House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized pro-life voters in a “You and Me Both with Hilary Clinton” podcast on January 18, saying they caused her “great grief as a Catholic.” Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, issued a statement in response to Pelosi’s comments.
“[Y]ou take the abortion issue — and many of these people are very good people; that’s just their point of view,” Pelosi told Clinton. “But they were willing to sell the whole democracy down the river for that one issue.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that while there are other important social justice issues such as poverty and the death penalty, abortion is the “preeminent priority.” Cordileone, overseeing the region which Pelosi represents politically, echoed this in his own statement rebuking Pelosi.
“To begin with the obvious: Nancy Pelosi does not speak for the Catholic Church,” wrote Cordileone. “She speaks as a high-level important government leader, and as a private citizen. And on the question of the equal dignity of human life in the womb, she also speaks in direct contradiction to a fundamental human right that Catholic teaching has consistently championed for 2,000 years.” (emphasis added)
Despite Pelosi claiming to be a practicing Catholic, she has gone against Catholic teaching for years, even denying in 2008 that the church knows when life begins. But Cordileone states that Catholics — and all of Christianity — have always understood that abortion is a grave moral sin.
“Christians have always understood that the commandment, ‘Thou shall not kill,’ applies to all life, including life in the womb,” he wrote. “Around the end of the first century the Letter of Barnabas states: ‘You shall not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shall you destroy it after it is born’ (#19). One thousand, eight hundred and sixty-five years later, the Second Vatican Council affirmed: ‘Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes’ (Gaudium et spes, n. 51).”
Cordileone said that Pope Francis carries on this teaching, as he has said that abortion “is never the answer that women and families are looking for” and has likened abortion to hiring a “hitman.” Cordileone believes Pelosi owes pro-life voters an apology.
“There are many issues of very grave moral consequence that Catholics must weigh in good conscience when they vote,” said Cordileone.”But one thing is clear: No Catholic in good conscience can favor abortion. ‘Right to choose’ is a smokescreen for perpetuating an entire industry that profits from one of the most heinous evils imaginable. Our land is soaked with the blood of the innocent, and it must stop.”
Cordileone’s entire statement can be found here.
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