Pelosi’s spokesman responds with more gobbledygook, quotes Augustine again

Speaker Pelosi is deep in it now.

I am still looking for a link, but Amy reports that Brendan Daly, Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman issued a statement about her remarks on Meet The Press:

    “The Speaker is the mother of five children and seven grandchildren and fully appreciates the sanctity of family.  She was raised in a devout Catholic family who often disagreed with her pro-choice views.

    “After she was elected to Congress, and the choice issue became more public as she would have to vote on it, she studied the matter more closely. Her views on when life begins were informed by the views of Saint 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…’ (Saint Augustine, On Exodus 21.22)

    “While Catholic teaching is clear that life begins at conception, many Catholics do not ascribe to that view. 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.

    “The Speaker has a long, proud record of working with the Catholic Church on many issues, including alleviating poverty and promoting social justice and peace.”


She still does not get this, does she.

The teachings of St. Augustine, as esteemed and important as they are for the formulation of the Church’s teachings on many issues, are not equivalent in authority to the Church’s Magisterium.

Let’s put this more simply for Speaker Pelosi and her office:

Madame Speaker, you can’t reduce the Church’s teaching to a 1500 year old sound bite which you don’t understand.

What was Augustine’s understanding of abortion?

Keep in mind that Augustine was working with the scientific knowledge of his day. 

I think we can admit that we have progress since the 5th century.

A quick reference is found in the entry by John C. Bauerschmidt, "Abortion", in Augustine Through The Ages: An Encyclopedia, edited by Fr. Alan Fitzgerald, OSA, p. 1.

Abortion   Augustine, in common with most other ecclesiastical writers of his period, vigorously condemned the practice of induced abortion.  Procreation was one of the goods of marriage; abortion figured as a means, along with drugs which cause sterility, of frustrating this good.  It lay along a continuum which included infanticide as an instance of "lustful cruelty" or "cruel lust" (nupt. et conc. 1.15.17).  Augustine called the use of means to avoid the birth of a child an "evil work": a reference to either abortion or contraception or both (b. conjug. 5.5).

Augustine accepted the distinction between "formed" and "unformed" fetuses found in the Septuagint version of Exodus 21:22-23.  While the Hebrew text provided for compensation in the case of a man striking a woman so as to cause a miscarriage, and for the penalty to be exacted if further harm were done, the Septuagint translated the word "harm" as "form," introducing a distinction between a "formed" and an "unformed" fetus.  The mistranslation was rooted in an Aristotelian distinction between the fetus before and after its supposed "vivification" (at forty days for males, ninety days for females).  According to the Septuagint, the miscarriage of an unvivified fetus were vivified, the punishment wa a capital one.

Augustine disapproved of the abortion of both the vivified and unvivified fetus, but distinguished between the two.  The unvivified fetus died before it lived, while the vivified fetus died before it was born (nupt. et con. 1.15.17).  In referring back to Exodus 21:22-23, he observed that the abortion of an unformed fetus was not considered murder, since it could not be said whether the soul was yet present (qu. 2.80).

The question of the resurrection of the fetus also exercised Augustine, and sheds some light on his views on abortion.  Here again he referred to the distinction between the formed and unformed fetus.  Though he acknowledged that it was possible that the unformed fetus might perish like a seed, it was also possible that, in the resurrection, God would supply all that was lacking in the unformed fetus, just as he would renew all that  was defective in an adult.  This notion, Augustine remarked, few would dare to deny, though few would venture to affirm it (ench. 33.85).  At another point Augustine would neither affirm nor deny whether the aborted fetus would rise again, though if it should be excluded from the number of the dead, he did not see how it could be excluded from the resurrection (civ. Dei 22.13).

Take note that Speaker Pelosi rests her position on Augustine. 

But Augustine also thought that males were vivified at 30 days and females at 90 days.

Does Speaker Pelosi like that position too? 

Or is she content simply to cherry-pick ancient Patristic sound-bites she does not understand?


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  1. Tim says:

    Pelosi doesn’t agree with the Church’s position on abortion because its only been there for “50 years”. Well then let’s bring back everything else from 50 years ago, head coverings and all. I think it’s just a coincidence that Luther thought he was following St. Augustine as well.

  2. tertullian says:

    Now Father, let’s get serious, do you think Pelosi places a greater value on what you, me & B16 think, or the 300,000 voters in the Callyfornia 8th congressional district?

    BTW, with all the outpouring of criticism about her statements from various US bishops, how ’bout the case of the dog that didn’t bark?

  3. xathar says:

    Senator Pelosi has formed an erroneous opinion, with devastating effects, based on a mistranslation of the Septuagint. This is why we have a Magisterium to follow, folks.

  4. All that we can expect to hope for, it seems, are just more of the same morally evil evasions used to justify abortion at which Pelosi and her fellow travellers have become so adroit since 1973.

  5. Jane M says:

    Her position that contraception is the answer to abortion needs to be corrected as well since it isn’t in line with Catholic teaching or with reality. Step one is to keep in mind that abortion IS backup contraception.

  6. Thomas says:

    What’s more likely:

    A) Pelosi “studied” the issue in depth, came across this soundbite of St. Augustine’s and put her conscience at ease that abortion is okay, or

    B) Pelosi snuffed out her conscience and disobeyed “her” Church in the interest of pride and political power, and had her lackies find some obscure, out of context quote to justify it.

