“This conscience thing”

“I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it . . . but [Catholic health care providers] have this conscience thing…’’

– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Read here for context.



    I’m sorry, and I hate to get partesan, but there is a distinct difference between the two parties when it comes to religion.

  2. Henry Karlson says:


    Logical fallacy: universalizing the particular. What Pelosi does represents herself, not every Democrat or every Catholic who is a Democrat. It would be like people pointing to Newt Gingrich’s marriage habits as representing what the GOP thinks of marriage. Not a good idea.

  3. Well sir, with all due respect, this isn’t the only instance of the Democrat’s insensitivity to religion. It happens quite frequently. Which is the party of abortion? Which is the party of gay marriage? Which is the party of pushing religion out of the public square? In fact your example is a fallacy (not sure which one). Newt Gingrich is a human being with human failings. If one person’s failings would reflect on the group he represents, then your logic would maintain that the pedophile priests reflect on the Catholic church.

  4. I care little for politics or political parties, but one is simply far more likely to encounter ignorance of and hostility toward religion among modern Democrats than one is likely to encounter those things among modern Republicans. Make of that what one will, but that’s the way it is.

  5. Once again: Does Nancy love Catholicism or what she THINKS is Catholicsm, on her terms? I don’t have any doubt that “culturally, Pelosi is a “practicing Catholic.”
    I have major doubts that she has a clue as to not only the teachings of the Chruch, but what it means to be a Catholic, especially on in public life.

  6. She has spent too much time in wine country. All the synapses are no longer firing.

  7. Well Dr. Peters, I can see we do agree on one thing – that we care little for political parties. That said, it is highly uncharitable if you ask me, to simply write this off as a Democratic thing and end your sentence as if it were Gospel truth. That would appear – and of course I could be wrong – to be very arrogant and to be actually incorrect.

    If we were 5 and you said that it was all your playmate’s fault, perhaps that path of logic would function. However, you are not 5 and a person of your esteem might seek a higher path and one that reflects more personal responsibility.

    I am a Democrat, although I vote for people and not parties, and I find Pelosi’s words vacuous, but is the answer for me to start castigating her, the Democrats – or for that matter, Republicans.

  8. Henry Karlson says:

    Well, let’s see.

    The GOP funded abortion in their own personal health care for years. Many of the GOP support abortion — and indeed, many of the “greats” were at least ambivalent to it. Some have seen it as a rallying cry to bring people to them while they do nothing to stop abortion, and create structures of sin which causes many suffering to consider and actually abort their children (they might be wrong in doing so, but we must understand the pressures around them, reinforced by social policies, have a role).

    Should I say “conservatives” are insensitive to religion when I find people like Beck mocking social justice (which is a part of religion) or Limbaugh mocking the value of Christ’s resurrection? Again, your argument is fallacious.

  9. Henry Karlson says:

    I find all kinds of hostility and hate to religion among the GOP and “conservative Catholics” when religion is teaching them things against their economic liberalism.

  10. It is my understanding that there are Republicans who would permit an abortion to save the life of a mother. I think Ms Pelosi is speaking about a situation that most people would find very difficult – allowing the mother to die rather than permit an abortion to occur. To be perfectly honest, if I were a doctor it would be hard for me to let a woman die.

  11. Allow me to seriously defend Nancy Pelosi on this one.


    “Conscience Thing,” speaks volumes about her moral formation. Any Catholic who has undertaken a serious approach to his/her faith understands that all scripture and dogma are pointed toward the development of a properly formed conscience.

    This is a woman who has been permitted to receive the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist as though nothing, NOTHING in all of her pro-abortion advocacy has any bearing whatsoever on her Catholicism. The message from her bishop, from all too many bishops has been that she is indeed in communion with the Body of Christ both in Heaven and on earth. Bless them for their patient forbearance, but declarations such as this are a strong signal that this woman’s soul is in danger and that they are complicit by not taking a forceful stand.

    Pelosi deserves better than this. So do the rest of the proabort Catholic politicians who receive the Eucharist with impunity. They are being misled, and terribly so. That the former Speaker of the House could utter the glib phrase “Conscience Thing” and claim to be a devout Catholic points toward a massive failure on the part of her bishops, past and present, who owe it to her in charity to inform her conscience with crystal clarity, and then bar her from Communion until such time as she brings herself into legitimate communion with the Body of Christ.

  12. naturgesetz says:

    Gerard, if you are right that she is clueless about what a properly formed conscience is and about the implications of Catholic faith for her conduct, then she acts in ignorance of the evil of her actions and grave sin is not imputed. Therefore one cannot make a judgment that she is in danger of hell to an extent greater than any of us still living this earthly life.

    That does not excuse failure by her pastors to attempt to form her conscience properly. They are obligated to try (behind the scenes — they need not publicize what they do). Whether barring her from Communion is prudent is their call, not yours or mine.

  13. If Nancy is clueless it is no one’s fault but her own.In the last 30 years Popes and Bishops have written and spoken volumes about the evils of abortion. Was she living under a rock? It is hardly what you would call invincible ignorance.

  14. Henry Karlson says:

    How do you know it is not invincible ignorance? Invincible ignorance doesn’t mean there are no people teaching anything, but rather, circumstances and mental conditions and the like make one unable to understand and appreciate the teachings.

    More importantly, I still see confusion going on here. I disagree with Pelosi, don’t get me wrong, however, the social-political situation is trickier than people make it out to be. I mean, in theory, we could say every soldier defending the US is defending the right to abortion, as long as abortion is considered a right, but how many people will say we should dismantle the military based upon this? If you can understand this, then the complexity of “system X and its teachings” meeting “belief Y and its teachings” is not always going to end up with Y able to make X into Y, nor does it mean, however, one must abandon X either.

    Think, for example, how St Thomas Aquinas said one could support legalized prostitution. I don’t agree with him, but I wouldn’t call him pro-prostitution either. Again, complexities which are neglected for simple political rhetoric is not helpful. Got it?

  15. It isn’t worth my time to argue with you any more.

  16. Naturgesetz,

    I don’t question whether or not it is the call of the bishops in barring proabort politicians, who wage aggressive war on the unborn, from communion. However, there is a role for the faithful to point out difficulties from their perspective, and to exhort the bishops in such matters.

    Pelosi knows that what she is doing is sinful. It would strain credulity to believe otherwise. However, when she is not dealt severe sanction by her bishop, then she is misled into believing that such sin is insufficient to bar her from communion, and that she is in fact a devout Catholic.

    I think back to when the notorious mob boss Paul Castellano and his driver were gunned down outside of Sparks Steakhouse in NYC. Cardinal O’Connor refused them a funeral mass because of their public notoriety. Pelosi, Kennedy, Cuomo (father and son), Biden, et al. have facilitated the murder of scores of millions of human beings, making Castellano’s relatively few murders pale into obscurity by comparison. There is an inconsistency here, a glaring one at that.

    In the end, “Conscience Thing,” says more about Pelosi’s pastors than it does about her.

  17. Henry, yes, there are some republicans who support abortion but they are few. However, try to be a true pro life democrat in congress and see what power you have. Beck mocks social justice because it has become a code word in the democratic party to allow those who support every aspect of abortion to have an excuse for their actions. Kind of like saying forget the death camps, Hitler ended unemployment in Germany for which he recieved overwhelming support of a majority of Germans. Republicans contrary to the myth created do not favor keeping people poor, but know that the democratic program of high taxes and big government solutions to everything have led us into this huge mess. Trillions upon Trillions have been spent on the war on poverty and hundreds of agencies in government have been formed to take care of poverty, yet poverty is exploding as much now as before they started. When do you stop doing the same dumb things over and over and try other ways such as having a much smaller government, providing vouchers to allow parents to choose the school for their kids rather than the democratic policy of locking them into failed schools and a lifetime of poverty, stop rewarding bad behavior, and most of all, stop killing babies.

    One simple question for all those who think Catholics supporting Democrats have no bearing on the legal murder of over 50 million babies. If every Catholic said that as of today, no vote will be given to any party or candidate that supports abortion, how long do you think abortion would last in this country?

