Cardinals, Bishops and Congressmen Slam Pelosi on Abortion
By Tim Waggoner
WASHINGTON, August 26, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – "Catholic" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's blatantly fallacious remarks on August 24 regarding the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion have triggered a tidal wave of criticisms from clergymen, congressmen and Catholics nationwide.
Responding to a question from NBC's Meet the Press moderator Tom Brokaw about when human life begins, Pelsosi appealed to her extensive research on the issue as well as her "ardent" Catholic faith to claim that, "I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins."
She asserted that "over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition," in attempt to support her pro-abortion and pro-contraception stance. Watch the full interview here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwUSt7dfj5I)
The response to Pelosi's statements has been intense as Catholic leaders across America are wondering how a "Catholic" with a self-proclaimed broad understanding of the Catholic Church's position on human life could have overseen the straightforward teaching contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).
Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl quoted this teaching (section 2270-2271 of the CCC) in a letter responding to Pelosi's comments: "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception…Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable." (Catechism, 2270-2271)
Rebuking her, Archbishop Wuerl said that, "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion." For the full letter see: (http://www.adw.org/news/news.asp?ID=569&Year=2008)
Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, also issued a release on Pelosi's remarks, explaining that Pelosi's belief that a woman has the "right to choose" to end her baby's life contradicts Catholic teaching and addressing her comments suggesting the Catholic Church has been polarized on the issue over the course of history.
None of the early Fathers "diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong," said Archbishop Chaput.
"Catholics who make excuses for it - whether they're famous or not - fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith," he added. For the full letter see: (http://www.archden.org/images/ArchbishopCorner/ByTopic/onseparationofsense%26state_openlettercjc8.25.08.pdf)
Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Doctrine also wrote a response letter.
After mentioning the fact that scientists are certain that "a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization," the bishops wrote, "In keeping with this modern understanding, the Church teaches that from the time of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with respect for the fundamental right to life." For the full letter see: (http://www.usccb.org/)
Edward Cardinal Egan of the Archdiocese of New York is another Church leader that has stepped up to defend the faith of his people. Please see upcoming separate LifeSiteNews.com coverage on his comments.
It was not only the leaders of the Church that felt the need to correct Pelosi. Ten congressmen have sent Pelosi a letter asking her to publicly rectify her misrepresentation of Catholic teachings.
"As fellow Catholics and legislators, we wish you (Pelosi) would have made a more honest effort to lay out the authentic position of the Church on this core moral issue before attempting to address it with authority," said the congressmen. "Your subsequent remarks mangle Catholic Church doctrine regarding the inherent sanctity and dignity of human life; therefore, we are compelled to refute your error."
"To reduce the scandal and consternation caused amongst the faithful by your remarks, we necessarily write you to correct the public record and affirm the Church's actual and historical teaching that defends the sanctity of human life," concluded their letter, which contained the following signatures.
Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (MI)
Hon. Steve Chabot (OH)
Hon. Virginia Foxx (NC)
Hon. Phil Gingrey (GA)
Hon. Peter King (NY)
Hon. Steve King (IA)
Hon. Daniel Lungren (CA)
Hon. Devin Nunes (CA)
Hon. John Sullivan (OK)
Hon. Patrick Tiberi (OH)