Two More Bishops and 19 Congressmen Chime in on Pelosi Arguments on Abortion

August 30, 2008

Bishop Listecki was my morality teacher in seminary. He is a BRILLIANT and HOLY man.

From LifeSiteNews:

WASHINGTON, August 29, 2008 ( – Bishop Jerome E. Listecki of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and Archbishop John Nienstedt of Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis have added their voices to the growing numbers of her Catholic leaders telling Nancy Pelosi she will never qualify as a Catholic theologian. Bishop Listecki said her support for abortion and misrepresentation of Catholic teaching “gives scandal and misleads the faithful.”Last Sunday, U. S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, while insisting she is an “ardent, practicing Catholic” said in an appearance on Meet the Press that there is no settled teaching in the Catholic Church on the precise time when “life begins” and that this justifies unrestricted legal abortion. “The point is,” she said, “that it [when life begins] shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.”

Bishop Listecki said that Pelosi’s assertion that there is ambiguity about when human life begins is “utterly and completely false.” 

Pelosi, he said, “misrepresented both the writings of St. Augustine and the settled doctrine of the Catholic Church in an attempt to justify uncertainty about when human life begins and thus to defend a right to abortion.”

The bishop reminds Pelosi that the issue of the beginning of life is “is science, not theology”. He cited “advances in ultrasound and other imaging technology”, that clearly show the unborn are human beings.   

“It is ironic,” he said, “that, in an age that prides itself on scientific knowledge, there are those whose agenda drives them to invoke misinformed theology to cast doubt on some of the most basic biological truths.”

“In such a politicized environment of self-serving skepticism and slogans about ‘choice’, the Church must tirelessly proclaim the truth about the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. This is all the more urgent when innocent human life is threatened, as it is by abortion, as well as embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia.”

Archbishop Nienstedt said in a media release, “On behalf of the 650,000 Catholics of this Archdiocese, I wish to reinforce what Cardinal Rigali, Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. and Archbishop Chaput of Denver have said about Speaker Pelosi’s misinterpretation on the question of when life begins.”

“The Church has taught for centuries that life begins at conception and there is no room for misrepresentation of that teaching. In addition, modern medical techniques have been able to confirm what the Church has already known.”

“Surely, there may be some Catholic politicians who will take a different interpretation of this Church doctrine during the coming election campaign, but Speaker Pelosi’s remarks underscore once again the need for Catholics, and especially Catholic politicians, to form their consciences according to the moral truths taught by the Catholic Church,” the archbishop continued.

Bishop Listecki and Archbishop Nienstedt’s messages bring to nine the number of bishops, out of some 300 in the US Bishops’ Conference, to correct the Speaker of the House. Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, said that her position shows she is not worthy to “be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name”.

Meanwhile nineteen Catholic members of Congress have written to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to “correct the public record” and asking Pelosi to “rectify your errant claims and apologize for misrepresenting the Church’s doctrine and misleading fellow Catholics.”

“As fellow Catholics and legislators,” the letter said, “we wish you would have made a more honest effort to lay out the authentic position of the Church on this core moral issue before attempting to address it with authority.”

It continued, “Your subsequent remarks mangle Catholic Church doctrine regarding the inherent sanctity and dignity of human life; therefore, we are compelled to refute your error.”

Read related coverage:
“Catholic” Speaker Pelosi Denies that Catholicism Condemns Abortion

Cardinals, Bishops and Congressmen Slam Pelosi on Abortion ;


McCain Selects Strongly Pro-life Governor, Mother of Five

August 29, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 29, 2008 ( – In an unexpected development that has social conservatives cheering, John McCain announced his choice of dark horse Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Governor Palin, the first woman elected as Alaska’s governor, is well-known for her strong and public stance on life and family issues. Palin, a Christian, is a long time member of Feminists for Life and a mother of five children.

The choice of the extremely popular 44-year-old governor and former beauty queen for VP came as a shock to most, as attention had in recent days largely been concentrated on more prominent prospects such as Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee helping pro-life women gain election to Congress, enthusiastically welcomed McCain’s choice. “Sarah Palin is the whole package,” she said. “There couldn’t be a better vice presidential pick.”

