What the Pope Should Know about Nancy Pelosi

Deal W. Hudson
February 16, 2009

This week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will meet with Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican. With the debilitating illness of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Pelosi has become the de facto leader of dissident Catholic members of Congress.

It’s only appropriate that Pelosi should take Kennedy’s place. When she became Speaker in January 2006, she chose Rev. Robert Drinan, S.J., as the celebrant of the Mass held in her honor. The late Father Drinan, a longtime professor of law at Georgetown University, had been the architect of the arguments now used as cover by Catholic politicians who wish to dodge the abortion issue. This effort began in 1964, when Father Drinan was among a small group of theologians who visited Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, to school the Kennedy clan on how to finesse the abortion issue in politics.

Pelosi’s 100 percent voting record on abortion, according to NARAL, is commonplace among Catholic Democrats in the House, but Pelosi is, perhaps, the most vocal among them. For example, millions of dollars for contraceptives were cut from the first version of the stimulus package; 0nly Pelosi, rather incoherently, defended the funding.

In August, she made such outrageous comments about the Church on Meet the Press that she single-handedly endangered President Barack Obama’s outreach to Catholic voters. When to support her pro-abortion stance on when life begins, she asserted, “Over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition,” Pelosi elicited a rebuke not only from her ordinary, Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco but also from dozens of other bishops.

Thus, the news that Pelosi will meet with Benedict spread like wildfire through the Catholic blogs last Thursday. Many Catholics, disgusted with her rabid pro-abortion politics, were outraged that the pope would agree to meet with her at all. They forget that the Holy Father is a head of state and regularly meets with political leaders from every nation, regardless of their positions on issues important to the Church.

It’s a good idea for Benedict to meet with Pelosi because one can never underestimate the impact of being in his presence. It’s also worth remembering that, if the protocol of past meetings remains the same, the Holy Father will make formal remarks in front of the media before any private meeting. Benedict will very likely make comments criticizing the Obama administration for ending the Mexico City Policy and warning the new Congress against passing the Freedom of Choice Act.

When Pope John Paul II, meeting President George W. Bush for the first time in July 2001, made mild remarks critical of his position on embryonic stem cell research, the media talked about nothing else. It will be interesting to compare the media reaction to anything Benedict may say about Pelosi and Obama.

Just as important as Pelosi’s meeting with the Holy Father is all that will surround her visit to the Vatican. Will she attend Mass? Will she receive communion? How many from the media will be present? How widely will the photos and videos of her reception be spread around the world? How many of her fellow pro-abortion Catholics will be at her side?

You can be sure that Pelosi will choreograph her visit to get maximum exposure of her Catholic identity – down to a photograph of her entering St. Peter’s Basilica in a veil, no doubt.

Pelosi, of course, should be denied communion, but it is unlikely to happen. Any priest who celebrates Mass with Pelosi present will be carefully chosen beforehand in order to avoid embarrassment to the Speaker and her entourage. But I wouldn’t rule out some sort of protest from orthodox Catholic students and seminarians studying in Rome.

Given the publicity Pelosi will receive during this trip, Archbishop Niederauer should issue another public statement reiterating his criticism of her position on abortion – and that, furthermore, if she presents herself for communion, he will deny it to her. If he were to remain silent, he would experience the embarrassment of having other U.S. bishops responding to Pelosi, in his place, on behalf of the Church.

Rev. Tom Euteneuer has already taken a bold stand, expressing his belief that Pelosi should be publicly and formally excommunicated. Unfortunately, his public statement makes it less likely to happen: Bishops don’t want to appear to do what they are told by the head of Human Life International, or any other Catholic apostolate for that matter. But our good friend at HLI is right on the mark.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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