    You can take Catholic teaching and do virtually the same thing if all Catholics will do the same thing in a united manner. For example, if caring for the poor is an important teaching, which it is, then demand that the government stop supporting known activities which have proven to be a sure contributor to generational poverty. Stop rewarding those behaviors. Evaluate which programs are most effective in helping the poor and make sure they are funded. Most often, these programs are affiliated with religion in some way because without God, I doubt you will see much success. And make sure that all children have access to quality education by stopping the monopoly on education by the unions and their supporters. Open education up with vouchers to allow poor mom’s and dad’s to have the same choices that the Obama’s took with their kids along with most other Democrats in Washington DC.

    Social Justice does not mean what some on the left want it to mean. This form is failed and needs to be rethought when it comes to how and what government role should be versus the private person keeping that money and donating it to effective use to really help the poor.

  18. hi frs. Criticism of an institution (e.g., political parties) might be right or wrong, but it cannot, by definition, be “uncharitable”, let alone can it be, “highly uncharitable.” So perhaps you should dial it back a bit, as they say. It’s so hard to talk politics these days. Anyway, I just think it’s silly for people to claim that, because there is a pro-life Democrat out there (I know there is, because I voted for her) and a pro-abortion Republican (I know there is, because I have written against him) that there’s no appreciable difference between the two major parties at present on pro-life, faith issues, and so on. But, alas, it’s not a point I care to argue in detail. Not every combox post need be a mini-dissertation. Best, edp

  19. Right, Doc.

  20. Barbara, that might hold water if Nancy Pelosi was against abortion in general. She’s not.

  21. naturgesetz says:

    Gerard, of course the faithful have a right to respectfully point out to their bishops and pastors ways in which they think their shepherds could do better.

    I wouldn’t presume to know Nancy Pelosi’s conscience on the matter.

    The difference between Castellano and the politicians is that his participation in the mob activity, presumably including killings, was direct and immediate, formal as well as material; whereas with the politicians their participation has been indirect and remote and, at least possibly in some cases, material only.

  22. HK wrote: “St Thomas Aquinas said one could support legalized prostitution.” Maybe it’s time track this one down. Do you have a cite for that claim, HK? I recall TAQ saying that it would be an injustice to defraud of prostitute of her earnings, and I recall him saying that not every vice can be made illegal, but I don’t recall him supporting the legalization of prostitution. Can you point me to a source for that? Thx, edp.

  23. Talk about fallacies. Good grief, you’re logic is full of them

  24. Henry, listen to your own words..

    I find all kinds of hostility and hate to religion amound the GOP and “conservative Catholics…

    You are doing what you accuse others of doing by lumping all into this one party or with those who are conservative.

    Fran, I would love to see you answer the question I posed above about the impact on abortion or schools or poverty which are ways to talk about policy rather than people and groups.

    As to the statement by Ed Peters, it is simply stating fact. If you took a poll of people or evaluated donations to the parties, one would find that the majority of people in a pool would identify the democratic party as pro abortion and also clearly more supportive of separating God from every connection that has existed in America since our founding. The donations and support of the pro abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List go to democrats about 99% of the time and the groups which support removing God also go to the Democrats at about the same amount. If you happen to be a member of that party, it is something that you should take to heart.

    Pro life groups back pro life candidates and this means that the vast majority of donations and votes of the pro life movement go to the Republican Party. Those are simple facts. You can deny them if you want, but if you do so, you are simply ignoring facts and reality.

    I by no means see the Republican Party as perfect, but as a Catholic who cares deeply about the life of babies in the womb having a chance for what was the most important right in America, life, I cannot in any way support a party so strongly identified in well earned performance, the killing of over 50 million babies. Pelosi comment shows exactly what the party thinks of Catholics who care about such things as life including her own Pope and Bishops. If people truly want to end abortion, send a letter that you mean to follow up to the USCCB and to the Democratic Party that you want a full force effort to stop abortion ow and will no longer vote or donate or work for a party so strongly affiliated with this killing. Once we stop the killing, we can all work together to make this country a better world. As Mother Theresa said, as long as America allows the murder of babies in the womb, it will live in the culture of death. It should be the highest priority in America today for it infiltrates everything else that government does. It is today’s slavery and who would vote for a pro slavery candidate or party?

  25. Please Barbara, Nancy is pro abortion to the core as witnessed by her ongoing huge donations from every pro abortion group in the country and her 100% voting record for abortion. And as to Republicans who would support an abortion to save the life of a mother, that would actually be very few abortions in today’s healthcare community. When Republicans have even tried to pass this into law to protect the mothers life, Nancy led the charge to make sure it would only pass if the language was changed so that all abortions would be allowed under this measure by changing the life to the health which could mean anything, mental anguish, stress, hangnail, etc. Again, Nancy has a perfect voting record according to every pro abortion group in this country.

  26. Henry Karlson says:


    Here is an article which discusses Aquinas on prostitution:


    Or, as I pointed out elsewhere, he is following Augustine:


    To quote the Augustine quote he gives:

    Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred: thus Augustine says (De Ordine ii, 4): ‘If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust.’” (ST II-II q10 a11)

    Or the full quote, which shows he is using the example of allowing prostitution to also show religious tolerance:

    I answer that, Human government is derived from the Divine government, and should imitate it. Now although God is all-powerful and supremely good, nevertheless He allows certain evils to take place in the universe, which He might prevent, lest, without them, greater goods might be forfeited, or greater evils ensue. Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred: thus Augustine says (De Ordine ii, 4): “If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust.” Hence, though unbelievers sin in their rites, they may be tolerated, either on account of some good that ensues therefrom, or because of some evil avoided. Thus from the fact that the Jews observe their rites, which, of old, foreshadowed the truth of the faith which we hold, there follows this good–that our very enemies bear witness to our faith, and that our faith is represented in a figure, so to speak. For this reason they are tolerated in the observance of their rites.

  27. Henry Karlson says:

    Name the fallacies. Show them.

  28. Henry Karlson says:


    Don’t you get what I was doing? I was showing that the kind of logic being used to universalize could be used against the GOP as well. I am pointing out that if one is going to do guilt by association, it turns all parties into bastions against religion. It should be obvious in the context what I am doing, it is a form of traditional argument — reductio ad absurdum. The point is — if people are looking for hate against religion, they can find it.

  29. Henry Karlson says:

    But I find it interesting, you think Ed is right in universalizing about Democrats as hostile to religion.

  30. Gerald, yes we do have a need to have a well formed conscience and while the bishops have not done enough to teach and have allowed the Eucharist to be recieved with impunity, it is also up to each of us to do everything we need to do to form our conscience ourselves. I think that the bishops and priests actions have caused many to lose belief in the real presence of Jesus Body and Blood by the tolerance issue and not preaching about the need to be free of grave sin when we come to recieve the body and blood of our Lord.

    But I think Nancy has been well instructed on Catholic teaching on abortion both by her Bishops and even the Pope who pulled her aside for a private chat on her visit last year. She has had more instruction on this issue than the 99% of Catholics in the world. She chooses to ignore those teachings and walks away like those who walked away from Christ. I wonder how many Catholics will discover that the gate to heaven is narrow and I would find it hard knowing what Jesus taught would happen to those who harmed children to think he would have a lot of sympathy for those who helped in the holocaust of millions upon millions of babies.

  31. Henry seems to have struck something very important today. The pro abortion politicians suffer from “invincible ignorance”. It also helps explain why they vote for bills they do not read and continue to push for big government programs that they themselves identify are filled with fraud and abuse in the hundreds of millions as they did in ObamaCare on savings to pay for it with savings from just the abuse and fraud in the existing federal government health program.

    Henry, you have now clearly defined the problem. You seem to understand this topic very well…

  32. When as Speaker of the House, Pelosi helped shepherd legislation that specifically increased funding for abortions through medicaid, Planned Parenthood funding (which has no firewalls and is fungible), when she hits the campaign trail to drum up support for Roe v. Wade’s protection, her cooperation is both material and formal.

