After San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone recently barred Speaker Nancy Pelosi from Communion, she appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to defend her defiant brand of Catholicism. It was an abject performance. She didn’t address the substance of Cordileone’s ban but simply tried to change the subject, accusing the Church of “politics” while declaring her own left-wing politics an expression of the “Gospel of Matthew.” She is, you see, opposed to the “foisting” of morality on others, unless it is her own.
Her comments made no sense, treating an internal Church matter as an insidious plot to deprive non-Catholics of rights to “family planning” and “in vitro” fertilization. She added, apropos of nothing, “Our archbishop has been vehemently against LGBTQ rights, too.”
This flailing simply confirmed that she stands opposed to the Church not just on abortion but also on multiple moral issues. In banning her from Communion, Archbishop Cordileone cited only her abortion activism. But he could have broadened his indictment. Her relentless LGBTQ activism also makes her unfit for Communion. Her agenda aims at removing from politics not just parts of the natural moral law but the whole of it.
Pelosi’s self-indulgent version of Catholicism is a shameless and open contradiction. On the one hand, she asserts a right of independence from the Church. On the other, she demands the Church treat her as in communion with it. In one moment, she cries for the Church to stay out of politics. In the next, she harangues bishops for not intervening in it and blessing her socialist and libertine policies.
Like President Joe Biden, she casts political issues as religious and religious issues as political. She can accuse Cordileone of “politicizing” the Church while presenting her support for Roe v. Wade as somehow biblical: “This decision taking us to privacy and precedent is very dangerous in the lives of so many American people and again not consistent the Gospel of Matthew.”
Pelosi’s self-indulgent version of Catholicism is a shameless and open contradiction.
Pelosi has the gall to say that she is protecting the vulnerable even as she countenances the slaughter of the unborn, who are truly the least of our brethren. According to Pelosi, the “disadvantaged” include murderers on death row but not defenseless unborn children.
In an attempt to confuse the issue underlying Cordileone’s ban, Pelosi said on Morning Joe, “I wonder about the death penalty, which I am opposed to. So is the church, but they take no action against people who may not share their view.”
Before he became pope, Benedict XVI had addressed this sophistical objection in a letter to the United States bishops. “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia,” he wrote to them. “For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.”
But notice that Pelosi isn’t even saying that the rare application of the death penalty is on par with over 60 million abortions. She is saying that it is worse. She wouldn’t mind if the bishops barred from Communion pro-life Catholic Republicans who support capital punishment.
She insists on the primacy of her “conscience,” even as she claims that Catholic Republicans don’t have one. She doesn’t mind if the bishops play politics as long as it benefits her own. She has no problem with liberal bishops “foisting” their views in favor of gun control, climate change activism, and big government on politicians.
The media, of course, is backing Pelosi in her dispute with Cordileone. Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe pronounced her a “faithful Catholic” and pretended to puzzle over the controversy. But Pelosi’s slight hedging in the interview — she made a point of saying that she “respects” opponents of abortion within her “largely pro-life Italian American Catholic family” — indicated some political anxiety about the matter. Perhaps she senses that an emboldened episcopate, combined with the apparent collapse of Roe v. Wade, could pose a real problem for a party that is now universally pro-abortion. Should Roe fall and other bishops follow Cordileone’s example, the pro-abortion Catholic Democrats may have a crisis on their hands. At least a few of them, if only for reasons of raw politics, will have to adopt a more ambiguous position on abortion to survive in states that go pro-life.
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders drove out of the party its few remaining pro-lifers. But for cynical political reasons, she may have to call them back in order to compete nationwide. The American people, however, won’t be fooled. The Democrats have long posed as the party of the “little guy” while snuffing him out in the womb. Its values come not from the “Gospel of Matthew” but from Planned Parenthood, a cult of selfishness with which Pelosi undeniably communes.
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