After her meeting with the Holy Father this morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi released a statement highlighting the positive aspects of the meeting but ignoring the Pope’s correction of her support for legal abortion.
In her statement, Pelosi says:
“It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, today. In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church’s leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father’s dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show His Holiness a photograph of my family’s papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren.”
In contrast, the Holy See released a statement regarding the meeting noting that Pope Benedict spoke “of the requirements of the natural moral law” and also “the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception until 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 development.”
Comparing the two releases, Catholic commentator and author George Weigel responded saying that the statement from the office of Pelosi makes it obvious that there is more to the story: “that Pelosi, who shamelessly trumpets her ‘ardent’ Catholicism while leading congressional Democrats in a continuing assault on what the Catholic Church regards as the inalienable human rights of the unborn, was trying to recruit Benedict XVI to Team Nancy.”
But Pope Benedict wasn’t swayed, Weigel told the National Review Online.
During the meeting, the Holy Father told her “politely but unmistakably” that her pro-abortion support puts “her in serious difficulties as a Catholic, which was his obligation as a pastor.”
Furthermore, Weigel asserts, Pope Benedict was directing his words to other pro-abortion Catholics in the United States: Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Mikulski, Rose DeLauro, Kathleen Sebelius, and others clarifying to them that the Catholic stance against abortion “is not some weird Catholic hocus-pocus; it’s a first principle of justice than can be known by reason.”
“It is a ‘requirement of the natural moral law’,” says Weigel, “that is, the moral truths we can know by thinking about what is right and what is wrong — to defend the inviolability of innocent human life. You don’t have to believe in papal primacy to know that; you don’t have do believe in seven sacraments, or the episcopal structure of the Church, or the divinity of Christ, to know that. You don’t even have to believe in God to know that. You only have to be a morally serious human being, willing to work through a moral argument — which, of course, means being the kind of person who understands that moral truth cannot be reduced to questions of feminist political correctness or partisan political advantage.”
Though it is apparent that Pelosi is “deeply confused about what her church teaches on the morality of abortion,” Weigel continues, she “has now been informed, and by a world-class intellectual who happens to be the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, that she is, in fact, confused, and that both her spiritual life and her public service are in jeopardy because of that.”Weigel adds that even though President Obama is not Catholic, “he should understand that he will get the same message if, as expected, he meets with His Holiness later this year.”