    Charity requires that I end this post now, because I won’t be able to hold back.

  7. Jerry says:

    She agrees with the Church that we should reduce the number of abortions….how about agreeing with the Church that abortion should not just be reduced but eliminated. And, her method of choice for “reducing” abortions is contraception which also happens to be against Church teaching.

    Pelosi cares about one thing and one thing only and that’s Pelosi and her personal success…just like her fellow travelers. Time to draw the line in the sand Bishops. Trying to teach people the truth is laudable, but some people — and Pelosi is one of them — have no intention of being taught. Swift and firm DISCIPLINE by her home Bishop (fat chance) is what is really needed here. Pray it will happen.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    “…she studied the matter more closely…”

    I think that meant to read: “… she studied the matter to try and find a loophole that she could exploit…”

  9. Volpius says:

    Pelosi doesn’t believe in the Churches position because she is a protestant who believes in private interpretation.

  10. Volpius says:

    Also the Church doesn’t say we need to reduce the number of abortions its say we need to stop doing it altogether!

    A few intrinsically evil acts are not ok.

    Why can’t these people stop lying?

  11. Joe says:

    The statement that the lady in question ‘agrees with the Church that we should reduce the number of abortions’ is nonsensical. I can just hear her in 1860: ‘I agree with the abolitionists that we should reduce the number of slaves.’ And she does not offer her ‘informed opinion’ on just what it is that is killed during an abortion. Is Madame of the opinion that it is a tumour? a random collection of cells? a fish or newt of some sort? But I know you’ve all heard it before. I suspect, along the line of Thomas above, that she had her aids find what to a religiously illiterate person might seem like a good ‘sound bite’.

  12. Scott W. says:

    Also the Church doesn’t say we need to reduce the number of abortions its say we need to stop doing it altogether!

    Amen. While I love the skewering on her loopy conclusions from Augustine and her Magesterium-by-poll nonsense, I actually think this is the most revealing thing. She can’t bring herself to say abortion is evil, wrong or bad. She would shut down like Robocop violating Directive 4. And it shows the absurdity of her postion. I think Jeff Miller pointed it out, but if abortion is at worst morally neutral, why jabber about reducing their numbers?

  13. Tonee says:

    Pelosi is a graduate of Trinity College in DC. Are they not terribly ashamed of their most famous graduate? The good sisters should be scratching their heads asking, “Where have we gone wrong with this woman in her Christian formation? I’ll bet her professors are turning over in their graves right now. And her children, how embarrassing to have mother who would sell her soul for power.

  14. Larry says:

    Dear Speaker Pelosi,

    The pastors of the Church in the United States have taken the time to carefully correct your error in understanding. It is clear that a lack of correct education has caused you to misinterpret the Church’s Magisterial Teaching on the subject. Persistence in this error in a public way on your part will leave the Church with but a few remedies. You might want to contact your friendly Canon Lawyer before you dig the hole much deeper.

  15. Fr. Z:

    I agree, she’s getting in deeper. The more she pokes at this, the more she forces responses from the Church.

    I also agree with someone who said, in effect, Pelosi cares more about her local political situation. No doubt that’s true. But it doesn’t change the fact that her wading into the field of theology, claiming to be a knowledgeable interpreter of Catholic Tradition, begs for and will elicit responses.

    And that is a good thing.

    People who want immediate and comprehensive smackdowns of these politicians aren’t going to get what they want. But what we are likely to get, and I think we are getting, is progress in the Catholic position being fairly clear for everyone but someone like Pelosi Tom Brokaw got it–is he even Catholic? Pelosi’s initial stance that the Catholic Church’s position on life in the womb and abortion was risible and now she’s abandoned that; but the more she picks at this, the more the Church’s position becomes clearer.

  16. supertradmom says:

    Sadly, Nancy Pelosi reflects the position of many, many Catholics in the pews of our parishes, as I have found out over the years teaching RCIA and working with young people. Perhaps the lines are being drawn clearly now, just as the voting season heats up, and hopefully some of the liberal Catholics will begin to form a truly Catholic conscience. This move to “private interpretation” of truth affects us all-relativism and unbelief, as well as anti-intellectualism-have truly weakened the Church from within.

  17. Manuel says:

    As much as St. Augustine is revered and esteemed (as he rightly should), there is no substitute for the current teaching of the church which is that life begins at conception and must be protected. It’s right there in the Catechism.
    Sancte Augustine, ora pro nobis.

  18. Interesting that the Speaker has chosen to get, not her theology, but her science from a fifth century Christian. Augustine’s moral theology is clear, and I assume she accepts it: to kill a human being, even before birth is murder. But she obviously thinks that Aristotle is a superior authority on the development of the fetus than modern science. Sad, very sad.

  19. Jane M says:

    I found this quote in the Constitution Ineffibilus Deus (sp?) where the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was proclaimed infallibly. I find it fascinating that in this document, written in 1849, the Pope was preserved from saying something that would contradict modern science – although it seems to have always been the mind of the church.

