Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
March 1, 2009

   Thank God for Pope Benedict! At a time when some of our bishops seem to be excessively intimidated by "Caesar", Pope Benedict has shown himself to be not the least bit shy in telling truth to power, as he demonstrated in a recent private audience granted to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (and the self-described "devout Catholic", who a week or two earlier had sought to divert billions of dollars from the "stimulus" package to fund abortions and the subsidized provision of contraceptives).  Pope Benedict reminded Ms. Pelosi and her entourage, courteously but with no ambiguity, that while every human being is bound by the natural law, that is to say, the law that that is rooted in the very nature of man, legislators and jurists and others charged with the defense of the common good have a SPECIAL obligation to follow its precepts conscientiously as they serve their constituencies, a fundamental dictate of which law is the obligation to respect and defend, from conception to natural death, throughout its entire spun, innocent human life. In so speaking, Pope Benedict fulfilled his duty not only as universal shepherd of souls but also, in Christ's plan, as the "establisher of the brethren," the brethren being first and foremost his fellow bishops. At the Last Supper, Christ spoke these words to Peter: "Simon, Simon, Satan has sought to scatter all of you like chaff. But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not. And do thou .. establish thy brethren." (Luke 22: 31-32).

   Among the many reports of Ms. Pelosi's meeting with Pope Benedict, the following account appeared in the "blog" for February 18th. I reprint it here. It stands as an eloquent condemnation of the new "Yes-and-No" Catholicism-yes, I am a Catholic but, no, I do not hold to Catholic doctrine-that seems to be all but pandemic among America's "Catholic" politicians. (Cf. II Corinthians 1: 19).
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Pope Benedict Stongly Rebukes Pelosi Over Abortion
   Vatican City, February 18, 2009

   House speaker Nancy Pelosi's photo-op with Pope Benedict XVI turned sour when the Pontiff used the 15-minate meeting to reaffirm the teachings of the Catholic Church on the right to life and the duty to protect the unborn.

   No photo of Nancy Pelosi and the Pope will be forthcoming, since the meeting was closed to reporters and photographers. The two met in a small room in the Vatican just after the Pope's weekly public audience.

   Immediately after the meeting, the Holy See's press office released a statement saying, "following the general audience the Holy Father briefly greeted 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 co-operation 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."

   A significant number of Catholic and pro-life organizations expressed concern over how Pelosi would use the meeting with Pope Benedict to further her position that it is possible to be Catholic and pro- abortion.

   Last August, Pelosi was rebuked by several U.S. bishops for attempting to justify her position theologically during an interview with "Meet the Press."

   On Tuesday, Jon O'Brien, president of  "Catholics for Choice," a small, well-funded organization that provides theological arguments to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, told The Hill that today's visit between the Speaker and Pope Benedict would be an opportunity to highlight that one can be pro-choice and Catholic, and that there are much bigger issues out there to discuss, such as the fate of the poor in the global economic downturn. [As the popes have repeatedly pointed out, the right to life is the "biggest" right of all. When that right is violated, all other rights are struck down].

   "That would be a real conversation about choice, instead of this micro-obsession with abortion," O'Brien said. Nevertheless, according to the Holy See's statement, the Pope spent the whole 15 minute conversation talking with Pelosi about the right to life and the need to defend the unborn.

   A spokesman for Pelosi, who is now headed for Southern Italy as part of her Italian tour, said she would issue a statement later in the day regarding her meeting with the Pope.

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Signs of the Times

   The actors who were chauffeured home this year from the Academy Awards gala as the proud new owners of an Oscar were a predictable lot, in as much as for many years the Awards celebration has served as a platform for the glorification of depravity. With one exception this year's show played true to form. Just consider the roles that won for their players this (highly forgettable) honor. (Forgettable for sure. Can you name any of last year's winners?).

   Best Actor:   Sean Penn, playing a gay politician and demagogue, three of whose lovers committed suicide and whose own murder is presented as a kind of martyrdom at the hands of a right-wing bigot.
    Best Actress:   Kate Winslet, playing a former Nazi guard at a concentration camp for women seduces a teen-age schoolboy.

   Best Supporting Actor:  Heath Ledger, playing a flamboyantly psychopathic mass murderer.

   Best Supporting Actress:  Penelope Cruz, playing a predatory lesbian.

   Somehow, though-and this is the one exceptions film that actually supports morality got the Academy's nod for Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire! Which goes to show that even in Hollywood miracles happen!

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