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placeholder Pelosi agrees to meet with San Francisco archbishop

Faith-based investors warned of mortgage crisis 15 years ago

Popular Bible study program began in a diocese with very few Catholics

Fremont teen mounts ‘no driving’ day effort to curb pollution

Cathedral Dedication
Sept. 25, 2008

Architect’s design: sacred geometry

Hartman traces design ideas to his travels in Europe

Cathedral artist has worked in sculpture since youth

Image of Christ in Majesty towers above altar

Christian Brother creates, selects art for worship space


New cathedral is designed to withstand earthquakes

Oakland’s first cathedral remembered for liturgy, service

placeholder September 22, 2008   •   VOL. 46, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Pelosi agrees to meet with San Francisco archbishop

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) — Responding to an invitation to meet with him to discuss Church teaching on abortion and other topics, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would “welcome the opportunity” to meet with Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco “to go beyond our earlier most cordial exchange about immigration and needs of the poor to Church teaching on other significant matters.”

In a letter delivered to Archbishop Niederauer Sept. 5, Pelosi offered to “meet at your earliest convenience” to discuss a statement by the archbishop that said Pelosi’s remarks were “in serious conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church” on abortion, the beginning of human life and the formation of conscience.

But the furor that arose after Pelosi said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Aug. 24 that Church leaders for centuries had not been able to agree on when life begins received further fuel Sept. 7 when Sen. Joseph Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, responded to a similar question on “Meet the Press.”

Biden, who like Pelosi is a Catholic, said he accepted Catholic teaching that life begins at conception but did not believe that he could impose his beliefs in the public policy arena.

“I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception,” he said. “But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

Almost immediate response

Biden’s remarks drew an almost immediate response from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley of Denver, who said in a Sept. 8 “notice to the Catholic community in northern Colorado” that the Delaware senator “used a morally exhausted argument that American Catholics have been hearing for 40 years: i.e., that Catholics can’t ‘impose’ their religiously based views on the rest of the country.”

Archbishop Niederauer said in his Sept. 5 statement that he regretted addressing the issue so publicly, because Pelosi — a Democrat who represents the San Francisco area — has been a dedicated public servant who has promoted some legislation that is in line with the social teachings of the Catholic Church.

“But the widespread consternation among Catholics made it unavoidable,” he added.
Archbishop Niederauer told Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocesan newspaper, Sept. 9 that his office would be “comparing calendars” with Pelosi’s office to schedule a private meeting.

In the “Meet the Press” interview, Pelosi said specific considerations must be undertaken during each trimester of a child’s development before an abortion can be performed.

“This isn’t about abortion on demand. It’s about careful, careful consideration of all factors . . . that a woman has to make with her doctor and her God,” she said, adding that her goal is to make abortion safe and rare while reducing the number of abortions nationwide.

‘Accomplished public servant’

Though critical of Pelosi’s statements and stands on abortion and other life issues, Archbishop Niederauer described the member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in San Francisco as “a gifted, dedicated and accomplished public servant” who “has stated often her love for her faith and for the Catholic Church.”

In her response, which Pelosi released to the media, she thanked the archbishop for his “gracious remarks regarding my love for the Catholic Church and my Catholic faith.”

Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairmen of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life and doctrine committees, respectively, had criticized Pelosi Aug. 25, saying she “misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church on abortion.”

Since the first century, the church “has affirmed the moral evil of every abortion,” the two chairmen said.

(Contributing to this story was Dan Morris-Young in San Francisco.)

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