I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pelosi Returns From The Vatican Wood Shed

Last August, at the height of the political season, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the following statement regarding abortion. “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. And Senator–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.” Ms. Pelosi went on to say that she understood that her opinion was at odds with what the Catholic Church teaches, but that she felt her opinion was correct because the church had changed their view over the years.

Immediately following the statements by Pelosi, several leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States issued their rebuttal to the Speaker’s assertions. "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception…Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable." (Catechism, 2270-2271)

I can hear some of your complaints already; this is old news from last summer. The reason this is news again now because the Speaker has just visited the Vatican and met with Pope Benedict XVI. This papal visit was starkly different than any other visit with dignitaries. There were no pictures taken, and the comments released by the Vatican were short and to the point. The Vatican issued the following statement, “His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”

Of course, Ms. Pelosi made no mention of the Pope’s comments on the sanctity of life. I believe that she expected the Pope to have ignored her drastic misrepresentations of the Catholic Church’s teaching. She was undoubtedly hoping for a photo opportunity with the Pope so she could gain political capital at home. She surely did not expect to be taken to the wood shed for a quick lesson in the history and beliefs of the Catholic Church. The question moving forward for Pelosi, and all professing Catholic politicians, how does the Pope’s statement affect their political stand on abortion? Will the priests and bishops here in the United States continue to serve Holy Communion to politicians who are consistently at odds with Catholic teaching? My prediction is that the Pope’s statements will have zero effect on the abortion stance of Pelosi and other politicians. After all, for some political power is the most important thing in life.

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