“Women voters are electrified, and Sarah is someone who is truly in sync with the way real American women think.  She is a reform-minded woman who will give all Americans, born and unborn, the authentic leadership they deserve….By choosing the boldly pro-life Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has taken his stand as the one true, authentic pro-life ticket.”

Palin proved her pro-life credentials in a powerful way earlier this year when she gave birth to her fifth child, born with Down Syndrome, despite receiving pressure from doctors to abort. At a time when a vast majority of Down Syndrome children are aborted, Palin vociferously defended her choice to bring her son Trig to term.

“Trig is beautiful and already adored by us,” said Palin on the day after her son’s birth. “We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.”

In November of last year LifeSiteNews reported that Palin had lambasted a decision by the Alaskan Supreme Court that permitted under age girls to obtain abortions without parental consent. Palin called the decision “outrageous” and instructed Attorney General Talis Colberg to file a petition for a rehearing.

Palin is opposed to same-sex “marriage,” though she has said in the past that she has homosexual friends and shares their concerns about discrimination. However, she also said she would support a ballot question that would deny benefits to homosexuals. “I believe that honoring the family structure is that important,” she said in 2006.

See related coverage:

Alaska Gov. Palin Suggests Special Session for Failed Abortion Restriction Laws

Alaska and Florida Courts Allow Under Age Girls to Abort Without Parents’ Knowledge or Consent

Ottawa Archbishop explains why pro-abortion politicians are denied Communion

August 28, 2008

From reported March 14, 2008:

The mainstream media has picked up on comments by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast regarding reception of Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicians.  However, one part of the discussion which has received little discussion is the reason why the Church would deny politicians reception of Communion.

“The Code of Canon Law says in #915 that ‘those whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin,” explains the religious leader of Canada’s national capital,”are not to be admitted to Holy Communion’.”

“What is at issue is whether a politician who does not himself or herself participate in an abortion but supports ‘a woman’s right to choose’ (or however else shows support for abortion) is guilty of grave sin and then obstinately persists in this state of grave sin.”

Archbishop Prendergast stresses that denying Holy Communion is undertaken out of concern for the offending Catholic (politician in the case at hand).  “The Church’s concern is for anyone who persists in grave sin, hoping that medicinal measures (which is how excommunication and interdict are to be understood) may draw them away from the wrong path to the truth of our faith.”

The Ottawa prelate points out how Christians from the beginning were told of the need to be in good standing with the faith before receiving Communion.  “(St.) Paul said that before receiving communion a Christian should take part in self-examination and only then receive the Body of the Lord after necessary conversion (1 Cor 11:28).”

Prendergast has no dislike for politicians, in fact just the opposite. “I deeply admire politicians for their desire to serve the public good and to make the many sacrifices necessary to win public office and to give themselves to public service,” he says, adding, “They ought to be motivated by a concern for justice, good order, the public good, etc.”

He notes however that “One of the greatest areas for effecting justice is the support of life in the womb and through all stages of life.  Abortion goes against the Church’s understanding, based on the teaching of Jesus, on the inviolability of innocent human life – including the unborn – and of the obligation of public servants to protect the weakest in society.  It is hard to see how the support of abortion is not a very grave evil.”

The decision to take “medicinal” remedies, says the Archbishop, is not taken lightly, and is simply an attempt at direct intervention with the politicians.  “Perhaps politicians embrace the support of a woman’s right to choose unthinkingly, following party policy; this is where the church with the help of its pastors and through fellow believers needs to come to the assistance of those who serve the public good,” he said.

“It may take time to work with political figures before one can conclude that they are obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin and that, therefore, denial of communion or of encouraging them not to present themselves for communion is reached as the medicinal remedy to draw them back to the way of Christ, Our Lord, the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

One other consideration in addressing seriously such grave violations of Church teaching is scandal.  “If one were to allow Catholic political (or other public) figures to freely espouse abortion without drawing to their attention that this is a grave evil,” explained Archbishop Prendergast, “other believers might be tended to accept this, not knowing any better and be led on the wrong path: that is what ‘scandal’ is.  One must do everything possible to prevent others from falling away from the path of Christ – i.e. from being scandalized.”See related LifeSiteNews articles:

Pope Supports Excommunication for Pro-Abortion Politicians – “Incompatible with Receiving Communion”

Second U.S. Bishop Says Vatican Letter on Pro-Abort Politicians Withheld from Bishops

Cardinal McCarrick Continues to Conceal Rome’s Insistence that Pro-Abort Politicians Be Denied Communion

Two More Bishops Make 8 Who Have Come Out against Pelosi’s ‘Catholic’ Abortion Theology

August 28, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2008 ( – Two more bishops have released statements condemning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s widely publicized claim that the Catholic faith could support abortion.

Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs and Bishop David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh join the other six Catholic bishops who have already corrected Pelosi’s false claims, made during an appearnace on NBC’s Meet the Press, that when life begins has been “an issue of controversy” throughout the history of the Church and that, therefore, the Catholic faith can support abortion.

Bishop Sheridan warned Catholics in his statement Tuesday that Pelosi’s picture of Church history and teaching is categorically false.  “Speaker Pelosi’s outrageous attempt to present what she considers the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding abortion is simply wrong and should be disregarded by every faithful Catholic,” he wrote.

Quoting Pope John Paul II, Bishop Sheridan reminded his readers that violating the right to life undermines all human rights, which are present “from the moment of conception until natural death.”

“The teachings of the Church on abortion are consistent and unambiguous, and it is very disturbing to hear someone who claims to be a Catholic distort these teachings and sow seeds of confusion among the faithful by attempting to relativize the right to life,” said Bishop Sheridan. 

Bishop Zubik on Wednesday also condemned Pelosi for going too far: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped out of her political role and completely misrepresented the teaching of the Catholic Church in regard to abortion.”  The bishop went on to reject the notion that Church condemnation of abortion “is somehow new and therefore unsettled.”

Both bishops cited the first-century Didache, the earliest collection of Catholic moral teachings besides the Bible, to show that the Catholic Church from the beginning has unequivocally condemned violence against unborn life: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion.”

Pelosi’s own bishop, Archbishop George Hugh Niederauer, has thus far made no comment.  His spokesman Maurice Healy told that the Archbishop would be publishing something on the matter in his regular column in the diocesan newspaper on September 5.

Bishop Sheridan’s full statement:…

Bishop Zubik’s full statement:

See related articles:

Pelosi Spokeswoman About-face: Catholic Church “Clear” on Life Teaching After All – But Catholics Need Not Listen

“Catholic” Speaker Pelosi Denies that Catholicism Condemns Abortion

Cardinals, Bishops and Congressmen Slam Pelosi on Abortion

New York Cardinal – Pelosi Not Worthy of “Providing Leadership in a Civilized Democracy”

Ten Congressmen Chime In

August 28, 2008

WASHINGTON, August 26, 2008 ( – “Catholic” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s blatantly fallacious remarks on August 24 regarding the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion have triggered a tidal wave of criticisms from clergymen, congressmen and Catholics nationwide.Responding to a question from NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Tom Brokaw about when human life begins, Pelsosi appealed to her extensive research on the issue as well as her “ardent” Catholic faith to claim that, “I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins.”

She asserted that “over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition,” in attempt to support her pro-abortion and pro-contraception stance.  Watch the full interview here: (

The response to Pelosi’s statements has been intense as Catholic leaders across America are wondering how a “Catholic” with a self-proclaimed broad understanding of the Catholic Church’s position on human life could have overseen the straightforward teaching contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl quoted this teaching (section 2270-2271 of the CCC) in a letter responding to Pelosi’s comments:  “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)

Rebuking her, Archbishop Wuerl said that, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.” For the full letter see: (

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, also issued a release on Pelosi’s remarks, explaining that Pelosi’s belief that a woman has the “right to choose” to end her baby’s life contradicts Catholic teaching and addressing her comments suggesting the Catholic Church has been polarized on the issue over the course of history.

None of the early Fathers “diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide.  In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong,” said Archbishop Chaput.
“Catholics who make excuses for it – whether they’re famous or not – fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith,” he added.  For the full letter see: (…)

Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine also wrote a response letter.

After mentioning the fact that scientists are certain that “a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization,” the bishops wrote, “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.”  For the full letter see: (

Edward Cardinal Egan of the Archdiocese of New York is another Church leader that has stepped up to defend the faith of his people.  Please see upcoming separate coverage on his comments.

