In the September 5 edition of Catholic San Francisco, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Archbishop George H. Niederauer has a column that addresses House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent comments on abortion. The piece ends by stating that he has asked to meet with her about this matter.

On August 24, Pelosi said on “Meet the Press” that the Catholic Church was not always opposed to abortion, and that many Catholics today take a different position on this issue. Three days later, Pelosi’s office issued a statement that essentially restated her remarks, though it acknowledged that the Church was today opposed to abortion.

Subsequently, many Catholics, including Archbishop Niederauer, chided Pelosi for misrepresenting Catholic teaching on abortion. Moreover, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops not only issued a news release criticizing Pelosi for her comments, on September 2 it also released a two-page document outlining the Catholic Church’s historical opposition to abortion since the first century.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue spoke to this issue today:

“San Francisco Archbishop Niederauer did not force this issue on Nancy Pelosi—she forced it on him. His article is a cogent account of what the bishops expect from Catholics in public life, spelling out in great detail how the process works when dissidents like Pelosi continue in their obstinacy. The Church regards abortion to be ‘intrinsically evil.’

“Four years ago, another Catholic dissident on this subject, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, did the right thing by announcing that he would abide by the Church’s strictures and no longer present himself for Communion. That is exactly what Pelosi should have done. Instead, she chose to defy the teachings of the Catholic Church, misrepresent them in public and continue to insist that she is right. Thus has she beckoned her bishop to act. The ball is in her court. Practicing Catholics, of course, strongly support Archbishop Niederauer.

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