In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Nancy Pelosi voiced her opposition to allow health care providers and entities to refuse to perform abortions for reasons of conscience. Knowing full well the efforts by the Catholic Church to encourage support for such conscience exemptions, Ms. Pelosi said, “I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it … but they have this conscience thing.”
With respect to the House Minority Leader, Ms. Pelosi not only needs a lesson in Catholic catechesis, but in American civics as well.
According to Catholic teaching, “Conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” (Gaudium et spes, n. 16.) To force one to act contrary to his conscience is to enslave him; it suppresses his freedom, undermines his liberty, violates his dignity. For these reasons, the Catholic Church has consistently insisted that the sanctity of conscience be preserved and protected in civil society. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience.” (No. 1782.) . . .