A Further Perspective

In Persona Pelosi

Who was Ms. Minority Leader standing in for?

By 4.22.14

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Fresh from accepting her Margaret Sanger Award, lifetime Roman Catholic Nancy Pelosi accepted another curious invitation. This one wasn’t from Planned Parenthood. It came from the Episcopal Church, the same denomination that’s a member of the odious Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which, along with Planned Parenthood’s official chaplain (no, I’m not kidding), literally prays for abortion. That is something that Planned Parenthood, the Episcopal Church, and Pelosi share in common. Pelosi has called abortion (actually, late-term abortion) “sacred ground to me.”

So, what happened with Rep. Pelosi this time?

Last week, the congresswoman went to Saint John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco, where she helped wash the feet of the faithful on Holy Thursday, in the spirit of the leader of her flock in Rome, Pope Francis, who recently found himself lumped among Pelosi’s legion of “dumb” people who are pro-life. That Pelosian insight, as I noted here two weeks ago, was her epiphany as she embraced Planned Parenthood’s 2014 Sanger award. Speaking of pro-lifers, Pelosi averred: “When you see how closed their minds are, or oblivious, or whatever it is — dumb — then you know what the fight is about.” The ladies at Planned Parenthood loved the swipe at their enemies, leaping up and down in appreciative applause.

But at Saint John’s in San Francisco, Pelosi was acknowledging not the stupid who oppose abortion, but immigrants.

To “honor the dignity and work of immigrants,” the Democrat leader helped Bishop Marc Andrus wash the feet of two immigrants. Without the usual howls of “separation of church and state!” by militantly secular liberals, Pelosi enthusiastically brought politics to the pulpit. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, Pelosi “used the occasion to talk about passing HR15 — bipartisan immigration legislation that her office says would ‘reduce the deficit by nearly $1 trillion, secure our borders, unite our families, protect our workers and provide an earned pathway to citizenship.’”

Of course she did. And liberals dutifully set aside their usual fanatical insistence of banishing faith from the public square.

It’s quite telling that Pelosi would participate in this ritual, which was not a Roman Catholic one. In her Roman Catholic Church, the priest washes the feet of the faithful in his parish every Holy Thursday as part of his servanthood and in keeping with his role in persona Christi — a Latin term that means “in the person of Christ.” In Pelosi’s Church, the priest assumes that awesome responsibility: he stands in the literal person of Christ.

That being the case, it looks as if Pelosi stepped up from her usual duties as a Democrat congresswoman into an even higher role. Pelosi in persona Christi?

Well, maybe not totally. A photo from the ceremony captures Pelosi aiding the Episcopal priest. Did the Congresswoman herself do any scrubbing, or only pouring? It’s not a minor distinction. I assume she only did the pouring. Heaven knows.

Of course, it’s probably only a matter of time. Pelosi in the past has taken upon herself the awesome responsibility of speaking for her Church on literal life-death issues.

“When does life begin?” Pelosi was asked by Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press in August 2008. Pelosi answered firmly for her Church, telling a national TV audience on Sunday morning: “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. And Senator — Saint Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose.”

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Church is the Bride of Christ. Here, then, Pelosi, publicly speaking for her Church on the matter of when life begins, had approached that rather weighty role as well.

So, which is it? Is Nancy Pelosi in the person of Christ or the Bride of Christ? Or is she just… well, Nancy Pelosi, with truly no one else to compare? In persona Pelosi.

Either way, the spectacle continues. I painfully await the next development in the Pelosi chronicles. Maybe next Easter it will be an invitation from Barack Obama’s erstwhile denomination, the United Church of Christ, or maybe from Hillary Clinton’s United Methodist Women friends. Both are also members of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. They, too, share certain “sacred ground” with the California congresswoman.

Happy Easter, everyone.

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About the Author

Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His latest book is 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative.