Newspaper of Archd. of SanFran on Speaker Pelosi

This is in the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s newspaper:

Pelosi’s nationally aired abortion comments "disgraceful’, "incompetent", "incredible" USCCB corrects House Speaker’s views as "misleading" and outdated

By Rick DelVecchio

Catholic and conservative commentators reacted with outrage and disbelief to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nationally televised comments that Church teaching is undecided on when life begins and that the question "shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose."

Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said he has had long experience with Catholic politicians disagreeing with Church teaching on abortion but never before with what he called "absolute misrepresentation."

"I have to tell you in 15 years of doing this job this one goes off the end," he told Catholic San Francisco.

Pelosi should correct the record, he said.

"I don’t know what the woman’s motive is," he said. "Let’s just assume it’s stupidity. I’d still oblige her to hold a press conference saying she misrepresented the teachings of the Catholic Church."

The Archdiocese of San Francisco received hundreds of e-mails from around the country, many urging that the Church correct Pelosi. A "horrified" Bill Kelly of Carolina Shores, N.C., wrote: "Since she spoke as a Catholic will there be any action taken by the Archdiocese to refute her?"

Archbishop George Niederauer will address recent comments by Pelosi in a column in the Sept. 5 issue of Catholic San Francisco, archdiocesan spokesman Maurice Healy said.

In an official response, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a joint statement by the heads of the USCCB Pro-Life and Doctrine Committees calling Pelosi’s comments "misleading" and based on mistaken theories of fetal development that modern embryology made obsolete 150 years ago.

"The Church has always taught that human life deserves respect from its very beginning and that procured abortion is a grave moral evil," the USCCB said in a statement signed by Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine.

Individually, one U.S. cardinal and two other archbishops publicly corrected Pelosi.

Pelosi "is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills," Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote in a message also signed by Auxiliary Bishop James Conley. "Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them."

Cardinal Edward Egan of the Archdiocese of New York said he was "shocked" at Pelosi’s comments and found them not only misleading but also "utterly incredible in this day and age."

Washington, D.C., Archbishop Donald Wuerl said, "We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops."

There was no immediate response from Pelosi’s office in Washington.

Pelosi, a long-time San Francisco Democratic congresswoman and lifelong Catholic, made the comments in response to a question from host Tom Brokaw on NBC’s Sunday morning public affairs show "Meet the Press." They were part of a wide-ranging interview on the eve of the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Brokaw recalled the Aug. 16 presidential candidates’ forum at Saddleback Church in Orange County, where Pastor Rick Warren asked Sen. Barack Obama his opinion on when a baby she be granted human rights. Obama answered that science and theology disagree and that the answer is "above my pay grade."

Brokaw asked Pelosi what her response would be if Warren "were to come to you and say, ‘Help me out, Madam Speaker, when does life begin? " ‘

Citing her Catholic faith and knowledge, Pelosi gave a detailed answer and was undeterred when Brokaw tried to interrupt her to clarify Church teaching, according to NBC’s transcript of the interview:

"PELOSI: I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. 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. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose. Roe vs. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child – first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester. There’s very clear distinctions. This isn’t about abortion on demand, it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and – to – that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god. 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, and there are those who’ve decided."

BROKAW: The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it

PELOSI: I understand that.

BROKAW: begins at the point of conception.

PELOSI: 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. But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions."

Pelosi went on to criticize congressional Republicans for opposing contraception:

"And we want abortions to be safe, rare – and reduce the number of abortions. That’s why we have this fight in Congress over contraception. My Republican colleagues do not support contraception. If you want to reduce the number of abortions, and we all do, we must – it would behoove you to support family planning and, and contraception, you would think. But that is not the case. So we have to take – you know, we have to handle this as respectfully. This is sacred ground."

Online commentators immediately attacked the House speaker as misguided.

The blog Vive Christus Rex!: Of all previous comments by pro-abortion politicians, Pelosi’s was "the most disgraceful and dark answer that I have ever heard in my life."

Thomas Peters’ American Papist blog: "Mind-blowingly incompetent."

