From the Hill last night:
The public feud over abortion between the Speaker of the House and the archbishop of Washington intensified Tuesday as Rep. Nancy Pelosi responded to his recent criticism and the archbishop fired another salvo at the California Democrat.
The latest development came Tuesday evening, when Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl issued a statement to The Hill that brushed aside Pelosi’s explanation of her comments about conception on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press.”
Wuerl rebuked Pelosi for suggesting that the Catholic Church has long debated the moment of conception. Wuerl said that the church has taught that life begins at conception and has thus opposed abortion as a “moral evil” since the 1st century.
Pelosi’s office initially didn’t comment on Wuerl’s remarks. After getting questions from the media, Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly issued a statement on Tuesday that cited St. Augustine: “Her views on when life begins were informed by the views of St. 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.' ”
Wuerl swiftly denounced Pelosi’s statement, saying, “As the Catechism and early Church documents make clear, abortion is always an evil. That is an unchanging teaching. The question on when the soul enters the body was a philosophical question that grew out of a lack of scientific data at the time of St. Augustine. We have the data today which shows the embryo is human. There no longer is any discussion of whether the unborn is human and so the philosophical discussion of St. Augustine’s time is not relevant today.”
Although I am not Catholic, I am going to have to go with the archbishop on this as I assume he knows Catholic teaching more accurately than Rep. Pelosi.
UPDATE: 8/27/08 - Cardinal Edward Egan weighed in today with a response to Rep. Pelosi.
Also, recall Hillary Clinton's former OB-GYN William Harrison's description of when life begins. Dr. Harrison does not think it is above his pay grade to determine when life begins.
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