CNA: Pelosi’s archbishop slams her rationale for supporting abortion

For a few more hours I am in San Francisco, Congressional District of pro-abortion Catholic Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Speak of the House.

Could it be that my visit…. nah…. no way…

Thus I was surprised to find the following, with my emphases and comments on CNA:

San Francisco, Calif., Jan 13, 2010 / 05:46 pm (CNA).- Archbishop George Niederauer responded today to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) recent comments that she has “some concerns about the Church’s position respecting a woman’s right to choose.” Justifying her decision to support abortion by citing her free will “is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching,” the archbishop insisted.  [Okay… and the next step iiiiissssszzzzz…..]

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi told Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift in a December 21, 2009 interview that she disagrees with the Church on certain issues but considers herself a “practicing Catholic.”

[Read the incredible statement again…] “I have some concerns about the church’s position respecting a woman’s right to choose. I have some concerns about the church’s position on gay rights. I am a practicing Catholic, although they’re probably not too happy about that. But it is my faith. I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will,” Pelosi said.

Archbishop Niederauer countered in his January 13 column, “Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom.” God gave human beings the capacity to choose between good and evil in order to give them the gift of freedom, even at the cost of many evil choices, the archbishop said.

But this gift of freedom, the freedom wrongly cited in justifying a woman’s right to choose, ["right to choose" is really code for "choose in favor of abortion"] among other fallacies, does not justify the position that “all moral choices are good if they are free,” insisted Archbishop Niederauer, because “the exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything.”  [A corollary to this is, "I really struggled with this decision."  These days, The Struggle is supposed to be a free pass for whatever you choose to do. ]

Addressing those who advocate for “reproductive choice” while claiming to be Catholic, Archbishop Niederauer emphasized, “it is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel—racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. [Ehem… not that these are moral equivalents.]  Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right.”

The belief in the validity of arbitrarily determining right and wrong is widespread both in and outside of the Church, the archbishop noted.

Touching on the meaning of one’s conscience, the San Francisco archbishop described it as “the judgment of reason whereby the human person, guided by God’s grace, recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act. In all we say and do, we are obliged to follow faithfully what we know to be just and right.”

As participants in the life of the civil community,” [As Catholics in the public square….] Archbishop Niederauer wrote, “we Catholic citizens try to follow our consciences, guided, as described above, by reason and the grace of God. While we deeply respect the freedom of our fellow citizens, we nevertheless are profoundly convinced that free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom.”  [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]


WDTPRS applauds Archbp. Niederauer and invites Speaker Pelosi to conform her conscience to the teaching of the Church lest she risk a horrifying judgment.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. EXCHIEF says:

    My $$ says she will not conform and, in fact, will even more strongly state her case. After all she is a flaming liberal and as we all know such folks are smarter than the rest of us. They are, as they have told us time and again, intellectuals (intellectually dishonest is more accurate). Pelosi, it would appear, is a “practicing catholic” only for whatever good that state in life can benefit her politically.

    She didn’t listen to the Pope, and I doubt she will listen to the Abp.

  2. wanda says:

    Father, Before you leave, you could sprinkle Holy Water in SF and by extension onto Nancy. St. Theresa of Avila said ‘it drives out demons.’

  3. Dr. Eric says:

    “I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions.”

    Unfortunately, if Madame Speaker doesn’t listen to the Church she will have to answer to Our Lord at the Judgment Seat. I wouldn’t want to try to explain those views to Our Lord.

    “’it is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel—racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. [Ehem… not that these are moral equivalents.]”

    In the eyes of the liberals and the heterodox you have to throw in racism as it is the equivalent of homicide in their book.

  4. Mrs. O says:

    slam is a pretty strong word.
    I guess the threat of speaking with her is over.
    In the original article, she uses the word “opinion” which sums up nicely
    how the teachings of the Church have been taught; we have the option to agree or not and still consider ourselves in good standing with the Church and God.
    I am not holding my breath but it is nice to see something.

  5. TNCath says:

    It’s time to get it over with and tell her not to receive Holy Communion. While she says she is a “practicing Catholic,” her actions are undoubtedly Protestant.

  6. John 6:54 says:

    How much longer is the Archbishop going to talk? Where is the action?

    Action is needed Archbishop your words have fallen on deaf ears. The only way Pelosi has a chance of repenting is through excommunication.

    I think it would behove all involved to just get on with it.

  7. Ferde Rombola says:

    Strikingly absent from the Abp’s remarks is any reference to Pelosi’s alleged ‘gay rights’ comment. I think they’re in harmony on that one.