    “Definitely and clearly they taught that the feast was held in honor of the conception of the Virgin. They denounced as false and absolutely foreign to the mind of the Church the opinion of those who held and affirmed that it was not the conception of the Virgin but her sanctification that was honored by the Church. They never thought that greater leniency should be extended toward those who, attempting to disprove the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, devised a distinction between the first and second instance of conception and inferred that the conception which the Church celebrates was not that of the first instance of conception but the second.”

  20. Geno says:

    Father Z.,

    The point you make is well-taken, that even a towering authority like St. Augustine is no substitute for the Magisterium of the Church. That Magisterium has consistently taught that abortion is gravely evil. I find it amusing, though, that Speaker Pelosi’s staff are scrambling for some justification of theological reading of Augustine and have the audacity to quote him again!

    Some familiarity with the tradition would help — and may even serve to edify the Congresswoman. Maybe your readers would enjoy a brief patristic set of references. (If I am off topic, happy to be admonished — I am a new poster to your forums).

    1. Even as early as the Letter to Barnabas (c. 125) there was expressed the condemnation of abortion is strong (decalogue-sque) language: “You shall not kill either the fetus by abortion or the new born”

    2. Athenagoras, writing in the mid-second century, elaborated on this position in response to what was apparently a juridic question, when he offered the following words in response to a query from Marcus Aurelius: “We say that women who induce abortions are murderers, and will have to give account of it to God. For the same person, would not regard the child in the womb as a living being and therefore an object of God’s care and then kill it. (Petition to Emperor Marcus Aurelius)

    3. The teaching of the Didache, which is quoted by the Catechism, and dates from the earlier part of the second century, is clear: “Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” (2:2) It also says that “The Way of Death is filled with people who are…murderers of children and abortionists of God’s creatures.” (5:1-2)

    4. St. Clement of Alexandria in the late second century explicitly ties the sinfulness of abortion and its criminality under natural law: “Our whole life can go on in observation of the laws of nature, if we gain dominion over our desires from the beginning and if we do not kill, by various means of a perverse art, the human offspring, born according to the designs of divine providence; for these women who, if order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs which expel the child completely dead, abort at the same time their own human feelings.” (Paedagogus 2)

    5. Early in the third century, Tertullian (a powerful and authoritative source for St. Augustine) stresses the link that (one of) the reasons why abortion is criminal is because it related to the sin of murder. Tertullian, making no distinction between “life already born” and life “in the process of birth” was almost certainly familiar with Aristotle’s ensoulment. Nevertheless, he claims: “…we are not permitted, since murder has been prohibited to us once and for all, even to destroy …the fetus in the womb. It makes no difference whether one destroys a life that has already been born or one that is in the process of birth.”

    6. The idea of abortion “as murder” began to be emphasized more and more. St. Hippolytus (c. 170-236 AD): “Reputed believers began to resort to drugs for producing sterility and to gird themselves round, so as to expel what was conceived on account of their not wanting to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time.” (Refutation of all Heresies 9.7)

    7. The teaching of the early Fathers was echoed in the Synod of Elvira, held in Spain in 306 AD. Additionally, in that Council a relevant ecclesiastical sanction for procuring an abortion (that echoes the current Code’s latae sententiae sanction) is in Canon 63, which states: “If a woman becomes pregnant by committing adultery, while her husband is absent, and after the act she destroys the child, it is proper to keep her from communion until death, because she has doubled her crime.”

    8. Continuing the tradition of universal condemnation and specifying penalities, the Synod of Ancyra (314 AD) condemned abortion and applied a penalty of “10 years of penance.”

    9. Fixing an ecclesiastical sanction for procuring abortion (as well as assisting in the procurement of abotions), St. Basil the Great in the mid-fourth century, said: “She who has deliberately destroyed a fetus has to pay the penalty of murder…here it is not only the child to be born that is vindicated, but also the woman herself who made an attempt against her own life, because usually the women die in such attempts. Furthermore, added to this is the destruction of the child, another murder… Moreover, those, too, who give drugs causing abortion are deliberate murderers themselves, as well as those receiving the poison which kills the fetus.” (Letter 188.2).

    10. St. Ambrose, the teacher of Augustine in the late 4th century, in interesting language condemns both infanticide (exposure) and abotion: “The poor expose their children, the rich kill the fruit of their own bodies in the womb, lest their property be divided up, and they destroy their own children in the womb with murderous poisons and before life has been passed on, it is annihilated.”

    11. St. John Chrysostom’s florid, beautiful, and authoritative words (golden-mouth indeed!): “Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion? Where there is murder before the birth? For you do not even let the harlot remain a mere harlot, but make her a murderer also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather something even worse than murder. For I have no real name to give it, since it does not destroy the thing born but prevents its being born. Why then do you abuse the gift of God and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the place of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?” (Homily 24 on Romans)

    12. St. Jerome, who gave us our first Vulgate, under no uncertain terms called abortion murder. “They drink potions to ensure sterility and are guilty of murdering a human being not yet conceived. Some, when they learn that they are with child through sin, practice abortion by the use of drugs. Frequently they die themselves and are brought before the rulers of the lower world guilty of three crimes: suicide, adultery against Christ, and murder of an unborn child.” (Letter 22:13)

    It was in this tradition that St. Augustine speculated that formally abortion may not be murder if do before the ensoulment. As has been already stated, this was based on a mistaken view of human biology (which has since been rectified) — but more importantly, the fact that St. Augustine pondered whether theologically abortion was a species of homicide or not, he was clear in his condemnation of the practice as gravely sinful and morally disordered. While the unchanging Magisterium of the Church on this topic is enough to refute Pelosi, it is also important to charactize St. Augustine and the tradition he inherited correctly. He must be casting an unpleasant eye at the Speaker from heaven for having his teachings used to justify hesitation on accepting the Church’s teachings.


