By Hilary White
TULSA, Oklahoma, September 2, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa has joined his brother bishops in telling Nancy Pelosi that she cannot be Catholic and support abortion. Slattery, spiritual leader of Tulsa’s 56,094 Catholics, called Pelosi’s statements confusing and scandalous.
"Beginning in the first century and in every epoch since, the church has taught the sanctity of life in a consistent and unambiguous manner," Bishop Slattery said in a statement.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, told Tom Brokaw that the Catholic Church does not have a definitive teaching on when life begins, and that, therefore, abortion may be considered permissible. "Over the history of the church," she said, "this is an issue of controversy." She attempted to prove her claim by quoting the fifth century bishop and theologian, St. Augustine of Hippo.
But Pelosi’s attempt to re-write Christianity to suit her abortion advocacy has resulted in a chorus of opposition from Catholic bishops in the US. Bishop Slattery is the tenth to personally call Pelosi to conversion in addition to a general statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops have been joined by Catholic and other voices, including a number of US Congressmen, who have called on her to retract her statements.
"In our own generation, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states it with succinct precision," writes Slattery. "‘Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.’"
"Abortion is always gravely contrary to the moral law."
Bishop Slattery urged Catholics to vote for candidates who will protect the lives of the unborn.
Bishop Slattery’s comments were supported by Fr. Thomas Williams, the Vatican Analyst for CBS News, who wrote in the National Review Online that Pelosi should not have been surprised by the chorus of episcopal voices correcting her.
Fr. Williams wrote that being a pro-abortion Catholic is akin to being a Muslim who believes in more than one god, or an environmentalist who supports the seal slaughter. From a logical point of view, he said, the ideas of being pro-abortion and an "ardent" Catholic, as Pelosi claimed to be, are mutually exclusive.
"Polytheism is not an Islamic thing. An environmentalist who patronizes anti-ecological activities is not an environmentalist at all, but a subversive." Similarly, Pelosi’s position as a "pro-choice" Catholic is logically insupportable.
The speaker’s attempts to squeeze abortion rights into Catholic moral teaching were no more credible than trying to pass apartheid off as a legitimate goal of the civil rights movement. "Being Catholic" he wrote, "is no different. The title ‘Catholic’ presumes a whole string of basic beliefs."
He quotes one of the earliest known Christian works, the Didache, or "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," in which first century Christians read, "Do not kill a foetus by abortion, or commit infanticide."
"Such has been the consistent teaching throughout the history of Christianity and no amount of political posturing will change that."
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
"Catholic" Speaker Pelosi Denies that Catholicism Condemns Abortion
Two More Bishops and 19 Congressmen Slam Pelosi Arguments on Abortion
Read Fr. Williams’ column in National Review Online: