FoxNews: reactions of bishops to Nancy Pelosi’s remarks

This is in from FoxNews:

Archbishop of Washington Chides Pelosi; Denver Archbishop Warns Biden to Skip Communion
by FOXNews.com
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

By Bill Sammon

Irked by pro-choice Democrats who tout their Catholicism, the archbishop of Washington is chiding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for misstating church history and the archbishop of Denver is warning vice presidential hopeful Joe Biden not to take Communion.

The unusual public rebukes ["unusual" ... sad but true] come as both Pelosi and Biden are talking up their faith in a bid for swing voters as Democrats stage their national convention in Denver. In an interview Sunday, Pelosi claimed to be an expert on the church’s abortion stance.  [Have you noticed how the Democrat supporters talk about Sen. Biden's Catholic faith as a positive for the campaign?  I would how long that will last, given how Speaker Pelosi has made the issue radioactive.]

“As an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time,” Pelosi told NBC’s Tom Brokaw, who had asked her when life begins. “And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know.”

When Brokaw pointed out that the Catholic church “feels very strongly” that life begins at conception, Pelosi said: “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy.”

In an interview with FOX News on Tuesday, Archbishop Donald Wuerl said people need to reflect more before they start talking about church doctrine. He also issued a statement calling Pelosi’s explanation of the church’s abortion stance “incorrect.”

“The current teaching of the Catholic Church on human life and abortion is the same teaching as it was 2,000 years ago,” Wuerl noted. “From the beginning, the Catholic Church has respected the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.”

Wuerl cited a passage from the church’s catechism that condemns abortion as “gravely contrary to moral law.”

“Since the first century the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion,” the catechism states. “This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”

Biden disagreed, as evidenced by a 2006 interview he gave to C-SPAN, which asked him about abortion.

“That debate in our church has not morphed, but changed over a thousand years,” Biden said. “It always is viewed by the church as something that is wrong, but there’s been gradations of whether it was wrong. You know, from venial or mortal sin, as we Catholics say, and versions of it.”  [Do you think that the Church at any time taught that abortion was not a grave sin?]

But Biden added that since Pope Pius IX’s reign (1846-1878), “it’s been pretty clear that’s been automatic — moment of conception.”  [And so... if Sen. Biden accepts that, why is he pro-abortion?]

Over the weekend, Biden’s pro-choice views raised the ire of Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput.

“I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for communion, if he supports a false ‘right’ to abortion,” Chaput told The Associated Press. [Has anyone checked if Sen. Biden has been going to daily Mass in Denver during the Dem Convention?  - Just a rhetorical question, of course.]

As for Pelosi, Chaput called her “a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.”

Chaput added that abortion “is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it.”
During that 2004 presidential campaign, Chaput and a dozen other bishops called on Democratic nominee John Kerry to refrain from taking Communion. The church has also objected to former GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani taking Communion.

I think some of it is regional,” said Pelosi, whose district encompasses San Francisco, in a recent interview with C-SPAN. “It depends on the bishop of a certain region and, fortunately for me, Communion has not been withheld and I’m a regular Communicant, so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case.”  [cough.... Interesting.]

On Saturday, when Obama introduced Biden as his running mate, both men made a point of mentioning Biden’s Catholicism. Obama has struggled to win over Catholics, 52 percent of whom voted for President Bush in 2004.

 

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28 Responses to FoxNews: reactions of bishops to Nancy Pelosi’s remarks

  1. toomey says:

    Look, folks, I hate to say this, and I hope I am wrong, but Chaput is voting Obama. He agrees with Obama on 3 of the 4 major domestic issues, which are Abortion, Gun Control, Illegal Aliens and Affirmative Action. Chaput has said that you can vote for a pro-choice candidate if his pro-choice views are not your main reason for voting for him. Chaput supported Carter in 76 and 80. Carter was known to be pro-choice in both elections. As I said, I hope I am wrong

  2. Obviously, both Pelosi and Biden are ignorant of the moral consequences of supporting abortion, which may be self-denial. Regardless, if it takes the admonition of a bishop to remind them, so be it. If the bishop strongly suggests that neither receive communion, that, to me should be a wake up call to review the Catechism. This issue will not go away. With God’s help, Pelosi and Biden can make it a non-issue for them by reffuting their stances and support of and for abortion.

  3. mpm says:

    Barak Obama, seeing this thing blow up in his face, may yet suggest that
    Joe Biden develop some personal issues that no longer allow him to run for
    VP!

    The Dems are running scared…. Just as the convention comes around, the
    polls go even on them, and now this. No wonder they talk as if Obama were
    already elected.

