I don’t get it

The Speaker says it was a "conversation".  She mentions only what she thought was important enough to reveal.

Fair enough. 

The Holy See mentions in its release what the POPE thought most important to reveal.

The mismatch between the two statements of what was talked about in this conversation suggests to me that she was either unmoved by the content of what the Pope said to her, or embarrassed. 

The Pope stressed life.  The Speaker stressed… well.. not life.

And another thing…

A spokesman for Archbp. Niederauer of San Francisco said on 13 Feb:

     “While she initially accepted the archbishop’s invitation to a pastoral meeting, she has not been able to arrange such a meeting on her schedule, despite our putting forward several available dates,” …

But then I read elsewhere that the two had the meeting, according to a House aide, though it was not publicly noted at the time.

Something is wrong.


If the Archbishop and the Speaker did in fact have a meeting, and if after this meeting and then the meeting with the Holy Father she does not change her position and actions concerning these life issues, I cannot see any way around the necessity for bishops, according to c. 915, to deny Speaker Pelosi reception of Holy Communion.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jerry says:

    Her history would lead one to believe she’s in denial and unmoved, but hopefully the HS was at work and her heart will be touched by the experience and cause a retinking of her views.

  2. Ken says:

    This is a good start. I cannot recall a similar incident where the previous pope stressed the life issue as strongly as today in a one-on-one meeting with a pro-abortion politician. It will be interesting to see if there is follow-up, where the Vatican could clearly state answers on excommunication / refraining from communion.

  3. Diane says:


    Michael Voris is a professional journalist who worked in the secular press years ago before going into Catholic journalism.

    He confirmed AFTER the 13th – as in yesterday, I believe, with the Archdiocese of San Francisco that the meeting, in fact, took place. These few details we know:

    It took place Sunday, Feb 8th.
    It took place at a private, third-party home.

    Voris then confirmed this much with Pelosi’s spokesman.

    When he asked the Archdiocese for a statement out of Abp Neiederauer, he was told the Abp was on retreat.

    If you go to the Feb 18th “Vortex” at realcatholictv.com, you can hear what Michael learned from those conversations with the archdiocese and Pelosi’s spokesman. Or get the direct link at the bottom of my blogpost made at lunchtime today.

  4. If the Archbishop and the Speaker did in fact have a meeting, and if after this meeting and then the meeting with the Holy Father she does not change her position and actions concerning these life issues, I cannot see any way around the necessity for bishops, according to c. 915, to deny Speaker Pelosi reception of Holy Communion.

    I have started to wonder if that wasn’t part of Pope Benedict’s strategy in giving a direct rebuke to force the hand of our Bishops. Let’s pray for them to have the strength to take up the battle that will ensue.

  5. If the Pope spoke so strongly to Speaker Pelosi about the sanctity of all life and the trads are asking for excommunication and no reception of Communion for her, then why is the Pope still giving Communion to the Italian politicians with no outcry from the people? That’s not right… Isn’t the teaching supposed to be consistent everywhere?

  6. r7blue1pink says:

    I think Archbishop Burke’s elevation to the See was a brilliant move. Considering how he has been CONSISTANT and OUTSPOKEN on Canoninical issues.

    Perhaps we are missing a piece of the puzzle here… I could see in the near future where the Vatican will re-iterate and make a CLEAR statement- trumping all WEAK statements- about denying politicians communion. I’d venture to say it is in the works.

    for one.. look at the strong statement Cardinal Levada wrote about life issues.. There was NO question on what the church teaches and what WE must do to uphold life issues..

    I think we will see this in light of what happened with Pelosi.. Let watch and see what Archbishop Burke will have to say about this.. Because you KNOW he will!

  7. Steve K. says:

    You have to start somewhere, maryanna.

  8. Nick says:

    If Senator Ted Kennedy is buried from a Catholic church without first making a public confession on abortion then no matter what a pope or archbishop may say, it will have little public effect.

  9. pel says:

    How hard is it to invoke some Innocent III action?

    Has the word “interdict” been completely stricken from the Roman vocabulary?

  10. Mark says:

    Father Z,
    All this new saddens me. Why won’t the Pope more forcefully and publicly speak out? I WANT THE TRUTH! PLEASE GIVE IT TO ME!!! I am very good friends with the pastor of the church I used to attend in Seattle. He is always telling me that we need to draw people in to the Church and we need to be compassionate. I say the Truth will bring them in. Plus, if I’m going to hell, please tell me so, so that I can change my behavior. And if someone is doing something to lead others into hell, like a prominent person saying it’s ok to vote pro-choice, it would be better for that person to have a mill stone tied around their neck, and the world needs to know about it. Damn the consequences, the Lord shall prevail, speak the Truth and speak it forcefully. I YEARN FOR IT! PLEASE GIVE IT TO ME!