The A Shepherd’s Voice blog: "The corruption of reason is one of the logical consequences of legalized abortion."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is "a far cry from Nancy Pelosi’s catechism which would make Roe vs. Wade a sacred doctrine," Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote on National Review Online.

Church teaching on the sanctity of life is easily understood at a glance at the Catechism or statements by the hierarchy.

"Since its beginnings, Christianity has maintained a firm and clear teaching on the sacredness of human life," the USCCB says on its website in a document cited in the bishops’ correction of Pelosi. "Jesus Christ emphasized this in his teaching and ministry. Abortion was rejected in the earliest known Christian manual of discipline, the Didache.

"Early Church fathers likewise condemned abortion as the killing of innocent human life. A third-century Father of the Church, Tertullian, called it ‘accelerated homicide.’ Early Church councils considered it one of the most serious crimes."

Pelosi "horribly misrepresented" Church teaching, said the blog Catholidoxy, citing a long list of ancient Jewish and Christian witnesses to the sanctity of life in the womb:

"Note that Pelosi implies there was all this gray area in the Christian tradition until ‘maybe 50 years’ ago or so, as if ( Pope ) Paul VI pulled Humanae Vitae out of thin air. He was codifying the consensus of centuries of tradition in the face of radical and novel cultural pressures."

Some commentators said Pelosi seemed to confuse the Church’s historically consistent teaching on the sanctity of life at all stages with old scientific debates over fetal development.

"Since Speaker Pelosi has, in her words, studied the issue "for a long time,’" said Catholic commentator Amy Welborn Dubruiel, "she must know very well one of the premier works on the subject, Jesuit John Connery’s ‘Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective’ ( Loyola, 1977 ) .

"Here’s how Connery concludes his study: ‘The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm antiabortion attitude . The condemnation of abortion did not depend on and was not limited in any way by theories regarding the time of fetal animation. Even during the many centuries when Church penal and penitential practice was based on the theory of delayed animation, the condemnation of abortion was never affected by it.’"

Despite the fierce contest for Catholic swing voters in the presidential race between Obama and the presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Donohue said he did not think Pelosi’s comments were politically motivated.

"That would suggest malice taken to an extraordinary degree," he said. "I think it was someone who was very uncomfortable with the question and was not able to pull the typical, ‘I am opposed, but

"How many people are used to being asked when does life begin? I think this is someone who erred is a serious way and should issue a correction."

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. paul says:

    I think its time for the usccb to take a bold stance, perhaps a paid ad in usa today, clearly ennuciating church teaching on the abominable crime which is abortion. We can not allow these politicians to distort and confuse our fellow americans on what church teaching is on this important issue. Also a clear statement that pro-choice people may not receive Holy Communion.

  2. Frank H says:

    It seems that the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s article incorrectly attributes the quote concerning Fr. Connery’s book to Amy Welborn rather than Denver’s Archbishop Chaput, in whose letter it appears.

  3. TNCath says:

    As much as some of these bishops want to avoid it, the Holy Communion issue just isn’t going to go away. While many bishops will continue to try to avoid it in favor of simply (and rightly) correcting Speaker Pelosi’s comments, the two issues go hand in hand. Thank you, Archbishop Burke, for sticking to your guns all these years.

  4. KK says:

    Has she announced a position against CA Prop 8 redefining marriage as between a man and a woman? If so, perhaps the Abp can kill two scandals with one column.

  5. Joe says:

    I wonder if any of the ‘lady priests’ who have been putting themselves in the public eye lately wish to defend the unborn.

  6. Paul says:

    Why wait until Sept 5th?

    That’s like a Doctor saying “I know you are having the heart attack now, but come back in a week for treatment”

    This has to do with her soul. I truly hope the Bishop is not waiting for political reasons. If it comes down to embarrassing me and saving my soul, please choose my soul first.

