Eleanor Clift: Pro-Choice Pelosi Is 'Unshaken... In Her Catholic Faith'

Lamenting how Nancy Pelosi's archbishop has "slap[ped] her down," in an online statement addressing the House Speaker's excuse-making for her pro-abortion record, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used a January 15 Gaggle blog post to praise Pelosi, no stranger to pastoral rebuke, as both a good pro-choice Democrat and a good Catholic:

It's anybody's guess whether in the new world of Internet media the archbishop's online commentary rebuking Pelosi falls under his pastoral duties, or public advocacy. Either way, Pelosi remains unshaken in her views, and in her Catholic faith.

For the benefit of her readers, Clift quoted on piece of Archbishop George Neiderauer's rebuke:

"Free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."

Yet Clift left out another key excerpt from Neiderauer's "archbishop's journal" column (emphasis mine):

It is entirely incompatible with Catholic teaching to conclude that our freedom of will justifies choices that are radically contrary to the Gospel—racism, infidelity, abortion, theft. Freedom of will is the capacity to act with moral responsibility; it is not the ability to determine arbitrarily what constitutes moral right.

The archbishop's point is precisely that Speaker Pelosi cannot distort the doctrine of freedom of the will to claim that Catholicism allows individuals to "determine arbitrarily what consistutes moral right," in this case abortion.

Rather than issuing a disjointed collection of moral edicts, the Church preaches a morality ground in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and condemns many freely chosen actions undertaken that "are radically contrary" to the same, not just abortion.

Pelosi may be unshaken from her commitment to abortion on demand, but she is, at best, on considerably shaky ground when it comes to being considered a faithful Catholic.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.