The Democratic Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press on Aug. 24, 2008. She intentionally used her office and this very public opportunity to add to the efforts of some dissenting Catholics in both major US Political parties to confuse fellow Catholics, other Christians and other people of faith and good will concerning the Catholic teaching on the intrinsic evil of every procured abortion as the intentional and immoral taking of innocent human life.
Speaker Pelosi compounded her error by telling the interviewer that the Catholic Church had taught different things at different times concerning the subject. She further contended that in taking her personal position of supporting the so called “right” to abortion she was somehow being faithful to the teaching of her Church. Finally, she arrogantly insisted that she had studied the issue, purporting to be some kind of expert on the subject.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the compilation of teaching which the speaker purports to embrace by virtue of her claim to be in communion with the Church, addresses the subject of “scandal” with these words:
RESPECT FOR THE DIGNITY OF PERSONS: Respect for the souls of others: SCANDAL
“Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.
“Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.
“Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion. Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.” This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.
“Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged. “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has spoken in clear error and she has engaged in scandal. The US Bishops have spoken in crystal clarity as our moral teachers. It is now time for the faithful to engage in a new Catholic Action. [Ed: see “Bishops correct Pelosi” below]
Bishops correct Pelosi: