Skip to comments.Bishops say Pelosi misrepresented abortion teaching in TV interview
Posted on 08/26/2008 1:28:54 PM PDT by presidio9
The chairmen of the U.S. bishops' pro-life and doctrine committees criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she "misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion" in a nationally televised interview Aug. 24.
Pelosi, D-Calif., who is Catholic, said in an appearance that day on NBC's "Meet the Press" that church leaders for centuries had not been able to agree on when life begins.
An Aug. 25 statement by Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., said the church since the first century "has affirmed the moral evil of every abortion."
"The teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable," the statement said. "Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."
Cardinal Rigali heads the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, while Bishop Lori chairs the USCCB Committee on Doctrine.
The statement recalled how in the Middle Ages "uninformed and inadequate theories" about the development of a child in a mother's womb led some theologians to suggest that human life capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy.
"While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the church's moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development," the church leaders said.
However, they added, scientists discovered more than 150 years ago that a new human life begins with the union of sperm and egg, making such a biological theory obsolete.
"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 the respect for the fundamental right to life," Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Lori concluded.
The USCCB response came after Pelosi told interviewer Tom Brokaw "we don't know" when life begins.
"The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose," she said.
Citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, Pelosi said specific considerations must be undertaken during each trimester of a child's development before an abortion can be performed.
"This isn't about abortion on demand. It's about careful, careful consideration of all factors ... that a woman has to make with her doctor and her God," she told Brokaw. "And so I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this."
She also said her goal is to make abortion safe and rare while reducing the number of abortions nationwide.
Other bishops weighed in after Pelosi's interview, reiterating the church's long-standing teaching on abortion.
Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington said that while he respected the right of public officials to address public policy issues "the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops."
Quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the archbishop noted that the church has maintained its teaching on the "moral evil of every procured abortion" since the first century. "From the beginning, the Catholic Church has respected the dignity of all human life from the first moment of conception to natural death," he said.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver, where the Democratic National Convention is taking place Aug. 25-28, called Pelosi a "gifted public servant" but questioned her knowledge of Catholic teaching.
"Ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil," the Denver bishops said. "In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the early fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or 'ensouled.'
"But none 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."
The bishops called the "right to choose" an alibi that contradicts Christian and Catholic belief.
"The duty of the church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the 'separation of church and state' does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But, of course, it's always important to know what our faith actually teaches," they concluded.
Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York said he was shocked to learn of Pelosi's comments, saying that her view on theologians and their positions on abortion was "not only misinformed" but "utterly incredible in this day and age."
He said evidence of the development of human life can be detected at an early age thanks to modern technology, and photographs and video have proven "the living realities within their pregnant mothers."
"No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb," he said in an Aug. 26 statement. "In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any kind."
Add two more to the list:
Justin Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia
Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn
Obama and Nancy do not.
The list of bishops speaking out is growing. This is good. Pelosi needs a LOT more pressure put on her for what she *proclaims* as a Catholic. SOMEONE needs to make sure she is aware that she has chosen excommunication for herself.
What would be truly shocking if Mahoney, Hubbard, Brown or Trautperson and their ilk would speak out. I might even faint.
OK, I’m no longer a practicing Catholic, but I was born and raised one, and confirmed. There is NO WAY Pelosi could be “confused” on what the Catholic Church teaches in regards to abortion. At least in the church I grew up in it was made very clear to us — abortion = murder. Now, this isn’t to say that some “members” of the Church won’t come up with various excuses for their beliefs on abortion (like Pelosi), or their personal actions - but the Catholic Church itself, as far as I know (and apparently this is correct according to the bishops) has NEVER minced words on this.
Pelosi should be ashamed of herself presuming to speak for the Catholic Church in order to give the appearance that it somehow agrees with her pro-abortion political views.
Bible-believing Christians and Catholics may have much to dispute regarding doctrine, but abortion is one issue that is absolutely consistent in both: It is murder. Because God said so.
If anyone wishes to know when life begins, read the Bible. God wrote it, and He has a lot to say about it.
—>Job 10:18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me.
—>Luke 1:44 For lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
Unfortunately, the last statement leaves out all members of the modern Democrat Party.
“(and apparently this is correct according to the bishops)”
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
LIFE IN CHRIST
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
“YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
You shall not kill.54
2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.73
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.74
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:
You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76
2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.
2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:
“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80
“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”81
2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.
Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, “if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence.”82
2275 “One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”83
“It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”84
“Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity”85 which are unique and unrepeatable.
If Nancy does not know when life begins, how does she know she even exists? And if thats the case, I’m all in favor of aborting her now!
“Bible-believing Christians and Catholics may have much to dispute regarding doctrine, but abortion is one issue that is absolutely consistent in both: It is murder. Because God said so.”
I totally agree. Just as there is a definitive ending to a life, there is ALSO a definitive beginning, and that is at conception. Live begins......and then, life ends.
A Bible-believing Christian KNOWS that... “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2Tim 3:16”.... So, when God speaks of the ‘fetus’ as a ‘babe’, I know what the truth is. I choose to believe God over man.
Nothing is impossible with God...
(We need to keep praying that these are either transformed or removed...)
This is getting “gooder and gooder!”
Are there threads about those two bishops? If not, there needs to be!