House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is about to pull off, at least according to some, a real coup by being given the opportunity to have a photo op and a conversation with the Vicar of Christ on Earth, Pope Benedict XVI. According to one news report, Pelosi, who describes herself as an "ardent" Catholic while advocating reproductive rights, will be the highest-ranking U.S. official to see the pope since President Barack Obama took office last month.
There are some who feel strongly that this encounter will provide Pelosi with the ability to tell the public that she, as a pro-abortion Catholic, was welcomed with open arms by the pope. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that whatever occurs, she will exploit it for what she thinks is her benefit. The public record makes one thing about Pelosi perfectly clear: She is not a woman who adheres to the teachings of the Church even though she claims “ardent” faith.
But there could be a surprise in store, though as political strategist and writer of “Inside Catholic” commentary Deal Hudson points out, “…the Holy Father is a head of state and regularly meets with political leaders from every nation, regardless of their positions on issues important to the Church.”
It's a good idea for Benedict to meet with Pelosi, because one can never underestimate the impact of being in his presence. It's also worth remembering that, if the protocol of past meetings remains the same, the Holy Father will make formal remarks in front of the media before any private meeting. Benedict will very likely make comments criticizing the Obama administration for ending the Mexico City Policy and warning the new Congress against passing the Freedom of Choice Act.
But again, nobody knows how this event will unfold but we can hope that a miracle occurs.
On the practical level, the fact of the matter is that under the Catholic definition of heretic, Nancy Pelosi has long ago distanced herself from truth and the game she plays is a dangerous one.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “…Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith.” One of those truths, written in the Ten Commandments is, God said “Thou shalt not kill.” In discussing this commandment, the Catechism states:
2261 Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: "Do not slay the innocent and the righteous." The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere.
Therefore, if one acknowledges the fact that the act of abortion is an act of murder that takes the life of an innocent human being, one can objectively know that Pelosi, who I presume was baptized into the Catholic Church, is in denial about a truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith. She is “ardent,” if not downright intransigent, in her views regarding abortion and, as we learned most recently, birth control as well. She offered “no apologies.”
Therefore, regardless of the smiles, the warm handshakes or whatever else might occur tomorrow, the fact is Pelosi’s soul is in jeopardy. This should be of immense concern to all of us and it should be a reason to pray that perhaps when Pelosi is in the pope’s presence this time, she will somehow be touched by a spirit of humility that will force her to confront her demons and deal with truth, versus her personal version of what it means to be Catholic.
Pope Benedict has taught us much about the proper formation of conscience, and in one of his most memorable statements, Conscience and Truth, he said, "A man of conscience, is one who never acquires tolerance, well-being, success, public standing, and approval on the part of prevailing opinion, at the expense of truth."
In this commentary the Holy Father said there were two standards that define a real voice, a real conscience. “First, conscience is not identical to personal wishes and taste. Secondly, conscience cannot be reduced to social advantage, to group consensus or to the demands of political and social power.”
Dear Nancy, are you listening?
Pope John Paul II, with whom then-Cardinal Ratzinger was remarkably close, taught
<To be a person of conscience> means working to build up the kingdom of God—the kingdom of truth and life, of justice, love and peace—in our families, in the communities in which we live and throughout our homeland. It also means courageously assuming responsibility for public affairs; it means being concerned for the common good and not closing our eyes to the misery and needs of our neighbor, in a spirit of Gospel solidarity: "Bear one another's burdens" (Gal 6:2).
Madam Speaker, did you hear this?
It is here, at this crossroads between the upright conscience and the dead conscience, that Nancy Pelosi will meet her nemesis; the bane of her existence, the Vicar of Christ on Earth. It may well be that she will depart from her meeting with the Holy Father as committed to denying the right to life of innocent preborn babies as she was when she arrived. It could be that she will never examine her views in the light of the “ardent” faith she claims as her own. Only God knows the answer to that.
Regardless it is clear that her arrogance in even requesting such a meeting is but another sign of the abyss that exists between the truth of God’s word and Pelosi’s view of what it means to be a believer. This is why she needs our prayers; this is why her view will not prevail. Pelosi’s public embrace of the evil of abortion will not go unnoticed by the Holy Father, but I am certain that he will in this encounter be as gentle as Christ and as equally firm. We must not forget what he said in his homily on the day of the inauguration of his pontificate four years ago
The human race – every one of us – is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; he cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon his shoulders and carries our humanity; he carries us all – he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.
Nancy, we are praying for you.