The much anticipated meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took place today at the Vatican. According to the Vatican, the pope not only took the opportunity to remind the speaker, who supports abortion rights, of the the church's opposition to abortion, but the pope also mentioned the church's teaching that Catholic politicians are obligated to oppose abortion. Here is the Vatican statement, via Catholic News Service:
"Following the General Audience the Holy Father briefly greeted Mrs Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States House of Representatives, together with her entourage. His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."
Note that the Vatican statement uses the word "consistent" to describe its teaching -- a reminder of last year's controversy that erupted when Pelosi suggested that St. Augustine had a different view of when life began than do current church leaders -- a suggestion that was disputed by the church's hierarchy.
UPDATE: Pelosi issued the following statement about her interaction with the pope:
"It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today. In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family's Papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren."
(Photo, by Pier Paolo Cito/AP, shows Pelosi in Rome yesterday, Feb. 17, 2009.)