It’s bad enough when secular pro-aborts ignorantly lecture religions on their pro-life values, but professed members of those religions doing the same is particularly shameful. On Monday, the New York Times ran an interview with House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi, in which she casually dismisses any notion of inconsistency between her pro-abortion radicalism and her self-identification as a devout Catholic.
Pelosi goes on and on about her adoration for meeting and seeing past popes, going so far as to claim, “I loved Benedict’s writings and speeches,” which the NYT follows up by writing that she “carefully reads each encyclical with the rapt attention of a serious cook who devours every issue of ‘Bon Appétit.’”
The article also includes Pelosi’s video welcome to Pope Francis, in which she credits him for “inspir[ing] a new generation of people, regardless of religious affiliation, to be instruments of God’s peace,” and claims:
The lesson of the Bible is to minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us. From immigration and the climate crisis to poverty and peace, Pope Francis’s moral leadership has challenged the world to meet that responsibility to the future of our children. Pope Francis is a brilliant beacon of the divine spark that resides in each of us, and he upholds the beautiful call to compassion within the Gospel of Matthew: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’
From posturing as someone who hangs on every pope’s every word to suggesting her positions on amnesty and global warming spring directly from her religious duties to invoking “responsibility to children” and the “divine spark that resides in each of us,” this paints a distinct picture of someone who takes her faith very, very seriously… if taken at face value.
But what about the “thou shalt not murder” discrepancy? Pelosi dismisses it on the grounds that the “church has their position, and we have ours, which is that a woman has free will given to her by God. My family is very pro-life.” For good measure, she adds, “I actually agree with the pope on more issues than many Catholics who agree with him on one issue.”
So when papal guidance happens to line up with what Pelosi wants to do anyway, it rises to the level of “responsibility,” dissent from which “dishonor[s] the God who made us.” But when she has to chose between her politics and piety, she happily chooses the former and demotes tenets she doesn’t like to the “church’s position.”
According to the faith Pelosi claims to revere, that doesn’t fly. First, the Bible teaches Christians of every denomination the following:
- Genesis 9:6: ““Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”
- Proverbs 6:16-17: “hands that shed innocent blood” are “detestable to” the Lord.
- Psalm 106:38-40: “They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters […] Therefore the Lord was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance.”
- Matthew 19:17-18: Jesus taught, “If you want to enter life, keep the commandments,” including “You shall not murder.”
- Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Second, Catholicism applies these teachings clearly:
Catechism 2271-2273: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable […]
“Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,” “by the very commission of the offense,” and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law […]
“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined.”
The above makes clear that opposing abortion isn’t merely a “position” of the Catholic Church its members are free to take or leave on a whim, but a binding moral duty coming directly from the Word of God. If you’re a true Catholic, being pro-life isn’t optional. It may not be the only necessary condition to Catholicism, but checking a handful of other boxes on the fidelity scale doesn’t exempt you from the duty to honor this one, too.
By contrast, the church teachings Pelosi does want to make binding don’t go nearly as far as she pretends. It teaches against “any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment,” but doesn’t command the faithful to believe humans cause global warming or support cap & trade. Similarly, it teaches prosperous nations to “welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin,” but allows making immigration “subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption.”
On these and a range of other lesser issues, Catholicism prescribes the broad principles to consider while evaluating them—compassion, regard for consequences, etc.—but recognizes that specific solutions depend on a litany of material facts, logistical considerations, competing cause-effect theories, and competing goods on which equally pious and well-meaning people can arrive at different conclusions. So Pelosi has the hierarchy of issues exactly backwards—she uses religion to push causes that her faith doesn’t prescribe, and uses relativism to oppose what her faith expressly commands.
But don’t take my word for it. Considering what a big fan of Pope Benedict XVI the former House Speaker claims to be, let’s consult him on the subject:
[L]ife is the first good received from God and is fundamental to all others; to guarantee the right to life for all and in an equal manner for all is the duty upon which the future of humanity depends […] Consequently, everyone must be helped to become aware of the intrinsic evil of the crime of abortion. In attacking human life in its very first stages, it is also an aggression against society itself. Politicians and legislators, therefore, as servants of the common good, are duty bound to defend the fundamental right to life, the fruit of God’s love.
Curious that such a voracious reader of Papal instruction missed that….
For Nancy Pelosi, religion is little more than another political tool to exploit when politically useful and toss aside when inconvenient. But ultimately, her doing it is less scandalous than her getting away with it. The Catholic Church deems promotion of abortion an excommunicable offense, and if they don’t want to send the message that a politician can remain in their good graces while pushing death, they should exercise that power.