WASHINGTON, D.C. April 2, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – During their first-ever meeting last week, Pope Francis gave President Barack Obama a blessed rosary. Yesterday, Obama gave that rosary to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi is perhaps the first person ever to receive a papal sacramental and Planned Parenthood's highest award in one week.
Obama gave the prayer beads to the House Minority Leader, an outspoken opponent of the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion and homosexuality, after they lunched together on Tuesday.
“I was happy to receive a rosary blessed by Pope Francis. It means a great deal to me,” Pelosi said.
Adam Cassandra, communications manager at Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews that “people could see it as somewhat disrespectful on the part of the president that he re-gifted the rosary given to him by the Holy Father,” especially to someone “who has been harshly criticized by the Vatican for championing the mortal sin of abortion in opposition to Catholic teaching.”
Obama gave Pelosi the rosary just days after Pelosi accepted Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger Award on March 27.
“No one is more deserving of this honor than Leader Pelosi, who has fought tirelessly throughout her career to protect and expand women’s access to health care,” Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said when she announced the award in January.
She also cited Pelosi's fervent support of the Affordable Care Act, part of which the Catholic bishops say tramples on religious freedom.
The former House Speaker used last Thursday's ceremony to criticism “personhood” laws and castigate pro-life figures, presumably including most Catholics, as ignorant.
“When you see how closed their minds are or oblivious or whatever it is – dumb – then you know what the fight is about,” she said.
In the past, Pelosi, whose district includes San Francisco, has said that abortion is “sacred ground.” Calling herself “an ardent, practicing Catholic,” she stated erroroneously that the Catholic Church had no position on the morality of abortion until “like maybe 50 years” ago.
Some Catholics oppose abortion, she said, because they have “this conscience thing.”
She referred to bishops who oppose the HHS mandate as “lobbyists,” saying, “I am going to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration on this.”
Last June, she told Politico her first reaction to the Supreme Court decision striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act was, “Thank God.”
Actions such as these have led some priests to ask the congresswoman to “have the honesty” to “formally renounce” her Catholic faith.
Failing that, some of the Catholic hierarchy's top leaders believe she should be denied Communion.
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Last September, Cardinal Raymond Burke told the Minneapolis-based newspaper The Catholic Star, “Certainly this is a case when Canon 915 must be applied.” Canon 915 of the Roman Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law admonishes priests that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
“This is a person who obstinately, after repeated admonitions, persists in a grave sin — cooperating with the crime of procured abortion — and still professes to be a devout Catholic,” the cardinal said. “I fear for Congresswoman Pelosi if she does not come to understand how gravely in error she is.”
Cassandra told LifeSiteNews perhaps prayer will cause the scales to fall from her eyes.
“It’s no secret that Rep. Pelosi in her public political life has not been true to the teachings of her faith, so you could say she really needs [Obama's] gift,” Cassandra said. “We can only hope that she will pray this rosary fervently asking for the intercession of our Blessed Mother to give her the strength to embrace the pro-life and pro-marriage teachings of the Church in her political actions.”