    The same may be said for senators such as Biden and Kennedy, who did all they could to derail Supreme Court nominees they believed a threat to Roe. There is nothing indirect and remote in any of this. These people fight with all of their might, use all of their political capital to keep the murder of babies enshrined in our law, fund the largest abortion provider in the nation with 1/3 of a Billion dollars a year, do not sanction states such as New York for using federal medicaid funds to pay for over 40,000 abortions per year in New York alone (all against federal law), and demonize those who would undo this injustice.

    Then they receive communion on Sunday and prance about proclaiming their devout adherence to the faith without any public correction from the Apostolic successors.

    It’s chilling.

  33. Natursetz, I will never understand how politicians who vote every year on issues that have a direct impact on abortion as shown with those who keep score of the pro and anti abortion sides do not have a very direct impact. nancy pelosi and democrats who want to get funding from the pro abortion industry have close to a 100% voting record as evaluated by the pro abortion industry iteself. She is paid to support abortions and she obviously believes in abortions unless one could believe she would sell her soul for this power. The Senators on the judiciary committee have a profound direct impact on abortion by the way they look at the pro abortion issue. Many of them are Catholic Democrats who have blocked any and all attempts to get pro life people on the courts. They ask directly of every candidate their opinion on keeping Roe on the books to keep abortion legal.

    In the same way, I find it hard to believe that those who vote for these candidates do not see also that their vote and support has a direct impact on abortion. We live in a democracy where a single vote can decide an election. Yes, there are more issues than this single one, but none that anyone can list that would be a proportionate reason to support this ongoing holocaust that a single person can name with a straight face.

    So we all have the same issue as nancy pelosi and that is to have a well formed conscience even if our bishop fails us. I note that Archbishop Dolan gave a very strong speech about the need for the bishops to do more to educate and lead and hope that the bishops took it to heart and indeed to make sure that those like nancy pelosi can escape what Henry above called invincible ignorance for it seems like a sure pathway to a place where none of us want to go.

  34. Thank you! edp.

  35. You’re right that because pro-abort politicians have been allowed to receive Communion with no ramifications that it is has given them chutzpah to make statements such as this brain dead one, but to say that she does it out of ignorance is not credible. She’s in her seventies, was chastized by the Pope himself, and clearly knows the politics of Catholics and abortion. She’s no dummy.

  36. “we could say every soldier defending the US is defending the right to abortion”

    Hahahahaha, enough said.

  37. History clearly shows anything BUT invincible ignorance when it comes to the old and well established Democrats, from Ted Kennedy to Al Sharpton to Jackson.
    I’ve often posted theei elequoant and passionate quotes of PRO LIFE in their early years.

    The “change” came when abortion became a political game changer, all equating to power.

    If there is anything the Catholic pro abort dems are not ignorant about, it’s the power of pro choice to get re elected and to stay in POWER. You can bet your bottom dollar that if by some miracle, San Fran had a “Catholic Conversion” of sorts while the San Fran elected were in DC, Nancy, as well as Diane Feinstein and “Don’t call me Mam” Senator Boxer would be on the pro life band wagon faster than you could say power and money.

    Politics aside, the seduction of power is HUGE, the almighty false god as big or bigger than sins of the flesh.

  38. Henry Karlson says:


    You didn’t show a fallacy. I was only using the kind of cooperation with evil rhetoric many use. If the United States as it stands allows for abortion, soldiers are fighting for a nation which allows for abortion. That is a cooperation with evil (remote material cooperation, mind you). I wouldn’t say they should stop defending the United States, however, if people follow the rhetoric often given, I don’t see how people can allow for soldiers to continue to defend the nation until abortion is stopped. It is indeed funny they never go this route, which shows, their abortion rhetoric is inconsistent and I bet they know it is all political rhetoric based upon a poor understanding of ethics.

  39. HK, I simply did not commit the error you attribute to me. Please re-read my careful assertion, by which I stand.

  40. Henry Karlson says:

    People still do not understand invincible ignorance.
    Here is a clue.

    We can’t know if someone is or is not. We have to keep trying to teach the truth as we know it, but we don’t know the mind of the other, to know if they err, if it is invincible ignorance or not. The idea that all it requires is someone to teach them and if they don’t accept, they are culpable runs contrary to the teaching of invincible ignorance which is a teaching that explains there are many non-culpable reasons why one won’t accept the truth.

    However, I would also say, the way many who are anti-abortion but not wholly pro-life display the arguments, their opposition is not going to be convinced, and indeed, often move away from the truth because the so-called pro-life people have often ignored the value of life itself — that is, they have lost the principle behind being against abortion (as can be seen by the way they ignore the full Gospel of Life). When you see people speaking out against abortion but showing murderous desires against people they hate (Muslims, the President, etc), you will the creation of conditions in which people will turn away from the Gospel of Life.

  41. Henry Karlson says:

    You are saying one is more likely to find hate for religion among Democrats; I disagree. Indeed, I find hate for the true religion often by those who claim to follow it, as can be seen by people who mock Catholic Social Teaching and try to denounce any social policy as communist. This shows hatred for religion, and you find them about the supporters of the GOP. You will find all kinds of Ayn Rand types, Satanist types, more in tune with the GOP than the Democrats. There is a reason for this, imo. But I won’t use this to suggest one side is more godly than other; guilt by association is still wrong. There are truths in both sides, and falsehoods in both sides.

  42. What I said was that they do not directly participate in abortion. Direct participation means physical involvement in the action itself. The abortionist is directly participating, as is an assisting nurse. Someone who delivers supplies has only indirect participation. Similarly, the politicians are not actually performing abortions, so their participation is indirect, or remote. This is a distinction made in moral theology in assessing the seriousness of an act. Saying that their participation is indirect or remote does not mean that they have no impact.

    When you speak of the role of Senators on the judiciary committee you are giving an instance of what I said about the greater or lesser significance of various offices relative to “proportionate reasons” for voting for a pro-abortion candidate.

  43. Klaire, I think you make a good point with respect to those who once were eloquently opposed to abortion and later switched. It seems almost impossible that they are invincibly ignorant — unless their opposition to abortion was what was politically motivated.

  44. Something to consider, which is not to say it applies in this case or doesn’t apply in this case:

    Often (not always), “good” Catholics that support abortion, in one form or another, have had direct personal experience of abortion, either:
    a. because they have had one or are contemplating one, or
    b. because of a relative or close friend who has had one.
    Therefore, they seek their own kind of mercy for such by seeking worldly exceptions to objectively grave evil rather than going to God for divine mercy in the sacrament of penance. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone sins. Ego seeks expansion of sin so that one is not alone in such. Humility seeks forgiveness.

    “Do not remember the sins of my youth and stupidity…Lord, for the sake of your name forgive my guilt; for it is great.” (Ps 25:7a, 11).

  45. “Invincible ignorance doesn’t mean there are no people teaching anything, but rather, circumstances and mental conditions and the like make one unable to understand and appreciate the teachings”

    I know it is not invincible ignorance because circumstances and mental conditions did not prevent Pelosi from understanding the Church teachings on abortion.Anyone who calls herself devout knows what the teaching is and is bound to follow it. Unless you’re saying it is a mental issue with her.

  46. ok HK. It’s a good exercise, easier to say than to do, to re-read one’s own words and ask, “How would a third-party read what I just wrote?” I suggest I’m using words more precisely than you are in this exchange, but, it’s not for me to defend, let alone belabor, my point. Best, edp. ps: the links you offered below were worth reading. Thx again.

  47. Henry Karlson says:

    Or it is possible the reasons why they were against abortion were not based upon any ideal or principle, which I find happens quite a bit with so-called pro-lifers who show no understanding of what it means to be pro-life and are only anti-abortion. It is quite possible they were anti-abortion for the wrong reasons, and so are ignorant, just like atheists who dismiss a false God are still ignorant.

  48. Henry Karlson says:

    You don’t know if it is or is not invincible ignorance — you don’t know what is in her head; presumption of others is wrong.

  49. Henry Karlson says:

    Plus, we must not confuse issues, as many do.

