Saint Paul, MN, August 26, 2008 – Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, today issued a statement concurring with Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, and other U.S. bishops who are challenging House of Representatives Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nationally televised claims about abortion and the question of when human life begins. In an NBC “Meet the Press” interview broadcast Sunday, Pelosi said that church leaders “for centuries had not been able to agree on when life begins.” Yesterday, Cardinal Rigali, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life and doctrine committee criticized Pelosi, noting that since the first century the church has “affirmed the moral evil of every abortion.” Archbishop John Nienstedt’s statement is below:
“On behalf of the 650,000 Catholics of this Archdiocese, I wish to reinforce what Cardinal Rigali, Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. and Archbishop Chaput of Denver have said about Speaker Pelosi’s misinterpretation on the question of when life begins. The Church has taught for centuries that life begins at conception and there is no room for misrepresentation of that teaching. In addition, modern medical techniques have been able to confirm what the Church has already known.
“Surely, there may be some Catholic politicians who will take a different interpretation of this Church doctrine during the coming election campaign, but Speaker Pelosi’s remarks underscore once again the need for Catholics, and especially Catholic politicians, to form their consciences according to the moral truths taught by the Catholic Church.”
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis serves a Catholic population of more than 650,000 who worship in 218 parishes throughout a 12 county area. It also encompasses two of the nation’s largest Catholic universities, a major and minor seminary for the training of priests, 14 Catholic high schools, 93 Catholic elementary schools, a combined total of 37 hospitals, elderly residences and nursing homes and Catholic Charities of the Twin Cities, which is second only to the government as the major provider of charity, housing and human services in the Twin Cities.