U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops: Nancy Pelosi Misrepresents Church teaching

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Nancy] Pelosi was asked on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" on Sunday to comment on when life begins. She responded saying that as a Catholic, she had studied the issue for "a long time" and that "the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition."

Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U. Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, said her answer "misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion."

They noted that 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."

And the prelates explained: "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."

Read it all.

UpdateThere is more here.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

9 Comments
Posted August 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Betty See wrote:

I have to admire the way the Roman Catholic Church handles the issue when the teachings of their church are misrepresented.

August 27, 12:38 am | [comment link]
2. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

So what is going to happen to Mrs. Pelosi?  She went out and intentionally misrepresented the doctrine of the Church on national television.  She is trying to destroy the doctrine of the Magisterium.  Some bishops have made a statement that she is wrong, but none of the RC bishops command her kind of public attention.  While the Episcopal Organization is heretical de jure, the Roman Catholic church (unless it takes appropriate action against Mrs. Pelosi and the other “Catholics” who will be speaking at the Democrat Convention in favor of abortion) is heretical de facto.

August 27, 12:44 am | [comment link]
3. Words Matter wrote:

No, Vinnie. The Catholic Church has an established body of doctrine and teachings that don’t change whatever Ms. Pelosi says or the bishops do.  If that body of teachings changes, then the Church is heretical.

We can certainly agree that Ms. Pelosi should be tossed out on her ear. But that’s discipline, and no one I know thinks the current state of things in that regard is good;“heresy” refers to doctrine, however, not discipline.

August 27, 2:20 am | [comment link]
4. WestJ wrote:

So who would excommunicate her?

August 27, 8:38 am | [comment link]
5. Dee in Iowa wrote:

4 - good question.  Her bishop?  One of the American Cardinals? Or the Pope?  I know her priest can’t.  He can only deny communion I think.  Any answers out there?

August 27, 8:51 am | [comment link]
6. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

What you have is the equivalent of the Episcopal Organization’s winking at same-sex blessings. while the bishop officially denies them. At some point you have to ask which is the more important?  Facts on the ground, or official doctrine written in some encyclical in the Vatican Vaults.  The fact here is a very prominent politician gets to publicly reject church doctrine without apparent consequence.

August 27, 10:58 am | [comment link]
7. Chris Molter wrote:

The wheels turn slow, but they DO turn.

August 27, 11:10 am | [comment link]
8. Betty See wrote:

What we have been told is that Nancy Pelosi misrepresents the Roman Catholic church and the Bishops statement confirms the teachings of the church.
We in the Episcopal church seem never to be informed when the teachings of the church are misrepresented, so it is very difficult to know what the teachings of the Episcopal church are, therefore we should do as Christians have always done, rely on the Authority of Scripture.

August 27, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
9. Chris Molter wrote:

we should do as Christians have always done, rely on the Authority of Scripture.

Well, at least since the Church defined which Scriptures had authority wink

August 28, 11:33 am | [comment link]
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