  21. Daniel Hill says:


  22. Clare says:

    Fr. Martin Fox,

    I don’t believe Tom Brokaw is Catholic.

    It is ironic that a Protestant would be in the position of articulating the teaching of the Church.

    God bless him.

  23. Mike says:

    And to top it all off, her “defense” doesn’t even hold water today. There’s plenty of research that tells us these babies in utero do have sensation. We’ve all seen the videos of them reacting to stimuli.

    What a pathetic (not to mention inept) exercise at spin and deception and CYA.

  24. Ave Maria says:

    Even ‘making family planning’ more available as with condoms or with the abortifacients in birth control pills or plan b—you still have her going against Catholic teaching. And making ‘family planning’ more available has no where in the world cut down on abortions.

    Her hard heart has already chosen to go against church teaching.

  25. As a staunch pro-lifer — and father of 8 adult children — I’m glad that Speaker Pelosi has pontificated her dated theology BECAUSE it finally has awakened some somnolent Bishops to speak out more clearly
    on this important issue. I pray they will be even more outspoken so as to inform voters that no presidential candidate has ever been such an absolutist when it comes to murdering innocent unborn children. His vote in the Illinois legislature for infanticide has cleverly been kept under the radar by the mainstream media which is so overtly complicit in helping him get elected. Now that such a prominent politician such as The Speaker, and the VP nominee such as Biden are on the scene, perhaps the media will more openly examine the entire Abortion Issue. Let’s hope they will be fair about it for, as a lifelong Catholic, the Church’s teaching is clear even tho many of my fellow Caholics are diffident in facing the truth: abortion is murder. The comparisons to slavery are apt when discussing it with those who say “well, the Supreme Court says it’s legal.” (The Court under Justice Taney ruled in the Dred Scott decision that slavery was okay.) So, let’s bring on a lively, open discussion and have every Catholic Bishop and priest speak out.

  26. “The Speaker agrees with the Church that we should reduce the number of abortions.”
    I’m getting tired of politicians who use this line about reducing abortions.
    First, the Church doesn’t want to merely reduce abortions, it wants to make them non-existent.
    Secondly, what does it mean? It’s so vague. What do they want to reduce abortions to? From 100,000 to 10,000 or 100? Someone needs to call these weasels on this and ask what is the goal of reduction.
    Thirdly, these dupes of Satan need to be asked why they want to reduce abortions. If Pelosi doesn’t have the right (as she claims) to work to make abortion illegal, why does she have the right to work to reduce abortions? Why is she imposing her vague values that abortion must be reduced? It’s just a medical procedure, right? Is Pelosi also working to reduce the removal of ingrown toenails and warts?

    “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.”
    I doubt she means NFP.
    If anyone believes she’s an “ardent, practicing Catholic” then I’ve got a great deal on a bridge spanning the East River for you.

  27. TJM says:

    I think Nancy is above “her pay grade” on this issue. My real problem with her, and other “Catholic” politicians of this kind, is that she “markets” being a Catholic and then is stung when it’s pointed out that she’s really not a genuine Catholic. I’d have more respect for her if she simply said her “Faith” was a private matter and not commenting on the issue instead of using it to cull votes. If the Catholic Church is truly concerned with the evil of
    abortion it would excommunicate her very publicly in the interest of saving other souls going down her path. Tom

  28. Jenny Z says:

    God bless our Bishops for their outcry. I pray that the good Bishop of San Fran is simply giving the Speaker time to repent before he publicly condemns her…

  29. Michael says:

    As posted on another forum, “You’ll notice that the rebuke coming from the cathedral in San Francisco sounds like fog creeping through the Golden Gate.”

  30. Fr W says:

    Since Speaker Pelosi is convinced there is a human being after 30 days (or 90 days) can we expect her to push for law banning all abortions after 30 or 90 days? Otherwise – what is she saying? Murder is fine?

  31. KK says:

    Let’s hope this evolves to her and others either no longer presenting themselves for communion or publically being denied communion. (Ultimately we want public repentance and reversal of their positions but “brick by brick.”) The next outcry in the media will be from those demanding that the Church be stripped of its tax-exempt status for injecting itself into the political process. May our shepherds and other wise pundits be as quick to point out that this was a moral issue for the last couple of thousand years and only recently has it become a political one. Politics has been injected into the sanctity of life and not vice-versa.

  32. Fr W says:

    If it is not the taking of a human life, why is she so interested in reducing the number of abortions? That makes no sense. if these are just tissue-masses that must be excised, why should that be reduced in number?

  33. Tzard says:

    I find it helpful to point that the evil of abortion is based in natural law – not just the determination (however authoritative) of the Church. It’s not just a Christian idea. The Hippocratic oath originally had the physician swear to Apollo (and a number of other gods) to not induce an abortion. This of course all falls back on there being an objective truth (without which science itself would be meaningless). What I’d like to ask her is does she believe in an objective truth? A no there would certainly indicate her location outside the Faith. Bad for her, but more conclusive proof.

