From The Hill.
Pay close attention to this.
My emphases and comments.
Concerns, hopes as Pelosi meets pope at the Vatican
By Mike Soraghan
Posted: 02/17/09 08:26 PM [ET]
[Do you want to know why Archbp. Burke and others talk about the scandal caused by publicly pro-abortion politicians? The writer nails it in one sentence.] The next time Roman Catholics who support abortion rights are told they should not receive communion, they can point to Nancy Pelosi.
After all, the House Speaker is staunchly pro-choice — and she met with the pope at the Vatican.
That’s what Jon O’Brien hopes and what Bill Donohue fears as Pelosi (D-Calif.) gets an audience Wednesday with Pope Benedict XVI.
O’Brien is the president of Catholics for Choice, and he sees Wednesday’s visit between the Speaker and Pope Benedict as a chance to highlight that you can be pro-choice and Catholic, and that there are much bigger issues out there to talk about, like the fate of the poor in the global economic downturn. [This is beyond absurd, or obtuse.]
“That would be a real conversation about choice, instead of this micro-obsession with abortion,” O’Brien said. “They made a very intelligent, diplomatic move.” [This spin is simply evil.]
Donohue, president of the Catholic League and a strong public voice for adherence to Catholic doctrine., worries that Pelosi will exploit the visit to downplay church teachings that abortion is “intrinsically evil.” [Which is one reason why the Holy See issued its statement and the Speaker's office issued its own.]
“The danger is that she could say to faithful Catholics, ‘He treated me cordially and so should you,’ ” Donohue said. “It’s how she plays it, not him.”
Pelosi grew up in a devoutly Catholic family in Baltimore’s Little Italy. The mother of five considers herself an “ardent” Catholic. She agrees wholeheartedly with church doctrine on the Iraq war (opposed), [?] torture (opposed) and capital punishment (opposed). [?]
But it’s her staunch support of abortion rights that has put her and likeminded Catholic politicians at odds with church leaders. [Not only.]
Donohue says the church has a hierarchy of doctrine, and opposition to abortion sits at the top, alongside opposition to stem-cell research.
“There is a hierarchy that begins with life issues,” Donohue said. O’Brien emphasizes that while church leaders stress the issue, many American Catholics in good standing simply disagree on abortion and other reproductive issues.
In contrast with Pelosi, the two Catholic members of Republican leadership on Tuesday sent out a letter stressing that they would do everything they could to block a bill called the Freedom of Choice Act, which would codify the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing the right to an abortion.
“Despite the limitations of being in the minority, we are committed to working with our pro-life colleagues on both sides of the aisle to proactively defeat” the bill, wrote Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).
It’s doubtful many details of Pelosi’s discussion will be released publicly, but there could be an extra level of tension because of a fight Pelosi got into last year with two U.S. archbishops about Catholic teachings on abortion.
Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl rebuked her in August for saying in a television interview that the moment of conception has been a matter of controversy within the Catholic Church. He issued a statement saying church teaching is clear — and has been clear for 2,000 years — that abortion is “gravely contrary to the moral law.”
The next month, Pelosi’s hometown Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco stepped in and invited Pelosi to discuss whether she should continue to receive communion at the Catholic Church in the wake of her comments.
[Now watch this...]
The two had the meeting, according to a House aide, though it was not publicly noted at the time. No details have emerged, but she has continued to receive communion.
[Oh REALLY? The Archbishop's office says that they have NOT met. The Archbishop's spokesman says they offered dates to the Speaker, but none of them were accepted. So, did they bump into each other at a cocktail party or a supermarket
opening... er um... closing and she considers that the meeting? Someone is either confused or lying about what happened.]
The question of whether one can be a good Catholic and an officeholder who supports abortion rights has boiled since 2004, when several American bishops said they would deny communion to then-Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) because of his views on abortion.
Last year, when pressed on whether Catholic politicians who had recently legalized abortion in Mexico City should be considered excommunicated, Pope Benedict’s response was: “Yes.”
Benedict’s spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, later said the pope was not setting a new policy and did not intend to formally excommunicate anyone. But Lombardi added that politicians who vote in favor of abortion rights should refrain from receiving holy communion.
In April, Pelosi received communion in a service during the pope’s visit to Washington, though she did not receive it directly from the pope. She said she felt very comfortable taking communion during the Mass. [Oh really? For the sake of her soul, I hope so.]
Both Donohue and O’Brien noted that Pelosi could also be seen as an emissary of President Obama, especially since her visit comes so soon after Obama’s inauguration. [I don't know about that.]
Obama has yet to choose a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Typically the post has gone to a Catholic, but Donohue says faithful Catholics will watch any nominee closely.
“Catholics are more likely to accept a pro-life Jew or Protestant than a pro-choice Catholic,” Donohue said.
He is worried that Obama might pick Pepperdine University law Professor Doug Kmiec. Kmiec opposes abortion, but has said that a pro-life Catholic could vote for Obama in good conscience. [Which would be an insult to the Holy See.]
A clarification is needed.
Did the Speaker and the Archbishop of San Francisco meet or not?