  7. Phillip says:

    I just hope that His Excellency Archbishop Niederauer clearly and explicitly condemns the words of Pelosi, and many others from San Francisco who publicly dissent from the Church. This city is already laced with heretics and dissenters, even some theology teachers I have had to confront in my high school. If Abp. Niederauer drops the ball on this one, and beats around the bush, the heretics in this city and all over the country will see it as the Abp. giving Pelosi a free pass for her many errors. Let us pray for courage and strength for the Archbishop of San Francisco, and all other faithful, orthodox clergy and laity in this City who fight to keep holy the One True Faith!

  8. Maureen says:

    “I wonder if any of the ‘lady priests’ who have been putting themselves in the public eye lately wish to defend the unborn.”

    Let’s assume they do. After all, there are atheist and Wiccan pro-lifers, so there’s bound to be a few of those poor mistaken women who have respect for life. One hopes so, anyway.

  9. Central Valley Catholic says:

    Why wait until Sept. 5th to make a statement? Does the Archbishop of San Francisco have to get talking points from the Democratic Party? Is he not a man and Bishop with his own mind? Has he no thoughts on the matter at hand? What a sad response. Perhaps he should send his resignation to Rome via the Nuncio. Scandal begets scandal.

  10. Mark says:

    I agree, Niederauer is causing more scandal by his silence on this matter. What is he waiting for? For this to ‘blow-over’?

  11. Amy says:

    Yes, he did Frank – I’ve written to the reporter asking him to correct the mistake.

    I also find the structure of the article intriguing. Instead off with the various bishops’ correction of Pelosi, he begins with Catholic commentators being “outraged.” As if this is all about emotion, and not about improper teaching.

  12. Sieber says:

    W.C.Fields, shortly before his death, was visited by a few of his friends. They were quite surprised to find him reading the Bible and questioned him as to why. He replied, “Looking for loopholes.”

    It seems it was in the sense that MS. Pelosi studied St. Augustine.

  13. Fr. Gary says:

    Guess where Pelosi learned about St. Augustine? Trinity University in
    Washington, DC.

  14. captainbozo says:

    Giving the benefit of the doubt, I can only assume that the delay until 9/5 would be to allow the Archbishop the time to deal with her in a pastoral manner. That is, before coming out guns a blazing with excommunications, etc, I believe it is prudent to sit down and talk with her (as should have been done before since this public, contrary stance is nothing new) and try to straighten her out. If she doesn’t repent, then at that point, the archbishop would have done his due diligence and could declare her unfit to receive communion, or levy the penalty of excommunicated, for “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin”.

  15. Larry says:

    I noticed that none of the other “Catholic” senators or congressman came running to defend the Speaker. Must be hoping that the Church just goes after this most obvious transgressor.

  16. Louis E. says:

    Pelosi has announced she will push to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act,so as to treat same-sex couples “married” in any state as married in the eyes of Washington.

    As noted here before,while I agree with Catholic teachings on homosexuality I vehemently disagree with them regarding the right to abortion (which does not mean I have any affection for the procedure,but that it must remain available to any pregnant woman).I certainly don’t think that people who agree with me should profess to be Catholics in good standing…those who believe the Catholic Church is right in everything should belong to it and those of us who don’t,shouldn’t.

    I believe that both sides here are cherry-picking past writings to show those consistent with their stand,but the post-1869 position of the Magisterium is explicitly against all abortions.The smug insistence that modern embryology backs up the official teachings however is disingenuous…it is the result of looking at the evidence from the a priori assumption that the Church must be right.An honest and scientific reading,rather than eisegesis of preconceptions,would show that the presumption that there is a definable moment at which the life of an individual person springs into being fully realized has been clearly disproven.But the faithful are no likelier to admit scientific falsification of a Catholic doctrine in this case than they are to admit that chemical and physical analysis can prove that nothing whatsoever happens to the composition of a Passover matzoh or a chalice of wine when a priest speaks words of consecration over it.

    I note that Cardinals Mahony,Lehmann,and Levada,Archbishop Niederauer,and Bishop Trautman were all born in the first half of 1936.It will be interesting to see what happens if the current Pope lasts to name their replacements.

