saint if you have committed the original sin of contemporary Catholicism?

My money says yes.

Partly that is because of the Christian teaching of forgiveness. But mostly it is because of the tendency of Catholics to diverge from the official party line on questions such as homosexuality, birth control and abortion.

According to a June survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, most American Catholics (54%) think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. More than two-thirds of them (68%) believe you can be a good Catholic even if you disagree with your church’s opposition to abortion. And when it comes to the question of whether abortion is a sin, white American Catholics are evenly divided.

Of course, rank-and-file Catholics do not decide who is declared a saint. But they decide who will be revered as one. And in this case, I believe, they will forgive Day's sin in part because, in their heart of hearts, many of them don't consider it all that much of a sin in the first place.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Abortion • Catholic Church

soundoff (582 Responses)
  1. Jose

    According to the Bible, Paul was responsible for the death of many believers and I believe he was present at the death of steven (or was it thomas). Regardless he experianced a conversion , was chosen to spread the word, and became a saint.

    Yes... people do wrong.. yes they can change their ways.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Geoz

      or at least rationalize them to great effect.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • William Demuth

      According to Avengers #8, the Hulk killed Thor.

      Then again I don't base my life on comic books.

      Why do you?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Howard

      Why not just dispense with the whole nonsense of sainthood? I suspect there are very few who sort through the many dilemmas of their lives and reach a decision by asking themselves what a certain saint would do. Take away that aspect of it, and what other purpose does sainthood serve? Or is it just a Roman Catholic Hall of Fame?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Convert007

      Oh, dear, so much prattling with so much prejudice and so little understanding.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  2. IDecidedthereisaGod

    If one knows anything about anything....the Catholic Church already has saints who once were murderers, rapists, and other criminals....the point is that those people repented and turned the lives over to God and lived exemplary Catholic lives thereafter. Bottom line....sinners can become saints, and have done so. The Catholic Church will NEVER change its stance on abortion, rightly so. The Catholic Church is willing to aide in repentence through the Sacrament of Confession, and the most heinous vile sin can be forgiven, and thus the person in good standing with God and then can become a saint.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Geoz

      Too late. The Cath. church already changed its position on abortion. Check with St. Augustine who noted that a child isn't a child unless it has senses. That seems a little post conception doesn't it.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Saints for want of a better word are not saints.

      They are merely sybols of the indoctrinated that the church wants to use to terrify illegal immigrants and idiots into giving their pesos to creepy old white guys.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Convert007

      Wil, I think that you are talking about the US.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  3. Get a life Mr Demuth

    Your comments are neither clever nor particularly interesting. You don't believe. We get it.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I want a life.

      May I take yours?

      Not only do I not believe, I shall always expose your twisted faith for what it is, namely a front for people who defraud little old ladies and bugger little boys.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • neoritter

      So you like being an intolerant bigot Demuth? Great to know. I won't waste my time with you.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  4. Knarf

    To Anathoth: This article is far less a pro-abortion propaganda piece than it is an anti-orthodox Catholic piece. It's a telling look into the mind of the author when he can't even grasp true Christian "forgiveness". Instead, he suggests that any forgiveness must be, indeed can only be, coupled with a disagreement over whether the act to be forgiven was really a sin. This, of course, leaves the Liberal wing of the Catholic Church to stand alone as the kind, forgiving part of the Church when it comes to the most important moral issues of our day. Luckily for Liberals, true forgiveness is not a political decision.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  5. ASido

    "Of course, rank-and-file Catholics do not decide who is declared a saint." Nor does anyone in the Roman Catholic church or any other church for that mattter. God dictates who is a saint and all believers fall into that category. If this woman was a believer then she is as much a saint as any Christian who has ever lived. if she was not a believer than all of the papal edicts and proclamations are meaningless.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Todd

      Ok, I'll ask. Who is God? How does he declare who is a saint? How does he tell priests who is a saint? Can we see his messages and reasonings?

