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Pope to Pelosi: Catholic pols must oppose abortion

Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has described herself as an ardent Catholic, has responded to a call from Pope Benedict XVI for politicians to work to protect “all stages” of life with comments about how much a joy it was for her to share photographs of her family with the Vatican.

The Vatican said Pelosi and the pope met briefly in private, and Benedict shared with Pelosi, a prominent supporter of abortion, the church’s teaching “on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.”

According to a report from the Associated Press, the expression often is used by the pope to oppose abortion.

The Vatican’s statement about the meeting confirmed Benedict told Pelosi Catholics – and specifically political leaders – need to work toward a “just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages.”

WND has reported on Pelosi’s appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in which she spoke about the beginning of life:

I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition … St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said that’s just wrong.

“Since the first century the church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law,” the bishops said.

Pelosi’s office released a statement on her visit with the pope, but it ignored life issues.

Pelosi said in her statement, “It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, 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,” she finished.

A WND message left with Pelosi’s Washington media office requesting a comment on the absence of a reference to the pope’s statement on abortion was not returned.

But an online forums page included opinions from one end of the spectrum to the opposite:

WND reported this week a Catholic website has launched a petition that targets Vice President Joe Biden and Pelosi, calling on Catholic church leaders to discipline them by withholding communion because they “not only disregard the Church’s teachings … but actively and publicly promote policies and legislation that undermines, opposes and contradicts the church.”

The petition is promoted by Pewsitter.com, which explained is it not only the right of Catholic church members to call for the discipline, it is their responsibility.

The nationwide “Withholding Communion” petition’s goal “is to gather at least one million petitions for presentation to the U.S. bishops and the Vatican,” website spokesman Jeff Jones said.

The conflict between members faithful to the Catholic church’s teachings and Catholic politicians who back pro-abortion legislation isn’t new.

As WND reported, the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco last year sought to schedule a meeting with Pelosi to talk about statements he contended were in opposition to the church’s teachings.

WND also reported that when Biden was asked when life begins, he said, “I know when it begins for me.”