It was not only the leaders of the Church that felt the need to correct Pelosi. Ten congressmen have sent Pelosi a letter asking her to publicly rectify her misrepresentation of Catholic teachings.

“As fellow Catholics and legislators, we wish you (Pelosi) would have made a more honest effort to lay out the authentic position of the Church on this core moral issue before attempting to address it with authority,” said the congressmen. “Your subsequent remarks mangle Catholic Church doctrine regarding the inherent sanctity and dignity of human life; therefore, we are compelled to refute your error.”
“To reduce the scandal and consternation caused amongst the faithful by your remarks, we necessarily write you to correct the public record and affirm the Church’s actual and historical teaching that defends the sanctity of human life,” concluded their letter, which contained the following signatures.

Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (MI)
Hon. Steve Chabot (OH)
Hon. Virginia Foxx (NC)
Hon. Phil Gingrey (GA)
Hon. Peter King (NY)
Hon. Steve King (IA)
Hon. Daniel Lungren (CA)
Hon. Devin Nunes (CA)
Hon. John Sullivan (OK)
Hon. Patrick Tiberi (OH)

See the full letter from the congressmen here:

Please see related coverage:
“Catholic” Speaker Pelosi Denies that Catholicism Condemns Abortion


Cardinal Egan’s Remarkable Comment About Pelosi

August 28, 2008

From Inside Catholic:

It should be noted that among all the bishops who have responded to Pelosi lecturing them on the beginning of human life, Cardinal Egan was particularly pointed. 

If you compare the statements of Cardinal Rigali, Bishop Lori, Archbishop Chaput, and Archbishop Wuerl to Cardinal Egan’s, the latter has the tone of someone who has “had it” with the hubris of pro-abortion politicians.

Here is the text in full with my italics added:


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.

Edward Cardinal Egan

Archbishop of New York

Since going to New York, Cardinal Egan has joined the political fray on very few occasions. That he has done so now is a tribute to Pelosi’s lack of respect for Catholic bishops, e.g., thinking she can tell Catholics what they can disagree with clearly defined Church teaching.  

There is one bishop, however, we have yet to from, Pelosi’s bishop.  Isn’t it rather strange that a Catholic member of Congress from San Francisco would provoke press releases from two cardinals, two archbishops, and a bishop from different parts of the country, but not a peep from her own archdiocese.  

The silence of Archbishop Niederauer may be due to the fact that the joint statement of Rigali and Lori comes from the chairmen of two USCCB committees — pro-life activities and doctrine —  and could be construed to represent all the bishops.  

The archdiocese of San Franciso web site has prominently posted the Rigali/Lori statement.

Nonetheless, with Speaker Pelosi continuing to cite one passage of St. Augustine against Catechism of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Niederauer may yet be forced to speak out himself.

The Pelosi controversy, however, may have one or two more chapters when the Jesuits who have been teaching this sort of confusion on delayed ensoulment for decades begin rushing to Pelosi’s defense, if they haven’t already.  

My guess is that the president of the University of San Francisco, Fr. Stephen A. Privett , SJ, is preparing some sort of pro-Pelosi sally in the next few days. Privett has been one of Pelosi’s most ardent Catholic allies.

Face Off Could Be A Great Catechetical Moment

August 27, 2008

From Ignatius Press:

Biden: “My views are totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine…”

Yet another catechetical moment arrives. This from today’s Christian Science Monitor:

Against long odds, Senator Biden aims to be No. 4. He sees faith and values, as well as his own deep experience in public policy, as a key to that race.       

“The animating principle of my faith, as taught to me by church and home, was that the cardinal sin was abuse of power,” he said in an interview with the Monitor. “It was not only required as a good Catholic to abhor and avoid abuse of power, but to do something to end that abuse.”

The issues that have most engaged Biden in public life draw on those teachings, from halting violence against women to genocide. At a personal level, his faith provides him peace, he says. “I get comfort from carrying my rosary, going to mass every Sunday. It’s my time alone,” he says.

But the interface of faith and policy has long been problematic for Catholic presidential hopefuls. Governor Smith faced withering criticism over whether Catholic politicians are obliged by their church to take policy orders from Rome. John F. Kennedy famously disavowed “outside religious pressures or dictates,” swept the Catholic vote, and won the presidency. By the time another J.F.K. from Massachusetts ran for president in 2004, the ground had shifted. Sen. John F. Kerry lost the Catholic vote because many of his faith questioned whether he was Catholic enough, given his strong support for abortion rights.

