Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Followup on the Pope and Pelosi - put your boots on!

So, Nancy Pelosi got her meeting with the Holy Father, but any thoughts she had for a great photo-op to be exploited went bust. No photographers or reporters were permitted in the room.

John Allen, who writes for the National Catholic Reporter, had a pretty good piece up today. Granted, I consider NCR a dissident rag, for lack of a better expression (look - it's a real hangout for hippy-era ideals of Catholicism). But he brought up some good points, like this one:

Pope Benedict XVI’s much-awaited encounter this morning with U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, perhaps the most prominent pro-choice Catholic in America, amounted to a classic Vatican “both/and” exercise, striving to balance the demands of external diplomacy and internal church discipline.

By meeting Pelosi, Benedict signaled that he wants lines of communication to remain open with the new American leadership, even if the Vatican has deep differences with its policies on the “life issues.”
Without communication remaining open, you can't have dialogue. Without dialogue a wall goes up and the pro-life cause suffers. It's a cross that has to be beared - to continue talking with promoters of the culture of death.

Now, in a rare move, the Vatican updated it's Bolletino (and VIS) later in the morning (US time) with the press release on Pelosi's visit. John Allen notes:
While the Vatican typically puts out brief declarations after the pope meets with a head of state, encounters with lower-level officials are generally considered private. Doing so in this case thus suggests that the pope wanted to make a point.


We see what the Vatican website says about the 15 minute meeting. It's clear. It was instructive on life issues. No other mention was made, smartly, by the Vatican about anything else discussed. That is because if the Holy See had mentioned anything else, it would have taken away from the greater message, which was:

"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."

Pelosi had a different account of the meeting:

"It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today," she said. "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."
If it gets any deeper, I'm going to need boots!

Perhaps she was unaware that the global Vatican website had published a statement promptly after the meeting.

Lifesite News had this to say:

Vatican insiders stressed to that such releases are always phrased in diplomatic language and thus the correction of the Speaker who describes herself as a "faithful Catholic," despite her abortion advocacy, should be taken as a firm rebuke.

The Lifesite piece also mentions John Allen's reporting:

The release from the Vatican, however, made no mention of the comments that Pelosi stressed in her release.

Pelosi's positive spin on the meeting is not being swallowed even by left-leaning Papal watchers. Vatican correspondent John Allen, who writes for the National Catholic Reporter, noted that "routine Vatican declarations after diplomatic meetings also generally sum up the range of issues discussed rather than concentrating on a particular point. In that sense, the statement can only be read as a rejection of Pelosi's statements last summer, and, in general, of her argument that it's acceptable for Catholics in public life to take a pro-choice position."

Allen also noted that "by issuing an unusual public statement after the session with Pelosi -- which insisted that all Catholics, including legislators, are obliged to work for the defense of human life from conception to natural death -- the pope also made clear there will no let-up in the pressure on pro-choice Catholic politicians to change their ways."
This was a checkmate on the pro-choice speaker. She tried to corner the king and got knocked off the board. Just to show you what I mean, look at the headlines in the secular press. If Pelosi thought her little spin would work in the headlines it didn't. The Vatican played it smart.

I'll try to do another followup on this tomorrow.

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!