The old adage advises the wise to avoid talking about religion and politics, and the spokeswoman for President Bush today had both reasons to decline to comment on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s dispute with the Catholic church over the faith’s perspective on abortion.

As WND reported, Pelosi recently told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the church doctrine doesn’t make clear the point at which life begins. She said:

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.

Catholic officials immediately responded that her opinion was in direct conflict with Catholic teachings, and WND reported when the Catholic archbishop in her district, San Francisco, wrote to arrange a meeting with her on the issue.

Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, raised the issue during today’s news briefing.

“Fox News reported yesterday that Speaker Pelosi has agreed to meet with San Francisco Catholic Archbishop Niederauer to discuss whether Pelosi, an abortion rights supporter, should take communion, with Pelosi agreeing to meet with him, but no date set. And my question: The president agrees with the archbishop on abortion, rather than the speaker, doesn’t he?”

“I am absolutely not going to comment on Speaker Pelosi’s meetings or the archibhsop – absolutely not going to comment, Les,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Kinsolving continued, “St. Thomas Aquinas, Anselm and Alphonsus Liguori, as well as Popes Innocent III and Gregory XIV, all disagreed that a human life begins at conception. Does the president believe these two holy fathers and three Catholic saints were all wrong?”

Again, Perino said she would let the record stand.

“The president’s position on this is well-known,” she said.

Bush, in fact, several times has expressed support for the nation’s pro-life movement. During one address to a March for Life, he said, “It (the Declaration of Independence) also states that these rights come from our Creator, and that governments are formed to secure these rights for all their citizens. And we believe every human life has value, and we pray for the day when every child is welcome in life and protected into law.”

Bush also has proclaimed National Sanctity of Human Life Day, and cited his administration’s work “vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of faith-based groups.”


Do you have a tough question you’d like to ask the White House? WND’s MR. PRESIDENT! forum is your big chance.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.