WASHINGTON, August 26, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “Catholic” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s blatantly fallacious remarks on August 24 regarding the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion have triggered a tidal wave of criticisms from clergymen, congressmen and Catholics nationwide.

Responding to a question from NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Tom Brokaw about when human life begins, Pelsosi appealed to her extensive research on the issue as well as her “ardent” Catholic faith to claim that, “I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins.”

She asserted that “over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition,” in attempt to support her pro-abortion and pro-contraception stance.  Watch the full interview here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwUSt7dfj5I)

The response to Pelosi’s statements has been intense as Catholic leaders across America are wondering how a “Catholic” with a self-proclaimed broad understanding of the Catholic Church’s position on human life could have overseen the straightforward teaching contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).

Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl quoted this teaching (section 2270-2271 of the CCC) in a letter responding to Pelosi’s comments:  “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception…Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.” (Catechism, 2270-2271)

Rebuking her, Archbishop Wuerl said that, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.” For the full letter see: (http://www.adw.org/news/news.asp?ID=569&Year=2008)

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Denver, also issued a release on Pelosi’s remarks, explaining that Pelosi’s belief that a woman has the “right to choose” to end her baby’s life contradicts Catholic teaching and addressing her comments suggesting the Catholic Church has been polarized on the issue over the course of history.

None of the early Fathers “diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide.  In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong,” said Archbishop Chaput.
“Catholics who make excuses for it – whether they’re famous or not – fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith,” he added.  For the full letter see: (http://www.archden.org/images/ArchbishopCorner/ByTopic/onseparationofsense%26state_openlettercjc8.25.08.pdf)

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 also wrote a response letter.

After mentioning the fact that scientists are certain that “a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization,” the bishops wrote, “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.”  For the full letter see: (http://www.usccb.org/)

Edward Cardinal Egan of the Archdiocese of New York is another Church leader that has stepped up to defend the faith of his people.  Please see upcoming separate LifeSiteNews.com coverage on his comments.

It was not only the leaders of the Church that felt the need to correct Pelosi. Ten congressmen have sent Pelosi a letter asking her to publicly rectify her misrepresentation of Catholic teachings.

“As fellow Catholics and legislators, we wish you (Pelosi) would have made a more honest effort to lay out the authentic position of the Church on this core moral issue before attempting to address it with authority,” said the congressmen. “Your subsequent remarks mangle Catholic Church doctrine regarding the inherent sanctity and dignity of human life; therefore, we are compelled to refute your error.”
“To reduce the scandal and consternation caused amongst the faithful by your remarks, we necessarily write you to correct the public record and affirm the Church’s actual and historical teaching that defends the sanctity of human life,” concluded their letter, which contained the following signatures.

Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (MI)
Hon. Steve Chabot (OH)
Hon. Virginia Foxx (NC)
Hon. Phil Gingrey (GA)
Hon. Peter King (NY)
Hon. Steve King (IA)
Hon. Daniel Lungren (CA)
Hon. Devin Nunes (CA)
Hon. John Sullivan (OK)
Hon. Patrick Tiberi (OH)

See the full letter from the congressmen here:

Please see related coverage:
“Catholic” Speaker Pelosi Denies that Catholicism Condemns Abortion
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Latin America in the Balance: Mexican Supreme Court Deliberates on Abortion Constitutionality
Pro-life organizations monitoring the case are urging that people contact the justices by email
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MEXICO CITY, August 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In what could prove to be one of the most decisive events in the history of Latin America, the Supreme Court yesterday began its final deliberations on the constitutionality of abortion on demand, which was depenalized up to the 12th week of gestation by Mexico City in 2007.

After months of contentious public hearings, the justices will discuss the issue in several open sessions, which are being broadcast on cable television and the internet. They may vote on the issue as early as this week.

In order to strike down the law, at least eight of the eleven justices will have to vote against its constitutionality.  Pro-abortion forces believe they have three solid votes and are hoping for a fourth.  The justices are believed to be working under heavy pressure from both sides of the issue.

The court’s assigned “relator” for the case, who is charged with reviewing the legal issues involved and producing a written opinion, has concluded in a 610-page brief that the capital city’s law is unconstitutional.

The law has facilitated the abortions of over twelve thousand unborn children since its inception, and has provoked fierce opposition from the Mexican people, including the residents of Mexico City itself. 

In the year since its passage, support for abortion in the capital has fallen from 12% to 6% of the population, according to recent polls by Alducin and Associates and Consulta Mitofsky, reports El Universal.

The Alducin and Associates poll reportedly showed that 62% of Mexico City residents between the ages of 18 and 29 are opposed to abortion. 

The New York Times also reports that 85% of gynecologists in the nation’s capital are refusing to do the procedure on grounds of conscience.

Ingrid Tapia of the Center for the Integral Development of Women noted that if the justices failed to rule against the law, in an attempt to avoid being viewed as “conservative”, “the society would be disassociated from the political class” because the justices would be acting against what the citizenry “wants, thinks, and feels”.

Pro-life organizations monitoring the case are urging that people contact the justices by email to express their support for the right to life.