    It is one thing to be against abortion and to be pro-life (in the proper sense — I am not saying she is, btw, since she is not from what I see)

    It is another to know how to prudentially work that position in our society, with the Constitution and how it is interpreted within. There are limits to what one can or cannot do, unless one dismisses the Constitution itself (most seem unwilling to do that). Thus, if you interpret the Constitution as being pro-choice, and if you think it would be a greater evil to destroy the Constitution than it would be to keep it, you might (wrongly) support some sort of pro-choice position for society without being pro-choice. This kind of error is not the same thing as the promotion of abortion.

    However, what you often see in rhetoric is a confusion of beliefs and politics — at least on the issue of abortion. If it were a matter of illegal immigrants, the law rules, even if it runs counter to the pro-life position of human dignity (at least, again, for some people). This again shows that politics is messy and real life is not so simple as simplistic dualistic rhetoric wants it to be.

  50. Henry Karlson says:

    We must not confuse people being pro-choice as pro-abortion; people can be pro-choice (wrongly, for various reasons) while anti-abortion. They might think the Constitution does not allow anything but choice. Een if they are wrong, nonetheless, they are acting in accordance to what they believe the Constitution says and think they can’t subvert society by destroying the Constitution, and so their actions are in defense of the Constitution, not abortion (just like soldiers defending the United States).

    Pro-abortion is actual promotion of abortion and its use, such as we see Nixon saying is fine with children of mixed races, or population control in Africa. Or China and its policy forcing abortion. That is pro-abortion.

    If pro-choice is exactly the same thing as pro-evil which comes from the choice, then God is pro-evil, since he gave us choice. This clearly is not the case. But again, political rhetoric does not want the mess of reality.

  51. Henry Karlson says:


    You said,

    “I care little for politics or political parties, but one is simply far more likely to encounter ignorance of and hostility toward religion among modern Democrats than one is likely to encounter those things among modern Republicans.”

    You are saying you find it more among Democrats. I disagree. I don’t think I am parsing your words wrongly; you might mean something else than I interpret them to mean — what exactly is it you want to say — in other words, you might want to try to say it again to avoid the confusion I have with the words.

    And you are welcome for the links.

  52. Pro-choice is the same thing as pro-abortion. You’re falling for the same Mario Cuomo fallacy. Maybe I should support the legalization of murder, but I personally wouldn’t kill anyone. So then I’d not be pro-murder. Get real.

  53. Even a third grader is smart enought to know that there is nothing about these flip flops that scream invincible ignorance. Willful ignorance; perhaps!

    Al Gore

    * During his tenure in the U.S. House (1977 to 1984) Gore voted pro-life 27 times and had a 84% pro-life voting record.

    * In letters to a constituents, he wrote: “It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong. I hope that some day we will see the current outrageously large number of abortions drop sharply.” (Letters from Sept. 15, 1983, August 22, 1984, )

    * In a May 26, 1987 letter to a constituent he wrote: “During my 11 years in congress, I have consistently opposed federal funding for abortions. In my opinion, it is wrong to spend federal funds for what is arguably taking of a human life. Let me assure you that I share your belief that innocent human life must be protected, and I am committed to furthering this goal.”

    Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.)
    “Life is the division of human cells, a process that begins with conception…. The [Supreme Court's abortion] ruling was unjust, and it is incumbent on the Congress to correct the injustice.” Mr. Gephardt wrote in 1984, “I have always been supportive of pro-life legislation. I intend to remain steadfast on this issue…. I believe that the life of the unborn should be protected at all costs.”
    In 1987, however, Mr. Gephardt decided to run for president, and he soon announced that he had discontinued his support for pro-life legislation. Specifically, he informed the National Right to Life Committee, “I do not support any Constitutional Amendment pertaining to the legality of abortion.”

    Sen. Edward Kennedy, [D-Mass.], in a letter to a constituent, August 3, 1971
    “While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grown old.
    “I share the confidence of those who feel that America is working to care for its unwanted as well as wanted children, protecting particularly those who cannot protect themselves. I also share the opinions of those who do not accept abortion as a response to our society’s problems — an inadequate welfare system, unsatisfactory job training programs, and insufficient financial support for all its citizens.

    “When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.”

    Bill Clinton, in a letter to Arkansas Right to Life, September 26, 1986
    “I am opposed to abortion and to government funding of abortions. We should not spend state funds on abortions because so many people believe abortion is wrong.”
    Reverend Jesse Jackson – he endorsed the Hyde Amendment in an open letter to Congress that opposed federal funds used for “killing infants.” Mr. Jackson wrote the following statements in a 1977 National Right to Life News article
    “There are those who argue that the right to privacy is of [a] higher order than the right to life … that was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside your right to be concerned.

    “What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of a person and what kind of a society will we have 20 years hence if life can be taken so casually? It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind-set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth.”

  54. Hery – I can’t reply below, so I’ll do it here. With that logic you could say anything is support of anything. That’s idiotic.

  55. Henry Karlson says:

    No, pro-choice is not pro-abortion, it is quite different. Just as God allowing us choice doesn’t mean he is pro-sin. Or, as I said, when St Thomas Aquinas and St Augustine accepted prostitution in society as something which can be legal, they were not pro-prostitution. Conflation like this is what makes many people back off against pro-life sentiments.

  56. Henry Karlson says:

    Manny, you wrote:

    “Hery – I can’t reply below, so I’ll do it here. With that logic you could say anything is support of anything. That’s idiotic.”

    And that exactly is the problem with the logic behind many people who call people names. Again, they are the one conflating remote material cooperation with formal cooperation with evil. Once you do that, all kinds of things become support for evil.

  57. Henry Karlson says:


    You still don’t get invincible ignorance. The idea that someone flip-flopping means they can’t be invincible ignorant is not true. We _can’t know_ if someone is or is not; it is not for us to declare it either way. Presumption is a sin.

  58. I think you mean rash judgment is a sin.

  59. Henry Karlson says:

    Rash judgment presumes — presumption is indeed a sin.

    Not all presumption is about ourselves.

  60. Henry Karlson says:

    Of course, presumption in the technical sense is presuming salvation, however, it is tied to the greater sense of presumption (in the English sense) of salvation or damnation of someone else. So in case someone says this is not a legitimate connection, remember why it is a sin, what the principle is.. despair/presumption are connected with determinism as a whole (as is universalism or assuming mass damnation).

  61. So Henry – you’re pro-choice?

  62. That logic is absolutely third gradish. Because a soldier defends this country, in no way does that imply he supports abortion or any specific law that he doesn’t agree with. That would mean that because I’m a citizen of the US I support abortion since it’s legal. In other words, because you’re a citizen of the US, you support all the GOP passed laws. Did you support the Iraq War?

    By the way Henry, are you pro-choice?

  63. ‘This conscience thing’ reminds me of the line ‘this Sicilian thing’ which diane keaton blurts out in Godfather II. Maybe Nancy is a Godfather fan.

  64. deacon john m. bresnahan says:

    I wonder how many other denizens of the Washington political swamp behind the scenes ridicule, insult, deride–whatever you want to call it–the concept of having a strict conscience. If Pelosi is any indication, maybe lack of conscience among our political leaders is the very biggest problem facing our country.

  65. Henry Karlson says:


    It is indeed pathetic logic. However, that is the logic given by many when speaking of those who vote for someone who is pro-choice. It is the same logic. Thanks for pointing out how pathetic it is.

    No, I am not pro-choice. But I also understand politics to be messy.

  66. Henry Karlson says:

    You still don’t get invincible ignorance. Invincible ignorance is INVINCIBLE. No matter how much teaching one gets, one won’t “get it.”

  67. Henry Karlson says:


  68. Henry,

    People here are a lot smarter than you give them credit for. We actually do get it. Lighten up on the pedantics, will you please?

  69. I’m glad to hear it. Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving. We may disagree, but I harbor no ill feelings.

  70. I have naval lint that is more Catholic then Pelosi. (And I haven’t been RC for quite a while.)

  71. Henry Karlson says:

    Wrong, wrong and wrong

  72. So Henry would that make you guilty of the “presumption” that I’m too dumb to get it. Just askin’.

  73. I’ve long believed that that is indeed the problem Dcn. John.

    We know the sense of sin is all but gone, so it only follows that the conscience is out there in never never land with the sin.

    For all the talk about politics, you just nailed the root of it all, bad politicians are merely the consequence, as God gives us what we deserve when it comes to leaders.

