Pope Stresses Abortion Issue in Pelosi Meeting

Posted February 18, 2009 at 12:39pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is characterizing her Wednesday meeting with Pope Benedict XVI as a session focused on combating poverty and swapping photos of grandchildren. But that’s not what his Holiness came away with.

Pelosi said it was with “great joy” that she and her husband met with the pope during her weeklong visit to Italy. Italian newswires indicate their meeting lasted approximately 15 minutes.

“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,” Pelosi said in a statement.

She noted that she was also “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.”

But a statement issued by the pope after their meeting focused squarely on one issue that some say divides the California Democrat from the teachings of the Catholic church: abortion. Pelosi describes herself as an ardent Catholic while advocating reproductive rights.

“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 co-operation 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,” reads the statement from the Holy See Press Office.

Asked if Pelosi got a “talking-to” by the pope, aides to the Speaker simply pointed to her statement on their meeting.