    Another thought – calls for excommunication are often done in a punitive tone. The Church doesn’t work that way. However, a formal excommunication is a good thing. It introduces proper judicial procedure and evidence and both during and after sentence (if one comes) it provides opportunity for repentance. Something “in the act” excommunication is not as strong in.

  34. Fr. Steve says:

    It seems that nicely asking to refrain from communion is not working. She said that taking communion away from her would really be difficult to handle. Maybe she’s prescribing her own remedy. Formal excommunication seems like the next logical and charitable step.

  35. dooz says:

    Two problems in this whole controversy, IMHO:

    1. It is in itself an intellectual if not a moral failure to adhere to one’s position and to pick out “facts” which support it. (It is also a failure as old as humanity.) Speaker Pelosi [oh, how ironic that the title of “Speaker” be conferred on one who so often has spoken such nonsense!] has committed this failure, and it carries over in her “erroneous” statements about what the church professes, which in turn is the actual cause for criticism.

    2. It is also common in humankind to change the subject, argue nearby issues, cloud the issues, and a lot of that has been happening in the current controversy. At issue is not: Whether Aristotle was right, the relative rights and wrongs of abortion, other issues of the sanctity of human life, how firm a stance various faith-based groups have taken on these issues, etc. At issue is that a supposed leader of the nation has claimed to be a devout Roman Catholic but at the same time has asserted and reaffirmed her stand (which opposes the church’s stand) and justified it by misrepresenting the church’s stand so that it seems that her stand is backed by the entire Roman Catholic Church. This is reprehensible. This is not acceptable from one who purports to lead the nation.

    So let us not fall into trap #2, but let us stay on the subject of Speaker Pelosi’s alleged fall into trap #1. Regardless of her positions on abortion or on any other issues, she would be much more worthy of our respect if she were honest and intelligent in holding and defending those positions. She was not here, and she has not been in the past.

    In 2002 or 2003, she characterized the Iraq invasion in a way that classified it with Somalia, Granada, WWI, and Tripoli, just to name a few, and then said such an action was unprecedented in all of American history. And I thought upon hearing that, “Could she really be that ignorant of American history? And if she is, what is she doing representing us in the government?!”

    But in this case, she has not only gotten her facts wrong, but she has taken a stand as a Catholic and yet at the same time has set herself against the church by claiming that the church agrees with her. Who can believe her? Who can respect her? Who can follow her lead?

    BTW, I don’t see this issue as a Roman Catholic issue, but as a moral issue. Regardless of the church’s position, the issue is what Ms. Pelosi has said about it. We all, Catholic or any other faith, must stand against this kind of “leadership”. We are dangerously close to having leaders like Pontius Pilate, whose answer to Jesus was, “What is truth?” (meaning, I believe, “truth is whatever a person wants it to be”). Truth is truth, whether anyone believes it or not. The Supreme Court has said (in Roe v. Wade) that abortion is a woman’s right. But the Supreme Court said in the Dred Scott Decision that Negroes were not really human, did not deserve citizenship. Which belief was true? (I say, neither!)

    Will we stand for truth? Will we stand for Truth? If we don’t, 1) we are not living the faith we claim to have, and 2) we deserve what we get.

  36. Is the ‘tax exempt status’ keeping the bishops from doing the right thing? With the decreasing respect for religion in America it is just a matter of time anyway before churches lose their tax exemption. May as well get use to the idea and begin to prepare for a very different future. It has apparently been a very effective device used to keep religion in check. I imagine many will take their money to other tax deductible organizations but the faithful will fill in the some of the void as best they can. At least the bishops will no longer be restrained by the ‘filthy lucre’ of wealthy benefactors.

  37. Kazimer says:

    First, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have the guts to come out and speak for herself regarding the RCC’s Cardinals and Bishops taking her to task.

    However, she had no problem finding her voice during the Brokaw interview.

    Typical political ploy to have a spokesperson spin Nancy’s response.

    That way if Nancy’s response get’s picked apart publicly or privately with her Bishop she can say the spokesperson misunderstood.

    And, if the spokesperson’s communication works then the heat if off Nancy.

    However, this “ain’t” going away for Nancy.

    Interesting to see how the spin comes out trying to show how Nancy is a faithful Catholic and how she is a mother and grandmother in a “look I believe in family” example.

    The only thing this shows is Nancy believes in “her family’s right to life” not about the the right to life of all the innocent children murdered by abortion.

    I guess since these children weren’t apart of Nancy’s immediate family , the life or death sentence was someone elses right to choose that Nancy supports.

    Also, Nancy points to St Augustine for the foundation of her belief.

    Another spin, knowing that the average U.S. Catholic and American has probably heard of this Saint and that her reference to his words somehow lends creedence to her what she has stated.

    Although St Augustine is a Doctor of the Church she cherry picked and manipulated his words to her seeming benefit.

    Should we expect anything less from a politician.

    Sorry righteous politicians but Nancy is “stinking up” your profession and the smell is on all of you.

    So Nancy does Nancy belong to the church of St Augustine or the Roman Catholic Church?

    More accurate to say , Nancy prostrates herself to the the altar of her own ego.