  4. Baron Korf says:

    Toomy, the Archbishop recalls the Carter elections bitterly and has used it to warn Catholics about supporting pro-choice candidates even when there are other good things to be had. If Abortion, Gun Control, Immigration, and Affirmative Action were all equal you might have an argument; however Archbishop Chaput has remarked, quite often, that abortion is an intrinsic evil, which the rest are not.

  5. Jordanes says:

    Toomey, don’t worry: you’re wrong about Archbishop Chaput, nor did he say “you can vote for a pro-choice candidate if his pro-choice views are not your main reason for voting for him.”

    http://www.archden.org/images/ArchbishopCorner/NewspaperColumns/ab_chaput_webcolumn.pdf

    “But [Catholics who support 'pro-choice' candidates] also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it. What is a ‘proportionate’ reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life – which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.”

  6. Jack Joseph says:

    Toomey,

    If you had heard Archbishop Chaput’s interview with Laura Ingraham this morning, your mind would have been put at ease. He said that the life issue (abortion) trumps all. Only if you have to choose between two pro-choice candidates should you make a decision based on who is better on all those other issues you cited.

  7. mpm says:

    Jordanes,

    In addition, after repeating that idea from his recent book, on EWTN Friday night
    when Arroyo asked him what that means he replied something like: “Never!”

    Archbishop Chaput is doctrinally very clear and correct.

  8. Geno says:

    Thank you for reprinting this matter with such accuracy, and thanks to the commentators for their passionate endorsement of the courageous statements from our bishops. This seems to be a rather unique instance of someone who is Catholic and proclaiming a teaching (in a very public forum) which is not the teaching of the Catholic Church. If I remember my days in Theology, I believe this is material heresy — with the added complication of scandal. The energetic responses of the bishops seem to me in proportion with such an act. A further interesting question to Speaker Pelosi’s ordinary would be: would such an act not warrant a serious warning (and potentially an ecclesiastical sanction) if she were not to recant it immediately.

    A respected public official proclaiming (in the name of the Church) a teaching which she has neither the competence nor the authority to proclaim — and one which is manifestly contrary to the teaching of the Church, as the Bishops have many times alluded to in their responses — seems to me a grave scandal.

    I would urge her Bishop to speak privately to her and with the most fervent pleas ask her to recant. If she is unwilling, I pray he has the courage to sorrowfully exclude her from the Body of the Church, so threatened by her public words.

    G

  9. “I think some of it is regional,” said Pelosi, whose district encompasses San Francisco, in a recent interview with C-SPAN. “It depends on the bishop of a certain region and, fortunately for me, Communion has not been withheld and I’m a regular Communicant, so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case.”…. Interesting. It matters to her. That suggests that were the Archbishops of both Washington DC and of San Francisco were to intervene and tell her not to receive Communion, their interventions could have an impact. Instead, what we get from this is that the ordinaries in the places where she has some form of domicile have perhaps lost many opportunities…”

    Lost opportunities? Have they even sought opportunities? How about Bishop Chaput? I watched and listened to his recent interview on EWTN. His explanation and stances were great stuff. Since Sunday, I have seen him interviewed more times than I have in my past forty years, combined. All this time for interviews, but has he performed any serious out-reach to these politicians, specifically Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Biden?

    If he can’t get a response, then freaking walk down to the convention to speak to them. Go to the Mass they plan to attend. Souls are in jeopardy! As Bishops, particularly in their districts, they should actively seek these lost sheep! They are walking around in the weeds while trying to be wheat. They need help, and our Bishops sit on their buttocks.

    The Bishops do not want to look in the mirror and see the reflection of their failure to their flock. They prefer to be in the headlines, pontificating from afar while letting the lost sheep wonder aimlessly until they become the chaff. As Catholics continue to pile it upon the Pelosi’s and Biden’s – deserved or not – not a single post holding our Bishops to the mess they created.

  10. “I think some of it is regional,” said Pelosi, whose district encompasses San Francisco, in a recent interview with C-SPAN. “It depends on the bishop of a certain region and, fortunately for me, Communion has not been withheld and I’m a regular Communicant, so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case.”

    If one took Ms. Pelosi’s words at face value, one might assume that she is a well-intentioned Catholic, but one who — like millions of others — has been misled by bishops who have failed to fulfill their sworn responsibilities to shepherd their flocks and faithfully present the teachings of the faith.

  11. Frank H says:

    Disturbing and disappointing, but not surprising, is the fact that, other than Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, it appears no “mainstream” broadcast nor print media have run with this story. I have periodically searched google news to check. While the blogosphere is teeming with it, I can’t find any evidence that the various bishops’ responses been covered by the major networks nor the major newspapers.

