What if the Pope spoke to Pelosi the words about abortion that he often uses?
Pope Francis meets and greets Nancy Pelosi. So it went last week. Then followed a practiced exchange of smiles. Since the devil is no respecter of persons, he was doubtless there as well. But our angels love us far more than the devil hates us, so we can hope that there was an exchange of more than smiles.
We are not privy to what the Holy Father and the Speaker of the House said in private. Still, we are free to imagine the exchange. We are even free to imagine what we wish Francis had said. So indulge me: Below is what I wish he had said. When I can, I use the words (in single quotes) that in the past he has used.
“Madame Speaker, a few days ago, I addressed my Pontifical Academy for Life. I urged its members not to ‘water down’ the Christian understanding of the human person in their public debates. I insisted that today’s ‘culture of waste’ kills babies with abortion. I told them that this ‘normal’ habit is ‘murder.’ Then I posed a double question: ‘Is it right to eliminate, to take a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? That’s what abortion is.’”
So far my imagination mostly calls to mind the Pope’s own words. Speaker Pelosi’s words are familiar enough as well, so it’s easy to imagine her saying, “Why yes, your Holiness, I understand you. Surely you know that I am personally pro-life. Did I tell you about my many children?”
What next? Now I imagine Francis saying, “No, Madame, you do not understand me. In fact, you publicly advocate for wider access to, and more funding for, abortion. To do so is to advocate for access to the means of murdering preborn children. You are complicit with the hitmen of the now habitual practice of abortion. To countenance legal abortion as morally acceptable would be for the Church to accept ‘daily homicide.’”
And there is more that I imagine. The Holy Father speaks of the elderly whom some regard as “waste material.” He denounces the “hidden” euthanasia which shortens their lives because of cost considerations. Can I not, then, imagine him asking the congresswoman why her state of California has just expanded the practice of physician-assisted suicide by eliminating even basic safeguards in its practice? At this point, I cannot imagine what Speaker Pelosi would say. I can, though, imagine her thinking that the Pope is better informed than she supposed.
Such is my imagination that I can even picture, though just barely, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, after a suitable introduction, joining the discussion at this point. He is Pelosi’s own bishop, and he has made it abundantly clear that she does not speak for the Church. Of late he has asked the faithful of the archdiocese to pray for Nancy Pelosi’s change of heart. He has suggested that they send her roses as a testimony of their good will.
Together let’s imagine that Pope and Archbishop invite the Speaker to reflect with them on David the King and Nathan the Prophet. King though he was, David made himself complicit in the death of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba and the woman after whom David lusted. Since David was unrepentant, Nathan told him the story of a rich man with many sheep who had stolen the only little lamb of a poor man. David, alert to the sins of others if not his own, vowed that he would execute the thief and restore the lost sheep. Hearing this declaration, Nathan said to David, King though he was, “That man is you.”
Both Speaker Pelosi and President Biden, who will visit Francis later this month, are complicit in the daily homicide of preborn children. Both are complicit in the lie that this daily homicide is a right of the parents of the children whose lives are taken.
These politicians are you.
Imagination, of course, is only an aid to this, or any, judgment. But this judgment stands. Pray God, the Creator of Life, that Pope Francis acts in the spirit of Nathan the Prophet. Should we send the Holy Father a rose?
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