Following Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, it was predictable that politicians on both sides of the aisle would invoke his words when they could plausibly be interpreted as favoring or opposing certain policies. To cite the pope when advocating policies to which he would be unequivocally morally opposed, however—like Planned Parenthood’s unconscionable marketing of body parts of aborted babies—is nothing less than obscene. Yet that is what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did a few weeks ago as she argued against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood for engaging in that inhuman practice.
“They (House Republicans) will of course be wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, destroy the Affordable Care Act, dismantle newfound health security for millions of Americans,” Pelosi told a press briefing. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, we could be working together recognizing a Republican Congress, a Democratic President, the ability for Democrats to use their leverage legislatively to have compromise for the good of the American people. That’s what Pope Francis told us to do.”
Really? Quite the contrary. Speaking at the United Nations on September 25—the day after his address to Congress—the pope forcefully called for “putting an end as quickly as possible” to such “baneful” practices as “the marketing of human organs and tissues.” He called for “respect for the sacredness of every human life” including “the unborn.”
That, of course, is basic and unchanging Catholic moral teaching. Maybe Rep. Pelosi, who has described herself as an “ardent, practicing Catholic,” still doesn’t get that. She needs to pick up that copy of Catholicism for Dummies that we sent her back in 2008, when she demonstrated her ignorance of Catholic Church teaching on abortion.