Nancy Pelosi was on Meet the Press this August. Tom Brokaw asked her a question about when human life begins. Here's part of her reply: "...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 . . . 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." (Catholic News Agency, via Catholic Online)
St. Augustine, Abortion, the Human Soul, and a Reality CheckNancy Pelosi was almost right about St. Augustine. He did discuss state-of-the-art 5th century speculation about when a human soul formed. But it was in the context of discussing the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion. St. Augustine "...also held that human knowledge of biology was very limited, and he wisely warned against misusing such theories to risk committing homicide...." (USCCB)
Nancy Pelosi's ignorance has been addressed by quite a few Catholic authorities in America, including:
- Cardinal Edward Egan of New York
- Cardinal Justin Rigali
(chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities)
- Bishop William Lori
(chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Doctrine)
- Archbishops of
- New York
- Washington D.C.
- "Respect for Unborn Human Life: The Church's Constant Teaching"
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) (August 29, 2008)
As an American Catholic, I've known for a long time that going to a Catholic Church doesn't make a politician "Catholic" when it comes to principles. I'm very glad to see that America's Catholic authorities are taking their responsibilities seriously, and teaching people what the Catholic Church actually believes and teaches.
Whether we listen is up to each of us.
My Opinion Doesn't Count: Church Teaching DoesI might 'sincerely believe' that the Catholic Church says it's okay to rob banks. But that wouldn't make me right. (I don't, by the way.)
That's why I have so many reference links in this blog, generally to the Catechism. First, I like to be sure that I know what I'm writing about. Second, when I write about what the Catholic Church teaches, I want to be sure that you can check up on me.
- "Cardinal Egan Corrects Speaker Nancy Pelosi"
CatholicOnline (Catholic News Agency) (August 27, 2008)
- "Shifting allegiances: Catholics, Democrats & the GOP"
Commonweal, via BNet, (September 22, 2006)
- "There Is No 'Catholic Vote.' And Yet, It Matters"
Brookings Institution (June 18, 2000)