Pelosi: Catholic Church Opposes Death Penalty, 'But They Take No Action Against People Who May Not Share Their View'

Susan Jones | May 24, 2022 | 8:54am EDT
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to respond to the San Francisco archbishop on May 24, 2002. (Photo: Screen capture)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on May 24, 2002 to respond to the San Francisco archbishop. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who often professes her Catholic faith, nevertheless supports a woman's right to abort a baby. Last week, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco publicly announced that Pelosi should not take Holy Communion until she repudiates her support for abortion.

Pelosi responded Tuesday morning, telling MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the archbishop also opposes the death penalty and LGBTQ rights, but he does not deny Holy Communion to people who don't share those views.

She also suggested that many pro-life advocates reject the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus instructs his followers to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

Those commandments are at the heart of Christian charity.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough told Pelosi, "I'm just curious, what do you say to Catholics who see what's happening to you in San Francisco and wonder why you have an archbishop taking a step like this?"

"What's so sad about it, and as you were speaking, I'm thinking of some of the discussions I've had with other members of Congress over time," Pelosi said:

"And what is important for women to know and families to know, that this is not just about terminating a pregnancy. So these same people are against contraception, family planning, in vitro fertilization. It's a blanket thing. And they use abortion as the front man for it while they try to undo so much. That's what they tried to do in the Affordable Care Act, which didn't have anything about terminating...a pregnancy.

"So let's just say that, you know, I wonder about the death penalty, which I'm opposed to, so is the Church, but they take no action against people who may not share their view.

"Thank you for referencing the Gospel of Matthew, which is sort of the agenda of the church that is rejected by many who side with them on terminating a pregnancy. So we just have to be prayerful. We have to be respectful.

"I come from a largely pro-life, Italian-American, Catholic family, so I respect people's views about that. But I don't respect us foisting it onto others.

"Now, our archbishop has been vehemently against LGBTQ rights, too -- in fact, he led the way in some of the initiatives on -- an initiative on the ballot in California.

"So this decision, taking us to privacy and precedent, is very dangerous in the lives of so many of the American people. And again, not consistent with the Gospel of Matthew."

Pelosi also repeated something she's said for years, that Republicans are opposed to family planning, both domestically and globally.

In 2002, Pelosi criticized the George W. Bush administration for refusing to release U.S. funding for foreign non-governmental organizations that provide family planning services to poor women around the world.

"So women have to know how pervasive this is," Pelosi said on Tuesday.  I mean, as a Catholic, I tried to talk to some of my colleagues, Republican colleagues, some years ago, into supporting what the Catholic Church was asking us to do for global family planning -- natural family planning, which our law allows to happen. And they said, we're not for family planning domestically or globally. We're against it.

“Now, that was family planning. That wasn't anything beyond that. So understand what is at risk here. And again, I think it is very insulting to women to have their ability to make their own decision hampered by politics.

“This should never have been politicized. It should never have been politicized...And, you know what, it is also a cover for a lot of other things that the far right wants to accomplish."

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