Our own Grandmother Superior appeared on Meet the Press this weekend, and was asked to respond to the Saddleback Forum question, "At what point does a baby get human rights?" You'll recall that Barack Obama punted, explaining that making such a determination was "above [his] pay grade."
Apparently such a determination was also above Grandmother Superior's pay grade (I'm actually thinking Peter Principle) considering the rambling, nonsensical answer she managed to produce, including this howler -- "The doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition." The doctors of the church?? WTF??? Yet her response can be accurately condensed to three words: "We don't know." That's Grandmother Superior speaking for herself primarily, and because of her political imminence, presumably the Roman Catholic Church as well.
First off, let me be clear about this. I think Pelosi was being honest. In her post modern, progressive worldview, we don't know. We can't know, because we are incapable of inerrantly judging any situation to be "good" or "evil." Such is the heart of contemporary post-modern philosophy -- there can never be certainty about anything, save for the fact that nothing is ever certain. But such uncertainty cannot be projected upon the Roman Catholic church, which remains a most profoundly un-post modern institution.
In response to Madame Speaker's hazy recollection of Roman Catholic church history, "Captain Ed" Morrisey posted a nice compendium of ancient Church teachings on abortion, which succinctly illustrates that the early church fathers were in unity with regard to the sinfulness of abortion. Even though Protestants have grown rather squishy on the issue, nothing has changed during the last 2000 years with respect to Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox doctrine. Nothing.
Yet Pelosi can't -- or won't -- recognize this because, as a progressive, her primary agenda is saving the world (a job that the rest of us usually trust God to accomplish). And for over 100 years, the doctrines of progressivism have taught that the unfettered practice of abortion will be able to accomplish what the doctrines of the Church seemingly have not -- the elimination poverty and the restoration of humanity to a proverbial "Garden of Eden" state of health and prosperity. Thus to progressives the practice of abortion has become an ultimate expression of morality not to be hampered by such trivialities as "human rights" for a fetus, and in challenging this viewpoint, the Church is simply ignorant.
I believe that this episode perfectly illustrates the necessity of the concept of separation of church and state. We usually study this issue from the viewpoint of organized religion attempting to coerce government, but Pelosi's remarks should remind us that dimwitted, morally wobbly politicians can also pose a threat to the free expression of orthodox religious thought if they are given too much power. Ask a Canadian Catholic if you don't believe me.
If Nancy Pelosi believes that moral absolutes do not exist, or that she is better equipped to define morality than the Church, that's fine, and she should have the freedom to publicly joust with her mythical "doctors of the church" as often and as vigorously as she wishes. But those of us who simply think she is a fool should always have the right to challenge her foolishness without fear of recrimination. In a free society, that's the way it should be.
ADDED: Throughout the week, Catholics from around the nation have slapped Grandmother Superior's wrists repeatedly with regard to her sloppy personalized interpretation of the Church's abortion teachings. The Anchoress has a good roundup of commentary and, as always, an opinion worth reading.