Monday, November 3, 2008

Nancy Pelosi an Ardent, Clueless Catholic: Who Knew?

What some Catholics in America say they know, just ain't so.

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: " 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)

She's wrong.

St. Augustine, Abortion, the Human Soul, and a Reality Check

Nancy 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
    • Denver
    • New York
    • Philadelphia
    • Washington D.C.
There's a fact sheet, written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that spells out what the Catholic Church actually teaches, and what St. Augustine actually said: It's also available as a .pdf document.

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 Does

I 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.

Background: More, about More, at "Who Knew? Assertions, Assumptions and Assorted Weirdness from All Over"

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.