Q: You were recently quoted as calling yourself a “conservative Catholic.” Are you?
A: I think so. I was raised, as I say, in a very strict upbringing in a Catholic home where we respected people, were observant, were practicing Catholics and that the fundamental belief was that God gave us all a free will and we were accountable for that, each of us. Each person had that accountability, so it wasn’t for us to make judgments about how people saw their responsibility and that it wasn’t for politicians to make decisions about how people led their personal lives; certainly, to a high moral standards, but when it got into decisions about privacy and all the rest, than that was something that individuals had to answer to God for, and not to politicians.
I have five children, five grandchildren; I try to abide by all the teachings of the church in relationship to family. I think my family speaks very clearly to that.
So who is this "conservative Catholic?" Well if you didn’t get the reference by the mention of grandchildren (this politician mentions it at every opportunity) it is Nancy Pelosi from a 2003 NCReporter interview.
Q: Is being a Catholic in public life a blessing or a burden?
A: Oh, it’s a blessing. I have more people praying for me.
In the family I was raised in, love of country, deep love of the Catholic Church, and love of family, were all the values I was raised in. I don’t like to have religion and politics come too closely together, but I will say that I am motivated by the Gospel of Matthew, as many people in politics are. I find it an inspiration.
What did I see the other day? The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you. The respect that we have for the individual because of the spark of divinity that we all carry serves me well in politics – to respect people and their point of view. I say that, I hope it doesn’t sound patronizing, …in a very respectful way.
My upbringing — working on the side of the angels with my parents — to help people, again according to Gospel of Matthew, and the idea …. [that we] look upon God’s creation as an act of worship – to ignore the needs of God’s creation is to dishonor the God that made them. And that we have that responsibility, all of us.
It’s part of me, it’s immediate in my life, it’s immediate in the lives of many of my colleagues.
The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you? This is of course a Hindu greeting and the context is polytheistic. Though of course it can also loosely be interpreted in that those living in sanctifying grace become "partakers of the divine nature" and the Eastern Mystical Theology of deification. But I find the phrase itself rather odd in a Christian context. I can bow to you because you are the Imago Dei, made in God’s image. But does the image of God in me in itself bow to the image of God in you? The phrasing seems to me to be kind of leaving the human person out of the equation and to be only an exchange between divinities – which is of course the original meaning.
Q: Is it more difficult today to be a pro-choice Catholic then it was, say, ten years ago?
A: It’s about the same. Now when I traveled across the country when I was campaigning for candidates this last time, when I was in another city on a Sunday, I would try to find a Catholic church nearby. I heard some of the sermons in some of the churches down south, so I understand what some of our colleagues undergo in the church — it was difficult. We’ve had those sermons in California, but a little more subtlety than I was hearing down south. It gave me a better understanding of what some of my colleagues are going through.
I have never in my district in California, in my archdiocese…if I was going to [be allowed to] receive communion; I never knew if this was the day it would be withheld. And that’s a hard way to go to church. Fortunately, I’m invited — I have a big family — I go to a lot of weddings, I’m in a different church every week. I’m a moving target. I travel, so I’m not exactly a target in terms of always being in the same church, although I go to St. Vincent DePaul, which is my neighborhood parish.
In addition to that, on many occasions the archdiocese has told the nuns that I couldn’t be the speaker at some event. And that’s hurtful because we have so much in common. But it’s the decision the church has made.
Is it more difficult today to be a square circle then it was, say, ten years ago? This type of question shows perfectly just how heterodox NCR is. I also just love the condescending attitude towards the South. Yep nun of us no newance down hear. It also says a lot about the Diocese of San Francisco that a 100 percent pro-abortion record Catholic never had to worried about not receiving Communion. Being allowed to receive Communion sacrilegiously and causing scandal must be something too nuanced for me to understand. I guess you don’t have to worry about someone’s immortal soul if they are already a politician. You do wonder about the inconsistency of her not being able to speak on many occasions in the Archdiocese and yet can receive Communion.
One last thing from this conservative Catholic.
Q: Women as priests?
A: Oh absolutely…Why not? Why not?
My eyes are now opened. What a stunning argument in favor of women’s ordination. Why not? Bludgeoning the homeless. Why not?
Q: On the flip side of the abortion question, how big a tent is the Democratic Party? Is it big enough to welcome Democrats who oppose abortion?
A: I think it is a bigger tent than people realize. I come myself from a family that does not share my views on choice.
Q: That must make for some interesting dinner table conversations.
A: Interesting in that they get back to the point that I made earlier – that we are all blessed by the creator with a free will [to] which we are answerable and I will step back to that. And that seems to be common ground [among the family].
Having said that, I think there are occasions where they would like me to be less visible, that they don’t like to see any disagreement between the church and any of us.
Well I am at least glad to hear that she recognizes that we are responsible for the choices we make and that she does not equate free will in this case with license. With her impending coronation, I mean 4 day party, please keep Nancy. Pelosi in mind in your prayers.
Amy Welborn the other day had a fairly extensive post on Nancy Pelosi and her voting record.