  8. cirrus says:

    O Mother of Perpetual Help, Patroness of Haiti, with the greatest confidence we kneel before you to present ourselves before you in our many afflictions. We implore your help for us and for our neighbors suffering from the devastating earthquake and its aftermath, especially as we struggle to provide aid and support for the survivors. Trials and sorrows often depress us; misfortunes and privations bring misery into our lives, especially now when the poorest of the poor are afflicted so terribly; everywhere we meet the cross. Comforter of the Afflicted, beg your Son Jesus to strengthen us as we bear one another’s burdens and to free us from our sufferings. Or if it be the will of God that we should suffer still longer, help us endure all with love and patience. May we follow the example of your Son, and through him, with him and in him commend ourselves to the care of our heavenly Father. Jesus and Mary I love you, save souls! Amen. (This prayer was adapted from the regular novena prayer to OL of Perpetual Help, Patroness of Haiti.)

  9. William says:

    “….invites Speaker Pelosi to conform her conscience to the teaching of the Church lest she risk a horrifying judgment.”

    Here, Father Z, you strike at the heart of things. People like Pelosi DO NOT BELIEVE in horrifying judgment. They are not afraid of the “big bad wolf.” Why should they be? When was the last time they or any of us heard a Catholic clergyman say that there was a hell and that some of us are going there? To cite hell as a consequence for sining is the height of political in-correctness.

  10. robtbrown says:

    I like the fact that the Archbishop has released the statement. Now it’s time to back up the talk with action–deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians.

  11. greg the beachcomber says:

    This might be a good time to email the Archbishop and let him know we support him and are praying for him. He’s received some well-deserved criticism in the comboxes, so it’s only fair he should receive some reverent attaboys when he stands up for Church teaching.

    The pressure from the gay/feminist/liberal/loony bloc in SF is TREMENDOUS. If you’ve never spent some time in The City, it’s impossible to understand the extent of the insanity. Being the warden of an asylum where up is down and black is white can’t be easy; his Excellency can use all the prayers and encouragement he can get.

    I was unable to locate his direct email, but the Archdiocese email is

    Oh, and if you’re unclear on forms of address for Archbishops (as I was), here’s a good link:

  12. TJerome says:

    It’s time to issue an edict: Catholic members of Congress who vote for healthcare “reform” providing for publicly funded abortions are hereby
    excommunicated and may not present themselves for Communion. Any bishop or prelate aiding or abetting them is also excommunicated. I agree
    with the sentiment that words without action are meaningless. Tom

  13. Agnes says:

    Amen, I say. Amen!

    She is persistently spreading error. The bishops need to do more than draw a line in the sand.

  14. david andrew says:

    “Practicing” Catholic?

    Perhaps she should spend less time “practicing” and spend more time carefully studying theory!

    After all, as an organist I’ve always been told that if you practice mistakes, you learn mistakes, and they become very difficult to un-learn.

  15. TJerome and Agnes — Amen to what you said!

    Now, about His Excellency, Archbishop Neiderauer. He better step it up now that he has done this — and especially because he is in one of the most liberal cities of America! Indeed, I believe that if he steps up, heterodox people will see that if the bishop of the most heterodox city in the nation won’t tolerate Pelosi, the whole hierarchy won’t condone this.

    So, way to go, Neiderauer! But please, Your Excellency, follow this up with something concrete and observable! The Catholics and souls — born and unborn — of SanFran deserve something better than a Speaker unaccountable to her Lord and God!

  16. TJerome says:

    I guess we could all call Archbishop Neiderauer on the phone and sing or hum a few bars of “Be Not Afraid” to him for inspiration!

    In all seriousness. His words are good and to the point. The problem will be with the follow-through. It is my opinion that you’re almost better off saying nothing unless you are prepared for the “nuclear” option. Ms. Pelosi markets herself as a Catholic. She even had the gall to refer to herself as an “old-fashioned Catholic.” If nothing happens then each and every young, pregnant, confused unmarried girl will conclude that the Church is all talk and no show, and those girls will probably go ahead and have the abortion. This is the end-game. If healthcare “reform” passes with the public funding of abortion on the strength of “Catholic” legislators’ votes, like Ms. Pelosi, then the bishops need to crawl back under their rocks and forget it. Ms Pelosi is a bully and I know how to deal with bullies – you slap them down. Tom

  17. It is interesting to see the bishop and Pelosi go at it, isn’t it? That this has beeen going on for months demonstrates that he has no power, no authority. It reminds me of Rumpelstilskin jumping up and down with impotent rage. Remember, politicians do not have to be intelligent: they only have to be venal.

  18. JonM says:

    This is good – but as others have pointed out, actions are far more resounding.

    In common law, if a party fails to correct certain injuries done by another after a long time – all while knowing exactly what is going on – courts refuse to entertain a sudden lawsuit. Thankfully the Church and natural law does not operate this way, but the concept can still be applied: if for decades many bishops refuse to govern, part of the blame will shift on them.

    Christ is compassionate – and forceful. He did not say ‘It would make me happier if you stopped transacting banal business in God’s temple.’ Well, actually He did, but He also physically disrupted the heresy!