  12. carl says:

    Toomey, I know a number of persons have replied already, but I’ll add my reassurance. I’m one of Archbishop Chaput’s flock and I’ve heard him speak about Obama specifically, and about abortion in general. Basically, he said that if you have a good reason to vote for a pro-choice politician, you may. But that is always immediately followed by acknowledging the gravity of abortion (cf Jordanes’ comment). You definitely get the sense that there probably is no “compelling proportionate reason”. I was very conflicted about Obama, wanting to vote for him, but after going to Theology on Tap when the Archbishop spoke at it, I was convinced that I could not in good conscience support Obama.

  13. mpm says:

    Here’s a link to a First Things article Archbishop Chaput wrote Aug 19:

    http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=1151

  14. Jerry Boyd says:

    And it is doubtfull the mainstream media will do much with it. Pelosi (and Biden) are tarnishing the Messiah’s image and Messiah Obama has very little of an image to tarnish to begin with. The media will do all it can to keep this from hurting Obama’s chances and thus they will ignore it hoping it will go away.

    This whole issue may be a gift from God. If the Bishops seize on this opportunity (actually more of a necessity) to teach it may begin to attract the multitudes who are beginning to tire of secular humanism and are looking for something substantive.

  15. Fr. Angel says:

    Frank H:

    On the positive side, Fox and Limbaugh probably have an audience that exceeds the other liberal outlets combined. If statistics did not point this out, you would know it as a fact from the way the liberal pundits express their avowed hatred of FOX and its most successful shows.

  16. Brian2 says:

    the story will percolate up into the big three if it stays alive on blogs, FOX, and talk radio for a while. This is how it typically happens with ‘mainstream media.

  17. Fr. Angel says:

    Christopher Mandzok:

    The Bishops need to let their pro-abort politicians know that Communion is forbidden when they are pro-aborts. However, other guidance from the Bishop must go along a careful route lest the American public react with fury about perceived Catholic medddling.

    The abuse scandal already has many Americans seeing Catholic priests as child rapists and the Church as a hypocritical haven of protection for them. Now, to suggest that a bishop get in the face of a politician and confront him at a political convention may be very imprudent. Imagine if cameras and videos capture this and trump up the heading “Catholic Bishops invade and disrupt the DNC.”

    The American paranoia of the “papist and Romish interference” in the process of American democracy is always just beneath the skin. We can get away with wrapping Pelosi’s knuckles for she treaded into the waters of Church teaching and misrepresented them. However, if the American public perceives that their political leaders, Catholic or non-Catholic, are being picked on and bullied by the mitred men, it will be the Church, not the politicians, who will suffer the backlash and the wrath of Americans.

    The problem with Communion is it is too easy for a pro-abort to have a camera follow him up the line and capture a priest or bishop denying him while he feigns hurt and shock at “mistreatment.” Even when we are trying to defend the Eucharist from sacrilege, there is no way at Mass to stop a scene from erupting where the Democratic or Republic pro-abort is pleading for Communion and the Church is denying it as a way to meddle in American politics.

    The traditional Catholic minority would rejoice at such a scene, because they would understand it properly. For millions of voters, however, it would only be another nail in the coffin for the Church’s moral standing. For most of the ignorant public, the confrontation would deliver the message that we are cold-hearted, judgmental, un-Christlike, and not above using religion to bully “poor politicians” who are merely respecting American pluralism in the public square.

    It is not wonder that the clergy will tell their pro-aborts that Communion is off limits, but will avoid confrontations during Mass. The pro-abort has a deformed conscience which allows him to go up the Communion aisle, and the clergy do not want to attempt to have a nasty fight or circus scene at that part of the Mass.

  18. RBrown says:

    Pelosi and Biden were doing what politicians typically do–trying to support their own positions by distorting the opinions of whoever disagrees with them.

  19. I preached about this Sunday, that the poll-takers undoubtedly touted Biden, a Pro-abort Catholic, as the perfect “Trojan horse” to throw the Catholic camp into confusion, scatter the flock, and capture some votes from among the very large group of confused Kennedy-style Catholics who will vote for ANY Catholic candidate regardless of other factors.

  20. RBrown says:

    .I preached about this Sunday, that the poll-takers undoubtedly touted Biden, a Pro-abort Catholic, as the perfect “Trojan horse” to throw the Catholic camp into confusion, scatter the flock, and capture some votes from among the very large group of confused Kennedy-style Catholics who will vote for ANY Catholic candidate regardless of other factors.
    Comment by Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

    Of the voters who would vote for a candidate because he’s Catholic, I doubt that many will vote for Biden.