  74. Henry Karlson says:

    I don’t know if you will get it or not.

  75. Oregon Catholic says:

    Pro-choice = pro-abortion. How can anyone claim to be pro-choice but personally against abortion and not see their hypocrisy? Why be against abortion unless you believe it’s murder? And if you believe that abortion is murder it’s completely inconsistent to claim anyone has the right to make the personal choice to abort.

  76. All I’m going to say here is that Nancy Pelosi belongs to my parish and that you have no idea what her pastor (new) has had to say to her recently. I do. You’re all wrong about a lot of things, is all I’m saying.

  77. What makes you so sure Nancy Pelosi receives communion every Sunday? Are you there? Because I am. You make a lot of assumptions.

  78. We have been around the block on the issues of conscience and abortion many a time. Nothing has changed. Same arguments from mostly the same contributors with nobody changing anybody’s mind. But it is therapeutic to vent I guess.

    I do take exception to those who insist on being the conscience for all — from either viewpoint.

  79. My comment was directed to Ms Pelosi’s statement that was being debated here: “that conscience thing.” As I read the context of her statement she was directing it to Catholic hospitals that would allow a woman to die rather than permit an abortion. I am not a doctor, but if I were I am honestly not sure where my conscience would lead me in that situation. I only know that I would pray – alot – and trust that God would lead me to the right decision because with the path I would be required to take as a Catholic two human beings could die and that would be something I would find very hard to live with. I suppose that situation is rare but there have been two situations recently where people were ex communicated for having made a decision to save the life of the mother: one in Phoenix and the other involving the nine year old girl in Brazil i believe.

  80. naturgesetz, So if a person hires a hit man to kill someone and they do, it is not direct participation? When congress knowingly funds the abortionist hit man knowing they will use the funds to kill babies, it is virtually the same thing. The only difference is that rather than one person killed, the abortionist keeps on killing.

    If the mob provides protection so that a hit man is protected from being proscuted for the killing, is that direct involvment in the killing? If congress provides protection for the abortionist, do you think they are doing something that directly impacts the killing mill?

    When we sin, we seem to go to great measures to try to justify it was not as bad as if we did it ourselves. I would suspect it would at a minimum fall into what we have failed to do catagory for most who support abortion for if they simply denied the democratic party and their pro abortion candidates support and votes, legal abortion on the federal level would end with changes to justices who would overturn maybe the worst court decision ever made in Roe. That is about as direct as you can get.

  81. @Karlson
    “You will find all kinds of Ayn Rand types, Satanist types, more in tune with the GOP than the Democrats.”
    Really? Here’s a fact for you, you will find that the vast majority of Democrats in the House and Senate promote, support, and vote for the murder of babies in the womb.

  82. So if a person hires a hit man to kill someone and they do, it is not direct participation? That’s right. It’s indirect. The hit man could back out. Of course it’s still very wrong to hire the hit man. Indirect does not mean completely guiltless.

    When congress knowingly funds the abortionist hit man knowing they will use the funds to kill babies, it is virtually the same thing. The only difference is that rather than one person killed, the abortionist keeps on killing. No, there is also the difference that they do not order him to do the killing. There is big difference in responsibility between enabling someone to do what he already wants to do and ordering him to do something he otherwise wouldn’t do. The latter is certainly worse.

    If the mob provides protection so that a hit man is protected from being proscuted for the killing, is that direct involvment in the killing? No.

    If congress provides protection for the abortionist, do you think they are doing something that directly impacts the killing mill? When you say “directly impacts” that is equivalent to saying “affects.” but that is not the same thing as saying that individual congressmen are directly participating in the act of abortion. They are not there in the clinic wielding the instruments or picking things up and handing them to the abortionist. Therefore the effect they have is indirect, and they are only remote participants in those specific acts. Again, this is not to say that they are necessarily guilt-free, just that their guilt is not equal to that of the abortionist himself.

    When we sin, we seem to go to great measures to try to justify it was not as bad as if we did it ourselves. I would suspect it would at a minimum fall into what we have failed to do catagory for most who support abortion for if they simply denied the democratic party and their pro abortion candidates support and votes, legal abortion on the federal level would end with changes to justices who would overturn maybe the worst court decision ever made in Roe. That is about as direct as you can get. No, actually, that’s pretty indirect. Direct: a law forbids abortion. Indirect: the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, making the law possible. More indirect: The President nominates and the Senate confirms justices who might vote to overturn Roe (remembering that sometimes justices don’t vote the way people thought they would). Still more indirect: pro-abortion candidates lose and pro-life candidates replace them.

  83. Conscience is a jugment that I should do this because it is right or not do this because it is wrong. If you are Catholic, it means you inform your conscience based on Catholic teachings, among which one indisputable principle is that abortion is always murder. No matter what the individual circumstances are, direct abortion remains murder and as St. Paul says, one may never do evil even for the sake of good.
    If you know the principle that direct abortion is murder of an innocent human being, then if you were to preform one you would become a murderer. Even if you did it for the good reason of trying to save another life, you would still be a baby murderer.
    Pelosi’s not a princess, she’s more of a drama queen because she appeals to the very rare hard case to make us forget that abortion is murder. She suggests that you must kill the baby to save the mother. [Why is it either or? ] And she wants to use the law coerce those who believe it is wrong to murder to murder the baby.
    Pelosi certainly does not accept the perennial moral principles of the Church putting her claim to faith under suspicion.

  84. You have an impoverished notion of choice and should not use political rhetoric to blaspheme against God. God gives us freedom to choose the good. God in no way rejoices in the perversion of choice which is towards evil.

    That said, you are a fool if you think “pro-choice” means anything other than pro-abortion. (I never see them pushing for school choice!) The pro-choice lobby at best is indifferent to abortion holding the murder of a baby as inconsequential. But, make no mistake, the pro-abortion folk have adopted the name “Pro-choice” because it is so nice sounding and so “American.” Plus, they get to label those who recognize the evil of abortion and that murder should never be an individual’s choice as anti-choice.
    The Constitution nowhere speaks of pro-choice. (The comparison with soldiers is offensive and ludicrous.) And even if the Constitution were be amended to defend a right to “choose” it would undoubtedly be a right to murder a baby in the womb. So, by claiming that support of “choice” is justifiable even though that choice entails murder, your argument suggests that racists had a morally justifiable position in upholding the Constitutional right to treat African-Americans as less than persons, even if they did not choose to own slaves.

  85. There is a great difference in tolerating widespread prostitution by not criminalizing it, and supporting an evil such as abortion as something legitimate. If someone argued that women who had abortions should not be criminally prosecuted that would be one thing. But, pro-choice lobbyists wants to make abortion available, and even force the conscience of doctors and health care workers to provide them. (So much for choice!) The agenda is more than just toleration of a grave evil, since they will not even admit abortion is a heinous evil.

    There is no such thing as choice without an object. Pro-choice in America is always pro-abortion.

  86. @naturgesetz, nice try but no cigar.
    Ignorance must be invincible for the sin not to be imputed.
    Since she has heard that direct abortion is murder from the Pope and her bishop, and because she has a duty to know basic moral principles and the teaching of the Faith she claims to belong to, she cannot claim invincible ignorance.

  87. Where does ST. Thomas or St. Augustine support prostitution. Toleration is not support!

  88. You argument about soldiers is just plain stupid.
    It is not the USA that supports abortion, it is an unjust law.
    Soldiers don’t fight to promote abortion, but to defend the citizens of the nationfrom harm. If they are not defending, they shouldn’t be fighting. If ever our soldiers are used to promote abortion, however, they should lay down their arms.

  89. You don’t get invincible because, unless the person is devoid of reasoning abilities, receiving authentic teaching from an authentic authority means the ignorance (i.e. lack of knowledge) is being overcome.

  90. John, invincible ignorance is not merely a matter of not having been told the truth or having understood what was said. It can also be a matter of having such a deeply ingrained prejudice that one is psychologically incapable of accepting the validity of what is being said. We must not make the mistake of thinking that we are so purely rational that every truth will be universally accepted if only it is clearly explained. So even when authentic teaching is presented by an authentic authority, it is possible for someone to be so fixed in his or her belief that s/he is psychologically incapable of accepting what is presented. Such people will have unshakably convinced themselves that there are reasons that their belief must be correct.

