Dallas, TX. (DFW Catholic) – Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented Catholic teaching on NBC’s “Meet the Press” broadcast last Sunday, many Catholics have stood up for their Faith, denouncing Ms. Pelosi’s statements. Many of our nation’s Catholic Bishops have reacted quickly to clarify Church teachings with regards to abortion and that life begins at conception.
Through the Dallas Diocesan Office, Bishop Farrell has released the following statement:
Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee for 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.
Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Diocese of Dallas strongly supports the statement from Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Lori and adds, “I very much respect House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s right to speak to public policy. However, interpreting the teachings of the Church is not in her domain but is entrusted to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and to the bishops who are in communion with him. The Catholic Church from the beginning of time has condemned abortion as immoral and contrary to the laws of God.”
Bishop Farrell also went on to direct people to Articles 2270-2271 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that states,
2270 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 rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.