  38. HQD says:

    Incredible! So basically she is reducing the Magisterium to St. Augustine, anything to the contrary MUST NOT be trumped because St. Augustine was ‘right’ (objectively of course, because she thinks so) and anyone to the contrary is stupid for not having read Augustine. His authority is higher than the Pope and Magisterium. How arrogant, misinformed, and absolutely horrid!

  39. Jim says:

    Pelosi understands the sanctity of family? What does that have to do, even in the remotest sense, with the issue? Use words that sound similar to the issue to confuse the voters? The issue is sanctity of LIFE, not of family. I can believe in the sanctity of family and believe its okay to kill anyone else’s children in the womb, and its ok? I don’t believe in the sanctity of Pelosi. May the Church enlighten her, and the Lord save her.

  40. Francesco says:

    Let’s not forget that the Church’s teaching on abortion and contraception isn’t the only one the heretic Pelosi denies. This excerpt is from an interview of Pelosi by NCR Washington correspondent Joe Feuerherd done in 2003:

    Q: Two litmus tests that help define “conservative” and “liberal” in the church: Married priests and women priests.

    A: What can I say? The record speaks for itself in some respects. I have always thought that there should have been a stronger role for women in the church. When I was little my mother always wanted me to be a nun. I didn’t think I wanted to be a nun, but I thought I might want to be a priest because their seemed to be a little more power there, a little more discretion over what was going on in the parish. I think the reality of life is that wherever God sends a vocation that marriage should not bar anyone from following that vocation. I know that that is in the future, I just don’t how long it will take.

    Q: Women as priests?

    A: Oh absolutely…Why not? Why not?

    I suppose St. Augustine was the first bishop to ordain women as priests as well as the founder of Planned Parenthood, right Madam Speaker?

  41. Francesco says:

    P.S. – I forgot to include the link to the transcript of the interview:

  42. rj57 says:

    American bishops need to respond to this type of nonsense in clear, unambiguous language. I am grateful that the bishops of Washington, Denver, and New York have responded so quickly and intelligently. Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco now needs to do his job.

  43. Chironomo says:

    To respond here to a question posed on another thread… this would never have happened (the Bishop’s response, that is…) even two years ago. In spite of our hand-wringing and wishing things would move along faster, there is a definite movement towards Orthodoxy going on…slowly and sometimes getting off-track, but definitely moving. At risk of sounding cold… it needs to become clear to ALL CATHOLICS that there is “room at the table” for a great deal of diversity in the Church, but there is some diversity that separates one from the Church and that cannot be tolerated. Simply because one claims to be Catholic, and one holds an opinion, does not mean that opinion can be called a “valid Catholic position” on an issue. Catholic laity do not speak for the Church in the same way as, say, a Bishop, Cardinal or Pope does. This kind of behavior, I think, stems from the confusion that has been created between the clergy and laity, now reaching the point where laity believe that they have the “empowerment” to create Catholic doctrine.

  44. Chironomo says:

    Along the same lines as my previous post, and to continue Francesco’s line of thinking above…

    Is there REALLY such thing as a “liberal Catholic view”… meaning a position that is accepted by the Church as a possibly valid alternative to the actual teachings of the Church? Wouldn’t this actually be the “Non-Catholic” view? Doesn’t it seem to be a serious issue that people continue to call themselves Catholics, but justify their disobedience and disagreement with the Church’s teachings by calling themselves “Liberal Catholics” or “Progressive Catholics”?

  45. C. D. says:

    I’d like to check Pelosi’s quote in context, but I can’t find “On Exodus”. Does someone have a link, or at least the original title?

  46. I’ve been wondering how Rep. Pelosi came up with this passage from Augustine–I’m not buying that she pores over the Fathers of the Church, studying their views on the development of children in the womb, ensoulment, and abortion. I’m not buying she knows Augustine that well.

    Then it hit me…some years back, I saw what Frances Kissling of “Catholics for a Free Choice” was putting out, and I saw a book or two in the store that had a title like, “the Catholic case for legal abortion” or something like that…and this is exactly the kind of stuff they were peddling.

    So I’m betting — although I doubt I could prove it — that that was the extent of Speaker Pelosi’s deep study.

    Now, I’m left wondering if she’s really that dim — that she thinks that counts as deep study — or she’s simply that brazen. Of course, the choices aren’t mutually exclusive.

  47. CK says:

    When Christ rebuked those in authority who were misusing it and placing great hardships on the little ones of God, did he prime the rebukes with qualifications of their “other talents” to try to soften the strength of the rebuke so as to retain some acceptable self image for the public? It always seems that the bishops feel they must do that, even when the matter in question goes to the heart of God.

    If this is a teaching moment, then be clever enough to recognize that these “Catholic” politicians who abuse their faith publicly seem to still wish to cling to that true Catholic home. Perhaps threatening that long time connection of some personal security would have more of an effect towards repentence and recant than permitting them to feel comfortable in their pretense to tell the Catholic Church what it “should” believe.

  48. C. D. says:

    To answer my own question, just in case someone else is searching: qu. stands for quaestiones in Heptateuchum, and “On Exodus” would be the second book of that work.