But Biden believes he can bridge much of that divide. “My views are totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine,” says Biden, a six-term Democratic senator from Delaware. “There are elements within the church who say that if you are at odds with any of the teachings of the church, you are at odds with the church. I think the church is bigger than that.”    

If abortion isn’t an abuse of power, I’m not sure what else qualifies. Who are more powerless than unborn children in the womb who, in the poignant words of Cardinal Egan, “smile and wave into the world outside the womb”? And does it really need to be pointed out that the Church is not bigger than the One who founded her? And that the Church was not founded as some sort of political “big tent,” but is the household of God, and as such adheres in love and obedience to the teachings of her head, Jesus Christ, and to those He granted authority to teach, shepherd, govern, and guide?As we well know, anybody trying to find where the Church says that abortion is morally acceptable, or can be allowed in certain situations, or is just another issue open to debate, is going to fail miserably. Which is probably why Biden and Co. don’t bother to quote from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which leaves no doubt about the Church’s stance on the issue of abortion: 

155. The teachings of Pope John XXIII,[314] the Second Vatican Council,[315] and Pope Paul VI [316] have given abundant indication of the concept of human rights as articulated by the Magisterium. Pope John Paul II has drawn up a list of them in the Encyclical Centesimus Annus: “the right to life, an integral part of which is the right of the child to develop in the mother’s womb from the moment of conception; the right to live in a united family and in a moral environment conducive to the growth of the child’s personality; the right to develop one’s intelligence and freedom in seeking and knowing the truth; the right to share in the work which makes wise use of the earth’s material resources, and to derive from that work the means to support oneself and one’s dependents; and the right freely to establish a family, to have and to rear children through the responsible exercise of one’s sexuality. In a certain sense, the source and synthesis of these rights is religious freedom, understood as the right to live in the truth of one’s faith and in conformity with one’s transcendent dignity as a person”[317].

The first right presented in this list is the right to life, from conception to its natural end,[318] which is the condition for the exercise of all other rights and, in particular, implies the illicitness of every form of procured abortion and of euthanasia.[319]

The CSM article provides some helpful hints as to why Biden thinks of himself as a good Catholic who has no problem denying core Catholic social teachings:

“My idea of self, of family, of community, of the wider world comes straight from my religion. It’s not so much the Bible, the beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, the sacraments, or the prayers I learned. It’s the culture,” he writes.

“I was raised at a time when the Catholic Church was fertile with new ideas and open discussion about some of the basic social teaching of the Catholic Church,” Biden says. “Questioning was not criticized; it was encouraged.” 

“I don’t think I have the right to impose my view – on something I accept as a matter of faith – on the rest of society,” he writes in his autobiography.

Without taking a position on how Catholics should vote, Biden makes a case for staying connected to the church and its culture. “If I were an ordained priest, I’d be taking some issue with some of the more narrow interpretations of the Gospel being taken now,” Biden says. “But my church is more than 2,000 years old. There’s always been a tug of war among prelates and informed lay members.”

As if all Catholic priests believe and preach exactly what the Church teaches while “informed lay members” are restless free-thinkers pushing at the rigid boundaries of traditional doctrine. Hardly. This is both simplistic and misleading. The line of tension lies elsewhere: between those who accept and understand that certain matters of faith and morals are settled and those who think that it is one’s all-powerful conscience that makes the final decision about such matters, even while paying lip service to loving the Church and so forth. The Catechism is quite clear that the latter approach is not the one taken by Catholics seeking to be disciples of Christ and loyal sons and daughters of His Church:

Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct. …

A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.” (CCC 1792, 1794)

Perhaps Biden, Pelosi, and others do suffer from invincible ignorance. Or perhaps they are simply denying or ignoring what they know the Church does clearly teach. Regardless, any child receiving decent catechesis and anyone capable of reading the English language should recognize that Senator Biden’s beliefs are not “totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine.” One suspects, however, that the approach taken by Biden, Pelosi, and Co. will continue, which means the issue of abortion, Catholic politicians, and Church authority will continue to be a major story throughout the 2008 election.