In a stunning show of chutzpah, a group of some 93 Democrats signed a letter to Pope Francis outlining the talking points they would like him to touch upon in his address to the U.S. Congress on September 24.
In mid-August, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) drafted the letter to the Pope welcoming him to the United States and sketching what she thought would be the issues that the Pontiff should weigh in on.
“Your powerful example of solidarity with the poor and the marginalized will undoubtedly help inform our current debates around major U.S. policy affecting all Americans,” the letter states.
In her letter, DeLauro didn’t shy away from specifics, getting down to the nitty gritty of the Democratic platform. “Your message of hope could not come at a more crucial time, in particular to those in our nation that are struggling on a minimum wage salary, or relying on public assistance to put food on the table.”
The letter also praised the Pope’s encyclical letter on the environment, saying that it “lays a path for all people to lead the way in shaping the future of the planet we call home.”
Though DeLauro commends the Pope’s “clear emphasis on human dignity, solidarity and the rights of workers, and above all, the poor and vulnerable,” she skirts the topic of abortion, which Francis considers to be at the core of what it means to defend the most defenseless among us.
Abortion promises to be a sore point when it comes to trying to co-opt the Pope as chaplain of the Democratic Party. In a recent “virtual town hall” between the Pope and several groups of Americans, Pope Francis spontaneously interjected the topic of abortion after listening to the testimony of a single mother of two girls in Los Angeles.
The Pope congratulated the woman, Rosemary Farfan, for carrying her children to term rather than aborting them. “You could have killed them inside your womb and you respected life,” Francis said, telling the woman to hold her head high and not be ashamed.
Francis told her that she would always be able to say: “I didn’t kill my daughters. I brought them into the world.”
Rep DeLauro, on the contrary, who calls herself a Catholic, is an adamant pro-choice legislator with a zero percent pro-life record, according to National Right to Life.
DeLauro has voted against the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and legislation that would de-fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, despite the mounting evidence of serious wrongdoing and an upcoming congressional investigation into their alleged sale of body parts from aborted human children.
Rep. DeLauro is also a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus and recently said she has not watched the videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting business. She said, “I’ll take a look at it, but I did not see it so I have no idea what’s in it.”
The Democrats’ letter represents a bold attempt to steer the conversation with Pope Francis toward issues where they might find some common ground, and away from more problematic terrain.
The problem is, once Francis is in the room, how will they be able to ensure that he stays on script?
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome