This article from The Hill was sent by a reader on The Hill:
GOP demands Pelosi apology for abortion comments
By Bob Cusack
Posted: 08/27/08 01:24 PM [ET]
DENVER — House Republicans are demanding that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) apologize for her recent comments on abortion, saying they “mangle Catholic Church doctrine.”
The letter comes just a day after Archbishop Donald Wuerl, for the second time in a week, [second time? Where? When? What?] slapped down the Speaker’s theological explanation for her support of abortion rights.
Pelosi, a Catholic, said on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press” that the moment of conception has long been an issue of controversy in the Catholic Church. In a highly unusual move, Wuerl publicly corrected Pelosi on doctrine, and New York Archbishop Edward Cardinal Egan said he was “shocked” by her comments.
Egan said, “What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age. … Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being ‘chooses’ to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.”
Now, a group of 19 Catholic Republican House members are also expressing their outrage. In a letter sent to Pelosi, they write, “[Y]our erroneous claim about the history of the Church’s opposition to abortion is false and denigrates our common Faith.”
They point out that in 1679, the Church unequivocally said it is in “an error for Catholics to believe fetuses do not have a soul.”
The Republicans’ letter concludes, “To reduce the scandal and consternation caused amongst the faithful by your remarks, we necessarily write to you to correct the public record and affirm the Church’s actual and historical teaching that defends the sanctity of human life. We hope that you will rectify your errant claims and apologize for misrepresenting the Church’s doctrine and misleading fellow Catholics.”
Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly issued a statement Tuesday in which the Speaker stood by her comments. He said that not all Catholics believe that life begins at conception and cited St. Augustine, who said, "The law does not provide that the act [abortion] pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation."
Wuerl blasted Pelosi’s statement, saying the “philosophical discussion of St. Augustine’s time is not relevant today.” [Not sure about that. I think it is entirely relevant. What Augustine has to say is helpful and we haven't, I suspect, gotten to the bottom of what he was really struggling with... but I'll get to that eventually. What is important is that Augustine's teachings are not the equivalent of the modern Magisterium.]
In his statement, Daly also said, “The Speaker agrees with the Church that we should reduce the number of abortions. She believes that can be done by making family planning more available, as well as by increasing the number of comprehensive age-appropriate sex education and caring adoption programs.” [That is greater distribution of contraceptives, most of which are abortifacients and also of invasive sex-education. Speaker Pelosi should review The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.]
Asked for comment on the House Republican letter, Daly referred to Tuesday’s statement.
The GOP members who signed the letter are: Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), John Boehner (Ohio), Steve Chabot (Ohio), Virginia Foxx (N.C.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.), Peter King (N.Y.), Steve King (Iowa), Daniel Lungren (Calif.), Devin Nunes (Calif.), John Sullivan (Okla.), Patrick Tiberi (Ohio), Phil English (Pa.), Jean Schmidt (Ohio), Jim Walsh (N.Y.), Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.), Michael McCaul (Texas), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Walter Jones (N.C.) and Mike Ferguson (N.J.).