The Hill reveals discrepency: Did the Speaker and Archbishop of SanFran meet or not?

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?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I pray Archbishop Wuerl will do the right thing.Mrs Pelosi is as bold as they come.

  2. Papabile says:

    Working on the Hill, I can say with certainty that The Hill, Roll Call and the Politico are publications that are followed closely by members of both parties. That’s why a clarification from Pelosi’s office would be helpful.

    The Hill literally just published a second article on the actual meeting, asserting the same thing. Roll Call did a related article, and a blog on Politico posted an entry on the meeting.

  3. Papabile says:

    Oh… the comments on the Politico blog are really interesting and show the sort of concern that is often shown behind closed doors. Make no mistake, for Pelosi, her audience had only one purpose, the photo (which didn’t happen).

  4. Dan says:

    Apparently M Pelosi has met with Bishop Niederauer:

    The Archbishop of San Francisco met with Speaker Pelosi on Sunday, February 8 to discuss her views on abortion. February 18, 2009 – As U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is preparing to meet with Pope Benedict today there is some breaking news about her relationship with the Catholic Church.

    Last August, Pelosi appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and did not tell the truth about Church teaching with regard to abortion. She said it was an open question and there was no definitive teaching.

    The next day, in a written statement, she backed off that position after a howl of protests went up from laity as well as Catholic bishops.

    As a result of the uproar, her bishop in San Francisco, Archbishop George Niederauer issued a lengthy statement of his own. He concluded it by saying, ” .. as her pastor, I am writing to invite her into a conversation with me about these matters. It is my obligation to teach forthrightly and to shepherd caringly, and that is my intent.”

    Michael Voris of Real CathlicTV reports today in his daily Vortex column that this meeting between Pelosi and Archbishop Niederauer took place quietly and clandestinely on Sunday, February 8th in a private residence in San Francisco. confirmed this fact with both the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Pelosi’s office in DC.

    Pelsoi’s spokesman Brendan Daly said Pelosi described the meeting as quote .. “cordial and pleasant .. a fair exchange and good.”

    When pressed by producer and host Michael Voris , if “good” meant that she had changed her position on abortion and finally gotten in line with Catholic teaching, Daly replied, “You won’t see that happening. She is not changing her position on abortion.”

    This puts the ball squarely in the archbishop’s court now. He has met with her. They explained each other’s position. She admits that she understood Church teaching incorrectly and now, presumably, understands it correctly and yet remains defiant.

    What follows now is very important. The Archbishop himself is away on retreat for the rest of the week according to Archdiocese Communications Director, Maurice Healy. But when he comes back, there are some serious questions waiting. The biggest one being what is his next step.

    The Archbishop has met with her and has explained Church’s teaching- – and Speaker Pelosi has said .. good meeting .. thank you. I still support abortion.

    The bottom line is will Archbishop Niederauer now refuse her Holy Communion?

    Your move Archbishop — a lot of people are watching.

  5. Flabellum says:

    (18 Feb 09 – RV) Following the General Audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Mrs Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage.

    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. Vatican Press Office

  6. kate says:

    If Archbishop George Niederauer did meet with Pelosi, as some commenters have apparently verified,and she still maintains her pro abortion position,(having had the teaching of the Church spelled out to her)it’s difficult to see what option the Archbishop has but to tell Pelosi: that she may not receive Holy Communion,as she is clearly demonstrating that she is not in communion with the Church.

  7. mrsmontoya says:

    At least the truth is getting out to the world, or onto the Mainstream Media: I did a Google search for news on Pelosi and see these:
    Pelosi, Pope Have No Meeting of the Minds
    FOXNews – 50 minutes ago
    It would appear from the two statements issued by the Vatican and the speaker’s office that Nancy Pelosi and Pope Benedict did not share the same views …
    Pope schools pro-choice Pelosi on pro-life view USA Today
    Pope admonishes Pelosi on duty to protect unborn AFP
    Pope to US Speaker Pelosi: Reject abortion support

  8. Matt says:

    I don’t think that the Vatican officially condemned the invasion of Iraq, so much as Pope John Paul II openly opposed it.

  9. r7blue1pink says:

    There is a petition circulating that the Bishops act..

    Please pass it along… for what its worth..

  10. Fr. BJ says:

    I am annoyed with how simplistic of a position MANY Catholics today have about capital punishment. I know it is probably what they were taught, but that teaching — viz. that capital punishment is totally wrong — is based on a simplistic and hermeneutic-of-rupture reading of Vertatis Splendor.

  11. James Todd says:

    They did meet…Michael Voris confirmed this. Here it is in his words.

  12. Bruce says:

    “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.]”

    “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

    —Cardinal Ratzinger’s Memorandum
    Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion – General Principles

  13. RANCHER says:

    I wouldn’t believe what Pelosi says about a meeting….on the other hand not so sure about the ABp’s version either. A definitive statement from the ABp accompanied by follow up action would certainly serve to clarify the issue.

  14. Phil Steinacker says:

    Fr. BJ,

    Can you elaborate a bit more? I am having trouble with Catholic friends who otherwise lean orthodox who cite the Catechism, Benedict XVI, and John Paul II as all opposing the death penalty – and as an infallible teaching.

    This would come as a huge surprise to the late Cardinal Dulles supporting its appropriaate use:

    Can you source for me some comprehensive support of the death penalty from traditional Catholic teaching? I’m just looking for more – pardon the reference, Father – more ammunition.

  15. tertullian says:

    “I was pleased to hear that Speaker Pelosi and Pope Benedict XVI had a cordial meeting today. At that meeting, Speaker Pelosi did justice to Catholics in the United States and around the world by representing the views of the majority of Catholics who are prochoice as well as raising some of the current social justice issues that are critically important to American Catholics, including poverty, hunger and peace in the Middle East.”

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