According to the theologians at the New York Times, a “strong Catholic Faith” and “abortion rights” coexist without contradiction in the person of Nancy Pelosi.
In a puff piece by Jennifer Steinhauersept Monday, the Times said that Ms. Pelosi had accused Republicans of mixing politics with Francis’s visit, something Ms. Pelosi would never do.
For the House Minority Leader, Steinhauersept wrote, “the issue of abortion rights has always been ancillary to her unwavering faith and deep approbation for generations of popes.” If by “ancillary,” Steinhauersept means “in open contradiction to,” then perhaps she has a point.
For Ms. Pelosi, “abortion and family planning access—as important proxies for women’s rights—are core values central to her party’s platform and base,” the essay states.
Steinhauersept laments “that one issue, abortion, is adding a thick layer of tension to the otherwise convivial mood as Congress prepares for the arrival of Pope Francis this week.” If we could only stick to the nice topics, like immigration and the environment, she seems to suggest, everything would be just fine. Why make an issue out of the one tiny topic of abortion?
The wrench in the works, of course, are those nasty Republicans.
“Scores of House Republicans, responding to undercover videos claiming that Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally profit from selling aborted fetal tissue to researchers, are demanding that any bill to keep the government open be stripped of all federal funding for Planned Parenthood,” she wrote.
The videos did not “claim” anything of the sort, of course. They merely showed it.
“If they [the Republicans] think they are making the pope more welcome” by putting abortion measures on the legislative calendar the week he is in Washington, “they are mistaken,” Pelosi said. “The pope is his own reason.”
Yet just this past January, Ms. Pelosi said that she knew “more about having babies than the pope,” and that a woman has “the right” to an abortion.
In her acceptance speech for Planned Parenthood’s highest honor—the Margaret Sanger Award—Pelosi went still further, calling pro-lifers (like the pope) “dumb,” “closed-minded” and “oblivious.”
In her New York Times article, Steinhauersept praised Pelosi for what can only be called a remarkable feat of overcoming cognitive dissonance. “For Ms. Pelosi,” she wrote, “the notion of disagreeing with other Catholics about abortion has not weighed on her sense of faith,” and that “she has lived with the conflict all her life.”
Steinhauersept further claimed that Ms. Pelosi is a huge fan of the popes and “carefully reads each encyclical with the rapt attention of a serious cook who devours every issue of “Bon Appétit.”
If that is so, one can only imagine her disgust at certain recipes offered by the Papal chefs.
Pelosi seemed to have missed the March 1995 issue, for example, where Saint John Paul II, in his encyclical letter The Gospel of Life, wrote that “among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable.”
“The Second Vatican Council defines abortion,” he continued, “as an ‘unspeakable crime.’”
In a pointed comment, John Paul wrote that “responsibility likewise falls on the legislators who have promoted and approved abortion laws.”
“In this sense,” he concluded, “abortion is a most serious wound inflicted on society and its culture by the very people who ought to be society’s promoters and defenders.”
How a “strong Catholic” legislator such as Nancy Pelosi can publicly defend the “unspeakable crime” of abortion is a theological mystery that only the New York Times can fathom.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome