Is Nancy Pelosi a Moral Theologian?

politics | Sep 16, 2008 | By Luiz Sergio Solimeo

The uproar continues over the recent statements of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who defended her pro-abortion stance or, to be more nuanced, her “pro-choice” stance supporting a woman’s “right” to choose between having a child or an abortion.

In her statement, she made it clear she was speaking “as an ardent, practicing Catholic” about “an issue that I have studied for a long time.” After saying that “the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition” of when life begins, she cites Saint Augustine to buttress her thesis and concludes that abortion is a decision “that a woman has to make with her doctor and her God.” For, she explains, “God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions.” She proposes contraception as a solution to diminish the number of abortions. 

In view of the reactions to her statements, Mrs. Pelosi later issued through her spokesman, Brendan Daly, a communiqué saying: “While Catholic teaching is clear that life begins at conception, many Catholics do not ascribe to that view.”

Bishops Condemn

The reaction by members of the Catholic hierarchy was immediate involving no fewer than two cardinals and ten archbishops and bishops. In their notes or comments, they demonstrated the historic and doctrinal errors in Mrs. Pelosi’s statements.

A communiqué by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops signed by 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, dispels Mrs. Pelosi’s confusion on the theory of delayed animation and its relationship with abortion. Delayed animation was a theory that questioned when the soul entered the body.

Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2271) the communiqué reaffirms that the Church has condemned abortion from its early days and goes on to explain the real meaning of medieval theories about delayed animation:

“While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development.”

Abortion and Same-Sex “Marriage”

Speaker Pelosi not only refuses Church doctrine on abortion but also regarding homosexual practice by defending same-sex “marriage.”

On August 27, Speaker Pelosi issued the following statement about the death of Dorothy L. Martin (a.k.a. Del Martin), a notorious lesbian activist:

"The loss of Del Martin is a great loss for me personally, and for our entire community. ... My heart goes out to her wife Phyllis, who was her devoted partner for more than 50 years. We would not have marriage equality in California if it weren’t for Del and Phyllis. They fought and triumphed in many battles, beginning when they first bought a home together in San Francisco in 1955.”[6]

Such support for same-sex “marriage” is consistent with other statements she has made. On May 27, 2008, for example, she commented:

"I've always been in favor of it. ... I'm excited about the new poll (showing most Californians support it) and I just hope that can be sustained and we can just put this thing to rest."


In addition, Mrs. Pelosi has participated several times in the “Gay Pride” parade in San Francisco and manifested her solidarity with that event when unable to participate personally. Likewise, she defended a blasphemous poster used by Folsom Street homosexuals to ridicule the Last Supper.

Abandoning Natural Law

The practices of abortion and homosexuality are clearly contrary to natural law, which in turn is a reflection of eternal law and of God’s wisdom and will governing the universe.
At the very least, accepting abortion (or the “pro-choice” euphemism) implies a denial of the fundamental principle of natural law (do good and avoid evil), since no one can claim abortion is good.

Once the distinction between good and evil has been denied the whole notion of morality is discarded and any deviant behavior can be accepted, including homosexual practice and same-sex “marriage.”

Thus, Speaker Pelosi’s position favoring abortion and homosexual “marriage” is consistent. Sadly, consistency in error draws people ever farther from the truth.

Here we repeat the extremely grave statement by Mrs. Pelosi, through her spokesman, Brendan Daly: “While Catholic teaching is clear that life begins at conception, many Catholics do not ascribe to that view.”

This statement clearly shows revolt against the Magisterium of the Church, and therefore against the Church Herself. At stake here is not the philosophical question of when animation takes place but the principle of natural and God’s law that condemns every attempt against innocent human life, and therefore, abortion.

Our Lord did not entrust His Church to feminist activists or politicians but to the Pope and bishops. Their function is not to adapt the message of the Gospel to the whims of the world but to preserve, maintain and correctly interpret Revelation.

On identifying herself with dissident Catholics who reject the Church’s Magisterium, the House Speaker seems to believe that her status as a politician supersedes that of a Catholic or that as a politician she is exempted from the dictates of natural law and divine law.

How, then, can she call herself an “ardent, practicing Catholic?”

The words of the Savior clearly resound in truly Catholic hearts:

“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. ... Whoever loves me will keep my word ... Whoever does not love me does not keep my word.”0]

One Cannot Serve Two Masters

In the final analysis, in their eagerness to render religion compatible with the world and appreciated by the worldly, dissident liberal Catholics increasingly abandon the most fundamental principles of Catholic dogma and morals.

However, one cannot please both God and the world. One cannot accept both the Law of God and the law of the world. This is the great illusion of liberals. In their quest to please the world they end up abandoning the Law of God even when paying lip service to it.

The admonition of Saint John is clear: “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Luiz Sergio Solimeo writes for TFP and appears here with permission.



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