House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., drew the ire of her hometown Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone Thursday after commenting that as a ''devout Catholic'' she supports repealing the Hyde Amendment that bans taxpayer-funded abortions.
Pelosi said Democrats were looking to overturn the 1980s era Hyde Amendment that prohibits Medicaid to pay for elective abortions, something has been a priority for her and the party ''for a long time.''
''As a devout Catholic and mother of five in six years, I feel that God blessed my husband and me with our beautiful family — the five children in six years — almost to the day. But it’s not up to me to dictate that that’s what other people should do,'' Pelosi said during a Thursday press conference when asked about supporting taxpayer funded abortions. ''And it’s an issue of fairness and justice for poor women in our country.''
Her comments drew a quick rebuke from the Catholic Church leadership in her San Francisco, California, district.
''Let me repeat: no one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,'' San Francisco Archbishop Savatore Cordileone said in a statement. ''The right to life is a fundamental — the most fundamental — human right, and Catholics do not oppose fundamental human rights.
''To use the smokescreen of abortion as an issue of health and fairness to poor women is the epitome of hypocrisy: what about the health of the baby being killed? What about giving poor women real choice, so they are supported in choosing life?
"This would give them fairness and equality to women of means, who can afford to bring a child into the world,'' the statement continued. ''It is people of faith who run pro-life crisis pregnancy clinics; they are the only ones who provide poor women life-giving alternatives to having their babies killed in their wombs.
"I cannot be prouder of my fellow Catholics who are so prominent in providing this vital service. To them I say: you are the ones worthy to call yourselves 'devout Catholics!'''
The abortion issue collided with official Catholic doctrine this year with the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the second Catholic to hold the office since John F. Kennedy, who has supported the right to abortion throughout his decades-long political career.
Earlier this year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops considered whether practicing Catholic politicians like Biden and Pelosi should be allowed to take Holy Communion during Mass while supporting abortion, which the church officially opposes.
''This (issue) was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion,'' the organization said in a ''Frequently Asked Questions'' post June 21. ''Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.''
The bishops said that denying communion was not going to be a ''national policy,'' and was not intended from their vote earlier this month.
''The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us,'' the document said.
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