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Wednesday, January 13, 2010



I love the way he lists abortion among other wrongs, such as infidelity and theft, that our "free will" does not justify. A good rhetorical touch.


High time. Pelosi is on a sad mission to redefine Catholicism as whatever she wants it to be. She can barely articulate a coherent sentence about Catholic beliefs.


The column isn't that great, just standard Catholic doctrine. I was disappointed that among the examples stated to be "radically contrary to the Gospel" the Archbishop of SF did not mention homosexual acts and unions. We're talking about San Francisco here. California, too. Come on, Archbishop: show some courage. At least look out your own window.



Is there an e-mail address to encourage the Cardinal. I have disparaged him in the past, and imagine he will be grilled for this. He deserves our enthusiastic support here.


Ed Peters

"The column isn't that great, just standard Catholic doctrine."

Well standard Catholic doctrine IS great, so to set it forth is to set forth something great.

Mark Brumley

Sawyer, I understand your desire to have the topic you mentioned forthrightly addressed. But rhetorically the Archbishop's use of the issues he mentioned and his not mentioning homosexual activity (and other topics) is more powerful. He is including abortion because Nancy Pelosi is really talking about it when she invokes the rhetoric of free will. It seems that he mentions the other items (racism, infidelity, theft) because these are things widely acknowledged as wrong--presumably, they are things that Speaker Pelosi would acknowledge as wrong and not cover over with talk about free will.

While I think the column is a good rebuttal, it would be helpful to have as a follow up commentary on Speaker Pelosi's remarks a further statement, from Archbishop Niederauer or someone comparable, discussing the implications of moral choice for the political sphere.

We can distinguish the abuse of freedom to choose bad things, from the abuse of freedom to choose bad things that are contrary to the common good and that, therefore, all other things being equal, ought to be illegal. Furthermore, we can distinguish the Christian's understanding of right and wrong from the human awareness of the rightness or wrongness of certain actions, whether we are talking about the abuse of freedom in general or the abuse of freedom with respect to things contrary to the common good.

Nancy Pelosi was speaking about right and wrong in the context of her Catholic faith and so the Archbishop rightly focused on how a disciple of Jesus Christ ought to think about moral choice. Clearly, it is insufficient to say that Christians have free will. In a sense, Christians don't have "free will". They have made a prior commitment that precludes them from doing certain things and in that way they are not "free" to do them. (Abortion is certainly one of those things incompatible with the Christian's prior commitment to Christ.)

However, politicians such as Nancy Pelosi often try to sidestep the demands of Christian conscience by distinguishing personal choices they have as Christians from public responsibilities. And of course they are correct to distinguish responsibilities they have as Christians from responsibilities they have as public officials acting in the interest of the common good of Christian and non-Christian citizens alike. They err, however, when they invoke this distinction as justification for their failure to stand up for principles Christians are obliged to uphold that are not peculiarly Christian or that rest only on Christian presuppositions and commitments.

Abortion is wrong because it is contrary to what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. But that is not the only reason it is wrong. What's more, it is wrong not simply as an abuse of personal freedom (as drinking to access in your living room is wrong as an abuse of personal freedom or engaging in purely internal acts of hatred are wrong as an abuse of personal freedom). It is wrong as an abuse in the public sphere of the common good, because it entains the violation of the natural right to life of another human being.

Like slavery, abortion can be understood as wrong without a commitment of faith. And like slavery, abortion involves actions that violate the rights of others in a way pertinent to the law and the common good. It would be great to have the discussion of Speaker Pelosi used as a springboard by Archbishop Neiderauer or someone else to draw attention in the public square to these principles.


Joe, I would like that e-mail as well. Given the fact that Proposition 8 is under attack in California, I am wondering why Archbishop Niederauer neglected to specifically state that "infidelity" includes not being Faithful to The Sacraments, including the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Carl E. Olson

Well standard Catholic doctrine IS great, so to set it forth is to set forth something great.

Amen to that, Ed. Since Pelosi clearly doesn't understand or recognize "standard Catholic doctrine," it makes sense the Archbishop would elucidate on the same.


Nancy Pelosi is a false Catholic Christian proven by the public statements she makes regarding the teachings of the Catholic Church and moral choice. In addition, as a public figure and in her role as a national leader, she leads others astray by her commentaries on free will. Her public stand on abortion and admission of differing opinions with the Teaching Authority of the Catholic Church should be enough for The Archbishop of San Francisco to inform her that she has excommunicated herself from all of the Sacraments she can receive except the Sacrament of Penance!

Ed Peters

You folks who think that anyone who corrects this fault must necessarily correct that one as well, are missing the point. To assert as a violation of principle what is in fact only a difference in prudence is quite wrong-headed.


"Nancy Pelosi is a false Catholic Christian..."

False, wrong-headed... something like that is honest. Oh that our leaders would carefully tread in such waters. Sure they can be abused, but not likely right now. Years ago the evangelical (and yes, anti-Catholic) Martyn Lloyd-Jones was on the BBC being interviewed. The host asked increduously, "Are you saying I am going to Hell?" The preacher admirably answered something like, "I am not saying that, but I am telling you that given your own comments it seems rather likely at the moment!"

Anthony OPL

Thanks be to God, Abp Niederauer is finally doing his job. In what I understand to be his final year of active ministry, may the Lord grant him all the courage and fortitude he has forborne to demonstrate until now.

Another Mary

Newsweek has a blog post that is apparently in response to the Archbishop's column:


It's a short read. The last sentence is: "Either way, Pelosi remains unshaken in her views, and in her Catholic faith."


The Word of God does not depend on location. The Catholic Church does not discriminate between public and private morality.

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

Speaker Pelosi through her usual sophistic speech of behaviour duality is as baffling to us as she appears not to perceive the difference between right and wrong; as a matter of fact she is a splendid example of a person void of common sense. But that cannot be. We should accept it is deception that unveils such incongruency. Passing as a catholic, in reality she is not one of us. Ideology is her religion and she is quite devoted to her faith.
Archbishop Niederauer has all the pertinent canonical tools to address this most serious case. The ideology Pelosi brandishes so blatantly is clearly opposed to fundamental beliefs of our Church therefore the archbishop has to act firmly.

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