  21. Henry Edwards said, If one took Ms. Pelosi’s words at face value, one might assume that she is a well-intentioned Catholic, but one who—like millions of others—has been misled by bishops who have failed to fulfill their sworn responsibilities to shepherd their flocks and faithfully present the teachings of the faith.

    Sadly, I agree wholeheartedly. This is the primary problem.

    Bishops like Chaput and others that have been standing up firmly, will correct the problem.

    As we know, God will always turn bad things into something beneficial for His cause. These blundering politicians who are using the Catholic faith to try to swing votes are giving the bishops the very stage they need on which to act. Please pray for them, that they have the courage to take the stage accordingly and don’t freeze up.

  22. Anne says:

    No wonder people are confused. Nancy Pelosi, Biden, Kennedy et al have been preaching the doctrine of the Catholic Church for years with what one assumes was an agreeable silence from the Bishops. While I’m delighted the Bishops are now coming out to set things straight where were they over the years? It’s blogs like this one, Catholic Radio and EWTN who have led the charge and embarrassed the Bishops and put them in the hot seat where they had no choice but to speak up. Better late than never but it does make me sad that it’s taken so long.

  23. “…Now, to suggest that a bishop get in the face of a politician and confront him at a political convention may be very imprudent. Imagine if cameras and videos capture this and trump up the heading “Catholic Bishops invade and disrupt the DNC.”

    My hope is for the Bishops to be active, not confrontational.

  24. Christopher,

    I also believe the bishops should be active defenders of the faith even if it ‘offends the sensibilities’ of the enemies of the Church. Not meeting anti-catholicism head on guarantees that the perception of the anti-papists will never change and that Catholicism will continue to be misunderstood in America. If one does not believe they possess the truth then they may continue to keep their light under the basket and placate the detractors of Holy Mother Church. For some reason I do not remember reading any historical accounts of the faith being advanced by silence and collaboration. In case we haven’t noticed, the secularists are slowly eroding our rights to freedom of religion(among others) and by doing nothing we are neither evangelising them nor protecting the rights of the faithful. I wish I could say it was a Catholic bishop who said this but it was Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” We don’t even seem to have the fortitude(guts) of a pacifist. When the sheperds fail to act it should be no small wonder that we wind up with Catholics who look very much like the Speaker of the House and her ‘devout Catholic’ friends.

    Mater pulchrae dilectionis, filios tuos adiuva!

  25. Fr. Angel says:

    Lance:

    I did not call for the bishops to be silent. I called for them to be prudent. I did not call for the bishops to run away and hide from anti-Catholic sentiments. I just called for them not to inflame those sentiments recklessly. To act with courage is a virtue but to be rash is not.

    Change happens when people go and vote for the change. If Americans are to listen to the pro-life message of the Catholic Church, they must not feel threatened by the Church or provoked by it. If the Church’s leaders are rash, the American will go to the pole to soundly defeat what the Catholic Church is trying to promote.

    That means the unborn children lose in the end because instead of turning against the pro-aborts and their message, the Church causes voters to turn against the pro-life initiatives. “Here come the Romans trying to tell Americans what to do and take away our freedoms.” On the other hand, patient, reasonable, and persistent teaching from the bishops, like the style of Fulton Sheen, can convince and help even non-Catholics see that our beliefs would help restore traditional American values.

    I suggest that the bishop speak to the politicians in his diocese, but away from cameras, away from the convention floor, and away from the ploys and machinations of the media. The idea is to challenge the politician through personal communication without allowing for the public appearance that the Church is beating up on the politician and arm twisting to ram the Catholic agenda down everyone’s throat. I also strongly advocate that the bishop speak often and directly to his subjects about the morality of the laws of the land.

  26. TerryC says:

    The time for private conversations has come and gone. We have DREs and catechists as well as parish priests who tell Catholics that contraception is a personal choice and abortion is permissible.
    The time for private conversation was 1976. The time for private conversation was the first time the speaker voted for a pro-abortion bill or campaigned as an abortion supporter. The time for private conversation was before groups of theologians sign petitions telling the faithful to ignore the teaching of the pope.
    The flock is scattered and the wolves are among them wearing sheep’s clothing.
    It time for the shepherds to cut the wolves from the flock and gather the sheep safely together. Anyone who knows anything about sheep knows that they will complain and be obstinate, but a good shepherd leads them to pasture anyway, and even the most obstinate sheep usually responds to a persistent herder.

  27. Lawrence Layman says:

    Why do we let the enemies of life frame this as a Catholic dogma? It is an issue of moral law, and was recognized as such before the coming of Christ.