Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Egan: Pelosi Positions "Utterly Incredible"

Earlier today, the pile of episcopal statements taking on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent comments on the "history and nature" of the church's teaching on abortion was added to with one from the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Edward Egan:
Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.
For the record, the statement from 1011 is the fifth from a top US prelate within the last 24 hours. On a related note, ostensibly reflecting the delicacy of the church-state dance in a presidential campaign's home stretch, recent buzz has indicated that the 76 year-old cardinal's succession will most likely be delayed until after the November elections.

Of course, the Gotham archbishop hosts the annual Al Smith Dinner each mid-October to benefit New York's Catholic Charities. While no announcement has yet come on who's sitting atop the dais, both presidential candidates appeared and spoke at the Waldorf-Astoria soiree in 1960 and 2000, but not in 2004. (CORRECTED: Obama and McCain to headline Al Smith.)

And from the Democratic speaker's home diocese, Whispers has learned that Archbishop George Niederauer will publish a "lengthy commentary" on Pelosi's comments in a column for the next edition of the archdiocesan weekly, Catholic San Francisco. A bit of patience is advised, however: due to the paper's fortnightly summer schedule, it won't hit the streets 'til September 5th.