      Or are you just quoting fairy tales by child f***ers?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Geoz

      "God dictates..."
      This kind of nonsense is akin to every other crazy person who says they hear from God. These are no different than Harold Camping, the Westboro Baptists, the Waco crowd, the Koolaid drinkers, and every other mainstream christian cult. They all speak and hear from God and they all are unbalanced. Speak to God all you want and I'm certain it will benefit you, but when you think you hear from God, you have crossed the very thick line into crazy.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • ASido

      Geoz, perhaps you misunderstand. I am not speaking of God audibly making a declaration of who is or is not a saint. The very simple definition is found in the Bible. Try taking a breath and actually reading what was said before responding. Thx.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Todd

      All I know is that kids who talk back to their parents should be killed, people who wear their hair too long or short should be killed, people who eat shrimp should be killed, women who aren't virgins at marriage should be killed, anyone who works on the sabbath should be killed, women who don't marry their rapists should be killed.

      All that is in the bible you seem to read. Maybe YOU should read it cover to cover.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • W247

      Todd- why don't you read the bible in context and try to understand it before you pass judgment on it? If you had then you would realize that all of the things you just quoted are not valid.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Stevie7

      So you're saying that killing your children, selling your daughters, polygamy, and slavery were all fine and dandy in god's eyes at one point? god is a moral relativist?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • neoritter

      Thanks Todd and Geoz, I needed those ad hominims, red herrings, and straw mans to get me through the day. No I can feel good about myself while I use a scare crow to cook some fish.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • neoritter

      Thanks Stevie, now I have two fish. Maybe I can make some fish sticks with the second one.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Stevie7

      neoritter – than please explain how such things are taken out of context.

      " I needed those ad hominims, red herrings, and straw mans to get me through the day. " – which one are you: the pot, or the kettle?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • neoritter

      I'm the guy pointing out that people who are probably atheists, the ones that hold up logic and reasoning as highly important, seem to want step into some pretty classic logical fallacies. Should any of you like to debate any of the points A Sido made, maybe we could engage in intelligent discussion, or at least logically sound discussion.

      By the way, you wouldn't happen to have any tartar sauce? The fish happened to be quite dry.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Stevie7

      The bible only mentions saints in certain english translations. It one defines saints as 'someone who believe's' than sure, the bible refers to saints. It all depends on the particular definition saint and the interpretation of the original text.

      Of course, my original response was to a different poster – which you still have yet to have any relevant commentary on. So again – the pot, or the kettle?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • neoritter

      There is no obligation to respond to a red herring or any logical fallacy, except in the sense to point it out. Your response was at best a straw man to the person you were responding to and at worst a straw man and a red herring.

      "The bible only mentions saints in certain english translations. It one defines saints as 'someone who believe's' than sure, the bible refers to saints. It all depends on the particular definition saint and the interpretation of the original text."

      That's a meaningful post. Ambiguous as to any stance or statement, but it is meaningful and relevant. I would disagree partially with ASido's interpretation with respect to Catholicism. A person becomes a Saint once they've been proven to have performed miracles after their death. Yes they'd have to have been believers, and yes since miracles are being performed God essentially dictates who is to become a Saint.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Stevie7

      How is pointing out that taking slavery in context is equivalent to moral relativism a red herring or a strawman? Just because you have no logical rebuttal does not make it a red herring.

      Saying that, because the bible condone slavery because slavery was condoned at the time is no different than using the same argument to say that we should have no problems with abortion because we currently allow it. You can't have it both ways.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • neoritter

      Sigh, really?

      Red herring is an idiomatic expression referring to the rhetorical or literary tactic of diverting attention away from an item of significance. For example, bringing up an irrelevant point that is emotionally charged, such as slavery.

      A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. For example, saying what the person believes when they did not explicitly or even implicitly state such an opinion would be constructing a straw man and would potentially create a red herring. Attacking the straw man would be a logical fallacy, as the argument being attacked was never made.

