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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignited a firestorm of abortion-related comment heading into the Democratic National Conference in Denver when she said on television the Catholic Church, of which she claims membership, never has been able to define the start of a human life.
The archbishop of Denver and several others immediately issued statements correcting her, and suggesting that she correct her statement, emphasizing that abortion always is wrong under Catholic teachings.
Now the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has weighed in, saying, “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.”
It was on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when Pelosi said on the beginning of life:
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 … 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.
Wrong, said the bishops.
“In response to those who say this teaching has changed or is of recent origin, here are the facts:” the group said. “From earliest times, Christians sharply distinguished themselves from surrounding pagan cultures by rejecting abortion and infanticide. The earliest widely used documents of Christian teaching … condemned both practices.”
While definitions of the biology involved changed over the years, “such mistaken biological theories never changed the church’s common conviction that abortion is gravely wrong at every stage,” the USCCB said.
“Given the scientific fact that a human life begins at conception, the only moral norm needed to understand the Church’s opposition to abortion is the principle that each and every human life has inherent dignity, and thus must be treated with the respect due to a human person. This is the foundation for the Church’s social doctrine. … Conversely, to claim that some live human beings do not deserve respect or should not be treated as ‘persons’ … is to deny the very idea of inherent human rights,” the group said.
WND reported earlier when the Denver Catholic archbishop, Charles Chaput, said Pelosi and those who claim abortion can be reconciled with the Christian faith simply don’t know Christianity.
The issue hits hard at the Democratic Party because the Democratic presidential nominee, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, is an ardent abortion proponent who has gone beyond the desires of even the National Abortion Rights Action League in advocating for the controversial procedure. In fact, as a state lawmaker in Illinois, he declined to support a requirement that an abortionist provide necessary medical services to a baby who survives an abortion, because it would be a burden on the abortionist.
“It’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches,” Chaput said. “The future of a community, a people, a church and a nation depends on the children who will inherit it. If we prevent our children from being born, we remove ourselves from the future. It’s really that simple. No children, no future.”
Later, 19 Catholic members of Congress suggested Pelosi offer a correction.
“We are compelled to refute your error,” said the letter signed by Reps. Thaddeus McCotter, Steve Chabot, Virginia Foxx, Phil Gingrey, Peter King (NY), Steve King (IA), Dan Lungren, Devin Nunes, John Sullivan, Pat Tiberi, John Boehner, Phil English, Jean Schmidt, Jim Walsh, Jeff Fortenberry, Michael McCaul, Paul Ryan,
Walter Jones and Mike Ferguson.
“Your erroneous claim about the history of the church’s opposition to abortion is false and denigrates our common faith,” the letter said.
A WND message requesting a comment from Pelosi was not returned.