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Nancy Pelosi discusses environment, migration, and human rights at Vatican

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by CNA Staff

Vatican City, Oct 8, 2021 / 11:30 am

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) discussed the environment, migration, and human rights during a visit to the Vatican on Friday.

The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced the visit on Oct. 8 in a post on its Twitter account.

It said: “We welcome Speaker Pelosi from the U.S. House of Representatives. We talked about caring for the environment, in the light of [Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical] Laudato Si, migration issues, human rights, health in times of pandemic, and the work of the Vatican COVID Commission.”

An accompanying photograph showed the 81-year-old standing between Cardinal Peter Turkson, the dicastery’s prefect, and Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, the dicastery’s “ad interim” secretary and coordinator of the COVID Commission.

Smerilli tweeted that the meeting was “great and inspiring.”

The House Speaker was accompanied by her husband, the businessman Paul Pelosi, and Patrick Connell, the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, which currently lacks an ambassador.

A photograph showed Turkson presenting the Pelosis with a copy of the book “Why Are You Afraid? Have You No Faith?” released by the Vatican Dicastery for Communication to mark the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ extraordinary “Urbi et Orbi” blessing as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world.

The first Italian-American Speaker of the House was in Rome to give the keynote address at the opening session of the G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit. She also met with the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Pelosi, a Catholic mother of five, has clashed repeatedly with the archbishop of her home diocese over her support for abortion.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone launched a prayer campaign last month aimed at inspiring “a conversion of heart” among politicians supporting the practice.

“A conversion of heart of the majority of our Congressional representatives is needed on this issue, beginning with the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” the San Francisco archbishop said.

“I am therefore inviting all Catholics to join in a massive and visible campaign of prayer and fasting for Speaker Pelosi: commit to praying one rosary a week and fasting on Fridays for her conversion of heart.”

Cordileone urged Catholics and people of goodwill to sign up for the “Rose and a rosary for Nancy Pelosi” campaign.

A rose will be sent to the Speaker “as a symbol of your prayer and fasting for her,” he explained.

In May, Pelosi said that she was “pleased” with a Vatican letter to the U.S. bishops which addressed Communion for pro-abortion politicians. She claimed that the Vatican had instructed the bishops not to be “divisive” on the issue.

In response, Cordileone said the Vatican was in fact promoting “dialogue” between bishops and pro-abortion politicians, “to help them understand the grave evil they are helping to perpetrate and accompany them to a change of heart.”

“I’m happy to know that Speaker Pelosi said she is pleased with the letter,” the archbishop said.

“Speaker Pelosi’s positive reaction” to the letter, he noted, “raises hope that progress can be made in this most serious matter.”

In July, Cordileone criticized Pelosi after she cited her Catholic faith while defending efforts to permit federal funding of elective abortions.

“Let me repeat: no one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,” he said.

Cardinal Turkson was drawn this week into the debate over whether Joe Biden, the second Catholic president in U.S. history, should be denied Communion over his support for abortion.

In an interview with Axios on HBO, the Ghanaian cardinal said: “If you say somebody cannot receive Communion, you are basically doing a judgment that you are in a state of sin.”

“It sounds like you don’t think that should happen in the case of President Biden,” said the interviewer.

“No,” Turkson replied. “You know, if, you know, a priest who’s distributing Communion sees — unexpected all of a sudden somebody he knows to have committed murder, he’s meant to protect their dignity and the respect of that person.”

“So it’s for extreme cases?” the interviewer suggested.

“Yeah. Those, for extreme cases, OK?” Turkson commented.

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