      ASido says, "Of course, rank-and-file Catholics do not decide who is declared a saint." Nor does anyone in the Roman Catholic church or any other church for that mattter. God dictates who is a saint and all believers fall into that category. If this woman was a believer then she is as much a saint as any Christian who has ever lived. if she was not a believer than all of the papal edicts and proclamations are meaningless."

      I'm sorry where is moral relevatism or slavery talked about in this quote?

      July 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I was replying to the claim: "why don't you read the bible in context"

      This really isn't that hard. How should I read that slavery is ok in the context of the bible. That is not a red herring. You continue to avoid the question because you clearly have no logical response to it. The bible clearly condones slavery. In what context should I read the bible to determine which contexts god thinks slavery is ok.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • neoritter

      I'm beginning to think the statement, "You can't fix stupid" is true. Let me put this in plain English.

      Even if you responded to W247, you responded with a straw man and a red herring.

      To top it off, the line of conversation was as straw man and a red herring in and of itself. In that sense you rebuilt the straw man and rebrined the herring. Should I give you instructions to find a clue?

      July 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Stevie7

      You continue to avoid the question because you clearly have no logical response to it.

      Thank you for continuing to prove my point.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "he bible clearly condones slavery. In what context should I read the bible to determine which contexts god thinks slavery is ok."

      This is not a hard question. Just because slavery to you is emotional doesn't remove the fact that it is condoned in the bible and thus it is in no way a red herring. If the bible is to be read in context, in what contexts does god condone slavery. The obvious conclusion is that the bible is filled with immorality. Just because you want to be blind to this fact does not make my simple question a red herring.

      You have no response to a simple, straight forward question. You continue to deflect. But nice try.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  6. Mitchell Owens

    I'm not quite sure how to address the use of the word "promiscuity" in this article, with the use of that word apparently confined to Day's two common-law marriages and one abortion. Added up, those three happenings hardly deserve the label of "promiscuity." Seems rather a moral stretch. Perhaps the author might want to elaborate?

    July 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • William Demuth

      He means she was a hippy bimbo who got knocked up by some clown, who whacked her own kid once she sobered up long enough to realize she had a bun in the oven.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • neoritter

      Marriage != s3x.

      Also understand a common law marriage versus a marriage in communion with the church. You can get a legal marriage and a divorce, that doesn't mean the church will recognize it. In fact if you get a divorce and it's not justifiable by the church you can't get married under the church because you're still considered married to your now ex-wife. For a Catholic having two common-law marriages is promiscuous in the sense the person is apt to get involved with different people in a perceived to be fickle manner, ie promiscuous. Ignoring that though, Day still could of had a lot of intimate relations outside of wedlock, making her again, promiscuous.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

    Of course she can be cannonized, because the abortion happened before her conversion. Christianity is all about redemption. The point is NOT that abortion is not really that bad. It is. The point is that she rejected her earlier error and was forgiven. I do have some concern though about her identification as an anarchist. That appears to have been after her conversion, and I don't think anarchy is compatible with Catholicism.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • William Demuth


      In case you haven't figured it out Jesus was an anarchist. He did not believe in man ruling man.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Todd

      Just shoot her out of a canon.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  8. Yaara

    If Catholics can accept a former member of the Nazi Youth as Pope, I'm sure they can accept someone who had an abortion as a saint.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  9. flarnkingsgargle

    I hate CNN for bringing this up when we are about to default on our debt. The entire homepage should be devoted to the debt ceiling and the deficit, but instead I'm forced to wade through this and Casey Anthony crap to find REAL, IMPACTFUL NEWS. Seriously, this is trash.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      This is a place of God(s) and the fools that have dedicated their lives to them.

      If you want the Debt Ceiling coverage go to hell (or Fox).

      Embrace the doom, and party till the end!

      July 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Teacher

      "Impactful" is not a word. That's what happens when you read CNN religiously.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I hope you're not an english teacher. From Merriam-Webster:
      intransitive verb
      : to have an impact —often used with on
      : to impinge or make contact especially forcefully
      — im·pact·ful adjective

      July 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  10. Buddy R

    A fetus has multiplying cells (meaning it is alive), UNIQUE human DNA (proving it is a UNIQUE human life) and is the product of human conception (again, proving it is human.) Therefore from a scientific point of view a fetus is a unique human life. Snuffing out that unique human life (known to be innocent of any wrongdoing) is MURDER.

