Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pelosi and Church History

Mike Aquilina:

By now you know that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a botch of Christian history this week when she discussed abortion in light of her “ardent” Catholic faith. Newsman Tom Brokaw asked her how she would advise Senator Barack Obama regarding the beginnings of human life: “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.”

…The early Church left clear paper trails on very, very few issues, but abortion is certainly one of them. It is condemned by the Didache, the so-called Epistle of Barnabas, the apocryphal Apocalypse of Peter; by Clement of Alexandria, Athenagoras, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Hippolytus, Origen, and Cyprian. And that partial list takes us only to the middle of the third century. Those witnesses emerged from ancient Syria, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Samaria, and North Africa. So, as the Vincentian Canon puts it, abortion was condemned always and everywhere and by all. There is no exception in the ancient Christian record, and this is one of those moral teachings that set Christians distinctly apart from the pagan world. If there were Nancy Pelosis in the world before the discovery of California, everyone — pagan or Christian — recognized that advocates for the “choice” of abortion were extra ecclesiam, outside the Catholic Church.

I’ve addressed the issue of abortion and the Fathers before. You’ll find an excellent patristic catena here.

(HT: James Grant)

No comments: