By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 27, 2008 ( – A spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the speaker’s position as a “pro-abortion Catholic”, not because the Church is unclear on when life begins, as earlier stated, but because Catholics routinely contravene “clear Catholic teaching” against abortion.

In a statement praising Pelosi’s appreciation for “the sanctity of the family,” Brenda Daly, speaking for Pelosi, said, “While Catholic teaching is clear that life begins at conception, many Catholics do not ascribe to that view.”

In the controversial interview on NBC’s Meet The Press that spawned Daly’s statement, Pelosi had said,  “The Doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition [of when life begins],” and called it “an issue of controversy” throughout the history of the Church.  “St. Augustine said at three months.  We don’t know,” said Pelosi.

Brenda Daly’s statement says that Pelosi is not justified in her pro-abortion stance due to vague Church teaching, but on the basis that many other “Catholics” also violate Church teaching.

Susan A. Fani, Director of Communications at the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, questioned the strength of Pelosi’s newest argument: “So what?” she said.

“There are plenty of Catholics living a life rife with sin that seek to justify their behavior by saying they disagree with the Church on the source of their delinquency.

“Maybe that’s the source of Pelosi’s confusion – she really doesn’t understand the difference between the teaching authority of the Catholic Church and the DNC.”

Pelosi’s new statement comes after a torrential response from Church officials condemning Pelosi’s blatant misrepresentation of Church teaching and history, sparking coverage of the issue in several major news sources. (See article:

Eighteen members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to Pelosi exhorting her to back down from her misrepresentation of Catholicism and criticizing her statements that “mangle Catholic Church doctrine.” (For the full letter, see:

American Papist’s Thomas Peters, the Catholic blogger who has followed closely what he calls “Pelosi-Gate”, considers Pelosi’s “absurd” comments a boon for Catholic bishops, who now have the ball “back in their court.” 

Peters says that because Pelosi continued to defend her statements, the bishops now “have the stage, an attentive audience, and a winning position.”

To view Peters’ blog, visit:

Related coverage:

“Catholic” Speaker Pelosi Denies that Catholicism Condemns Abortion

Cardinals, Bishops and Congressmen Slam Pelosi on Abortion

New York Cardinal – Pelosi Not Worthy of “Providing Leadership in a Civilized Democracy”