Nancy Pelosi and Her Bishop

Nancy Pelosi continues to stand against her Church’s teaching on abortion by literally calling out bishops she disagrees with (even the one in charge of her very own diocese). Not only does she speak about abortion from a contradictory Catholic position, she also explains her opinions in a fashion that proves that she has an anti-science perspective on the topic as well. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the Archbishop of San Francisco and shepherd of Pelosi’s diocese, has continuously spoken out against her outlandish and hypocritical statements. 

Over the summer, Pelosi spoke about the Hyde Amendment as an issue of medicine. Abortion, she noted, is “an issue of health, of many women in America, especially those in lower-income situations and in different states.” Taking the life of the child in the womb is seen as a positive thing that increases health for a woman’s body and mind. Poor women who have no other choice besides abortion, according to Pelosi, must be able to kill their babies in order to save their checkbooks. 

The Speaker of the House specifically pointed to her Catholic faith and her own personal experience as a mother in order to defend her position. As “a devout Catholic and mother of five in six years,” said Pelosi “I feel that God blessed my husband and me with our beautiful family, five children in six years almost to the day.” Implied in her comment is that Catholics who are devout are people who respect the difficult choice that women have to make between more money and comfort and taking the life of their baby. No one else should have to keep their babies just because she decided to. 

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Pelosi said that “it’s not up to me to dictate that, that’s what other people should do, and it [funding of abortion in Medicaid] is an issue of fairness and justice for poorer women in our country.” Archbishop Cordileone directly responded to her statement: “To use the smokescreen of abortion as an issue of health and fairness to poor women is the epitome of hypocrisy: what about the health of the baby being killed? What about giving poor women real choice, so they are supported in choosing life?”

The bishop desired to make his point, and that of the Church, abundantly clear by stating that “no one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it.” Now that Pelosi and the Democrats are moving to codify Roe v. Wade, the bishop has become even more strident in his comments, noting that abortion is alike to “child sacrifice.” The Speaker responded by declaring that “it’s none of our business how other people choose the size and timing of their families.” At the end of the day, that is the most important topic for her in this discussion.

“The archbishop of the city of that area, of San Francisco, and I,” she continued in her response, “had a disagreement about who should decide this [family size and timing]. I believe that God has given us a free will to honor our responsibilities.” Basically, women are meant to have the choice to kill when they weigh that their “responsibilities” in the world are more critical than the infinite dignity of a human life. That is something God has given them, she said emphatically. 

Pelosi believes that this is an undeniable right granted to every citizen. “Every woman everywhere has a constitutional right to basic reproductive health, yet for years that has been questioned by some.” Without the capacity to live a healthy life, meaning that all women should be free from the burden of being pregnant, carrying a child and giving birth to that child, women can never really be healthy. Health is a basic human right, and abortion is wrapped up inside of it. That is her argument. 

The Heartbeat Bill in Texas, which goes along with indisputable science, was the last straw for the Speaker of the House and many other Democrats. “The Texas law goes beyond a discussion of a woman’s right to choose,” she said. “It’s about vigilantes and bounty hunters, and something that is so un-American. And it has evoked a response, okay? It’s unconstitutional and unjust.” However, even the CDC knows that human development is undeniable science. They outline the development of the child in the womb and note that the heartbeat and central nervous system are present at 5-6 weeks gestation. Pelosi’s arguments are both anti-health and anti-science. 

Furthermore, Archbishop Cordileone said that the bill that is currently in motion from the Democrats “is surely the type of legislation one would expect from a devout Satanist, not a devout Catholic.” Clearly, he is willing to state that Nancy Pelosi is at odds with Catholic teaching. More importantly, however, she is simply at odds with the fact that a human life is present when there is full human DNA and a heartbeat along with it. 

At the beginning of October, Cordileone began the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign which asks Catholics to pray and fast for Pelosi’s conversion. The move in the House to pass a law that would make abortion legal on demand and at any stage of pregnancy moved him to begin the campaign in honor of St. Therese and the Blessed Mother. The conversion of the hearts of Pelosi and many in the House is needed, said the archbishop. Prayer and fasting are the most powerful remedies. 

Only a week later, however, a further difficulty arose for the archbishop because the Speaker would meet with Pope Francis. Pelosi was in Rome to deliver the keynote address at the G20 Parliamentary Speaker’s Summit and spoke with the Roman Pontiff in a private audience. A press release from the Speaker’s newsroom following her audience with the pope referenced the topics of discussion, including being “good stewards of God’s creation, to act on climate, to embrace the refugee, the immigrant and the poor, and to recognize the dignity and divinity in everyone.”

The dignity and divinity of every human being would imply the unborn as well, but that seems to have been left off the list of topics spoken about. We don’t know for sure that Francis did not speak to her about her stance on abortion, but the very image of the leader of the Catholic Church sitting with Pelosi (especially amidst the heavy debates regarding abortion laws in America) is simply alarming. Pelosi’s contradictory beliefs are not the only problem in the world, but her championed stance on killing the unborn should not go overlooked for the sake of “playing nice” or “being kind.” 

Jesus met with sinners constantly, but He never spent time with them simply because He liked sin. His Presence drove sin from their lives. The pope is known as the Holy Father and, at times, fathers must correct and guide their children. Archbishop Cordileone is attempting to do that publicly since he cannot gain an audience with the Speaker. The pope had his chance, and it appears that he swung and missed. 

Witnessing the continued response of Archbishop Cordileone will be interesting, but it will undoubtedly be rooted in Church teaching, prayer, and a call to sanctity. Finally, there is a member of Catholic leadership who has authority and a voice that shines a light on the hypocrisy of Pelosi while fighting for the truth and for human lives in the process. He respects her enough to pray for her and challenge her. Doing so allows for greater clarity regarding what Jesus calls His followers to believe and how that belief leads to holiness of life.

[Image: Nancy Pelosi/Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone]


  • Thomas Griffin

    Thomas Griffin is the chair of the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island where he lives with his wife and two sons. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Empty Tomb Project: The Magazine.

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