Says Church's Stance Remains Unchanged
FARGO, North Dakota, AUG. 28, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has "created confusion" with regard to the Church's stance against abortion, says the bishop of Fargo.
Bishop Samuel Aquila said this in a the latest in a series of episcopal statements that have responded to comments made by Pelosi during an interview Sunday on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press."
Pelosi, when asked to comment on when life begins, said that as a Catholic, she had studied the issue for "a long time" and that "the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition."
Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U. Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, said in a statement Monday that her answer "misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion."
The prelates noted that since the first century the Church has “affirmed the moral evil of every abortion.”
Statements were also released by Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., Archbishop Charles Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop James Conley of Denver, and Cardinal Edward Egan, the archbishop of New York.
The Diocese of Fargo released a letter Wednesday written by Bishop Aquila who said that while the remarks "created confusion in regard to Catholic teaching," those familiar with it "can easily recognize the flaws in her remarks."
"The Christian teaching on abortion throughout history is unchanged," he continued. "Human life from the moment of conception is to always be respected, treated with dignity, and protected.
"Catholics who support so called abortion rights support a false right, promote a culture of death."
"Out of respect for the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Church," added Bishop Aquila, "any Catholic who supports abortion rights has placed himself or herself outside of visible unity with the Church and thus should refrain from receiving holy Communion."
On Tuesday, Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, issued a similar statement.
"The Church has taught for centuries that life begins at conception and there is no room for misrepresentation of that teaching," he said. "In addition, modern medical techniques have been able to confirm what the Church has already known.
“Surely, there may be some Catholic politicians who will take a different interpretation of this Church doctrine during the coming election campaign, but Speaker Pelosi’s remarks underscore once again the need for Catholics, and especially Catholic politicians, to form their consciences according to the moral truths taught by the Catholic Church.”