Pelosi’s Archbishop Corrects Her “Fundamental Misconceptions” on Catholic Faith

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that her pro-abortion agenda is compatible with the Catholic faith represents a “fundamental misconception” of church teaching, according to Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco, the Speaker’s bishop.

Archbishop Niederauer confronted the Speaker’s controversial remarks in a column in the Catholic San Francisco newspaper Wednesday.

Discussing her conflict with U.S. bishops on abortion and homosexuality in a December Newsweek interview, Pelosi claimed that restricting abortion amounts to a violation of a woman’s free will, and is thus inconsistent with her Catholic faith.

“I am a practicing Catholic, although they’re probably not too happy about that. But it is my faith,” said the Speaker, referring to the Catholic Church hierarchy.  “I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will.”

In response, Niederauer said that “embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom” – misconceptions he noted “are widespread both within the Catholic community and beyond.”

“Human freedom does not legitimate bad moral choices, nor does it justify a stance that all moral choices are good if they are free: ‘The exercise of freedom does not imply a right to say or do everything,'” wrote the archbishop, citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

“It is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel – racism, infidelity, abortion, theft,” he continued.

“Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right.”

“While we deeply respect the freedom of our fellow citizens,” Niederauer concluded, “we nevertheless are profoundly convinced that free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom.”

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  • c-kingsley

    Funny, I couldn’t find in Niederauer’s column where he said that she shouldn’t receive communion until she recants this viewpoint. She obstinately persists in manifest grave sin, and announces that it’s really devout Catholicism (and how sad that those dumb bishops don’t know what real Catholicism is).

    He probably told her this in private, to not embarrass her. Yeah, that must be it. It doesn’t affect me at all, not in the slightest, I’m okay you’re okay, so he really doesn’t need to say publicly that there’s any consequence for her behavior.

  • ortegotnicole

    I want to say thank you to the Archbishop for his clarification on this issue. I also want to say that I am sorry for those who judge the hierarchy of the church. We are not the judges of the hierarchy, that role is reserved to God alone. We need to thank them for what they do, encourage them, pray for them, and support them to do more. It is hard to be good in our everyday tasks, it is even harder when you are in a such a position of authority, and we need to make it easier by not being a faction warring against the Catholic bishops. How are we better than Pelosi if we dis bishops so blantantly? Is not the commandment love and to speak the truth in love? And, if we need to correct in love, should it not be to the person instead of to the world at large, at which point it becomes gossip? If we desire to urge him and back him to denounce Pelosi, let us contact him directly.

  • c-kingsley

    If it were a uniform thing, that no bishops were saying anything about the issue, you could say I’m fighting against the bishops. However, some bishops are saying pro-abortion Catholic politicians should not receive communion, and others mumble into their hands. I’m not arguing against “the bishops,” but this one needs to speak with his authority and stop mumbling. He says “she’s wrong,” but there is no consequence to her error. She’s spreading error publicly, correction should also be public.

    “… we .. are profoundly convinced that free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, ….” He sure told her! He’s profoundly convinced that he’s right, and she’s wrong. There’s authority for you. Or maybe she’s profoundly convinced she’s right and he’s wrong. What are we to do, read Dostoevsky to figure out for myself who’s right?

    Or are there consequences? Will he speak to her? After Pelosi’s previous shot at being a catechist, it took Archbishop Niederauer only two weeks to note that she wasn’t teaching what he thought was Catholic doctrine, and he would be speaking to her privately. I think he did meet with her, but then Pelosi comes off telling him what Catholic Doctrine is. Perhaps he should try doing the same thing over again a few more times. Maybe Pelosi will repent if he prints three more columns in “Catholic San Francisco.” Maybe four columns will do it?

    What do you think? Should he write FIVE columns? That will really show his authority!!