The entertaining Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, is not yet running for Pope, but this has not prevent her from correcting Catholic theologians when they fall short of modern perceptions.
Most of the Catholic Church, minus Mrs. Pelosi, is unhappy with the slaughter of the innocents that has occurred in the Unites States since the US Supreme Court, in various opinions, struck down state laws forbidding abortion.
The Catholic Church’s doctrine on abortion began to take form in the first century. To be sure, doctrine, as Cardinal Henry Newman insists (see "On The Development of Christian Doctrine"), does admit of development; which is to say, the doctrine, as it encounters different obstacles in its course through history, does change somewhat to meet new contingencies.
But there is a world of difference between development and categorical change. During the birth cycle, developmental changes occur in the fetus, but there is no radical change – in the absence of an abortion – such that the human being that is the end product in the process changes, shall we say, into a fish or a head of lettuce.
Well, Christian doctrine is a little bit like that.
The Catholic Church did not started out with a rather firm prohibition in the first century on abortion only to end, in the 21st century, with a doctrine that repeals its first perception that abortion and infanticide, practiced by the Roman paterfamilias -- usually on unwanted female children -- are violations against the dignity of the human person.
Mrs. Pelosi, who is a Catholic, was questioned on the matter of her church’s opposition to abortion by Tom Brokaw in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. In the course of the interrogatory, she said that “doctors of the church” have not been able to define when life begins and that "over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy."
When Brocaw pointed out that the Catholic Church “at the moment, feels very strongly it begins at the point of conception,” Pelosi said, “I understand that. And this is like in 50 years or something like that,” implying that the Catholic Church’s present view is of recent origin.
The Catholic Church did not start out with a rather firm prohibition in the first century on abortion only to end, in the 21st century, with a doctrine that repeals its first perception that abortion and infanticide, practiced by the Roman paterfamilias -- usually on unwanted female children -- are violations against the dignity of the human person.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver and his auxiliary bishop, James Conley, rose to correct the Speaker.
“Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills,” both said in a statement. “Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.” Abortion, they affirmed, “is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it.”
The archbishop also wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Democratic vice presidential nominee-in-waiting Sen. Joseph Biden, like Mrs. Pelosi a Catholic, should refrain from receiving Communion because of his abortion stance.
NARAL has given Mrs Pelosi a perfect 100% score on her positions on abortion. The group has not rated the Pope. But, as many pro-abortionists will readily admit, neither the Pope nor Jesus -- "Suffer the children to come unto me" -- have many battalions in this contest, which is why, according to an exhaustive surveillance survey done by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in 2003, about one in five pregnancies end in abortion.