[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/16/art.popewh.jpg%5D
John L. Allen Jr.
CNN Sr. Vatican Analyst, Vatican Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter
Perhaps attempting to deny President George W. Bush, and by extension the Republican Party, a monopoly on Pope Benedict XVI, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asserted during a conference call with journalists today that aside from a few hot-button issues such as abortion, “The Catholic social agenda reads like the Democratic platform.”
Pelosi pointed to issues such as debt relief, immigration, the environment, torture, and budge priorities as areas of harmony between the social concerns of the Catholic church and Democrats.
Specifically on immigration, Pelosi expressed hope that “the Holy Father will be heard by those who are on the fence on this issue.”
“We need to hear the perspective of a person of faith and values who commands a level of respect that no politician could ever dream of,” she said.
Pelosi, who greeted Benedict at the White House this morning, spoke during an afternoon conference call with a group of religion writers.
Pelosi clearly acknowledged her differences with Pope Benedict on matters such as abortion and birth control, saying that “the church can only do what it believes, and I can only do what I believe.”
She added, however, that she hopes unwanted pregnancies become more rare, so that “people don’t have to make that choice.”
Pelosi repeatedly stressed her own Catholic roots, saying that among herself, her husband, and their children, her family has “more than 100 years of Catholic education.” She also said that as a child, she and her family travelled to Rome, where she remembers seeing Pope Pius XII (1939-58).
“If you have an area of disagreement,” Pelosi said, referring to her disagreement with church teaching on abortion, “it doesn’t pull your roots out.”
Pelosi indicated that she would be attending the Mass to be celebrated by Benedict XVI in Nationals Stadium in Washington tomorrow, and that she would receive Communion – as she does, she said, every Sunday. That act has political subtext, given that a handful of Catholic bishops during the 2004 elections said that they would not administer Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with