Catholic Leader Blasts Nancy Pelosi for Misrepresenting Church Abortion Position

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 26, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Leader Blasts Nancy Pelosi for Misrepresenting Church Abortion Position

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 26
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is getting criticism from pro-life Catholics for misrepresenting the views of the Catholic Church on abortion. During a recent television interview, Pelosi claimed the Catholic Church only recently came to the conclusion that human life begins at conception.

During an interview with Tom Brokaw on the NBC program "Meet the Press," Pelosi admitted she didn’t know the answer to the question.

She also made some statements about the church that Catholic leaders are taking exception to concerning its position.

"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," she claimed.

"And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know," she added.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, told Tuesday that Pelosi "misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion."

He pointed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church that teaches, "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."

Cardinal Rigali also said the Catholic Church has had a long history of teaching that human life begins at the point of conception.

"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," he said.

Still, "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," he said.

"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," he concluded.

Related web sites:
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops –


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