(CNSNews.com) - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the nation at her press briefing on Thursday that she is a “practicing Catholic” and that Catholics understand the church to be “the body of Christ.”
Pelosi, who (contrary to Catholic teaching) supports abortion on demand and same-sex marriage, made the remarks while responding to questions about the clergy sex scandal.
“Well, as a practicing Catholic, I feel great sadness for what has happened in the church,” Pelosi said. “I feel sadness for what it means to the church writ large, but more sad about what it means to the individuals who have been abused, and that they should be respected, protected, and that we have to get to the bottom of it.”
“I’ve seen friends who had most devotion to the church be the most disappointed in it,” Pelosi said. “But I think we have to stay strong because we are, in our view, the Eucharist, the body of Christ, we are all part of the church. And if we have some cancerous elements there, we have to remove all doubt, again, that that will not be how we proceed. It’s very sad.
“It’s a very interesting time and I’ve tried to encourage people to be prayerful within the church and we’ll make a judgment when we see what comes,” said Pelosi. “I’m hopeful that what His Holiness is calling for will have the results that hopefully it is intended to do.”
The Catholic Catechism says: “The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body. In the unity of this Body, there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted. The Church is this Body of which Christ is the head: she lives from him, in him, and for him; he lives with her and in her.”
Here is the full text of Pelosi’s statements about the Catholic Church at her Sept. 14 press conference:
Q: You talk about suffering. As a Catholic American in a prominent position what do you think of the current sexual abuse crisis, and is it being handled in the best way possible right now?
Nancy Pelosi: Well, as a practicing Catholic, I feel great sadness for what has happened in the church. I feel sadness for what it means to the church writ large, but more sad about what it means to the individuals who have been abused, and that they should be respected, protected, and that we have to get to the bottom of it.
And I would hope that what His Holiness is putting forth now will result in this meeting that he’s going to have in February in Rome, would get to the heart of the matter.
And Cardinal DiNardo, Houston--my daughter lives in Houston, so I’ve had the benefit of his pastoral leadership there. I’m hopeful that he can take this to a place that says--what we’re seeing now is first it was the United States, then it was Ireland, now it’s Germany, then it’s in Latin America, too.
First it was like U.S., but now we see that it is more systemic than just in the U.S. Something’s wrong there and it has to be addressed. It’s very, very sad. It’s very sad, again, for the lives of the young people who were affected by it.
I’ve seen friends who had most devotion to the church be the most disappointed in it. But I think we have to stay strong because we are, in our view, the Eucharist, the body of Christ, we are all part of the church. And if we have some cancerous elements there, we have to remove all doubt, again, that that will not be how we proceed. It’s very sad.
Yes, sir? This will be the last question.
Q: Just following up on that: Is there a sense that the church can self‑police here? There is going to be this meeting in Rome and they are promising reforms in all of this. But clearly there is an investigative and a law enforcement component and state AGs have taken on that role in Pennsylvania and now beyond. Is there a congressional role here at all? Is there any type of oversight? Because right now it’s a very piecemeal, state‑by‑state investigative regime happening. What’s Congress’ role?
Nancy Pelosi: Well, I haven’t seen any suggestions for anything in the Congress of the United States to affect the Catholic Church. But I do respect the work that is done, for example, in Pennsylvania, and hopefully that will serve as a model to our places, which I understand it is, to undertake their own research or investigation into the matter.
You see what was just released in Germany, I mean that’s not the U.S., but in Germany, when the veil is pulled back and people see what is happening. That’s the evidence, facts, data are what, again, should be how we go forward, and maybe that’s best achieved in a parish, in a diocese, in a state, because that’s where the responsibility is.
But there should be no doubt, there should be no doubt that if there is a reason to believe that this happened, that it be turned over to law enforcement.
Q: But, I mean, isn’t that the concerns, that they have not been transparent at all, that they’ve buried all of these cases?
Nancy Pelosi: No, but it’s been shameful. And I don’t think that a number of people who had responsibility--for example, Cardinal Law of Boston--what did they do? They made him a Prince of the Church in Rome to be the head of Santa Maria Maggiore, the second most important church in the Catholic world, after Saint Peter’s, the next. They made him that. What?
So there really has to be a brighter light shining on this. Again, I keep using the term remove all doubt. This isn’t what the church is about. And, again, as big as all of it is, I still trust and believe that it’s a small percentage of what the good is that is happening in the church and with our clergy and the rest. But only the facts will tell us that.
Q: But the bright light can come from within then.
Nancy Pelosi: Well, I think it can come from within. And I would like to see some women at the table, too, when they do these reviews, because they are just--not that women are better than men, it’s just a different perspective, a different perspective, a different experience.
And we’re talking about in many cases young people. Even if they’re young seminarians, we’re talking about young people who trust and then are betrayed. It’s very, very sad.
But we have to be prayerful and we have to hold everyone to a high standard, including those who are reviewing the tragedy of what has happened, happened to the church.
There are still--I mean, I still know people who say, oh, gee--because they are so protective, the church is on the ropes, we shouldn’t be attacking. Just, well, no, the people who did this are on the ropes. We can make that distinction between those who violated their responsibilities, their faith really, and the dignity and the worth of every person.
It’s a very interesting time and I’ve tried to encourage people to be prayerful within the church and we’ll make a judgment when we see what comes. I’m hopeful that what His Holiness is calling for will have the results that hopefully it is intended to do.
But they should have no thought that anything less than a complete change is anything that would be acceptable. How that happens, we’ll see when they make the review of it. But it can’t be done in a way that is protective of this or that or the other thing, it’s about the church.
And everything that we do has to be about renewal, redemption, taking us to a better place. This is a terribly sad, sad tragedy, but it shouldn’t diminish our faith. Faith is a gift, not everybody has it.
And so, depending on how strong it is in you, you may have a reaction that is very negative on the church because your faith is so deep. So it behooves our church leadership to--I keep using the same expression, you remove all doubt that this is not what the church is about. It’s heartbreaking, but we have to be prayerful.