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Tuesday, August 26, 2008



Let's hope Pelosi talks some more about her views on church teaching...

Ed Peters

Cdl. Egan's statement is stunning.

Mark Brumley

The statements are all good. But I have to publish here Cardinal Egan's statement because it is so direct:

Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.


And will Archbishop Neiderauer chime in and correct Pelosi, who is under his Episcopate, or will we hear crickets coming from the Arch of SF?


Yes, Cardinal Egan's statement may be the most scathing and morally rigorous. What I like about the other statements is their direct refutation of Pelosi's claims about the supposed fuzziness of earlier Church teaching on unborn life and abortion (e.g., claiming that Augustine taught that life begins at three months). Archbishop Chaput, Cardinal Wuerl and the USCCB website statement from Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Lori all make it clear that the Church has always taught the wrongness of abortion. The USCCB website statement is particularly helpful on this point:

"In the Middle Ages, uninformed and inadequate theories about embryology led some theologians to speculate that specifically human life capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy. While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development.

"These mistaken biological theories became obsolete over 150 years ago when scientists discovered that a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization. In keeping with this modern understanding, the Church teaches that from the time of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with respect for the fundamental right to life."


"And will Archbishop Neiderauer chime in and correct Pelosi, who is under his Episcopate, or will we hear crickets coming from the Arch of SF?"

FWIW, the SF Archdiocese website has posted the USCCB statement, so that's not quite "crickets"...

Paul H

The USCCB statement was on the front page of the USCCB web site late in the day yesterday. I hadn't seen or heard about Cardinal Egan's statement yet.

American Papist has a timeline of this scandal for anyone who is interested:

Robert Miller

Like everyone else, I am thrilled by Cardinal Egan's statement. Them's fightin' words. And that's what we need to hear and act on.


"Let's hope Pelosi talks some more about her views on church teaching..."

I second that motion. Here's to hoping that this set of responses mean that bishop's will begin paying a little more attention to what politicians are saying.


Cardinal Egan! Where have you been these last few years??? Judging on that statement, you might start to rise toward Cardinal O'Connor's stature if you continued to speak out more.


"Devout Methodist"

"Ardent Catholic"

Alarm bells. Sloganedering. I find most earnest believers are actually hesitant to describe themselves with such adjectives out of a healthy and realistic humility.

Charles E Flynn

The phrase "as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb" is the most memorable alliteration I have seen in a long time.


Amen, Amen, Amen, AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! After reading all those statements, I just about got up and did a dance. It's great to hear a bold defense of the unborn and the Church's true teaching on the matter. I hope the bishops will continue to speak out when any "Catholic" politician spouts their own version of Church teaching.


Sign of the times, I doubt we'd have seen this twenty years ago. Just MHO but it appears the battle lines are being drawn more clearly every day.

Deacon Harold

Wow! I must say that I'm pleasantly surprised. Too bad this kind of response from bishops didn't occur after some theologians and clergy publicly defied Humanae Vitae. Let's hope our shepherds continue to lead and teach with fidelity, humility, and authority.


"I find most earnest believers are actually hesitant to describe themselves with such adjectives out of a healthy and realistic humility."

Bingo. And they don't need to.

Robert Miller

Subvet and Deacon Harold are onto the two key issues in all of this.

Yes, the lines are beginning to be drawn up pretty clearly. And, especially if Obama/Biden wins, the lines are going to get drawn up pretty quickly and clearly within the Catholic community in the United States. Pelosi and Biden are not pro-abortion simply because they're Democrat politicians, they're pro-abortion because their position on the issue flies with a substantial core of their Catholic constituents. Like the latter, Biden and Pelosi don't want to acknowledge that US culture has become a culture of death -- in fact, most pro-lifers don't want to acknowledge it. Most pro-lifers would like to believe that US culture is fundamentally (or at least intentionally) sound, but that it has been hijacked by elitist extremists. The time ahead looks like a season of sorting out for all of us: "American Catholic" or Catholic? The politicians and their supporters have made their choice. Now some of the bishops are making theirs.

Which brings me to Deacon Harold's comment. The weak-kneed (and even sympathetic) reaction of most of the US bishops (with the notable exception of Cardinals O'Boyle and McIntyre) to public dissent/defiance of Humanae Vitae is the reason we have the Pelosis and Bidens. The bishops of that era were so eager to assimilate their US flock to the prevailing US culture that they had ignored or absolved the "Original Sin" --the Kennedy proposition, put forward in Jack's 1960 Greater Houston Ministerial Association address. Unrepentant, and largely unadmonished, the Kennedys have embodied that proposition in their politics to this day.


If memory serves me correct, a catholic who obstinately refuses to accept an element of faith, such as life beginning at conception, is a heretic. If that is the case, Speaker Pelosi should be labelled a heretic? Afterall, she isn't someone who can claim ignorance of the Catholic Churches position on abortion.


Wouldn't it be interesting to see whom Dante Alligheri would place into the Inferno in this 21st Century! Kudos to the Cardinals for their defense of the Faith!

Dan Deeny

It is good that the bishops have commented on Rep. Pelosi, the abortion business, and Catholic teaching. I am reminded of a scene in Braveheart where William Wallace (Mel Gibson) gives an inspiring speech to his men and then rides over to look at the English in the distance. The Irishman rides up and says: "That was a fine speech. Now what do we do?" But we must be fair to the bishops. They do not have the advantage of Cardinal von Galen of Muenster, Germany. When he opposed the Nazi euthanasia and racial policies, he was put under virtual house arrest. The evil he fought was hard and distinct. The bishops are fighting a sort of fog. Very difficult. After all, no one forces American women to have abortions. Let us pray for the bishops and for ourselves.

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