San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, responding to recent statements made by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, says there is no debate in the Catholic Church about life beginning at conception and no room for Catholics to "dissent" on the principle.
During a press conference on Jan. 22, the same day the pro-life group "March for Life" was holding its annual rally in Washington, Pelosi would not answer whether she believes life begins at 20 weeks, saying that "it's not up to politicians to" make that decision, The Daily Caller reported
"The life and the health of a mother is what is preeminent when a decision is made about a woman's reproductive health," the California Democrat, who's district includes San Francisco, explained, adding that since she is a "Catholic and a mom of five" that it's "true" that "she knows more about having babies than the pope."
When asked about these comments, Archbishop Cordileone told CNSNews.com
that "it is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception. This has been established in medical science for over 100 years.
"Catholic moral teaching acknowledges this scientific fact, and has always affirmed the grave moral evil of taking an innocent human life," Cordileone explained.
"This has been the consistent teaching of the Church from the very beginning, a teaching already discernible in the natural moral law, and so a teaching from which no Catholic can dissent in good conscience," he said.
"It is the obligation of pastors of souls to reach out to their people who have difficulty understanding and accepting such important teachings of the Church in order to extend to them true pastoral care and, where appropriate, to establish a regular dialogue," the archbishop said.
"This is something I have always striven to do in the various ministries I have exercised as a priest and bishop, including now as the Archbishop of San Francisco," he added.
During the briefing, Pelosi was answering questions about abortion measures she opposes that were recently introduced by House Republicans.
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act bans abortions for women who are 20-weeks or more
pregnant, except in the case of rape, incest or a risk to the mother's life. This measure did not pass the House after protest that women citing rape would have to report the rape to police to use this exemption.
The other measure was aimed at stopping taxpayer funding of abortions
, which passed the House on Thursday.
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