House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI and, despite the fact that they are both Catholic, could not even agree on what exactly happened during the audience. Pelosi and the Pope issued differing statements on the audience.
From the office of the Pope:
“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 enjoins 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.”
In other words, Pope Benedict admonished Nancy Pelosi over her views on abortion. The teachings of the Catholic Church are uncompromising on the subject. Abortion is the taking of an innocent human life, the Catholic Church maintains, and is therefore a sin. A doctrinal note issued in 2002 specifically enjoins Catholic politicians to oppose any law that attacks human life (i.e. abortion.)
Nancy Pelosi, who believes in a woman’s right to choose an abortion for any reason and at any time, had a different take on the meeting with Pope Benedict.
“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.”
Note that there was no mention in Nancy Pelosi’s press release on the subject of abortion or whether the subject even came up.
The problem is that Nancy Pelosi is what some have called a “Cafeteria Catholic,” which is to say someone who professes to be a Catholic but prefers to pick and choose which church teachings are convenient to adhere to. The Catholic Church, as an institution, has been somewhat tolerant of Catholics who believe in the right of an abortion. Few if anyone, especially a high profile politician, has been excommunicated for that belief in recent years. The worse that has happened is that individual priests have denied communion to those Catholics like Nancy Pelosi for their stance on abortion.
Source: Pelosi, Pope Have No Meeting of the Minds, Greg Burke, Fox News, February 18th, 2009