Archbishop Chaput Weighs in on Pelosi Meeting with Pope - Says Pelosi Should not Receive Communion



By Kathleen Gilbert

DENVER, Colorado, February 20, 2009 ( - Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver expressed his support in an interview with Fox News for Pope Benedict XVI’s message last week to pro-abortion "Catholic" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in which the Pope enjoined the Speaker to protect human life from conception.

"Every Catholic, whether you’re famous or anonymous ... has a responsibility to be faithful to what our Church believes about human life, and we believe human life is sacred and precious from the moment of conception," said Chaput during the interview.  Chaput also said he was happy that the Pope "took the occasion to remind her of something very important."

Asked to expand on Church teaching on abortion, Chaput said "there’s no doubt" that the Church has always taught the sacredness of life from the moment of conception, and that "abortion is always wrong in all circumstances." 

In an appearance on Meet the Press last August, Speaker Pelosi had attempted to justify abortion in light of her Catholic faith by citing St. Augustine’s discussion of when the soul enters the living human fetus. She concluded that "the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition" on when human life begins.

"It’s not a fairly black-and-white issue, it’s a clearly black-and-white issue," said Chaput.  "The Church without doubt believes that human life begins at conception." 

Cavuto then pressed the archbishop: "Would you grant her [Pelosi] Communion in your church?"

Chaput responded, "I would like to talk to her if she were coming to a church in the Archdiocese of Denver. I would say to her what I would say to anyone: again, if you don’t accept what the Church teaches, you shouldn’t present yourself for Communion, because Communion means you’re in agreement with what the Church teaches. 

"As I said to you earlier, that applies to all of us, and I would expect her to abide by where the Church stands on these important matters." 

Chaput rejected the notion that Pelosi’s duty as a Catholic to protect life, even within a heavily pro-abortion culture, put her in a "box."  "I don’t think it’s a ‘box’ to defend the truth and to stand up for what you know to be right, even if others in the community disagree with you," said Chaput, who added that Catholic politicians, as good Americans and good Catholics, have a duty to uphold "basic human rights."

"This is a human rights issue from the point of view of the Church, and not a theological or religious perspective," said Chaput.  "Our religious perspective supports that, but that’s not the source of our belief about the sacredness of human life." 

The archbishop mentioned that he was "very disturbed" by the repeal of the Mexico City Policy, which had barred federal aid to overseas abortion providers, and rejected the notion that such a policy was essentially partisan.  "I think that abortion should not be a partisan issue, it’s a human rights issue, and it would be nice if people from both parties would take the right position," he said. 

Archbishop Chaput is one of the most outspoken advocates for the unborn among U.S. bishops, and is the author of the book Render Unto Caesar, which examines the role of Catholics in political life.

See related coverage:

Pelosi Spin on Meeting With Pope Dramatically Different From Vatican Statement

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