  49. rj57 says:

    The “Catholic” Left has fed off the poison of false teaching for decades. On the subject of abortion and birth control, much of this poison came from a man named John Courtney Murray, a theologian often quoted by “Catholic” politicians like Kerry, Kennedy, and Pelosi. In May 2004, 48 Democrat congressman published an open letter to Cardinal McCarrick and the American Catholic hierarchy that stated in part, “Church leaders must recognize, as did the great Catholic theologian and scholar John Courtney Murray, that in public life distinctions must be made between public and private morality. Because we represent all of our constituents we must, at times, separate our public actions from our personal beliefs.”

    And who is John Courtney Murray? He taught that a “new moral truth” had emerged outside the Catholic Church. He believed that Catholics and the Church should seek out new theological doctrines and “new truths about God” through a dialogue and “on a footing of equality” with non-Catholics and atheists. He called for a restructuring of the Church to reduce Church authority and hierarchy. In 1954, in response to his false teaching, the Vatican demanded that he cease writing on the subject of religious freedom. He had his hand in several key Vatican II documents, including Dignitatis Humanae Personae. There is more to this story than the unintelligible blatherings of an imbecilic American politician.

  50. Old Catholic says:

    CK: Yes Our Lord did preface criticism by positive statements about the sinner (MT 23:2-3): “The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat, all that they bid you observe, observe and do it.” Only then does he criticize there personal behavior. Other examples could be found. E.g., to Pilate: “You have no power that is not given you from God.”

  51. Josh says:

    Perhaps Pelosi should meditate on another saying from St. Augustine, one ending in “causa finita est.”

    Or another gem: “Tell us straight out that you do not believe in the Gospel of Christ; for you believe what you want in the Gospel and disbelieve what you want. You believe in yourself rather than in the Gospel.” Against Faustus 17.3

  52. xathar says:

    Here’s the whole quote from Augustine in english:

    If therefore there is an unformed offspring, animated as yet only in an unformed way (since the great question of the soul is not to be rushed into rashly with a thoughtless opinion) then on this account the Law [of the OT] does not pertain to homicide, because it is not yet possible to say that a living soul is in this body since it is bereft of sense, if [the soul] be such a kind as to be in flesh that is not yet formed and hence not yet endowed with sense.

  53. xathar says:

    Thus, Augustine doesn’t equate the punishment of homicide with that of abortion because the soul of the “unformed” is not yet fully sensate. He is NOT willing to say, however, that the “unformed” is without a soul. And he also does not say that abortion is anything less than homicide from a moral standpoint, only from the point of view of the sensate damage the victim feels and the resulting punishment associated with inflicting that “felt” pain. While ultimately wrong, his conclusions are understandable considering his science is off, he’s working from the Septuagint’s Aristotelian-tinged mistranslation, and he’s referencing the OT Law without recourse to the NT.

  54. Elaine T says:

    A commentator at Amy Welborn’s blog says The Archbishop of San Francisco has said he’ll respond in the local Catholic weekly on 9/5/08.

    I hope he follows Chaput, Egan, and the others.

    I’ve checked the SF Diocese website and find only a statement that the Catholic Church is pro-life which quotes the UCSSB response to Pelosi.

    Elaine T.

  55. CK says:

    Old Catholic: CK: Yes Our Lord did preface criticism by positive statements about the sinner (MT 23:2-3): “The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat, all that they bid you observe, observe and do it.” Only then does he criticize there personal behavior. Other examples could be found. E.g., to Pilate: “You have no power that is not given you from God.”

    Thank you very much Old Catholic for your examples but I don’t think to emphasize responsibility re: expectations of earthly authority to be equal to what is mandated from heaven to be in the same spirit or the one that I meant as in
    Archbishop Chaput’s statement first recognizing Pelosi as “a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills” or, re: Sen. Biden,
    “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.

    Rather, I was thinking of when Jesus called the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees “a brood of vipers” when they dared to step forward for baptism from John…ordering them to “give some evidence that you mean to reform”. When they respond that “Abraham is our father” they sound very much like Ms. Pelosi and her “being an ardent and practicing Catholic” with a Catholic family, etc. Or when He, speaking from His own authority (and thus those today who act in Persona Christi) orders certain representatives of Herod to “go tell that fox”. Or admonishing the scribes and Pharisees, calling them “blind guides of the blind” because they nullified the word of God for the sake of their man made traditions…similar to those in political authority using their faith on the one hand for their own purposes and then nullifying its Truth by their actions. They may be civil servants but they are now using their lay “priesthood” for evil purposes.

    And when He used harshness it was to demonstrate or draw out an even stronger faith – as with the Canaanite woman. Where is the faith of these “Catholic” politicians being really challenged for their own good? Just to make statements that refusing communion to such is to “protect them or their souls” doesn’t have the same effect. They need a real “encounter” with Christ for a conversion. Otherwise they do much damage to the Church/Faith not to mention the millions continuing to die in their innocence.

  56. William Marshall says:

    Ms. Pelosi understands very well what she is saying. She is an agent of evil,
    as is Biden, not to mention Obama.

    The Democratic politicians are becoming so far out in left field that there is absolutely no way I can vote for one.

    The real scarey part is that about half or more of the Republicans are in the same camp.

  57. Marcum says:

    She must be held accountable for the sake of her soul and
    in protecting the innocent souls who are and will be subjected
    to harm by her brazen permissiveness towards darkness.

