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San Francisco archbishop rebuts Pelosi's argument on conscience

January 13, 2010

Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco has written that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who lives in his archdiocese, betrayed “some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom” in a December magazine interview. In a conversation with Newsweek last month, Pelosi had said that her support for legal abortion reflects her belief in human freedom. Her archbishop, responding in a column for the San Francisco archdiocesan newspaper, noted that “human freedom does not legitimate bad moral choices, nor does it justify a stance that all moral choices are good if they are free.”

“These misconceptions are widespread both within the Catholic community and beyond,” Archbishop Niederauer wrote. While acknowledging that every moral actor must follow his conscience, the archbishop added that there is also an obligation to inform one’s conscience, and for Catholics that obligation implies learning from the teachings of the Church.

“While we deeply respect the freedom of our fellow citizens, we nevertheless are profoundly convinced that free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others,” the archbishop wrote. “Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom.”


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  • Posted by: elts1956 - Jan. 13, 2010 8:01 PM ET USA

    At last, he speaks. But what about the pro abortion organizations the diocese supports through funding. Would have to search for the names. Maybe someone else knows.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jan. 13, 2010 6:23 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Niederauer needs to spell it out for Nancy Pelosi. E-X-C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jan. 13, 2010 4:09 PM ET USA

    I read that through twice, the second time trying to pretend in my mind that I was Nancy Pelosi. And I came away saying, "Precisely my point. I'm glad you agree with me so enthusiastically, Archbishop. Conscience is everything."