    According to Sister Josefa Menendez’s diary, Jesus is deeply wounded when His priests fail to follow Him. It is a wonderful gift of God that the younger priests are orthodox and rightly see the Church for what it is: the only path to salvation, not a sociological construct.

    I do hope that Archbishop Neiderauer will use this as an opportunity to begin building back orthodoxy and solemnity in worship. Particularly with respect to sexual morality, a point on which he apparently has given confusing teachings.

  19. Supertradmom says:

    Part of the problem is the post-Vatican II silence from the pulpit on Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. In my lifetime, I have heard priests declare the heresy of universal salvation, which denies original sin and states that everyone goes to heaven. When was the last time Catholics heard a real sermon on the particular judgment? Yes, it is the duty of Catholics as adults to find out the real teaching of the Holy Catholic Church, but many of our shepherds have led many astray. I think the bishops who speak out need our prayers for perseverance.

  20. robtbrown says:

    “Practicing” Catholic?

    Perhaps she should spend less time “practicing” and spend more time carefully studying theory!

    After all, as an organist I’ve always been told that if you practice mistakes, you learn mistakes, and they become very difficult to un-learn.
    Comment by david andrew

    If she mistakenly thinks she’s a practicing Catholic, what does that say about the hierarchy?

  21. mfg says:

    John 6:54, Robtbrown and other commenters: You are going to be sorely disappointed if you are waiting for this particular churchman to take any action whatsoever against Speaker Pelosi.

    William: When was the last time any of us heard a Catholic clergyman say there was a hell and some of us are going there? About 6 months ago from my FSSP pastor in his Sunday sermon. He spent 15-20 minutes on it and pulled no punches. In our parish we are used to getting the basic “facts, ‘mam” from this good priest.

  22. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    To take the conversation in a slightly different direction, in Massachusetts the Democratic candidate for Senate Martha Coakley said yesterday that she believed devout Catholics should not work in emergency rooms. This was in response to a question about the conscience clause in the health care bill. Since she opposes the clause, she would limit Catholic employment. To my mind, this is a comment worthy of Nancy Pelosi, and I hope to God she does not join Pelosi in the Senate. A link:

  23. bookworm says:

    “I hope to God she (Coakley) does not join Pelosi in the Senate.”

    Comments like that may be part of the reason why some polls now show her dead even with or even trailing the GOP candidate, Scott Brown. There is now, apparently, panic setting in among Democrats that Coakley will actually lose this seat — a prospect that would have been unthinkable in Massachusetts just a few months ago.

    Nearly all political observers, liberal or conservative, agree that a Brown win, which is looking more and more possible by the day, would be a disastrous blow to the Obama agenda and signal serious trouble for Democrats across the nation.

  24. bookworm says:

    Just to clarify, “Comments like that” refers to Coakley’s statement about Catholics not working in emergency rooms, not to Mass. Catholic’s post.

  25. irishgirl says:

    Okay, Archbishop-the time for words is past.

    It’s now time for action!

    Deny Pelosi Communion, or excommunicate her!

    Sheesh…how simple could THAT be?

  26. John 6:54 says:

    I question what good it is to tell Pelosi not receive communion if the conversation is in private. All her comments are in public. Unfortunately the only way to avoid scandal in this situation is to have a public decree of excommunication as her actions have already accomplished the task.

  27. diezba says:

    I just sent the Archbishop an email assuring him of my spiritual solidarity with him and of my prayers.

    People: I know you’re not satisfied that he hasn’t excommunicated her, but let’s be grateful for this step. Encourage the archbishop! Send him a respectful email! Support the successors of the Apostles as they contend for the Truth!

  28. JonM says:

    I hesitate to add this, but the Archbishop really should clarify his approach to sexual morality. His past comments are, hmm, shall we say problematic.

    This is such a critical issue: abortion, contraception, and pornography are all part of an ‘inverted trinity’ that have in common fornication and the inability to comprehend the importance of keeping sex within a marriage.

    Getting past that point, I see an upsetting trend that seems to be tying the GOP to ‘the light of Christ.’ The Republican Party is pretty darn corrupt. They are the ones who sold out our productivity and in the process ensured a heath and environmental catastrophe in China.

    Furthermore, I fail to see how endless war is conservative or in accordance with Just War Doctrine.

    Sure, the Democratic Party is today very openly anti-Christ. However, as a conservative, I would hardly consider most of the GOP as much different.

  29. JonM says:

    —>Forgot to add…

    As Dante wrote, we need to guard against placing politics on a higher level than God. I think the poet is precisely accurate on this.

  30. JonathanZ says:

    While I applaud the Archbishop for correcting Madame Pelosi, why is so little correction is being given to the rest of the members of the laity? By account of their celebrity politicians are targeted (and rightly so), but it seems that it is never impressed upon the rest of us that indeed we should also refrain from Holy Communion if we hold beliefs about abortion, homosexuality, contraception, etc that are in conflict with Church teaching.

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