    This IS a teaching moment for the bishops and priests – carpe diem!
    Inform her to refrain from receiving the Eucharist and privately seek
    reconciliation with the Church. The devil is showing his teeth and tempting
    Catholics to be true to the faith and not to kneel to Ceasar.

  58. Mark says:

    I am so glad that the bishops are standing up to Ms. Pelosi’s obviously politically self-serving misrepresentation of Church doctrine. We all have the blindspots of sin that impair our holiness. I hope that her correction by the bishops lead her to prayer and contrition. I pray that if I were to ever be as misguided about Church teaching such as Ms. Pelosi is about abortion that there would be other parishoners, priests, and bishops to help me see my error.

    May the Lord ensure that the scales fall from Ms. Pelosi eyes like those that afflicted St. Paul.

  59. Broadsword says:

    Mrs. Pelosi’s mouthpiece said “The Speaker is the mother of five children and
    seven grandchildren…” OK, she has a brood. I think she is still a viper.

  60. JohnR(DC) says:

    Like others here, I’m glad to see the bishops—quite spontaneously it seems—objecting strenuously and publicly to Speaker Pelosi’s Sunday a.m. comments on “Meet the Press.”

    I agree that even two years ago, these outbursts of corrective rhetoric would not have occurred. For example, the 2004 letter by members of the House justifying their pro-abortion positions to Cardinal McCarrick was never answered by the Cardinal so far as I know. If His Eminence did answer, it was low-key.

    These latest comments from the hierarchy were anything but low key. They also demonstrate that there has been an awful laxity in the teaching role of the American Catholic Church for many years to let this kind of festering self-absorption go on. The Speaker is an example of the saying, “the chickens come home to roost.”

    As to the role of Trinity College, the current president wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post just prior to BXVI’s visit here saying the Pope was a good guy but his old-fashioned ideas on moral conduct were not in line with those of intelligent, educated American Catholics and therefore would, as always, be politely ignored.

    Bottom line: the U.S. bishops have a long way to go in seeing to it that their course bearing, which is now well-settled, will bring the rest of the fleet in line and sailing to the same mark.

  61. Bruce W. says:

    i see the how a ardent catholic thinks. i suggest you strive for a humble and contrite heart.take a copy of the Catechism, pictures of your grandchildren to a Eucharist chapel. spend “a long time there”. read paragraphs 2270-2275 on abortion and 2284-2287 on leading others into scandal. tell Jesus where His Church is confused;where He got it wrong. tell your grandchildren how abortion is not a danger to their souls and our country. then go back on meet the press and explain it to the rest of us. for it will be done unto us acording to thy vote.”


  62. Bruce W. says:

    i see the how a ardent catholic thinks. i suggest you strive for a humble and contrite heart.take a copy of the Catechism, pictures of your grandchildren to a Eucharist chapel. spend \”a long time there\”. read paragraphs 2270-2275 on abortion and 2284-2287 on leading others into scandal. tell Jesus where His Church is confused;where He got it wrong. tell your grandchildren how abortion is not a danger to their souls and our country. then go back on meet the press and explain it to the rest of us. for it will be done unto us acording to thy vote.\”


  63. David says:

    If every “Christian” seriously considered

    “Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit”

    (presumably like us since He assumed the
    form of man from conception? I think
    that is what conceived means.) what a
    different perspective it places on all this.

  64. bill bannon says:

    Be careful there. Trent\’s catechism draws a line between Christ\’s immediate ensoulement and our ensoulement:

    \”Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word, the most sacred body of Christ was immediately formed, and to it was united a rational soul enjoying the use of reason; and thus in the same instant of time He was perfect God and perfect man. That this was the astonishing and admirable work of the Holy Ghost cannot be doubted; for according to the order of nature the rational soul is united to the body only after a certain lapse of time.\”
    Article Three/ section \’By the Holy Ghost\”/ 4th paragraph.

    However not even that is final: John Paul II in section 60 of Evangelium Vitae noted that the Church has not expressly committed itself to the time of ensoulement even though some Catholic writers may have…..which section 60 see online…it\’s only a couple of paragraphs.

    Abortion is condemned infallibly in section 62 of that encyclical and does not depend on ensoulement but on \”human life\”.

    Heck Adam was not ensouled until he had a nose:
    Genesis 2:7 \”the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.\”

  65. mpm says:

    “OK, she has a brood. I think she is still a viper.”

    Come on, folks, can we not hate the sin, but love the sinner? Her granddaughter’s
    remark could have been made by Mother Angelica. Maybe the children and grandchildren
    will help her spiritually in/before the end.

  66. AnnaMarie says:

    Let’s cut to the chase, folks…Nancy Pelosi, like almost all liberals, is an IDIOT!!! She represents her goofy state perfectly. Where else could you get such a rare collection of mental and moral midgets? (with apologies to midgets, as the PC police require)

  67. I hoped that she learned that the writings of the Saints weren’t infallible in Catholic school.

    Various Saints have been incorrect about various Doctrines and understandings in Church History, whether it’s St. Jerome and his opinion on what Scripture should be in the Bible or St. Augustine in the example shown here.

    We need to pray for her conversion…it’s funny to me to what lengths people will go to defend an objective moral evil

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