  91. What Henry is saying isn’t that St. Thomas and St. Augustine support prostitution itself. He says that they say prostitution should be legal, and the article he linked supports what he says.

  92. John, you clearly do not understand what invincible ignorance is. It can arise from not having heard the truth and not having a way of hearing the truth, but it can also arise from having such a deep-seated prejudice that one is incapable of acknowledging the truth even when it is presented.

    BTW, you don’t know what she has heard from her bishop unless you were present whenever he spoke to her, but the Pope has not told her that “abortion is murder.” The catechism says that “direct abortion … is gravely contrary to the moral law,” and quotes the words of Vatican II that “abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.” FWIW the magisterium does not use the actual word “murder” when speaking of abortion.

  93. Henry Karlson says:

    What people say “we know they can’t be” shows that they still think they can determine if someone is or is not. We can’t.

  94. Henry Karlson says:

    I do not have an impoverished understanding of choice — indeed, what I have discussed is basic in the schooolmen when talking about God and evil. If he allows evil, why is he not guilty of it. That is a basic question and it is the same question in relation to society and its allowing of any evil within it. The problem is that society needs to work for the common good, and must act in prudence to create it – it can get it wrong. But nonetheless, in allowing for evil, it is not promoting the evil itself (again, prostitution is an example). Confusing the choice as promotion of the choice is wrong. Sometimes it is because there is a choice one can be led away from an evil much easier!

    Let me ask you, if you had a society which was pro-choice and no abortions ever happened, or a society with laws against abortions but 2 times the amount we have today, which society would be better in your view?

  95. Jake with all due respect to you, if you were one of the sentient babies scheduled to be sucked out of the womb today on have scissor stabbed into your head, I think you might find the pro lifers voice less than prosaic rhetoric. Even worse, spiritually, the thousands aborted each day are a thwart to God’s plan for their earthly lives.

    I think it’s naieve to say that nothing has changed. If one person reading utters up one extra Hail Mary for the unborn or their mothers, that’s not just change, that’s HUGE.

    As for the “Conscience for all”, that would be the teachings of Jesus Christ/Catholic Church. Thank God Jesus left us with that. Glory to God for all who defend Christ’s Teachings.

  96. I am different from you – I would also feel like a murderer if I let the mother die if I had the ability to save her. My conscience would bother me in both cases.

  97. Occam's Razor says:

    Can we please clear up one simple misconception held by liberal Catholics about Catholic social teaching? “Social Justice” does NOT mean Socialism or state-ism.

    The Roman Catholic Church has something called ‘The Catechism’. It explains the faith quite well. We are required as “Roman Catholics” to learn and follow these guidelines always.

    When we look up Catholic Social Teaching in the Catechism, we find that it begins and ends with something called “Subsidiarity”

    Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. Political decisions should be taken at a local level if possible, rather than by a central authority. It is in fact, the ANTITHESIS of the Big Centralized Government Leviathan that is so ardently desired by the Democrat Party.

  98. Henry Karlson says:

    First, I find it interesting someone is calling themselves Occam’s Razor, indicating their connection with nominalism over Catholic realism. Just interesting.

    However, CST does not begin and end with subsidiarity. As Pope Benedict himself has said, subsidiarity without solidarity is bankrupt.

    I won’t even begin with the reductionism of Catholicism to the Catechism. Ridiculous is all I will say.

  99. naturgesetz says:

    Occam’s Razor is right that Catholic social teaching does not favor socialism or state-ism, and I am grateful to him for this reminder of a principle which is easily lost from view. And the principle goes well beyond questions of the level of government which should deal with problems of society.

    The principle of subsidiarity, as the Catechism states it is not primarily about levels of government, such as are found in the United States, with its federal system, but about the interaction of any political authority with private institutions. The Catechism quotes Bl. John Paul II’s definition: “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.” Catechism 1883, quoting Centesimus Annus 48 That the communities “of a lower order” are not thought of as lower levels of government is clear two paragraphs later, when the Catechism states, “The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention.” Catechism 1885

    This becomes even clearer when we look to Quadragesimo Anno of Pope Pius XI, which John Paul II cites in a footnote to his definition. In paragraphs 78-80, Pius XI sets forth subsidiarity as a principle for relations between the state (i.e., government, as we call it in the United States) and “associations of various kinds.” He says, “Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do,” and “The supreme authority of the State ought, therefore, to let subordinate groups handle matters and concerns of lesser importance.”

  100. Occum's Razor says:

    My chosen name is intentional. Tell me Henry, how much more nominal can one get than the Democrat Party’s denial of personhood for the unborn? In fact, how can anyone associated with a political party that endlessly advocates the “right” to murder the most innocent, the most defenseless of all human classes, even begin to espouse even a modicum of moral outrage at so called “social injustice”?

    And many, like you Henry, have confused the Catholic definition of solidarity with the adoption of governmental social programs. But let’s actually read what Pope Benedict REALLY said shall we? In his social encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict identified the understanding of solidarity with the adoption of governmental social programs *as an error* when he wrote:

    “Solidarity is first and foremost a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone, and it cannot therefore be merely delegated to the State”.

    He also discussed the propensity to rely on large, impersonal institutions, which can never be a substitute for solidarity:

    “Unfortunately, too much confidence was placed in those institutions, as if they were able to deliver the desired objective automatically. In reality, institutions by themselves are not enough, because integral human development is primarily a vocation, and therefore it involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity on the part of everyone.”

    And finally Henry, if you view the adherence to the Catechism as a “reductionism” rather than the vital necessary basis and harmonious supplementation of the “One, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” (the One True Church no less)- well then good sir- I submit that you’re “doing” it wrong, and that the term ‘Roman Catholic’ is rendered utterly meaningless. Apparently the Didache was a fine suggestion, but it was hardly mandatory spiritual guidance write large for the Apostles, Disciples, and the early “universal” Church as a whole. So much for wisdom and Truth through tradition, or even Tradition eh Henry?

    And Pilate said to him, “What is the truth?”

  101. I wouldn’t want to have what Nancy Pelosi has on her ticket when it comes time to stand before God, make an accounting for myself and answer for my sins. Wouldn’t like to have to do that at all.

    I suspect all the clever arguments and debates being made in these comments will be of absolutely no use when confronted with the Truth. Abortion defenders/enablers/apologists may think they’re very quite clever with the intellectual parry and thrust in these comments, but they are ultimately fooling no one. Good luck with that.

    I take – and cannot take – pleasure in imaginng Pelosi and her ilk comdemned before God. As much as I detest her, I am compelled to pray for her. After all, to do anything else would be sinful, right?

  102. I agree with you 100% -m I can think off hand of any politician that does not act to be reelected – the thirst for power is great among these folks and we allow it to happen and because of our gift of free will God rewards us with what ewe allow

  103. Barbara P —
    Certainly it would be heart-wrenching to let someone die, but morally there is a world of difference between letting someone die because one cannot morally intervene to save her and intervening directly to kill someone.

  104. George Mason says:

    This is why it is good to think these things out when we are calmer and not faced with the emotional decision. Conscience is not an emotion, but an act of reason. Fear or other emotions can interefere with the working of right reason.
    The best way to inform one’s conscience is to study the Church’s moral priniples, if we believe the Church was founded by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit.

  105. Be careful in assuming that you know what I know and from whom! But, here the issue is not your arrogance. It is invincible ignorance.
    One can be confirmed in one’s error by other things besides ignorance such as fear or concupiscence. But, since ignorance is a” lack of knowledge that one should have,” the presentation of the truth by and authority overcomes that lack of knowledge. Unless she is unable to use reason (which many Americans have actually concluded by now), she cannot claim to be ignorant of the truth which has been presented to her by the Church through various means.
    Whether she accepts the truth or not is an issue of the will, not a matter of the intellect.
    Moreover, you confuse invincible ignorance with vincible. Invincible ignorance means one does not know the truth and does not even have a clue that one does not know the truth. But it becomes vincible as soon as one is challenged that one may be wrong if one does nothing to seek truth from an authoritative source. Pelosi obviously knows she is disagreement with the Magisterium of the Church. (If you need confirmation on what she knows read Kennedy’s book where she takes a chapter.)
    So the problem with Pelosi is not on the level of knowledge (nor merely on the level of conscience). It is only the level of principles and on the level of appetite. She has a perverse attachment to her own opinion which is rooted in dissent on more than one area of Catholic teaching.

