FNC: Catholic Leaders Respond to Pelosi's Abortion Claims

Tuesday’s Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC highlighted recent criticisms from Catholic Church leaders toward Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her recent claims that "the Doctors of the [Catholic] Church have not been able to make that definition" of whether human life begins at conception. Appearing on Sunday’s Meet the Press on NBC, when host Tom Brokaw turned to the abortion issue and asked her when she believes human life begins, Pelosi responded: "I would say that, as an ardent practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is, over the centuries, the Doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition."

After Brit Hume ended Tuesday’s "From the Political Grapevine" segment noting that Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput had criticized Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden for his pro-choice position on abortion, the FNC host introduced a report by correspondent Shannon Bream. Hume: "Biden is not the only prominent Democrat who is out of favor with Church leaders because of abortion positions. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has also been publicly rebuked, and correspondent Shannon Bream reports on that from Washington."

After playing the aforementioned clip of Pelosi, and, after noting that she has "been given a perfect voting score from the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League," clips of two Archbishops were shown voicing their problems with her statement:

ARCHBISHOP DONALD WUERL: From the very beginning, first century on, the Church has said you can't take an unborn life.

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES CHAPUT: What she said was scandalous. It could lead other people to error, and so we have a duty to correct it.

After Bream relayed that 10 Catholic Republican members of the House of Representatives had sent a letter of protest to Pelosi, another clip of Archbishop Wuerl was played: "You have to examine your conscience before you present yourself for communion, and if you are not truly living out what you believe and what you profess you believe, then the onus is on you to make the right decision about communion."

Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Tuesday, August 26, Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC:

BRIT HUME: And finally, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden is coming under fire right here in Denver over his pro-choice views on abortion. The Washington Times reports Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said Sunday that Biden, who is Catholic, is, quote, "seriously wrong," for supporting abortion rights. The Archbishop added, quote, "I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for communion if he supports a false ‘right’ to abortion." Denver’s Archbishop was not invited to speak at any Democratic Convention events, but he says he would like to speak privately with the Delaware Senator about the matter.

HUME: And Biden is not the only prominent Democrat who is out of favor with Church leaders because of abortion positions. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has also been publicly rebuked, and correspondent Shannon Bream reports on that from Washington.

SHANNON BREAM: It is undoubtedly a controversial issue, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the abortion debate to a whole new level with her Sunday comments about when life begins.

NANCY PELOSI, FROM MEET THE PRESS: I would say that, as an ardent practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is, over the centuries, the Doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition.

BREAM: Yet Catholic leaders from Denver to D.C. say Pelosi, a Catholic who’s also been given a perfect voting score from the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, got it wrong.

ARCHBISHOP DONALD WUERL: From the very beginning, first century on, the Church has said you can't take an unborn life.

ARCHBISHOP CHARLES CHAPUT: What she said was scandalous. It could lead other people to error, and so we have a duty to correct it.

BREAM: Ten Catholic Republican House members also quickly responded, writing, quote, "We hope that you will rectify your errant claims and apologize for misrepresenting the Church's doctrine, and misleading fellow Catholics." One member who signed on to the letter says if Pelosi isn’t willing to honor the Church’s fundamental teachings over her own interpretations, she’s free to join another faith.

REP. THAD MCCOTTER (R-MI): The reality is she made an erroneous statement about a Church teaching that further shows the trouble that people have with the schizophrenic separation of their personal private beliefs in the Catholic Church and their public actions for anything such as partial birth abortion. It's unsustainable. It’s illogical.

BREAM: It’s that dichotomy of private beliefs and political action that collide when Catholic pro-choice politicians want to take communion.

WUERL: You have to examine your conscience before you present yourself for communion, and if you are not truly living out what you believe and what you profess you believe, then the onus is on you to make the right decision about communion.

BREAM: Late today, Speaker Pelosi issued a statement through her spokesman saying that she was raised in a devout Catholic family that’s often disagreed with her pro-choice views. She also says, quote, "While Catholic teaching is clear that life begins at conception, many Catholics do not ascribe to that view." In Washington, Shannon Bream, Fox News.