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Archbishop to Nancy Pelosi: You're wrong

Mary Hasson

Nancy Pelosi, this could be your moment.

St. Paul got knocked off his horse. St. Augustine dragged his feet.  And for the rest of us, the story is still unfolding.

Conversion moments are personal. They can be uncomfortable and often—to our mortal eye—awkwardly timed. They are unfailingly memorable.

Nancy, this could be your conversion opportunity.

First, it’s a personal call. Your hometown Archbishop—the shepherd concerned for your soul--has called you by name.  (As messengers go, you lucked out.  Paul faced a lightning bolt and wary old Ananias, while St. Augustine had his mom after him for years and finally listened to a child.) God’s messenger to you, Nancy, is a peer from your neighborhood who understands the work you do.  He’s straightforward too, and he happens to be your spiritual shepherd. Surely his tug on your conscience must be perceptible, even to a Washington-hardened soul.

Why did he single you out now? You’ve got a long-standing record of pro-abortion advocacy.  But your Newsweek interview on Dec. 21, 2009 went one step too far. You said, “I have some concerns about the church's position respecting a woman's right to choose. I have some concerns about the church's position on gay rights. I am a practicing Catholic, although they're probably not too happy about that. But it is my faith. I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that is that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have that opportunity to exercise their free will.”
 
Your plainspoken prelate, Archbishop George Niederauer, responded on January 13th, peeling off the Catholic label of “free will” that you so easily stuck on your pro-abortion beliefs. He rejected your “pro-choice” stance as “incompatible with Catholic teaching.”  Further, he corrected your reasoning, pointing out that “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.”

Conversion is uncomfortable.  We all like to think we know everything and that we’ve thought through all angles of our long-held positions. We are tempted to think that our natural inclinations are right, simply because we believe in our own judgment so passionately--or, Nancy, because it’s what we “feel” and what we’ve been “raised to believe.”  Only when our consciences are formed in the light of truth, “aided by the...advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church,” can we be sure that we see and judge clearly.

Well, this is indeed an awkward moment, isn’t it?  Here you are, Nancy, at what could be your moment of truth.  However, you’re in the middle of a health care debate and abortion is a driving force. You’ve got financial supporters and long-time friends on the wrong side of the abortion issue. 

Conversion will be difficult, but take heart, that’s always the case.  St. Paul was on his way to wipe out more Christian communities before his plans changed--and he couldn’t simply send out an email or a press release apprising his enemies of his change of heart.  

It would take great courage for you to change your mind on abortion. You would certainly lose campaign donations from pro-abortion zealots.  You’d probably lose the admiration and fawning support of Hollywood liberals. You’d certainly lose face. 

But you might gain your soul.

Nancy, the good Archbishop’s words are only a Google away.  Think them over. Ponder them. 

This could be your moment, Nancy. Consider it well…and “beware the grace that passes, never to return.”

Topics: Abortion , Culture , Current Events , Faith

Mary Rice Hasson, the mother of seven, is a Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C. She blogs at wordsfromcana.

View all articles by Mary Hasson

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