Card. George on human life against Catholic pro-abortion advocates

In the wake of the Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s calculated televised attack on the Catholic Church’s teaching on when human life begins, some very prominent US bishops have issued corrective statements, making it clear just how wrong she is, and how scandalous were her remarks.

His Eminence Francis Card. George, Archbishop of Chicago, has made a strong statement in a letter posted on the website of the Archdiocese.

My emphases and comments.

Office of the Cardinal

September 2, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the midst of a lengthy political campaign, matters of public policy that are also moral issues [pretty much all public policy issues are moral issues, but this one trumps all others] sometimes are misrepresented or are presented in a partial or manipulative fashion. [In other words, in a deceptive manner.] While everyone could be expected to know the Church’s position on the immorality of abortion and the role of law in protecting unborn children, it seems some profess not to know it and others, even in the Church, dispute it. Since this teaching has recently been falsely presented, [by Speaker Pelosi on Meet The Press, to a huge audience] the following clarification may be helpful.

The Catholic Church, from its first days, condemned the aborting of unborn children as gravely sinful. Not only Scripture’s teaching about God’s protection of life in the womb (consider the prophets and the psalms and the Gospel stories about John the Baptist and Jesus himself in Mary’s womb) but also the first century catechism (the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) said: “You shall not slay the child by abortions. You shall not kill what is generated.” The teaching of the Church was clear in a Roman Empire that permitted abortion. [A good reminder.] This same teaching has been constantly reiterated in every place and time up to Vatican II, which condemned abortion as a “heinous crime.[Gaudium et spes 51: "Vita igitur inde a conceptione, maxima cura tuenda est; abortus necnon infanticidium nefanda sunt crimina".]  This is true today and will be so tomorrow. [This teaching will not change.]  Any other comments, by politicians, professors, pundits or the occasional priest, are erroneous and cannot be proposed in good faith. [Contradict the Church’s clear teaching, you are not in good faith.]

This teaching has consequences for those charged with caring for the common good, those who hold public office. [Read: pro-abortion Catholic politicians] The unborn child, who is alive and is a member of the human family, cannot defend himself or herself. Good law defends the defenseless. Our present laws permit unborn children to be privately killed. Laws that place unborn children outside the protection of law destroy both the children killed and the common good, which is the controlling principle of Catholic social teaching. One cannot favor the legal status quo on abortion and also be working for the common good[Pro-abortion Catholic politicians are working against the common good.]

This explains why the abortion issue will not disappear and why it is central to the Church’s teaching on a just social order. The Church does not endorse candidates for office, but she does teach the principles according to which Catholics should form their social consciences. The teaching, which covers intrinsic evils such as abortion and many other issues that are matters of prudential judgment, could not be clearer; [and if you (or Speaker Pelosi) says the Church’s teaching is not clear, you (or Speaker Pelosi) are a liar undermining the common good] the practice often falls short because we are all sinners. There is no room for self-righteousness in Catholic moral teaching.

The Conference of Bishops in this country and the Bishops of Illinois have issued statements about Catholic social teaching and political life. They are available in our parishes. All of us should keep our country and all the candidates for office in the next election in our prayers. God bless you and your families.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago

The Cardinal does not say explicitly that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should not receive Communion, but that is the logical conclusion.  He doesn’t not say that pastors of souls should deny Communion, but that is the reasonable conclusion.

WDTPRS kudos to Cardinal George.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Cristero says:

    God bless you, your Excellency. The various statements by the American Bishops have been a

  2. TJM says:

    Notice how the New York Slimes and most of the rest of the liberal media is not publishing these statements. Why? It undermines
    the liberal agenda. Good for you Cardinal George. Although I am a member of the Chicago Archdiocese I will not hear this uttered by
    my pastor because he is a 1960s zealot and more concerned with global warming (I kid you not) than anything else. He is also a Democrat. Tom

  3. Dominic says:

    Father, you make the comment that “pretty much all public policy issues are moral issues, but this one trumps all others.” I think you’re wrong in saying that “pretty much all public policy issues are moral issues,” and it is precisely because they are not that the bishops are especially right to focus on issues like abortion.

    While morality is involved in any decision, issues dealing with such matters as the economy, education, health, law and order, foreign policy, etc., are (generally speaking) rightly regarded as “political” matters on which there can be a range of legitimate options and decisions. Matters like abortion and so-called ‘same sex marriage’ are already determined by the moral (i.e., natural) law – hence they are strictly speaking “moral” matters – and laws cannot be rightly determined by any other options or compromises that are not in accordance ewith the moral law.

    Abortion is wrongly regarded as a “political” matter; it is a “moral” matter. And this is precisely why the bishops are not only entitled, but are duty-bound, to publicly proclaim the Church’s position on them. On those matters that are properly “potlical” the Bishops should ordinarily refrain from speaking.

  4. Brian says:

    I pray that the clear, courageous, and intelligent responses of his fellow bishops will strengthen Archbishop Niederauer as he releases his response to this public scandal tomorrow.

    I pray, that given Nancy Pelosi’s public and influential stance against the Catholic Church’s clear teaching on the matter of protecting innocent life, that Archbishop Niederauer will explicitly state the logical conclusion that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should not receive Communion.

  5. Cristero says:

    Dear Fr. Z:

    You have mentioned that we should keep alive in the blogosphere the issue of
    politicians who misrepresent the Catholic Faith. We have been trying to do our part at the Monterey Traditional Latin Mass Community in San Juan Bautista, CA. Some of us have been trying to be more active in the Pro-life area, and counseling the ignorant falls within this sphere.

  6. BobP says:

    So who will tell Rudy Gulliani the bad news?

  7. Sean says:

    So who will tell Rudy Gulliani the bad news?

    I believe Cardinal Egan and Bishop Tobin did several months ago. Now I just wish Bishop Tobin would say something equally pointed to Sen Biden and Speaker Pelosi.

  8. Mary Jane says:

    I was very impressed by this statement. It is clear and unambiguous. I was also struck by the phrase “our present laws permit unborn children to be privately killed.” All of a sudden the lights went on for me. This is exactly what legal abortion is – and why it is such a horror.

    How shall we ever make up for what we have done?

Comments are closed.