Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

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Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Pelosi Stands by Abortion Comments

DENVER (AP) - Under fire from U.S. Catholic bishops, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not backing off contentious comments about abortion she made during a weekend television talk show appearance.

Pelosi said Sunday on NBC's ``Meet the Press'' that ``doctors of the church'' have not been able to define when life begins. That prompted swift rebukes from Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said Pelosi was incorrect and that Catholic teaching has consistently condemned abortion.

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York voiced similar sentiment Tuesday. Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Doctrine, also issued a statement correcting Pelosi.

Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Pelosi, said in a statement Tuesday that she ``fully appreciates the sanctity of family'' and based her views on conception on the ``views of Saint Augustine, who said: '... the law does not provide that the act (abortion) pertains to homicide, for there cannot yet be said to be a live soul in a body that lacks sensation ...''

First, Pelosi probably thinks "doctors of the Church" means the Catholic Medical Association.

Second, I doubt she has any of her staff doing original research into Augustine. Most likely these lines are fed to her office by "Catholics for a Free Choice" or by aging tenured deadwood on theology faculties. But since she chooses to stand behind Augustine, does she agree with him on, e.g., the inseperability of sex and procreation?

Or would she, on the contrary, agree with U. of Chicago Law Dean Geoffrey Stone, who told the Federalist Society's annual student conference in 2006 -- true story -- that laws that restrict pornography are based on an Augustinian understanding of sexuality, and Augustine was a Catholic theologian and saint, and therefore such laws violate the Establishment Clause? (Challenged on his interpretation of Augustine by a conference participant who announced himself as a theologian, lawyer Stone responded: "Read Augustine.")