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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Speaker Pelosi Wrong About Catholic Doctrine - Promptly Catechized

From Hugh Hewitt's blog:

Now the full weight of the Catholic Church is coming down on Nancy Pelosi.  Bravo to Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Lori who join Archbishop Chaput in setting an example for their fellow Church leaders.  Now, how about the Bishop of San Francisco?  The story:
Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, have issued the following statement:

In the course of a “Meet the Press” interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, 2008, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.

The Church has always taught that human life deserves respect from its very beginning and that procured abortion is a grave moral evil. In the Middle Ages, uninformed and inadequate theories about embryology led some theologians to speculate that specifically human life capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy. While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development.

These mistaken biological theories became obsolete over 150 years ago when scientists discovered that a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization. In keeping with this modern understanding, the Church has long taught that from the time of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with respect for the fundamental right to life.

Comments (4)

Hey Dr Beckwith. I'm a NT/early Judaism/early christianity guy, and I've got some historical stuff up here -- early Jews and Christians on abortion and infanticide. You may find it interesting and complementary to your own philosophical work.

Science may further help tear apart the argument for abortion with the advent of the artificial womb. Once they become common enough, it will be easy for anti-abortion activists to show that there is no medical argument for abortion, since the embryo can be transported into an artificial womb at the parents' reasonable expense. I suspect that many pro-choicers would grudgingly agree to that, as it would be a perfect way to simultaneously "respect a woman's reproductive rights," while taking abortion out of the picture. Furthermore, most of them would instinctively realize that if they dissented, it would blow apart any pretense they ever had that they didn't think abortion was a good choice.

It is about time! It is an enduring mystery to me and a scandal that our bishops have been so slow to speak out about pro-abortion Catholic politicians and their games-playing with Catholic teaching.

She not only accepts abortion but agitates for it . Perhaps it's time she was urged to go to a more "modern" church.
Early theories did not realize the child came from one cell. They didn't know that the child began to grow immediately after fertilization. They thought of it as seeds sitting fallow in the ground. But the basic question was always the same: When does the child begin to have a life. (Or put another way: When did you and I start to live?) Science today has answered that question. Today we know about cells. So the question today has become: Is it a sin to kill a child? Will the mother, or the medical people be punished in the afterlife. Is there life after death? SO, it's sort of important for a religion to address the matter. Is it murder? Is murder wrong if it's legal?

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