Denver – “If you’re Catholic and you disagree with your Church. What do you do? You change your mind.”
So said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Denver, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 6:30 Mass on Sunday night, as the Democratic Convention was set to begin.
His comments — part of his homily during the Mass — came hours after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, describing herself as an “ardent practicing Catholic,” announced that when life begins “shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose.” She explained that “over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy.” Ignoring both embryology and the Vatican, she insisted on giving the impression that abortion is somehow an open, undecided question in the Roman Catholic Church.
But, as Chaput, author of the new book Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life, explained in an interview with National Review Online last week, “Abortion always, deliberately kills an innocent unborn child. Nobody can honestly claim to be a faithful Catholic and then support a false ‘right’ to abortion; it’s just an elegant way of evading the brutality of what abortion actually does.” He explained, “Abortion is never morally justified.”
The archbishop’s guidance echoes The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”
“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,” it continues.
Further, it cites Vatican instruction: “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”
It’s a far cry from Nancy Pelosi’s catechism which would make Roe v. Wade a sacred doctrine. The ruling, she said, has “very clear distinctions.” She doesn’t make those distinctions clear (nor does the Court — contrary to popular mythical belief, the Courtdoes not ban third trimester abortions, for instance), because she really can square the circle she’s trying to; she simply can’t make the case that an “ardent practicing Catholic” can believe that abortion is a perfectly fine decision that a “woman has to make with her doctor and her god.”