Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Correcting Speaker Pelosi's False Claims about Catholic Teaching

(This is what will appear in the upcoming parish bulletins in Piqua...)

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic, was asked on “Meet the Press” when life begins. In her answer she claimed to convey studious knowledge of Catholic teaching; in fact, she got it very wrong. When the highest-ranking Catholic elected official in this country presents such a false view of Catholic teaching, it needs to be corrected.

She claimed the Church does not have a clear position on when life begins, implying that the Church’s stance on abortion is also not clear. Not true. From the beginning, Christians have abhorred abortion. We have abundant evidence from the first century forward.

We know what Scripture says: when Mary visited Elizabeth, Elizabeth felt the unborn John leap in her womb at the coming of Mary, bearing the newly conceived Jesus.

As far as when life begins, this is not a theological matter, but a question of science; scientists agree: at conception. Technology allows us to know better than ever just what happens when mother and father make their contribution, and at a specific moment, a unique, new life begins. We also have an immortal soul, but science says nothing about that, neither does the law. The moral question—which laws must address—is the dignity and rights of human beings, including the unborn. Federal law protects unborn eagles, without knowing what sort of souls they have.

I cannot know Rep. Pelosi’s heart, but she is adamant for the Roe v. Wade decision that mandated abortion on demand. She wants to square that with being a practicing Catholic. But that is a problem. In 1995, in his Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II formally declared, “direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being (paragraph 62).”

Every first Tuesday of the month, starting September 2, our new prolife group will be studying Church teaching on this matter. Prayer at 7 pm in chapel, then meet afterward for study and discussion, including action steps.


Rich Leonardi said...

You are doing a great service to your parishioners, Father. Perhaps members of other parishes could ask that the bishops' statement run in their bulletins:

Bishops Respond to House Speaker Pelosi’s Misrepresentation of Church Teaching Against Abortion

WASHINGTON--Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, have issued the following statement:

In the course of a “Meet the Press” interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.

In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "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." (No. 2271)

In the Middle Ages, uninformed and inadequate theories about embryology led some theologians to speculate that specifically human life capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy. While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development.

These mistaken biological theories became obsolete over 150 years ago when scientists discovered that a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization. In keeping with this modern understanding, the Church teaches that from the time of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with respect for the fundamental right to life.

Fr Martin Fox said...


Thanks. Actually, Archbishop Pilarczyk sent out the bishops' statement, via email, suggesting it be run, adding, "I agree with this statement." I had already written this statement and we'd set up the bulletin, so I went with this.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Would love to see that in our bulletin on Sunday. Fr. As Rich has pointed out, some of the bishops are speaking out on this. This is also a good example of why I like to see RCIA, CCD, parish Bible studies, etc. closely overseen by the local priest. What if views such as those being discussed were presented in such groups as the teaching of the Church on this topic!

TTC said...

Well done!

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