  106. Henry Karlson says:

    Well, let’s see, you will note traditional Doctors of the Church like Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure also don’t know when there is a person in the womb; the question of ensoulment is not so easily answered, and even now the Church does not define it and does not see the need to define it to be against abortion.

    Second, you will find that the GOP itself had and supported abortion in their health care policies for years. Did that mean everyone who voted for the GOP were also accomplices to abortion?

    You say I have confused solidarity; if so, well, I stand with a long history of Catholics, from St Basil to Pope Benedict. They also point to the need for social justice which includes the government and the government’s role in such justice. Now, you quote Pope Benedict saying it is not MERELY regulated to the state — agreed; but that means the state has a role. This, of course, is what so many “conservative” (read, historical liberal) ideologues ignore. No one says the state is the all in all, but that the state has a role; this is why when you read Benedict and the Vatican making application of their principles, those applications include the state and even trans-state institutions (Pope Benedict himself has promoted such). Thus, those who say subsidiarity is against social justice and denies the role of the state are shown in sharp contrast with the Pope and his own understanding of it — why is there such dishonesty here? Move away from Ayn Rand and move to Catholicism, please!

  107. @naturgesetz:
    Henry Karlsen says: “St Thomas Aquinas said one could support legalized prostitution.”

    Either you need to read more carefully or Karlsen needs to write more clearly.

    And the articles do not say that prostitution “should” be legal. It says one tolerate an ingrained abusive custom to avoid greater evils (such as say, let’s say, the murder of babies!).
    The comparison with prostitution fails because abortion was outlawed until 1973. It was not a widespread custom like prostitution or Jewish worship. Plus, murder of the innocent is an evil much greater than sexual immorality.

    The problem is that those who argue for tolerating direct abortion is that they don’t really believe a human being is being murdered.

  108. Henry Karlson says:

    But it is quite clear, he is confusing applications of the social teaching as socialism, which is the problem and it shows his liberal foundation.

  109. Henry Karlson says:

    In other words, when people prop subsidiarity and use it to ignore solidarity or to suggest that any action of the state for justice is in error, I note someone who really ignores CST.

  110. @ naturgesetz
    I responded above. But I’ll add:
    The failure of one who claims to be Catholic to accept the teaching of the Magisterium is not a case of invincible ignorance. It is the case of a perverse will which does not trust the Church Christ founded and remains in love with its own opinion.
    Concupiscence or fear can increase or diminish guilt for an erroneous judgment, but it cannot remove it like invincible ignorance.
    You want to make invinicble ignorance into something it is not.

  111. Karlsen spews misinformation again.
    Aquinas following faulty Aristotelian biology help there is a person after 40 days. His biology depended on the notion that the male gamete had to organise the material of the female gamete to a certain level of complexity before the rational soul were infused. Modern science shows this is not what happens and the female gamete is already highly complex. Hence, with today’s biology Aquinas’ principles indicate that a person exists at the time of conception.
    Nevertheless, despite his bad biology – which is truly a case of invincible ignorance since there was no way he could know he was wrong – Aquinas held that abortion is a mortal sin.

    In any case, although the Church hasn’t defined ensoulment, it says that the baby in the womb “must be treated as a person.”

  112. Oregon Catholic says:

    I was going to use the hit-man analogy myself. I think it is very apt and we can learn a lot about culpability from the way the law views that situation. In most cases, the person hiring the hit man is held just as culpable as the murderer. Sometimes even more-so as the enabler which creates the situation that allows a murder to take place that otherwise would not have occurred. Law makers and funders of abortion create the ‘occasion of evil’ as evidenced by the dramatic increase in abortions after Roe. Many, many women have had abortions of convenience who would not have had one if they had been subject to illegal only abortions. The creators of opportunity are highly culpable in the abortions that result.

  113. “ridiculous” in describing the Cathechism?

    Perhaps the core of the RC Church’s teachings which are summarized in Catechism are ridiculous to some so-called Catholics. I prefer the Catechism to Democratic talking points and Pelosi babble.Too bad these posts get hijacked and turned into political rhetoric and pompous pap from some.
    The post was about Ms. Pelosi’s stand on abortion and her conscience not about Social Justice.

  114. Occum's Razor says:

    Henry, the “ensoulment” discerned by Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventure which you cite, was limited to the scientific understanding of their day. i.e they believed that conception itself took days to months. However, once the conception was complete, the soul was in fact present. While our biological understanding of this process is now more complete, the philosophical/theological discernment still holds true. Life begins at conception. Historical context is important here.

    Secondly, the GOP does NOT as a standing party policy advocate the right of abortion. And if it did, any Catholic of clear conscience should disassociate themselves of any formal relationship with such a party. Spiritual conviction based on moral objective Truth should form ones political choices- not the other way around.

    Thirdly, I never advocated an absolute exclusion of the role of Government. However, as I cited, the point of Pope Benedict’s Caritas in Veritate is this:

    Human development involves a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity. Yet this free assumption of responsibility in solidarity is precisely what is lacking when we turn to government to implement broad social solutions.

    In fact, a free assumption of responsibility in solidarity requires engagement with subsidiarity. The meaning of subsidiarity is that things should be done on the lowest level possible, and that if assistance is needed from higher levels of organization, the higher levels should, whenever possible, assist the lower levels rather than replace them. Subsidiarity is essential to human dignity because it ensures that people are directly involved in the solutions to their problems, and that these solutions are implemented and controlled at the levels “closest to home”, where they can be influenced or even managed by those most affected. As I originally stated: These Catholic concepts are the ANTITHESIS of the Big Centralized Government Leviathan that is so ardently desired by the Democrat Party.

    And once again let me state the moral bankruptcy upon which the modern recalcitrant Liberal movement is based: The Democrat Party that endlessly advocates the “right” to murder the most innocent, the most defenseless of all human classes, has lost any and all moral high ground on the very concept of “social justice”.

  115. Occum's Razor says:

    On the contrary you are confused about the Roman Catholic definition and symbiotic relationship between subsidiarity and solidarity. Once you establish a clearer understanding of these concepts you will realize that the current Democrat “progressive” ideology in this country necessarily makes The Church subservient to the State in all matters of life, death, and morality.

  116. pagansister says:

    Having not read all 116 comments above, I may be repeating someone elses thoguhts. IMO, Nancy P. represents everyone in the area that elected her, not just Catholics, but those of other faiths and those who choose not to follow a faith. She also represents those who are anti-choice and those who are pro choice. Personally, she may not be pro-choice but she realizes (I am guessing here of course) that it is not up to government to tell a woman what to do with her body relating to child bearing or other health matters for that matter. It is up to each individual woman.

  117. naturgesetz says:

    pagansister, everything you say is okay as far as it goes, but it leaves out the question of whether it is up to the government to tell a woman not to have her child killed. IMO that is not up to each individual woman.

    And although a member of Congress represents everyone in her/his district, that does not mean that she may never take a position which some of them oppose. S/he must take a position which s/he believes is right.

  118. pagansister says:

    With respect, naturgesetz, and I expect there will never be an agreement between us on this—but I can not back off from my belief that a woman and only a woman can make the decision about her body. I have probably brought this up before and so it will not be news, but IMO, a woman should be able to decide within 3 1/2 months if she will carry to term or not. After that—-carry to term. I am NOT pro abortion, but I am pro-choice. IMO the government has no right to determine that decision. Too much to go into here but there are, as everyone knows, times when later terminations might be necessary and are never or should never be an easy decision—medical reasons etc. Would I rather have a pregnancy carried to term and the unwanted child put up for adoption? Of course. Would I rather have all children wanted? Of course. Whether we like it or not, life doesn’t always work out that way.

