Recently, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s misinterpretation of Christian teaching on abortion, on the basis of St. Augustine’s opinion on the matter, has been widely refuted by the bishops and bloggers of the one true Church . The holy resistance of the ever-faithful Catholic blogosphere happened ex opere operato; but given the sometimes ambiguous doctrinal record of the USCCB in the past, the bishops’ near-unanimity on the issue is a good sign of the episcopate’s increased fidelity to the Apostolic Tradition; and they all merit the support and gratitude of Christians everywhere.
Anyway, various bloggers and commentators have posted refutations of Speaker Pelosi’s statement to clarify what St. Augustine really said on the matter. For instance the excellent Fr. Z of WDPRS, Athanasius Contra Mundi, and LIFE, showed that the greatest of the Latin Fathers unambiguously condemned abortion as a sin against God, but that the Saint distinguished between the fully alive and not-fully alive fetus on the basis of incorrect (but then-current) science and a bad Bible translation.
Still others have clarified the authentic Christian teaching on abortion, like the archdiocesan letter reproduced (here) by Father Z, and the USCCB itself. AthanasiusCM has also clarified (here) the role of St. Augustine in the Church; and for a more comprehensive look into the issue, please read how the Catholic Encyclopedia discussed the role of Tradition and the Church Fathers in its article on Tradition and the Living Magisterium. See also the Encyclopedia’s entries on Abortion and the Teachings of St. Augustine, and, most especially, the CDF’s Declaration on Procured Abortion.
Finally, Fred Martinez has taken a different tack with the excellent post Thank you, Nancy Pelosi!, which credits the Speaker with keeping abortion a focal issue in the 2008 elections, and expresses gratitude for how she compelled the bishops to reiterate and clarify Christian teaching.
May God grant Speaker Pelosi the gift of understanding, and may He bless us all.