Friday, August 29, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Statements on Abortion

NOTE: Click title above for link to full text.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news this week, you can’t have missed the justifiable furor by the Catholic Church over U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s statements about the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion (and mind you, she's Catholic...or should I say, a buffet Catholic).

Pelosi made her comments in an Aug. 24 interview with Tom Brokow on “Meet the Press.” In case you somehow missed it, Brokow said that Democratic Presidental Candidate Barack Obama had said that the question of when life begins was “above his pay grade.” Brokow asked Pelosi if she had an answer to this question.

Pelosi, who told Brokow she was “an ardent, practicing Catholic,” incorrectly stated that the doctors of the Catholic Church had been unable to make that distinction; and that it shouldn’t impact on a woman’s right to choose.

Here are some of the responses by various Bishops and Church leaders:

Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop Chaput’s statement said, among other things, that “ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil. In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the Early Fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or ‘ensouled.’ But none diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong.”

New York Cardinal Edward Egan“What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age. ... Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being ‘chooses’ to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.”

Fargo Bishop Samuel Aquila“Catholics who support so-called abortion rights support a false right, promote a culture of death, and are guided by the ‘father of lies’ rather than by the light and truth of Jesus Christ. Out of respect for the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Church, any Catholic who supports abortion rights has placed himself or herself outside of visible unity with the Church and thus should refrain from receiving Holy Communion. Catholics have a responsibility to study the teaching of the Church on human life and when life begins. … I ask all of you in your presentations, teaching, or preaching to state the truth of this teaching in an unequivocal manner.”

Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan“The teachings of the Church on abortion are consistent and unambiguous, and it is very disturbing to hear someone who claims to be a Catholic distort these teachings and sow seeds of confusion among the faithful by attempting to relativize the right to life.

“There can be no compromise on this issue. ‘Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2272). ‘Those who are excommunicated... and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.’ (Code of Canon Law 915).

“Those Catholics who take a public stance in opposition to this most fundamental moral teaching of the Church place themselves outside full communion with the Church, and they should not present themselves for the reception of Holy Communion.”

EWTN’s Father Mitch Pacwa (on his show, “Threshold of Hope”)
“[J]ust because St. Augustine was not sure about when the soul, the rational soul, was put into a human being,…that does not mean that you may therefore conclude that you can kill the child. If you are ignorant and you don’t know, then you go on the side of safety and protecting rights. You don’t bomb a city where there might be a lot of civilians. You don’t do that. You say, ‘Well, I’m not sure.’ Then, be on the side of safety, protect the lives of the innocent, the non-combatants.

“The same with the unborn children. You must also go on the side of your ignorance to say that ‘Then, if I don’t know, then I’ll protect all the more. I don’t want to act while I’m ignorant.’”

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