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Paging Archbishop Niederauer:

I tried to write my first post today without bringing in the messy politics. However, I have to admit that I did think of nominally Catholic Senator Biden when I wrote it. I’ve been wading into the discussion about the Catholic credentials of Obama’s pick for VP on Dawn Eden’s blog. Then one of the comments pointed me to this:

MR. BROKAW: Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you're looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, "Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?" what would you tell him?

REP. PELOSI: I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator--St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose. Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child--first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester. There's very clear distinctions. This isn't about abortion on demand, it's about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and--to--that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god. And so I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who've decided...

MR. BROKAW: The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it...

REP. PELOSI: I understand that.

MR. BROKAW: ...begins at the point of conception.

REP. PELOSI: I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy. But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And we want abortions to be safe, rare, and reduce the number of abortions. That's why we have this fight in Congress over contraception. My Republican colleagues do not support contraception. If you want to reduce the number of abortions, and we all do, we must--it would behoove you to support family planning and, and contraception, you would think. But that is not the case. So we have to take--you know, we have to handle this as respectfully--this is sacred ground. We have to handle it very respectfully and not politicize it, as it has been--and I'm not saying Rick Warren did, because I don't think he did, but others will try to.

Perhaps her bishop, Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco, could enlighten Ms. Pelosi. The Church’s admonition against abortion reaches back much farther than fifty years. In fact, it can be found in the Didache in the first century. He might want to show her this link:

"The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child" (Didache 2:1–2 [A.D. 70]).

I do hope that someone with more political clout than I have calls Representative Pelosi on the carpet for such a ridiculous assertion.

UPDATE: While I have seen no response from Archbishop Niederauer, Archbishop Chaput has given an brilliant response. It is found under the headline Denver bishops clarify to local flock the Church’s longstanding teaching against abortion.

UPDATE#2: Thomas at American Papist has a great summary of the numerous responses to Ms. Pelosi's erroneous claims.


Jim said…
You don't need any political clout, Doctor. You have demonstrated more than enough moral authority to show just how misguided Representative Pelosi is.

Your words above, coupled with those below that speak to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church, were beautifully written. They're gifts really, and as one of your readers, I thank you for them. I continue to learn a great deal from this blog site.

That said, I was hoping you would speak directly to Senator Obama's choice of Senator Biden to be his VP nominee. More specifically, I was hoping you would speak to the issue of whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should receive Holy Communion, which is something Joe Biden is reported to have done in his home parish yesterday morning. I, for one, share the view of Archbishop Chaput and others who hold that pro-abortion Catholic politicians like Senator Biden and Speaker Pelosi should not present themselves to receive The Holy Eucharist, and that if they do so present themselves, that they should be denied Holy Communion. (Please see Biden's Faith ....)

I don't know whether most Catholics in the pews share that view, but as one of your fans, I'd certainly be interested in your views on the subject, as well as the views of your other readers. Secondly, why do you suppose Catholic bishops in the United States have been so hesitant to discipline pro-abortion Catholic politicians? If Church teaching on the issue is so clear, why have so few bishops here in the US been reluctant to tell the likes of Joe Biden that, "No, Senator, you may not receive Holy Communion until you publicly repent"?
Denise said…
Just getting to this post today, but my question to Speaker Pelosi is how does she justify her position on contraception with regards to the Church's teaching??

I just don't get her logic at all.
mallys said…
"St. Nancy STD" would justify her position on anything by mangling another Church Father and ignoring the clear, direct and relevant teaching from the Magisterium. She's so used to sound bites, that she uses this form of "proof-texting" to show her "ardent" Catholicism and teach Catholics what to believe.

Abp. Niederauer doesn't see very well (he missed the "sisters of perpetual disgust" or whatever that were in his communion line, after all) or he would see that she is directly and intentionally challenging his teaching authority.

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