It was really nice to see the number of responses by several bishops about Nancy Pelosi’s faulty Church history lesson. This is exactly the type of response that should be more common. Though I wonder which is worse 1) Misrepresenting the Church on a Sunday news show or 2) Voting for something intrinsically evil? It seems to me that a diocese should respond whenever a lawmaker from their dioces votes for something intrinically evil. This can be done charitably, but forcibly as Archbishop Chaput has done.
So far as I know Archbishop Chaput has been the only bishop to come out and mention that Sen. Biden is pro-abortion and specifically that he should not be receiving Communion. I would like to see the USCCB also make a statement about this. A selection of a pro-abortion Catholic should not go unnoticed by the Bishop’s conference since it will certainly not go unnoticed by Catholics and others.
I get the feeling many bishops don’t want to speak up because they don’t want to be seen as political and that is just a bit icky. This is certainly how it is always framed by the media when they do. It is just a sad thing that the Culture of Life is something political in the first place. I would love nothing more than if the political parties were all fully pro-life and all of are arguments could come down to just prudential decisions. Pray that this may be so. But speaking up for the unborn is not political, it is something required by the Gospel. Speaking up against evil whether it is when the Republicans promote torture and at times ESCR or when the Democrats the party of death promotes the myriad ways of the Culture of Death is something that must be done in political season and out of political season. If one party gets condemned more than the other it not partisanship, but because they are out of line with the natural law. So when a bishop does speak up for the truth – email or write to thank them. But most of all pray for your own bishop.
All credit where it’s due, the USCCB have actually put out a statement and it’s up on their website (hat tip to Amy Welborn, American Papist, and Whispers in the Loggia, amongst others):
“Bishops respond to House Speaker Pelosi’s misrepresentation of Church teaching against abortion
WASHINGTON–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, have issued the following statement:
In the course of a “Meet the Press” interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.
In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church 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.” (No. 2271)
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.
More information on the Church’s teaching on this issue can be found in our brochure “The Catholic Church is a Pro-Life Church”
Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life
“Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper”:
On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist
Abp. Chaput is a good man, but this new tactic of trying to re-define what the Church teaches merits a stronger response. Burke-style, I mean.
I’ve been very impressed with the bishops’ quick and forceful response. Is it possible that we are seeing the fruits of Pope Benedict’s recent visit to the U.S.?
For anyone interested, American Papist has a timeline of “Pelosi-Gate”:
I hope that we are seeing the beginning of more strong statements to come on the issue of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. But as the previous commenter alluded to, one does wonder what Archbishop Burke would have to say about this, if he were still the Archbishop of St. Louis. 🙂