  119. naturgesetz says:

    My point of course is that once fertilized, the embryo, fetus, or whatever term is used is never the mother’s body. To paraphrase the anti-smoking slogan, a woman’s right to decide about her body stops at the cell wall of her developing child. So a woman’s right to decide about her own body is not a principle which can establish a right to an abortion, which is a decision about someone else’s body.

  120. pagansister says:

    naturgesetz: It is the question of “when does life begin?” That is also determined by the woman, just like the decision of what to do about it, IMO. As I mentioned above, we will not agree on this, but I appreciate your point of view. :o)

  121. Occam's Razor says:

    The unborn child has his/her own unique DNA distinct from the mother- so no, it’s not “her” body.

  122. Occam's Razor says:

    How does the woman determine when life begins?

  123. IMHO, anyone who looks at some of the amazing in utero photography or a sonongram and denies that this is a growing human person is beyond me.I don’t think you need to know anything about morality to figure out that is one of our brothers or sisters.

  124. pagansister says:

    How does anyone determine when life begins? Define “life”.

  125. naturgesetz says:

    pagansister, when life begins is a matter of simple biology. Actually both the sperm and ovum have to be alive for conception to occur. When they unite, the life of a new individual of the human species has begun. These are biological facts. It would, IMO, be absurd for a woman to be able to “decide” that her fetus is not alive when it is doing all the things common to living organisms, most notably, intussusception. There cannot be a different biology at the whim of each woman.

  126. Occum's Razor says:

    You tell me. You’re the one who has given that determination to the woman. Is it all relative in your opinion?

  127. pagansister says:

    Yes, it is a matter of simple biology, as you put it naturgesetz. That fact, however, can also be influenced by religious beliefs and other sources. Using this tool, AKA as the internet, I looked up a couple of things and one gave an interesting view. It said that the definition of life can range from the time of fertilization to when a child can say it’s name (and extreme that I’m certainly not comfortable with). Obviously some fertilized eggs do not implant, some implant in the wrong place, requiring medical attention and some that do implant are expelled by the body of the woman naturally, an abortion. At what point does the fetus cross the invisible line of being considered live tissue and live human? Interesting question for some, not all, I’m sure.
    You state that there cannot be a different biology at the whim of each woman—true, but in the eyes of that woman, who is making a choice of carrying or not, there would seem to be.
    Mississippi had the good sense (IMO) to vote down a bill that would make, at conception, a human being with all the rights that that entails. Did that mean that as soon as a woman became pregnant she could use that unborn fetus as a tax write off/deduction? That would be complicated—wonder if the pregnancy ended in a natural abortion? Next year you add the never born child’s former deduction back into your taxes?
    All this to say — no matter what the arguments, IMO it is still up to the woman to carry or not. It is not up to the government. Nancy P. seems to understand that, I think. Decision to carry should be made early, early, especially now that with modern methods a woman can find out quickly. In the cases of rape/incest—do you think a woman/girl should have to carry to term? IMO, no.

  128. pagansister says:

    Occam’s Razor:
    I most certainly don’t have the power to give women anything. The right to determine what she does with her own body is, some could say, a “God given right”. (or not depending on one’s point of view).

  129. naturgesetz says:

    pagansister, a definition which would require a thing to be able to say its name in order to be considered alive would mean that humans are the only living things on this planet. What species would you think a fetus could be in other than homo sapiens when its DNA is human? Like every other developing individual member of every other species, the developing human is a member of its species from the get go, i.e., from the moment it becomes genetically complete: fertilization.

    The fact that mishaps can occur along the way no more render the fetus subhuman than the fact that a newborn may contract a disease and die (before it ever says its name) renders it subhuman.

    There is the question whether it is morally acceptable to kill human beings, but the pro-choice would rather not have to make the argument in favor of a right to kill, so they resort to absurd, totally unscientific definitions of life, which are actually descriptions of other characteristics or abilities that some living things may have and others may not (and post them on the internet).

    As to whether it is okay to kill someone because s/he was conceived by rape or incest, I see no reason why it should be. But the law can’t prevent all sin. So here’s my offer: I’ll agree to a bill which makes an exception in cases of rape and incest (even if it was consensual) and for the life of the mother (precisely defined) if other abortions are made illegal. Deal?

  130. pagansister says:

    naturgesetz: Am glad you agree with the rape/incest situation, but unfortunately I can’t agree to absolutely no terminations allowed under any circumstances except the ones mentioned in the previous sentence. I do appreciate your well thought out and expressed thoughts however.
    As to the child being able to say it’s name before it is considered alive I find outrageous, but it was a try at showing the extremes for a definition of “life?.

  131. Occam's Razor says:

    Well “pagan” sister, your argument has circled back around to an original point that you previously could not answer: The baby has it’s own DNA- it’s not the woman’s body. She hardly has a “right” to kill the child. On the contrary, she has a moral (and legally constitutional) obligation to protect the child’s life, whether the child resides in her womb or apart from her body under her roof. Why should there be any distinction between the two circumstances?

    But as a specious matter of argument: which is more limiting to her “freedoms” 1) The care of a child separate from her body that would require a constant babysitter, separate meals, clothing, and shelter? Or 2) a child that conveniently travels with her in the perfect design of the womb?

    So what right does she have to determine if the child should live or die? Who gave her such an unconstitutional dominion over another person’s most basic unalienable right endowed by the child’s Creator? After all, according to the founding document that governs the very basis of our laws- our right to life comes from God alone.

  132. So, O.R. can she claim the unborn at conception as a tax deduction since it is, IYO, a separate being? As I mentioned before, if some folks in Miss. had had their way, at conception, a group of cells has the same rights as a born person. Fortunately, that didn’t pass even in a very conservative state in the south. The fertilized egg depends on a separate life form, the woman, in order to continue. In that respect it is not independent. A woman has free will thus she can do with her body as she sees fit and as wrong as it might seem, that includes deciding to carry or not. Women are expected to have instincts to take care of a child—and frankly some don’t. Were life perfect in every way there would never be a reason for any woman to not carry to term on purpose (medical reasons not included here) but life isn’t perfect and some may never know the reasons a woman makes, what should be an almost impossible decision, but they do. And in this country it is still legal in most states, and in many countries.
    As I have also mentioned before—I wish abortions would never happen but I know they have happened since humans began and will continue to happen whether legally or not. Should Roe V. Wade ever be overturned, it would be back to the back alley butchers.
    As for me, I’m done with this as I think repetition is now taking place. Hope your day is going well.

  133. Occum's Razor says:

    pagansister said “The fertilized egg depends on a separate life form, the woman, in order to continue. In that respect it is not independent.” Well based on that logic: Infants and children of various ages are not living human beings because every infant (and most children) depend on someone (a separate life form) to feed them, clean them, and shelter them. And anyone who is physically unable to care for themselves at any age is apparently a non-person based on your rationale.

    “Women are expected to have instincts to take care of a child—and frankly some don’t. ” There are already laws to address that issue. However, the use of abortion to solve the potential of abuse and neglect would be analogous to intentionally burning houses to the ground in an attempt to curtail and prevent possible grease fires in the kitchen. Your moral reasoning is horribly askew my friend.

    And if you would like to advocate tax deductions once conception is proven- that would be fine by me. After all, in this day and age of taxation without representation, that would be a welcome economic change for a welcome moral cause.

    However, there would have to be one area of stipulation: the conception would have to be carried to full term, or result in a natural termination. If an abortion were carried out, the mother would face stiff fines and penalties and would be open to prosecution for tax fraud. This would actually be a useful tool for the Right to Life camp. Thank you for opening up this possible legislative tool against the Culture of Death.

    If you must go pagansister, then go in peace.

  134. Occum's Razor says:

    pagansister, you seem to mistakenly associate dependency of care with the unalienable right to life.

    Does the fact that one can not sustain their own survival forfeit their right to live as an independent person complete with natural rights endowed by their creator? Outside of the Third Reich- I should think not.

  135. pagansister says:

    Yes, as I am finished on this particular article, O. R. It’s been interesting! Peace to you as well.

  136. naturgesetz says:

    And peace to both of you.

  137. pagansister says:

    Thank you, naturgesetz, and to you.

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