Friday, March 02, 2007

Bishop Vasa on Nancy Pelosi: It's "Categorically Impossible" to be Catholic and Hold Abortion is "Just a Choice"

(Hat tip: Jeff Miller at Catholics in the Public Square and Jean at Catholic Fire)

From LifeSiteNews:
PORTLAND, OR, March 1, 2007 ( - "It is categorically impossible for the same person to state that he or she believes simultaneously both what the Catholic Church teaches and that abortion is just a choice," says Bishop Robert Vasa in a column released today by the Catholic Sentinel, the diocesan newspaper of the Archdiocese of Portland and the Diocese of Baker.

Although Vasa, the Bishop of Baker, did not mention her by name, he was referring in his column to Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi specifically, and to all politicians of a similar ilk in general.

"Some months ago a prominent Catholic public person," says Vasa, "described as faithful to the church, was asked if being pro-choice or pro-abortion was an issue which conflicted with the Catholic Faith." He goes on to quote verbatim what Nancy Pelosi stated in a highly publicized interview with Newsweek in October last year. "To me it isn't even a question. God has given us a free will. We're all responsible for our actions. If you don't want an abortion, you don't believe in it, [then] don't have one. But don't tell somebody else what they can do in terms of honoring their responsibilities."

Vasa then adds a comment by Pelosi's daughter Alexandra Pelosi, calling her only a "close relative" of the unnamed prominent Catholic. Alexandra was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle on January 17 as saying that according to her Catholic school education neither abortion nor homosexuality were wrong, "They were just choices."

"It seems to me that there are just choices and there are unjust choices," counters Bishop Vasa. "Choices would be the preference for chocolate ice cream over vanilla ice cream or sherbet instead of ice cream. That is just a choice."

"A just choice would be to choose to pay a fair and living wage to employees as opposed to simply meeting the mandatory standard of minimum wage laws," he wrote. "An unjust choice would be to choose to terminate the life of another human being. This is not just a choice and it is not a just choice; it is an unjust choice."

My Comments:
For a second time*, I note that, in my view, Bishop Vasa's approach to addressing pro-abort Catholic politicians compares somewhat more favorably to that of Archbishop Wuerl.

* There are a couple of links in a chain of posts here that originates with this post from August 2005. I will readily admit that in that post I was overly harsh in my criticism of then-Pittsburgh Bishop Wuerl. And I was certainly being overly-presumptuous and arrogant in talking about "what a bishop should be saying". While I am still in disagreement with (1) the notion that Bishops should get the approval of the USCCB before taking action against pro-abort politicians in their own dioceses and (2) the kid-glove handling that Nancy Pelosi has received at the hands of Archbishop Wuerl, I hope that I have grown enough in my own spiritual maturity and faithfullness to the Church and her shepherds since that time that I no longer criticize the Successors of the Apostles in such brazen terms.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:

on Bishop Vasa
National Catholic Register on Bishop Vasa: "The Miter and the Blackboard"

“Pro-Choice” Position is Heresy Says Oregon Catholic Bishop

Is Bishop Vasa Headed to Cleveland?

on Nancy Pelosi
Worth a Thousand Words

Nancy Pelosi: "My Family is Very Pro-Life"

Catholicism, Pelosi style

Archbishop Wuerl's Stand on Lawmakers Who Back Abortion Angers Some Conservative Catholics

NARAL Pro-Choice America Salutes Nancy Pelosi on Her Inauguration as Speaker of the House

American Life League's Judie Brown: Pro-Abortion Pelosi Insults Catholic Faith

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At 3/02/2007 8:22 AM, Blogger Leticia said...

OK, so explain to me why Bishop Wuerl is the keynote speaker at this year's Catholic Prayer Breakfast?
How dare he walk in the sandals of Blessed Mother Teresa, who at that breakfast, looked the Clintons and Gores in the eyes, and said, "the greatest destroyer of peace in the world is ABORTION!"

At 3/02/2007 8:42 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Well, it is his Archdiocese. And in fairness to Abp. Wuerl, I don't think he's a bad guy. I just think maybe he lacks the will to act on his convictions.

Which is a shame. His catechetical works show him to be an excellent and solidly orthodox teacher. How much good he could do if he would just be more vocal and speak publicly on issues like abortion?

If Abp. Wuerl is worried about being overly-confrontational, he can look to Abp. Chaput as an example of a bishop who teaches openly and publicly about public policy issues without being in-your-face. Bishop Olmsted is another good example.

Of course, in my mind, the late John Cardinal O'Connor is the paradigm of a bishop who speaks on matters of social and public policy. Unfortunately, I don't think we have too many in the hierarchy like him.

At 3/02/2007 11:38 PM, Anonymous HM Arsen said...

When I was a young lad, I had a very vivid imagination. I imagined all kinds of monsters and wicked knights in my back yard. I, of course, would fantasize donning my coat of mail and my shining armor, take up my sword and slay those dastardly foes. Needless to say, I prevailed every time.

Bishop Vasa is great on words. When it comes to actually having to enforce them in his own diocese, however, it is a very different matter. It's a comfortably safe exercise to make such bold assertions – with the implication that, if such-and-such a person were in his diocese, he would not administer Holy Communion until that person repented – knowing full well that the likelihood of a John Kerry or a Nancy Pelosi ever showing foot in the backwater diocese of Baker is pretty slim.

I wonder if he would be equally bold if it were he who had to wear the miter of the Archbishop of Washington...or San Francisco...or...or...


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