    As human beings we go through many "stages" of life. A fetus is a human life in first stages of the human life cycle. The fetus will go on to be born, barring murder or unforseen tragedy. The fetus will become a toddler, an adolescent, a young adult, a senior citizen. The human life can die at any of those stages but is no less human than human life at any of the other stages of the human life cycle.

    I'm, not Catholic but I don't think the teachings of the Catholic church are based on what any one saint did. I think they will tell you that none of the people they call saints was perfect. If a "saint" committed a sin that does not mean it was ok for them to sin or for anyone else to repeat the sin.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Tony

      True, a fetus is human, but I can argue that it is not a person... being a person requires human DNA, but it also requires human experience... which a cluster of cells does not have.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Thank God for abortion.

      We already refuse to properly educate an unwanted child, and now many amongst us now want to make it more difficult for them to eat or have health care.

      If a childs parents don't want them, and society dosen't want them, EXACTLY what would you do with them?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Buddy R


      So you are saying the more experience a human has the more human he is? What a load of crap. Besides, being in the womb is a common human experience. At that stage of the human life cycle we are all in the womb, right where we are supposed to be.

      A human life is a person. Saying a human life is not a person is a word game and can't be justified.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • W247

      TONY – what do you consider "human experience"
      Have you ever had a baby respond to you while there are sill in their mothers womb? I have seen many babies respond back to different stimulus' while they are still in their mother's womb. I would call that a human experience.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • gremlin

      Human blood, sweat, sperm, skin cells, and hair follicles contain human DNA. These things individually do not make a human.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Murder is a legal term, defined BY LAW, (as obviously a capitol state sanctioned execution of a huiman is not a "MURDER"). The MOST you can say about terminating a pregnancy is that it is a "termination", until and unless the LAW says it is something else. Person-hood, civil rights, etc are arbitrarily assigned BY LAW. A clump of cells IS a human life. Obviously it's not a chicken life, but your deciding to make up a law by yourself, and impose it on everyone else is not the way it works here, your majesty. If you don't approve of abortion, then don't have one.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • bla

      A fetus could also be considered a biotrophic parasite. It is a clump of cells that can only survive and grow within a host. I'm sorry, but you have no right to tell me I HAVE to be a host to a 'parasite', so until you develop a way to transfer a fetus from a woman who does not want to be pregnant into someone who does, then you cannot tell a woman that she has to carry a fetus to term.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Amanda

      Sorry, but a bundle of cells that requires the mother to survive is not yet a fully-functioning human. Therefore, it's rights should not trump the rights of the woman. PERIOD.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Todd

      In order to truly be pro life, you have to accept the fact that women aren't thinking humans. They are merely life support systems who have no rights, no choices, no juristiction over their own bodies.

      When you accept that, the pro life model becomes valid.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      It's understandable that you have that conviction. Nevertheless, there are those of us who also believe that a woman should have dominion over her own body.

      We also believe that she should come to her own decision. It should be between HER and her OWN belief in the GOD OF HER UNDERSTANDING, not YOURS, not MINE, but HERS.

      Why is there such a lack of understanding of this? This woman exhibited gross hypocrisy in her condemnation of the doctor's girlfriend. She sought the abortion, but then blamed the physician and his girlfriend for it. There is so much hypocrisy and lying involved in the anti-choice movement.

      Of course there are some women who regret having abortions. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it? That doesn't mean that abortion is demonic and evil and a holocaust. That comparison trivialises the Holocaust. All that means is they changed their minds. Period.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • W247

      Amanda – what about cause and effect? If you are able to have children, and you have s3x and get pregnant, whose fault is that ? The child? And yes it is a child, you can dehumanize it all you want, it is still a child.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Convert007

      Wee willy, are you now speaking for "society," or have you just magnified your insane prejudices?

