Bastard holds no ecclesiastical meaning except possibly for going into the priesthood. The only meaning it had was with inheritance which was especially important for royalty and land holders. Once a child is adpoted, he would no longer be considered a bastard since he has rights to inheritence.
The emotional charge associated with the word "bastard" comes from the fact that the parents fornicated, and many times adulterously, and produced a child out of wedlock. It reflects nothing about the child's spiritual status, only about the parents. Only people with a ten-year old name-calling mentality would use a word with an eye towards tormenting the child. It's the parents who are to blame.
I don't know why people freak out when they hear the word. Illegitimate means the same thing. Or maybe we're PC and should "parentally challenged"
Also- no child is illegitimate in God's eyes. He chose to create them. He may condemn the circumstances of conception as illegitimate , but He chose to create the child.
God did not choose to create the child. What you are saying is like saying if a bank robber kills someone, God chose to have the victim die. That's nonsense. It is an act of human free will whose consequences are part of the Natural Law God set up. You get shot in the brain, you'll die. You fornicate, you'll probably get pregnant.
God gives us the choice, and responsibility, to pro-create. It is an awesome gift from God that He would allows us to take part in His Creative ability. That is why the sin of fornication is particularly foul and devastating.
The concept of illegitimate is used widely in Church documents. I don't know what you've been reading or how you come to this conclusion.
Please read the Summa on this topic.
Then all the children born in marriages later annulled by competent ecclesiastical authority are bastards?
It depends. Summa:
Objection 2. Further, it is the common saying that a legitimate child is one born of a legitimate marriage, or of a marriage that is deemed legitimate in the eyes of the Church. Now it happens sometimes that a marriage is deemed legitimate in the eyes of the Church, whereas there is some impediment affecting its validity; which impediment may be known to the parties who marry in the presence of the Church: or they may marry in secret and be ignorant of the impediment, in which case their marriage would seem legitimate in the eyes of the Church, for the very reason that it is not prevented by the Church. Therefore children born out of true marriage are not illegitimate.
Reply to Objection 2. Ignorance, unless it be affected, excuses unlawful intercourse from sin. Wherefore those who contract together in good faith in the presence of the Church, although there be an impediment, of which however they are ignorant, sin not, nor are their children illegitimate. If, however, they know of the impediment, although the Church upholds their marriage because she knows not of the impediment, they are not excused from sin, nor do their children avoid being illegitimate. Neither are they excused if they know not of the impediment and marry secretly, because such ignorance would appear to be affected.
So if the parents know there is an impediment to marriage, their children are illegitimate. If the parents do not know, then their children are legitimate.
I really have to say I have a strong dislike for the words bastard and illegitimate, when describing a child. When people hear a Catholic use them it gives a false impression that there is no place for them in the Catholic Church. The Church doors are not closed to these children or their single parents, but many think they are and this is sad and untrue.
can we get some quotes from the Summa?
Miss Fluffy- I don't think you should apologize for the priest's comments. If you really want to apologize for something, then apologize for your own comment. I don't think you owe him an apology for that either. He was looking for trouble and you spoke the truth.