  11. Jenny says:

    I’m praying now as I have been about this “interaction.” Now, she may have been dismissive about what he said, but let us just pray that the Holy Spirit doesn’t let her forget the words of our Pope and that in the next days, weeks, months or even years, she is constantly reminded of these words and will eventually have a conversion. I’ve seen the Holy Spirit work like this – it’s possible and we should pray for it. It could come sooner rather than later. How can you meet with the Holy Father and not be touched? I’m touched by his mere words on paper, how much more so to be in his presence! I’m may be an optimist (which is so unlike me), but what other choice do we have?

  12. Jenny says:

    p.s. It might help her to remember his words, were an excommunication come her way. Now, that’s more like me!

  13. Tod says:

    One can visit with the Pope and not be touched if one’s conscious is already seared.

  14. Luigi says:

    “Why won’t the Pope more forcefully and publicly speak out?”

    I get the sentiment, but as it applies to this meeting with Pelosi the Vatican statement isn’t a transcript. I am certain the Holy Father spoke with all the necessary force in that meeting. He feels no need to make public any more than he did. We have to trust his judgment.

    My question now is to what extent will the particulars of that meeting be passed along to her bishop and from him in the form of direction to his priests in anticipation of her next attempt to use the Eucharist to make a political statement, assuming that she does not in fact have the change of heart we hope she has?

  15. RANCHER says:

    She is a political game player pure and simple. She will only do what she needs to do not to save her soul but to advance herself politically. That’s her decision. However, it is now time for consequences. She has had multiple opportunities to amend her faulty position on life issues and has cohosen not to do so. Denial of Communion would have no practical effect…excommunication would.

  16. Of course, and this is stretching the thinking, if she conversed with the pope under the umbrella of “confession”, the pope would have to restrict certain aspects as well from his public statement. Perhaps the speaker took wrongful advantage of this?

    Also, as intelligent as the Holy Father is, he might realize that a public rebuke, with the overall mindset of the american people, might not be effective. Lets face it, we are the bad guy in probably 50 percent of the minds of americans.

    also, sadly, the pope cant be everywhere at once as made evident by the new york mass. There are bishops and priests who dont carry the banner of Peter any higher then they have to. Speaker pelosi is a very prominent figure. The priest who gave her communion would/should have recognized her. Then again, no one knows whats in her heart either.

  17. Mark says:

    I just wish the Vatican would be more direct with its statements. There comes a time when being political is not the answer, and the Truth needs to be spoken no matter the consequences.

  18. mysticalrose says:

    I agree, Fr. Z, but the question still remains: why does the Holy Father give communion to pro-aborts in Italy? Does anyone know if this is really true?

  19. Mike says:

    I suspect she was embarrassed by what the Holy Father said, and didn’t want to acknowledge his words because that would have had her political allies up in arms.

    Also surely the fact that she did not publicly acknowledge her error in the statement after meeting the Pope suggests her meeting with Arch. Niederauer had no effect. If it did, she would have said something in recognition of the gravity of the sin. What a perfect opportunity to show some kind of contrition for her very public display of supporting abortion.

  20. Regarding Communion and Italian pro-choice politicians: I found SEVERAL brief references like this one in an article in USA Today. (see http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2004-06-14-bishops-meet_x.htm)

    “Pope John Paul II says Catholics who think they can dissent from the church’s stance on sexual morality, divorce and remarriage or abortion and still receive the sacraments are making a “grave error.”

    Even so, the pope appears to consider Communion a private question between a believer and God. The pope himself has given Communion to pro-choice Italian politicians. And U.S. bishops returning from routine meetings in Rome this spring say there’s no Vatican support for denying Communion in order to publicly sanction policymakers. ”

    But since I can’t search Italian newspapers, I can’t come up with anything more definitive. Perhaps one of our European bloggers can help out.

  21. Gibbons in SF says:

    Father, I think I get it, and I don’t like it. In an Our Sunday Visitor story of 2/17, a San Francisco Archdiocesan spokesman and a spokesman for Pelosi’s office said there was no meeting planned. (not the same thing as saying no meeting had already occured).

    Lo and behold, on the day of the meeting with the Holy Father, it turns out they HAD met. My (not particularly charitable)take on why this happened is here:


  22. mariadevotee says:

    Do you suppose that MR Pelosi is getting nervous about all this “not in line with Catholic teaching” correcting going on?

  23. wmeyer says:

    Ms. Pelosi has been all too public in her statements about abortion; Pope Benedict and our American bishops have no choice but to be similarly public, and to proclaim without any equivocation the position of the Church. They cannot fail to act on the Canon, lest they place themselves in an equally compromised position.

  24. Rancher says:

    I truely hope the Pope and the ABp realize that Pelosi is playing a game. She is using them for her own purposes and with the help of the secular leftist media (who collectively hate the Church and what it stands for) every effort will be made to make the Pope look like the bad guy. So, be the bad guy. Excommunicate her as she deserves thus sending a message to at least a few whose souls may be saved as a result.

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