The hubris of Pope Pelosi

The Washington Post’s Melinda Henneberger recently had a chat with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in which the far-left politician reiterated her fierce condemnation of Republican efforts to strengthen conscience protections for healthcare providers:

In retrospect, does she think that assessment went too far? Not at all, she said: “They would” let women die on the floor, she said. “They would! Again, whatever their intention is, this is the effect.’’

Catholic health-care providers in particular have long said they’d have to go out of business without the conscience protections that Pelosi says amount to letting hospitals “say to a woman, ‘I’m sorry you could die’ if you don’t get an abortion.” Those who dispute that characterization “may not like the language,’’ she said, “but the truth is what I said. I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it ... but they have this conscience thing’’ that she insists put women at physical risk, although Catholic providers strongly disagree.

On one occasion, she said, laughing, one of her critics on the topic of abortion, speaking on the House floor, said, “Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the pope. They think like this. And of course I do — I think the pope would agree — and I know more than you, too, mister.’’

Click here for Morgan Witt’s excellent explanation of the truth behind the Protect Life Act. Here, let’s focus on Pelosi’s…curious…understanding of her faith. To begin with, her support for the right to abortion (under basically any circumstances) is a direct, explicit rejection of Catholic teaching stretching back all the way to 70 AD. Perhaps Tertullian said it best in 197 AD:

In our case, a murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from the other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed.

Can you really call yourself “devout” and claim to “honor” your faith while actively working to undermine its teachings on something as significant as murder? Of course not. But then, Pelosi seems to be operating from an entirely different definition of “devout,” as indicated by how casually she appoints herself a better authority on abortion than the Pope.

Even granting that a mother of five knows more about the experience of having babies than the Pope, it doesn’t follow that her word would trump his on abortion. Perhaps Rep. Pelosi would be so kind as to explain how her pregnancies revealed to her some game-changing insight as to either the Bible’s teachings about human life or the scientific consensus regarding embryology?

Now, it’s certainly Pelosi’s right to reject the authority of any number of past or present Church leaders. But if she does, she should at least be honest about that fact and its implications. She’s the one choosing to identify with a particular belief system, and like it or not, religions are a package deal. By signing on, she agrees to accept the Church’s understanding of fundamental good and evil.

Pelosi seems not to grasp—or care—that faith is about submitting to a wisdom and a will higher than one’s own, about recognizing that the limited, clouded perspective of mere mortals does not define truth and justice. It’s bad enough to play God, but to do so while professing to be among His faithful is the height of hubris.

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