Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pope lectures Pelosi on abortion stance

Emphases and comments by Fr. Z:
Pope lectures Pelosi on abortion stance
By Mike Soraghan
Posted: 02/18/09 10:32 AM [ET]

Pope Benedict XVI made clear to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday that she cannot advocate for abortion rights and still be a good Catholic.

After meeting with Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the Vatican, the pontiff stressed that Catholic politicians are required to work to outlaw abortion, and stressed that church teachings are “consistent” on the matter.

Both seem aimed directly at Pelosi’s public positions. Though she considers herself an “ardent” Catholic, she is also a vocal supporter of abortion rights. She tangled with church officials last year about whether church teachings on abortion have been consistent.

After their meeting the Vatican issued a statement that read:

"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

The statement emphasizes that the church considers life to begin at conception and that legislators such as Pelosi are "enjoined" to work to create laws that "protect life at all stages of development."

In her own statement, Pelosi did not raise the issue of abortion, focusing instead on the social and economic issues where she is squarely in line with church teaching.

"I had the opportunity to praise the Church’s leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father’s dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel," Pelosi said.

The Pope’s brief statement mentioned none of those issues. [Right!]

Pope watchers found the Pope’s criticism rather mild.

“I think there was something for both sides,” said Dave Gibson, author of The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World. “When he talked about ‘a system of laws capable of protecting life,’ Pelosi can say ‘We Democrats do a better job of protecting children and mothers.’”

Gibson noted that Benedict has met with and given communion to pro-abortion rights Catholic politicians from Italy without controversy in the past.

Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, said he was heartened by what he considers a civil disagreement. He praised Pelosi for emphasizing social justice issues. [A "civil disagreement"? This guy, O’Brien, praises her for emphasizing social issues to the Pope when the Pope is instructing her…]

“These are the issues that are important to a majority of American Catholics,” O’Brien said. “The next time a bishop is talking wildly about excommunication, he should look at this exchange.” [I am beginning serious to dislike this fellow.]


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