With his idyllic letter strongly confirming the status of the Church’s education on the pride of human life, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has issued a thoughtful challenge: to all Catholics, definitely, but to his brother bishops in particular, and especially to the prominent Catholic politicians who support legal abortion—particularly including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose house is in the San Francisco archdiocese.
Archbishop Cordileone writes, “I tremble that if I do not forthrightly challenge Catholics under my pastoral care who advocate for abortion, both they and I will have to answer to God for innocent blood,”. He doesn’t mention any but lays stress that a bishop should rebuke a sinner privately before taking any public action.
But this message cannot be effective for a man who is planning to make one more statement publicly. Any sensible reader can observe that the archbishop has already rebuked Pelosi (and others, less prominent, in the same position), and is now contemplating the next step.
“Abortion is the ax laid to the roots of the tree of human rights,” Archbishop Cordileone writes; “when our culture encourages the violation of life at its youngest and most vulnerable condition, other ethical norms cannot stand for long.” Abortion is not one issue that American bishops have said repeatedly, but a pre-eminent public issue of our day.
The public opinion on abortion has become confused, the archbishop acknowledges. “The topic is swathed in sophistries by its advocates and discussion about it is forbidden in many venues.” He goes on to suggest that “this conspiracy of disinformation and silence is fueled by fear of what it would mean to recognize the reality with which we are dealing.”