Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Washington archbishop rips Pelosi on abortion"

From the Roman Catholic Diocese of Washington, a statement by Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl:

On Meet the Press this past Sunday, August 23, 2008, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made statements regarding the teaching of the Catholic Church, human life and abortion that were incorrect.

Speaker Pelosi responded to a question on when life begins by mentioning she was Catholic. She went on to say, “And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition...” After Mr. Tom Brokaw, the interviewer, pointed out that the Catholic Church feels strongly that life begins at conception, she replied, “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.”

We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops. Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to make this correction for the record.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: the current teaching of the Catholic Church on human life and abortion is the same teaching as it was 2,000 years ago. The Catechism reads:

“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception…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.” (Catechism, 2270-2271)

The Catechism goes on to quote the Didache, a treatise that dates to the first century: “’You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.’”

From the beginning, the Catholic Church has respected the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.

And more on the story from The Hill:
In a rare public rebuke of a top politician, the archbishop of Washington said Monday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was incorrect when she recently said the moment of conception has long been a matter of controversy within the Catholic Church.

In a release issued Monday night, Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl said Pelosi's comments on "Meet the Press" on Sunday "were incorrect."

Wuerl noted that Pelosi responded to a question on when life begins by mentioning she was Catholic.

The release quoted Pelosi as saying the church has not been able to come with a definition of when life begins.

“After Mr. Tom Brokaw, the interviewer, pointed out that the Catholic Church feels strongly that life begins at conception, she replied, '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,' " the release said.

Wuerl strongly disagrees.

He said, "We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops. Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to make this correction for the record."

Wuerl pointed out that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear, and has been clear for 2,000 years. He cited Catechism language that reads, "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception … 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.”

A Pelosi spokesman did not immediately comment for this article. . .

In an interview on C-SPAN that aired earlier this month, Pelosi was asked about how some church officials have raised objections about whether former presidential contenders — such as Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) — should receive communion.

Pelosi, a Roman Catholic whose district includes most of San Francisco, said she has not encountered such difficulties in her church.

“I think some of it is regional,” she said, “It depends on the bishop of a certain region, and, fortunately for me, communion has not been withheld and I’m a regular communicant, so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case.”

Read it all.

1 comment:

jleecbd said...

I just have to add that while it is historically most accurate to date the Didache as a "first century" document, leaving it a bit general, my understanding of what the likely date is really has an impact when you stop and think about it. I believe the date is somewhere in the 60's AD - before all of the Gospels were written, while the Apostle's were still teaching and preaching, and before the fall of Jerusalem.

You can't go much further back in Church History than that.