  17. Fr. Angel says:

    Louis E:

    When most people insist on the availability of abortion, it is because of their connection to it. Perhaps you (not you personally but in a very general sense) found out that your mother “had to” abort a sibling and feel sympathy for her. Perhaps you impregnated a girl or became pregnant and “had to” get an abortion once upon a time, either before or after its legalization. Perhaps your son or daughter, or close friend or other relative “needed” abortion services.

    The biographies of famous Catholic politicians, both living and deceased, who once were pro-life but then became pro-abort often reveal elements of sexual exploits coupled with clandestine abortions. This trauma of clandestine abortion skewers the outlook and leads people to conclude, “I know abortion is sad, but there are times when people just don’t want that baby and are not going to have that baby.”

    In order to justify the pro-abort stand, we have to cloak the humanity of the unborn child with clinical terms which leave us doubting. Is this really human? Does it not resemble and grow like any other animal until some months along? While professing scientific agnosticism (for instance, “we don’t know when it has a soul”) about the beginning of life in the womb, what it really comes down to is more of a gut feeling that people inevitably are going to whore around and need abortion services as a practical necessity. The cultural elites feel that when you grow up and have the sophistication which the great majority of the unwashed do not have, you will see that in the big picture abortions will be done no mattter what and it is so much more reasonable to have them done safely and legally.

    There is no “honest and scientific” reading going on here, but a mere manipulation of data or information. Science is the wisdom you possess when the data is seen in the light of truth. There is no science in the pro-abort stance, but a bald criminal enterprise, not unlike the Nazi enterprise to see the Jew as a cultural, economic, and spiritual parasite in the body of humanity. Every criminal enterprise in human history manipulates data to justify homicide against people until some group possessing real humanity rushes to the defense of the oppressed.

  18. Lucia says:

    The Washington Post labeled its article “Archbishop Disputes Pelosi Statements.”

    Disputes. As if it were an argument or something.

  19. TNCath says:

    Central Valley Catholic wrote: “Why wait until Sept. 5th to make a statement?”

    Paul wrote: “Why wait until Sept. 5?”

    In light of the other (cardinal)archbishops who have voiced their objections to Speaker Pelosi’s misstatements, it does seem a bit strange that her own archbishop wasn’t the first to weigh in on this. There is another archbishop with a red hat in California we have yet to hear from as well. I’m wondering if Archbishop Niederauer is waiting to take his cues from his buddy in Rome who happens to be head of the CDF and is the former Archbishop of San Francisco.

  20. I also find the structure of the article intriguing. Instead off with the various bishops’ correction of Pelosi, he begins with Catholic commentators being “outraged.”

    Bingo. It comes off like events are being driven by cranks.

  21. Paul Haley says:

    “How many people are used to being asked when does life begin? I think this is someone who erred is a serious way and should issue a correction.”

    What she has done is set herself up against the expert theologians and bishops of the Church and has shown her defiance by not recanting her views. The archbishop of San Francisco has a responsibility to act without delay in correcting this woman and to wait until September 5th merely exacerbates the scandal being given. One would hope that the bishops of California are united with those bishops and catdinals who have spoken or written publicly about this matter. Until their inexplicable silence on this issue ends we are obliged to wonder where is their catholicity?

  22. Paul Haley says:

    Sorry for the misspelling of cardinals above, mea culpa.

  23. Fr. Angel says:

    Paul Haley:

    If memory serves me right, “Catholic San Francisco” is published once a month. Another possibility is that Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco wanted to wait until September 5th because that is the date that the next issue will be published.

    If the Archbishop releases a statement now, he has to find media outlets in the Archdiocese that will carry and disseminate his message to the faithful. I think most of the press and TV in that area will ignore him or distort him, as they are staunchly in the Pelosi camp.

    However, with his own publication, he has complete freedom to write whatever he wants and to order the production of the number of copies which he feels will get a good circulation in the parishes, plus call on his clergy to focus on his message in the coming weeks.

    The Archbishop is both a highly skilled orator and writer, so I am praying that he uses these talents to thoroughly defend the Church’s teachings in defense of the unborn.

  24. Brian Walden says:

    Louis said: “An honest and scientific reading,rather than eisegesis of preconceptions,would show that the presumption that there is a definable moment at which the life of an individual person springs into being fully realized has been clearly disproven.”

    In a sense you’re right. There is no start to life in fertilization. The male and female seeds are alive and the resulting embryo is alive. There’s no turning of a life switch from off to on, just the continual transmission of life. But what science does show is that there is a point where the seeds are no longer present, only a new embryonic human with his own DNA unique from his parents.

    Louis said: “But the faithful are no likelier to admit scientific falsification of a Catholic doctrine in this case than they are to admit that chemical and physical analysis can prove that nothing whatsoever happens to the composition of a Passover matzoh or a chalice of wine when a priest speaks words of consecration over it.”

    How can chemical and physical analysis prove that nothing happens when a priest consecrates the cup when the Church makes no claims that any empirical change takes place? That’s like saying chemical and physical analysis of our bodies will one day prove that we don’t have a soul. Faith and science are both types of truth and the truth cannot contradict itself. Rather than being at odds with each other faith and science are in harmony.

  25. Fr. Angel says:

    I just visited the Catholic San Francisco site and see that it is a weekly publication, not monthly. Also, it appears that the Archbishop may be away, perhaps on vacation. This would explain why he has not prepared a statement yet on the Pelosi affair.

  26. TerryC says:

    Lewis E.
    Thank you for your honesty. Science in a real way supports the pro-life stand. The identification of an organism scientifically is based on its DNA. A horse zygote can be differentiated from a cow zygote based upon its DNA. If a human zygote is different than a dog zygote, and it is, and its DNA is identical to the DNA in that particular organism when it is a fetus or an infant or an adolescent then it is either always human or it is not. A person never springs into being, other than at the point of conception. Prior to the formation of DNA it is not a person. After it is. Other than that the person is constantly changing and evolving (as a personality not as a person)for the rest of their life
    Now if you, or someone, wishes to make the argument that independent viability is necessary for a human to have legal protections then that is another story, and one based on legal perspective not science. After all at one time African Americans were not considered legal persons under the law. But consider that if medically assisted viability is your criteria then you’re supporting a shrinking platform as eventually it looks like it will be possible to medically support a pre-birth infant from conception on.
    Now you can make the argument that the life of the mother (including points like inconvenience and economic issues) is more important than the life of the infant and that makes abortion alright. But that Nietzscheian stance is not likely to be popular once people realize that means someone can decide that their life isn’t as important as the life of another making everyone disposable.

  27. Paul Haley says:

    Her spokesman, Brendan Daly, released a statement saying she “fully appreciates the sanctity of family.” Daly said Pelosi based her views on conception on the “views of Saint Augustine” and added that not all Catholics agree with the Catholic Church’s position that life begins at conception.

    One must ask if all Catholics agree that the Catholic Church teaching is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and not from one’s own personal opinion, to wit:


    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</B

    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.

    Comment: In my opinion there is no wiggle room here. The foregoing is something that all Catholics must accept if they are to remain Catholic. It is not based on anyone’s personal opinion or judgment, not even Augustine’s and especially not Nanci Pelosi’s. To the woodshed with ‘ya, Nanci!

  28. Fr. Angel says:


    I suspect that for some, no matter how much science you present them with, they will firmly believed that some unborn children need to be killed. Sadly, even when you convince many American Catholics of the evil of abortion, they come back with, “yes, that is in the catechism, and for me abortion is evil–I would never have one. But I cannot impose that on non-Catholic women who wish to have the choice. In fact, I don’t know if I could even impose that on my young daughter if she insisted that having a baby would ruin her life.” It is political dogma for them that to make abortion illegal would be legislating Catholic morality.

    It is upsetting to see how many Catholics use terms like “anti-choice” to describe pro-lifers. And like Pelosi, they are sincerely convinced that science only points to the unborn child as a human or human-like creature, not a human person who possesses rights. What is worse is when you see the consequentialist, pragmatic morality that the “end justifies the means.”

