Pelosi: St. Augustine Agrees With Me - That's My Story and I'm Sticking To It [UPDATED]
Despite admonishment from at least 6 different Catholic Bishops (including 2 Cardinals) regarding the Church's historic teaching against abortion since her Meet the Press appearance on Sunday, Speaker Pelosi appears prepared to stick to her discredited story that the views of St. Augustine and other Church Fathers on abortion match hers.
The following email was sent out from Speaker Pelosi's staff just a little while ago:
In response to questions, this is quote from me, Brendan Daly, spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in response to questions about her comments on Meet the Press on abortion on Sunday.My Comments:
“The Speaker is the mother of five children and seven grandchildren and fully appreciates the sanctity of family. She was raised in a devout Catholic family who often disagreed with her pro-choice views.
“After she was elected to Congress, and the choice issue became more public as she would have to vote on it, she studied the matter more closely. Her views on when life begins were informed by the views of Saint Augustine, who said: ‘…the law does not provide that the act [abortion] pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation…’ (Saint Augustine, On Exodus 21.22)
“While Catholic teaching is clear that life begins at conception, many Catholics do not ascribe to that view. The Speaker agrees with the Church that we should reduce the number of abortions. She believes that can be done by making family planning more available, as well as by increasing the number of comprehensive age-appropriate sex education and caring adoption programs.
“The Speaker has a long, proud record of working with the Catholic Church on many issues, including alleviating poverty and promoting social justice and peace.”
Well, you gotta give her credit for her very public and obstinate persistence.
Fr. Z has an excellent round-up on the controversy.
And Thomas Peters provides a very helpful timeline.
UPDATE #2 (27 August)
The Curt Jester: "Nancy Pelosi Patristic Scholar"
UPDATE #3 (27 August)
In other theology-related news, Speaker Pelosi calls into question the Church's teaching on the Real Presence:
The issue of abortion is not the only significant issue Pelosi is in disagreement with her church on. In a book edited by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s daughter Kerry Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi contributes an essay in which she announces:My granddaughter was getting ready for her First Communion. Around the time of the swearing-in, we were all just lying on the bed, after the tea or something, and she said to her mother, “I want to explain to Mimi” — that’s me — “that it is the body and blood of Christ. When we go to church, it is the body and blood of Christ.” So her mother, in the interest of trying to simplify, said “Yes, the host and the wine represent the body and blood of Christ.” And my granddaughter said, “Not represent. Is, it is the body and blood of Christ.” My granddaughter was buying into it, okay. But it is hard. Every Sunday for me it’s hard. Christ had died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Now think of it, we say that every week. Do I really believe he’s coming again? Yes, I believe he’s coming again. Christ died, Christ is risen, Chirst will come again. This is my body, this is my blood. They’re asking a lot. In my era, we didn’t question any of it.If you believe Christ is coming again and died for our sins to give us eternal life, “they’re” not asking all that much.
UPDATE #4 (27 August)
Archbishop Wuerl responds (once again) to Speaker Pelosi's defiant insistence on misrepresenting Church teaching:
The public feud over abortion between the Speaker of the House and the archbishop of Washington intensified Tuesday as Rep. Nancy Pelosi responded to his recent criticism and the archbishop fired another salvo at the California Democrat.(emphasis added)
The latest development came Tuesday evening, when Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl issued a statement to The Hill that brushed aside Pelosi’s explanation of her comments about conception on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press.”
... Wuerl swiftly denounced Pelosi’s statement, saying, “As the Catechism and early Church documents make clear, abortion is always an evil. That is an unchanging teaching. The question on when the soul enters the body was a philosophical question that grew out of a lack of scientific data at the time of St. Augustine. We have the data today which shows the embryo is human. There no longer is any discussion of whether the unborn is human and so the philosophical discussion of St. Augustine’s time is not relevant today.” (The Hill)