House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday morning amid growing anger over abortion rights in the United States.
A smiling Pelosi grabbed hold of the Pontiff’s hand in a series of photos released by the Vatican. She was escorted by her husband Paul Pelosi – a well-known investor – and Patrick Connell, Charges d’Affaires of the US Embassy in the Vatican, during her visit to the Apostolic Palace.
The papal audience came when Pelosi, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has faced increasing criticism from some American bishops for her support for abortion.
“This is about freedom, about freedom for women who have a choice about the size and timing of their families,” Pelosi said last month as she pressured Parliament to pass a bill that would block state abortion restrictions.
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that Texas can resume its near-total abortion ban as a Justice Department disputes the state’s new “pulse law” winds its way through the courts.
Debates have erupted among American Catholics over whether to prevent elective Catholic politicians — particularly Pelosi and President Biden — from receiving communion.
“We must never lose sight of this fact: in the last 50 years, in the United States alone, 66,000,000 babies have been murdered in the lives of their mothers,” said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone – who heads Pelos’ diocese – in Kan.
Earlier, rumors had swirled in DC that Biden would appoint Pelosi as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Speculation was shattered Friday when Biden tapped former Senator Joe Donnelly for the role.
Biden, the country’s second Catholic president, is scheduled for his own meeting with the pope in a few weeks’ time when he visits Rome for talks with members of the G20 nations.
Pelosi was in Rome for a meeting with parliamentary leaders in Rome ahead of the G20, Reuters reported.