February 18, 2009

AFP Report Waters Down Pope’s Life-Related Rebuke of Pelosi

PelosiWithGrandKids0107.jpgNancy Pelosi had an audience with the Pope earlier today at the Vatican.

Life Site News (HT Gateway Pundit via Michelle Malkin) covered what the Vatican had to say about that meeting:

Pope Rebukes Pelosi, Tells Her Catholic Legislators Obligated to Protect Life

The Vatican Press Office released a note this morning detailing part of the conversation which Pope Benedict XVI had with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  Vatican insiders inform LifeSiteNews.com that such releases are always phrased in diplomatic language and thus the correction of the Speaker who fancies herself a faithful Catholic despite her abortion advocacy can be taken as a rebuke.

The text of the note reads: “His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”

Those interested in learning how the press will minimize the Pope’s rebuke have an early example to peruse at Agence France-Presse (AFP). It contains the expected watering-down of the rebuke, and more (AFP link is dynamic; its report as it appeared when this post was drafted is here):

Pope meets Pelosi, speaks of Church teachings on life

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday told visiting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, that all Catholics should uphold the Church’s teachings on life.

Benedict “took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death,” the Vatican said in a statement.

These “enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists as well as those responsible for the common good of society to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development,” the statement said.

Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to see the pope since President Barack Obama took office last month, describes herself as an “ardent” Catholic while advocating reproductive rights.

Of course, “advocating reproductive rights” is media code for “ardently” pro-abortion.

If AFP were honest, it would have noted that Pelosi’s claim, according to Catholic doctrine, is heresy.

Here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.

Politicians cannot credibly claim to be practicing Catholics and also support direct abortion. Thus, Pelosi is not a practicing Catholic, let alone an “ardent” one.

Last year, Pelosi tried to claim that Church teaching is ambivalent on when life begins:

I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.

Apparently not even at nine months, according to theologian Pelosi, the partial birth abortion-supporting politician. She voted against banning the procedure several times over roughly a decade. At her Speaker’s web site, she criticized the April 2007 Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth abortion ban passed during the Bush adminstration as “wrong,” and “a significant step backwards.”

Her statement excerpted above is self-evident heresy.

AFP’s coverage went on to incompletely characterize the state of the two major areas of stem-cell research, and in the process cast the Church’s position in a bad light:

The Vatican has also criticised the approval of US authorities for the first human trials using embryonic stemcells of a therapy to help paralysed patients regain movement.

….. Such research may yield cures for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Type 1 diabetes, cancer, cardiac degeneration and many other disorders.

AFP makes it seem as if embryonic stem-cell research is the only stem cell-related hope for paralysis, “Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Type 1 diabetes, cancer, cardiac degeneration and many other disorders,” and that only the Church’s teaching stand in the way of cures.

That is, of course, a load of rubbish.

The left frame at the web site of Don Margolis (who, to fully disclose, is an outspoken critic of both sides of the stem-cell debate, because he claims that neither side cares about treating patients who need to be treated now), has posts that describe how adult stem-cell research has made progress in fighting over 40 diseases and conditions, including many real success stories involving real people. That list includes most of those AFP identified and seemed to imply as being the sole province of embryonic stem-cell research. Now that many types of adult stem cells have been demonstrated to have pluripotency, the justification for the existence of embryonic stem-cell research seems awfully thin — especially because even its fans typically acknowledge that progress is “years away” (eighth paragraph at link is just one example).

Yet pretend-Catholic Pelosi and Barack “It’s above my pay grade (to say when human rights begin)” Obama appear to be bound and determined to waste federal dollars pursuing the life-taking long-shot.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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