      July 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Convert007

      @mandy...and yet, as another poster has pointed out, trutle eggs trump a home owner's rights! When do we all take responsibiity for that role in the hay, men and women alike?

      July 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  11. Kat

    And where are the pro-lifers when it comes time to adopt a child who ends up in foster care or worse because his Momma didn't want him or couldn't afford him/her? There are so many children out there in need of homes; adoptive parents want a "baby" not an older child with problems. Where are the pro-lifers when these children need help?

    July 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • W247

      Kat – why does the government make it so hard to adopt a child? There are plenty of people out there willing to adopt, however the government runs them through so much red tape and bureaucratic hula hoops.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Father

      They are there Kat. They are often the only ones there. Are you there Kat?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • William Demuth


      It is good that it is hard. MANY who want to adopt are unfit.

      Then again, many who concieve are unfit!

      July 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • TF

      Adoptions are expensive. Foster Care for the older children often requires a lot preceding heartbreak on the foster patients side, as courts tend to focus on bringing the child back to their family even though their family may not be best for the child (Which does make sense, because government shouldn't be trying to set the gold standard on what is an acceptable family or not) So the foster parents can have dozens of children for months or years where they both get attached to each other and then go back home, and sometimes to find that months later that these children are now dead. It is more complex then just finding people to care for kids with some problems, It is caring for kids with problems, and still having forces that escalate these problems.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Manuel J.

      Kat, it costs more than $10,000 to adopt a child. It is NOT uncommon for that cost to approach $30,000. What does the government do with that money? For the average person, this is unaffordable. So before you blame pro-lifers, blame the government for inhibiting the efficacy of the foster and adoption programs.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Naz

      The fedral government offers a $12,000 tax credit to adoptive parents. You def do not need to be wealthy to adopt a child.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • W247

      Naz – that's good to know. However if we used that angle then people would make comments about how the only reason Christians are adopting is for the money. It's kind of a lose lose situation with this group.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      If you think *adoptions* are expensive, how much do you think it costs to raise a *child* to age 18? Holy cr@p on a shoe, complaining about the cost of an adoption is the silliest thing I've ever heard of in this life. The prenatal care, the medical costs of the birth and the legal expenses are real, yes. Why do you suppose you get *tax credits* for adopting children? They're meant to reimburse the very real expenses of adoption.

      If you think adopting is expensive, never have a child. As of June 2010 the average cost of raising a child to age 18 was over $222,000.00, never mind the wear and tear on your nerves and the cost of college. Current figures are unavailable, but imagine it costs at least 7% more. If your child needs glasses or a tutor, or even special shoes because of an orthopedic problem, the cost shoots up. One in 110 children born today has Autism in this country, think about that for five minutes. It's expensive to get counseling and help for them. This I know.

      Guess what? When you have a child the other way it costs money, too. There are maternity clothes, new shoes (your feet change size when you're pregnant), housing, food, insurance, insurance deductible, medications, and any other incidental expenses. Pickles and ice cream aren't free, you know. Doughnuts and V8 juice aren't free, either. Those costs are just built in and you don't think about them because you pay them as you go along, but they're right there just the same.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  12. Whatever

    Obviously the church might accept it, but it does not make it right and proper.

    Abortion is murder that selfish individuals desperately seek to rationalize.

    End of story.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • W247

      So then she is NOT forgiven of her sins? So Christ didn't die on the cross for the sins she committed as a youth (and daily probably)? And you are in authority to judge her?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • William Demuth

      She is Christian, her fetus was Christian.

      She killed a Christian fetus.

      Yup, she is a saint!

      July 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • gremlin

      One, I find it unlikely that your assessment covers every possible situation in which an abortion might occur. Two, why is it I never see the forgiving part of Christianity on these boards. You know the part where someone sins, repents, asks Jesus for forgiveness and is forgiven. And that part where we're not supposed to judge and that as children of God we're supposed to forgive each other?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • William Demuth


      If Christianity were cool, she would be judged by the child she murdered, and not your imaginary sky freind.

