Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments today on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s continued dispute with the Catholic Church:
“On August 24, Pelosi contested the fact that the Catholic Church has always been unequivocally opposed to abortion. After being roundly criticized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and many individual bishops—led by Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput—as well as ten Catholic congressmen, the Catholic League et al., Pelosi’s office admitted yesterday that ‘Catholic teaching is clear that life begins at conception.’ Unfortunately, after this confession of ignorance, the statement continued by offering the quip that ‘many Catholics do not ascribe to that view.’ The release also said she shared the view of St. Augustine on the subjects of abortion and ensoulment.
“Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia, wrote in his 1997 book, Issues of Faith and Morals, that St. Augustine ‘believed that the embryo was ensouled at 46 days. Nevertheless, he also believed that it was gravely wrong to kill a formed or unformed fetus.’ It is instructive to note that philosophical discussions about the soul, and research on embryology, continue to advance beyond the knowledge available in the 5th century. In any event, Pelosi will find no relief for her bizarre reasoning by citing St. Augustine, or any other Church Father.
“Nor does her argument gain strength by pointing out that not all Catholics agree with the Church on this subject. So what? There are plenty of Catholics living a life rife with sin that seek to justify their behavior by saying they disagree with the Church on the source of their delinquency. What the House Speaker doesn’t get is that the Church is no more a democracy than the Democratic and Republican parties are: none arrive at conclusions based on referenda. Moreover, in the instance of the Catholic Church, the Magisterium is not the functional equivalent of the DNC or the RNC.
“Maybe that’s the source of Pelosi’s confusion—she really doesn’t understand the difference between the teaching authority of the Catholic Church and the DNC.”