The Bishop responds to the Speaker

The Archbishop of Denver, Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput has responded to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s incorrect remarks about the Catholic Church’s position on abortion and life. You can read the letter at this link (PDF.)

Chaput’s letter is clear and well written so it is hard to pick out the best line. Here is a good one.

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it – whether they’re famous or not – fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith.


  1. Thanks for posting this. Further proof that Nancy Pelosi is out of touch with common sense.

  2. Pelosi was speaking to the question of “when does life begin?”and she is right in that there is no consensus in the church as to the exact time that the body and soul become one.

    From Pope Benedict himself:

    “The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature [as to the time of ensoulment], but it constantly affirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion.”

    Not saying she is on the “right” side of the abortion issue in the eyes of the church, but she clearly understands that there is an ongoing debate in the church over when “life” begins.

  3. Annie Hoyle says

    The Pope may have been speaking of ensoulment (when ones soul is present in one’s physical body) but the Catholic Church has NEVER had an ongoing debate as to when life begins. As a cradle Catholic and a person who actually reads the Catechism of the Catholic Church, I can assure you that Catholics are always taught that life begins at the moment of conception.

    “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the right of every innocent being to life. ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.’……
    Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: ‘You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.’
    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2270-2272

    This comes directly from our Catechism and is absolutely what the Church teaches and believes. The “debate” as you say has nothing to do with the church but some of it’s less devout members. Nancy Pelosi is out of line! She really should keep her mouth shut on matters regarding the Catholic Church!

  4. I’m a Catholic as well Annie, and I understand the point you are trying to make. Also, let me state that I come at this from a perspective of someone who considers themselves pro-life (though in opposition to the tactics of the so-called “pro-life movement”).

    I go to bed every night reading at least a page from the Catechism. I understand the commitment to the life of the unborn.

    It remains true, however, that the church states that they are unsure of when “ensoulment” occurs. The commitment to opposing abortion from the moment of conception is because of that uncertainty.

    I’m not saying I agree with the speaker’s views on abortion rights, merely that she was correct when she stated that there is disagreement in the church about the matter.

  5. Annie Hoyle says

    I’m happy to hear someone else reads the Catechism! You are still wrong, there is no “disagreement in the church about the matter”. Life begins at conception. Ensoulment is a different story. You will not find priests, bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals or the Pope arguing over when life begins. There is no debate. BOGUS! Just like Nancy Pelosi, if you divert from the real issue, that life begins at conception (by talking about ensoulment) then you can muddy the waters enough to say.. “hey, we Catholics don’t really all agree on when life begins sooooooo we can feel better about killing unwanted babies… oh and that whole sex outside of marriage thing, not a big deal either!”

    I have no problem with Nancy Pelosi being pro-choice… I have a huge problem with her claiming to be Catholic!

  6. Annie,

    I can see where the first part of our debate is going, and I’d rather save such a hefty discussion for a different venue. Instead, I’d like to address the comment that a person cannot be both pro-choice and Catholic. I know many devout Catholics (including a priest) who consider them pro-choice, not because they like the procedure of abortion, but because they believe in the ability of people to make the right decision when presented with the proper information. It is not a moral question to them (they unanimously denounce the practice of abortion), but rather a question of what powers a government should have and even a question of the best way to reduce the number of abortions. On an aside, the pope has also rejected attempts to deny communion to pro-choice politicians.

    I think in this highly emotional fight we lose the ability to see the debate from our opponents point of view, and instead demonize them in an attempt to make the often dehumanizing sport of politics bearable. These people are not worse Catholics than you or I, they just have a philosophical disagreement about the role of government in our society.

  7. Annie Hoyle says

    WHAT?! Might I suggest a little light reading… “Catholics in the Public Square” by Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted.

    “There are, indeed many issues upon which Catholics may legitimately differ such as the best methods to achieve welfare reform or to address illegal immigration.

    Conversely, however, there are other issues that are intrinsically evil and can never legitimately be supported. For example, Catholics may never legitimately promote or vote for any law that attacks innocent human life.” page 23

  8. Abortion focuses on one simple fact: fertilize a human egg with sperm and a new human can be made.
    So are proponents of “choice” willing to admit that the women that want this choice are either 1) stupid and dont understand how babies are made or 2) irresponsible and dont care that their choice to have unprotected sex may result in a child?
    It is one or the other.
    Intelligent responsible women nearly never have to make a “choice”. Their only legitimate Choice is whether to create a life or not.

  9. Proponents of choice are proponents of selfishness.
    This is not just from the realm of religion but also from plain old common sense. If you take a chance on fertilizing an egg, you may end up with a child. Why is that so hard and complicated to understand?
    Women who argue that the church is trying to control the decisions about their bodies are simply being selfish because they are saying ” I was irresponsible and didn’t intend to get pregnant and now that I did get pregnant I want the option to end the pregnancy.”
    Does the drunk driver that kills someone in an accident get to say “oops, I didn’t intend to get drunk so give me a pass on killing that person?”
    Same principle.

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