      I mean seriously, are we gonna have Caseey Anthony as a saint in a 100 years?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      Why is it Christians seem to preach a message of hatred and unforgiveness on message boards and in person these days. Do you think you'll attract anyone to Christ with that kind of behaviour? Is that the message Christ preached?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  13. Truefax

    Abortions have killed more fetus, than all the wars in recorded human history combined. If fetuses were counted as people annually we would have a holocaust. Just sayin, keep it leagal, but lets try to make it rare. Birthcontrol should be a human right.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Mart

      Funny that a good many of those wars have been because of one group imposing its religious beliefs on another

      July 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • gremlin

      I assume you have statistics on all of these "facts."

      July 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • bla

      But according to Catholics, birth control is just as much genocide as abortion is, they don't differentiate between the two.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Convert007

      Secular WW1, Secular WW2, Secular Korean conflict, Secular Vietnam, Secular Communist Revolutions, Secular Gulf Wars, Secular American Revolution, Secular English Civil War...hmmm. And your point is?

      July 7, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  14. lp

    Well just yesterday I saw a bumper sticker that said 'you can't be catholic and pro-abortion'. Wasn't sure what it meant but guess it had to do with this sainthood thing.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I find infighting between different denominations and even within denominations to be amusing. If Catholics excluded people who didn't believe fully and totally in the Catholic catechism, you'd a whole lotta empty pews on Sundays. People just get a kick out of thinking that there more righteous than others. They prop themselves up by putting others down.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  15. Anathoth

    I'm not even sure why this is an article? It's just another excuse to push the abortion agenda

    July 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • William Demuth

      It only pushes the abortion of Christian fetuses.

      You see we want to spare them the agonies of original sin.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      Gee, and here I thought it was about forgiveness. How obtuse.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      Some people see an abortionist in every woodpile.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  16. Andrew

    Yeah, I guess you can be a saint if you had killed a baby but it was a long time ago. lol, CNN writers are so forgiving of ANYTHING liberal it cracks me up when people want to only point the finger at fox as biased.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      ...and here I thought it was up to the Lord to forgive. When did CNN writers become God? <>

      July 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  17. melvinslizard

    Cannonize the foetus... it was truly without sin...

    July 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Reality



      July 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  18. Brad

    "Partly that is because of the Christian teaching of forgiveness. But mostly..." No, I'd say it's all because of forgiveness. Christianity is all about grace and second chances. Look at Paul, the original redeemed convert.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Wilson

      Well spoken Brad! It amazes me how ignorant the responses to this article have been. Dorothy Day had an abortion, but later she realized it was a mistake and regretted it. I am sure she had to confess this before she became Catholic. Any woman who has an abortion, and realizes it was wrong and confesses it will be forgiven. That is the doctrine of the Catholic Church. Anyone who still holds that against her are in themselves committing a sin. St. Augustine lived quite a wild life before becoming Catholic and even had a child out of wedlock, yet he was canonized a saint. A person becomes a saint not because they were born that way, but because they grew into it, just as St. Augustine did and just as Dorothy Day did as well. What a shame the author of this article does not even understand what Catholicism is about. For him to say "they will forgive Day's sin in part because, in their heart of hearts, many of them don't consider it all that much of a sin in the first place." is absurd and ignorant. Those same "Catholics" he was quick point out approve of abortion are not the same Catholics you see in the pews each week. There is a tremendous difference between saying your a Catholic and living a Catholic life. It seems that Mr. Prothero does not understand this. Peace.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  19. jp

    Useless article... No one is perfect, saints sin, we all sin. If Dorothy was sorry for her abortion and knew it was wrong then of course she will be accepted. Many saints have done much worse in the "augustine" years of their lives

    July 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  20. blf83

    The church has canonized far worse, but then, the whole idea of sainthood is political hocus pocus.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Political Hocus Pocus within an organization dedicated to Spiritual Hocus Pocus.

      AHH Christianity at its finest.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.