    That pragmatic morality, against every teaching of the Gospel, says that even if you believe it is a child, a baby, not a choice, it needs to die and must die if it is unwanted and causing immense pain to the mother. The terrible but popular belief is that it is more wrong to bring an unwanted child into the world than to kill it. The American Catholic might even say, “it is so sad that we terminated that pregnancy but it really was the compassionate and loving thing to do all around.”

  29. If she does not withdraw her stated views then her own bishop must refuse her Communion and the USCCB must back that up. There needs to be a unified response and Nancy Pelosi is a good place to start to reclaim what the bishops lost years ago.

  30. Paul Haley says:

    That pragmatic morality, against every teaching of the Gospel, says that even if you believe it is a child, a baby, not a choice, it needs to die and must die if it is unwanted and causing immense pain to the mother. The terrible but popular belief is that it is more wrong to bring an unwanted child into the world than to kill it. The American Catholic might even say, “it is so sad that we terminated that pregnancy but it really was the compassionate and loving thing to do all around.”

    “Pragmatic morality” that goes against every teaching of the gospel and, even the natural law, is in my opinion no morality at all and, in fact, is part of the diabolical disorientation that infects the world in our time. It is the same as saying: we have met the enemy and it is us!

  31. I have just been called to task by my sister, who now proclaims to be a Christian, read (non-catholic). When I informed her that all 113 Catholic dems, members of the house joined in with the repubs to condem the Speaker’s comments, she informed me that abortion isn’t just a Catholic issue but affects all christians. Is that a distinction without a difference? If so, where were the evangelicals and pentacostals who would have been welcomed, I’m certain, in the condemnation?

  32. Paul Haley says:

    Fr. Z., I have a question on the following extract of the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding abortion:

    2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.

    On EWTN last evening Fr. Mitch in answer to an audience member’s question on whether Ms. Pelosi had incurred excommunication said: No, she had not. So, the question is what constitutes formal cooperationin abortion when a lawmaker, in this case Pelosi, continually and manifestly votes for laws which make it possible for a woman to have an abortion in a legal sense and, at the same time. refutes the clear teaching of the Church in the Catechism and in the public pronoucements and warnings to her by the hierarchy as we have seen recently? Is it just the doctor and or nurse that is guilty of formal cooperation or can lawmakers be guilty as well?

  33. Tim Ferguson says:

    Canonically, since penalties are to be interpretted strictly (c. 18), the automatic excommunication for abortion would only apply to those “who actually procure” the abortion – most canonists would say the woman and the doctor. Those who directly assist, like a nurse, or a boyfriend who pays for the abortion might also fall under the penalty, but after that the area gets greyer and greyer. The receptionist that works at the abortion mill? The landlord who rents the space to the abortionist? The taxi driver who takes the woman to the abortuary? There is possibly sin involved – and the closer to the actual abortion, the more likely the sin, but when we start talking about the automatic excommunication of 1398, it would be difficult to make a case for that applying to someone like Nancy Pelosi.

    Rather than an automatic excommunication, I’d like to see a ferendae sententia excommunication – give us a full trial and the application of the penalty by a declared sentence of the bishop, under c. 1399.

  34. Tim F: Great comment. Thanks!

  35. Dark Knight says:

    Our good Archbishop has had how many years to correct Pelosi’s errors?

    The excuses offered for his Excellency are as lame as Pelosi’s in support of her errors. It doesn’t take any effort to pick up the telephone and dictate a response to his Chancellery. There is no need to “find a news outlet” when a press release is being called for – the demand by both the secular press and the faithful is manifest. As is a certain amount of episcopal timidity.

    Pelosi is considerably more intimately connected than a taxi driver in procuring an abortion. She publicly supports, authors, and votes for abortive legislation, approves, sponsors and advocates its funding. She publicly humiliates and/or blocks the appointment of any judge that would save these precious lives.

    Sorry, especially in light of these recent public statements, it appears San Francisco may well be the only place where she CAN receive Holy Communion.

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