Friday, February 20, 2009

What happened when the Pope met Pelosi?

Pope Benedict XVI met with the US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a few days ago. Pelosi is an outspoken advocate of abortion, has told NBC’s Meet the Press that the Catholic Church has long debated whether fetuses are humans, and is perfectly happy to call herself a Catholic in good standing.

I guess accepting the teachings of a church are not a requirement for being in good standing. But I digress…

Pelosi’s office has made a press release proclaiming her meeting with the pope as a positive encounter. No disagreements or divides between her beliefs and the pope’s were discussed in her release. Instead it focused on their conversations about his upcoming trip to Israel and other upcoming events. That’s a bit odd since the Vatican released a statement that didn't mention any of the discussion points Pelosi's release brought up and instead read in part:

"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural
moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from
conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially
legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to
work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just
system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its
development."

I wonder why Pelosi's statement didn't mention this conversation. Maybe because she has a 100% record of supporting abortion and the pope is firmly opposed to her position?

John Allen, a reporter for the National Catholic Register, has a clear commentary on the Vatican's focus on life issues concerning the visit with Nancy Pelosi:

"routine Vatican declarations after diplomatic meetings also generally sum up
the range of issues discussed rather than concentrating on a particular point.
In that sense, the statement can only be read as a rejection of Pelosi's
statements last summer, and, in general, of her argument that it's acceptable
for Catholics in public life to take a pro-choice position….by issuing an
unusual public statement after the session with Pelosi -- which insisted that
all Catholics, including legislators, are obliged to work for the defense of
human life from conception to natural death -- the pope also made clear there
will no let-up in the pressure on pro-choice Catholic politicians to change
their ways."

It’s probably no secret that any politician wanting to make good with Catholic voters would love nothing more than a picture of themselves shaking hands with the pope. Many have in the past. What’s impressive to me is that not only has the Vatican denounced Pelosi's position on abortion, but no photos have been allowed to be released by the Vatican. It seems the Vatican has no interest in being a photo-shoot for a "Catholic" politician who won't listen to the teachings of her Church. To the pope I say "Good for you!"

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