The Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput has written an open letter to the Catholics of the Archdiocese entitled “ON THE SEPARATION OF SENSE AND STATE: A CLARIFICATION FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH IN NORTHERN COLORADO responding to Nancy Pelosi’s interview on Meet the Press.

In the letter he writes:

Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate tend to take a hard line in talking about the “separation of Church and state.” But their idea of separation often seems to work one way. In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest, not as a “political” issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a gifted public servant of strong convictions and many professional skills. Regrettably, knowledge of Catholic history and teaching does not seem to be one of them.

He goes on to present a real Catholic historical assessment of the Church’s history on this issue and concludes:

Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it – whether they’re famous or not – fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith.

The duty of the Church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the “separation of Church and state” does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches.

I think Chaput makes an excellent point about the “one-way” separation. Pelosi will always use the separation of church and state when defending abortion rights, but as a politician, has no hesitation about throwing her politics into her religion. As a Catholic, I am always upset when politicians make policy that is harmful to unborn children, but I am incensed about Pelosi’s blatant misrepresentation of the faith she claims to practice. When taking a position like she has, she cannot represent her policies as a personal decision, but shines a light on the affront she is making on the Church and its moral teaching.

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