Dear Mrs. Pelosi,
Last Thursday, June 13, you were asked a question in a press briefing that you declined to answer. The question was, "What is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?"
Given the fact that the Gosnell case has been national news for months now, and that Congress, where you serve as House Democratic Leader, was about to have a vote on banning abortion after 20 weeks fetal age, this was a legitimate question.
Instead of even attempting to answer the question, you resorted to judgmental ad hominem attacks on the reporter who asked it, saying, "You obviously have an agenda. You're not interested in having an answer."
Mrs. Pelosi, the problem is that you're not interested in giving an answer. Your refusal to answer this question is consistent with your failure to provide an answer to a similar question from me and the members of my Priests for Life staff. Several years ago, we visited your office with the diagrams of dismemberment abortion at 23 weeks, and asked the simple question, "When you say the word 'abortion,' is this what you mean?" In response, nothing but silence has emanated from your office.
In what way is this refusal to address an issue of such national importance consistent with the leadership role you are supposed to be exercising? Public servants are supposed to be able to tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. Apparently, you can't. Otherwise, you would have been able to explain the difference between a legal medical procedure that kills a baby inside the womb and an act of murder -- for which Dr. Gosnell is now serving life sentences -- for killing the same baby outside the womb.
Moreover, you stated at the press briefing on June 13, "As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don't think it should have anything to do with politics."
With this statement, you make a mockery of the Catholic faith and of the tens of millions of Americans who consider themselves "practicing and respectful Catholics" and who find the killing of children -- whether inside or outside the womb -- reprehensible.
You speak here of Catholic faith as if it is supposed to hide us from reality instead of lead us to face reality, as if it is supposed to confuse basic moral truths instead of clarify them, and as if it is supposed to help us escape the hard moral questions of life rather than help us confront them.
Whatever Catholic faith you claim to respect and practice, it is not the faith that the Catholic Church teaches. And I speak for countless Catholics when I say that it's time for you to stop speaking as if it were.
Abortion is not sacred ground; it is sacrilegious ground. To imagine God giving the slightest approval to an act that dismembers a child he created is offensive to both faith and reason.
And to say that a question about the difference between a legal medical procedure and murder should not "have anything to do with politics" reveals a profound failure to understand your own political responsibilities, which start with the duty to secure the God-given right to life of every citizen.
Mrs. Pelosi, for decades you have gotten away with betraying and misrepresenting the Catholic faith as well as the responsibilities of public office. We have had enough of it. Either exercise your duties as a public servant and a Catholic, or have the honesty to formally renounce them.
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Tuesday, June 18, 2013