|It "Is the Same Teaching as It Was 2,000 Years Ago"
WASHINGTON, D.C., 26 AUG. 2008 (ZENIT)
Here is the statement released
Monday by Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., on the stance of
the Church against abortion.
* * *
On Meet the Press this past Sunday, August 23, 2008, Speaker of the
House Nancy Pelosi made statements regarding the teaching of the
Catholic Church, human life and abortion that were incorrect.
Speaker Pelosi responded to a question on when life begins by mentioning
she was Catholic. She went on to say, “And what I know is, over the
centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that
definition.” After Mr. Tom Brokaw, the interviewer, pointed out that the
Catholic Church feels strongly that life begins at conception, she
replied, “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something
like that. So again, over the history of the Church, this is an issue of
We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to
address matters of public policy that are before them, but the
interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the
Catholic bishops. Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to
make this correction for the record.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear: The current teaching of
the Catholic Church on human life and abortion is the same teaching as
it was 2,000 years ago. The Catechism reads: “Human life must be
respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. …
Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every
procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains
unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as
an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” (Catechism,
The Catechism goes on to quote the Didache, a treatise that dates to the
first century: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not
cause the newborn to perish.”
From the beginning, the Catholic Church has respected the dignity of all
human life from the moment of conception to natural death.