Apparently not satisfied with the honor of merely being speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has now anointed herself with a self-designated doctorate in theology. And her running mate, Joe Biden, has recognized and embraced her new apostolate.
Neither has any idea of what they have done.
Madam Pelosi has donned a bishop's mitre, (headgear) grasped her crosier (staff), and assumed the post as her party's chief theologian.
Appearing on "Meet the Press" after Tom Brokaw said that the Catholic Church feels strongly that life begins at conception, Pelosi had replied, "I understand. And this is, like, maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy.”
Claiming she had carefully researched church history she said, "I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins," adding that "over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition."
To buttress her case, she cited the fifth century St. Augustin's opinion that life doesn't begin until 40 days after conception. Pelosi, who supports legalized abortion, failed to mention that he also declared that abortion at any stage of pregnancy from conception until birth is a mortal sin.
That excursion into questionable theological history drew a sharp rebuke from the nation's Catholic bishops, who told her in no uncertain terms to butt out of a subject about which she obviously doesn't know one damned thing.
In the wake of her controversial statement, many Catholics, including her own Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco, and Edward Cardinal Egan of the Archdiocese of New York, chided Pelosi for her blatant misrepresentation of Catholic teaching on abortion.
In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a two-page document outlining the Catholic Church’s historical opposition to abortion since the first century.
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."
This is not would-be theologian Pelosi's only departure from the Church's strictures on abortion. She adamantly refuses to refrain from receiving Holy Communion, which, for 2000 years, the Church has proclaimed to be the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. As a believer in abortion, she is ineligible to partake of the sacrament.
She has now been summoned to a meeting with Archbishop Niederauer to discuss not only her errors in describing Church history regarding abortion but her continued defiance of the Church's demand that those in a state of mortal sin may not receive Communion. Supporting abortion is according to the Church, is mortally sinful.
Pelosi told CSPAN in an interview in August that it would be a "severe blow" if she was ever faced with the knowledge she wouldn't be able to have Communion.
“It depends on the bishop of a certain region, and, fortunately for me, Communion has not been withheld, and I’m a regular communicant, so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case,” she told CSPAN.
In the wake of her comments, a top Vatican official, former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke who now heads the office known as the Apostolic Signature (the Church's supreme court), said all Catholics, including politicians and office holders, should not receive Communion if they support abortion.
Archbishop Burke also issued a challenge to ministers, lay and clerical who distribute Communion, that they are to make sure they are not giving the sacrament to pro-abortion lawmakers who have not repented from their position, which is at odds with the pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church.
Communion should be denied to pro-abortion politicians “until they have reformed their lives," he said.
Now comes Obama's running mate Joe Biden. A week after Pelosi's appearance on "Meet The Press," and after church leaders has publicly rebuked her distortion of Church history and doctrine, when Brokaw asked Biden, "if you believe that life begins at conception, and you've also voted for abortion rights . . ." Biden replied "No, . . . I voted against curtailing the right, criminalizing abortion. I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view that it's a moment of conception."
He continued, "There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that's existed. Back in "Summa Theologia," when Thomas Aquinas wrote "Summa Theologia," he said there was no — It didn't occur until quickening, 40 days after conception."
Cardinal Egan and America's Catholic bishops however, clearly state that Church doctrine and St. Augustin both declare that abortion at any time during pregnancy is mortally sinful — a doctrine which, as a Catholic, Biden is obliged to accept but instead defies.
Said Catholic League President Bill Donohue: "Obama and Biden have muddied the abortion issue further by pretending that it is not, first and foremost, a human rights issue. When life begins is a question answered by science, and that answer is not in doubt: Life begins at conception. That's why atheists like Nat Hentoff are against abortion — because it kills! By casting abortion as a matter of religion, Obama and Biden are seeking to take an issue which has universal significance and turn it into a parochial quarrel.
"Biden would do well not to invoke Aquinas as giving support for his views. It is true that St. Thomas believed that ensoulment did not take place until 40 days after conception, but at no time did he ever seek to justify abortion — he knew it was a grave evil."
What neither Pelosi nor Biden realize is that with their open defiance of their Church they have done what Adm. Yamaguchi said Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor had done: "awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve."
They have at last awakened the nation's slumbering bishops and filled them with a terrible resolve to do their jobs and enforce church doctrine — a development which must inevitably lead all of them to instruct their flocks that they must not support political candidates who support abortion. It's about time!
Thanks Nancy. Thanks Joe.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s.
He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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