(RNS) — Pope Francis welcomed US Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the Vatican on Saturday, as she arrived in Rome for a gathering of legislative leaders of G20 nations forward of the UN Local weather Change Summit in Scotland later this month.
“It was a religious, private and official honor to have an viewers with His Holiness Pope Francis this morning,” the speaker mentioned in a statement.
Francis’ non-public assembly with Pelosi, a Catholic and a defender of abortion rights, got here as American Catholic bishops take into account how you can press the church’s instructing towards abortion whereas the nation’s second Catholic president, Joe Biden, heads an avowedly pro-choice Democratic administration.
However Francis has cautioned the American bishops — who’ve debated whether or not to disclaim Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians — to not transfer too rapidly and has repeatedly signaled he doesn’t need the Eucharist to turn into a political weapon. Flying house from his papal go to to central Europe on Sept. 15, he noted that he has by no means denied the Eucharist to anybody and that bishops danger turning into embroiled in “political issues” after they do not act “like shepherds.”
The difficulty, which dominated the bishops’ nationwide assembly in June, was spurred partly by criticism of pro-choice Catholic leaders by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who has advocated denying Communion to pro-choice elected officers based mostly in his archdiocese — which would come with Pelosi.
On Sept. 29, after a invoice geared toward overcoming a Texas regulation severely proscribing abortion passed the House, Cordileone requested Catholics to wish for a “conversion of coronary heart” for Pelosi and different Democratic representatives.
The speaker, in her assertion on the assembly, emphasised the pontiff’s assist for measures to fight local weather change. “His Holiness’s encyclical Laudato Si’ is a strong problem to the worldwide group to behave decisively on the local weather disaster with particular consideration to essentially the most susceptible communities.”
She went on to reward “the immense ethical readability and urgency that His Holiness continues to convey to the local weather disaster.”
Francis had made identified earlier this yr his intention to take part within the upcoming COP26 convention, however the Vatican announced Friday with out rationalization that the 84-year-old pope, who’s recovering from intestinal surgical procedure, wouldn’t attend.
Pelosi additionally met with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Selling Integral Human Growth, a division created by Francis 5 years in the past to supervise the church’s efforts on points reminiscent of migrants, prisoners, the unemployed and different marginalized folks, in addition to victims of armed battle, pure disasters, slavery and torture.
The conferences got here as President Joe Biden introduced his intention to appoint former lawmaker and anti-abortion Democrat Joseph Donnelly to function his Vatican ambassador.
It has been reported that President Biden will meet with Francis on Oct. 29.