After Cardinal Egan released a statement yesterday belittling Nancy Pelosi’s comments on abortion, the House Speaker released her own statement.
She won’t back down from her contention that the Catholic Church — Pelosi is Catholic — has not always had clear teachings about abortion.
Her spokesman, according to the AP, says her views are based on the “views of Saint Augustine, who said: ‘… the law does not provide that the act (abortion) pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation …’ ”
On “Meet the Press” Sunday, Pelosi said that the “doctors of the church” have not always agreed on when life begins.
Egan responded with: “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.”
Additionally, Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishopsâ€™ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the U.S. Bishopsâ€™ Committee on Doctrine, have issued their own statement. Here it is in full:
In the course of a â€œMeet the Pressâ€ 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 Churchâ€™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.