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Catholics Encouraged By Dialogue between Pope Benedict and Speaker Pelosi

February 18, 2009

Washington DC – Jon O’Brien, the president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement about today’s meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

“I was pleased to hear that Speaker Pelosi and Pope Benedict XVI had a cordial meeting today. At that meeting, Speaker Pelosi did justice to Catholics in the United States and around the world by representing the views of the majority of Catholics who are prochoice as well as raising some of the current social justice issues that are critically important to American Catholics, including poverty, hunger and peace in the Middle East.

“During their meeting, Pope Benedict reasserted the Vatican’s support for building a culture of life. Indeed, Speaker Pelosi, by speaking out against war, capital punishment and torture, has consistently supported a culture of life. Moreover, Speaker Pelosi’s support for sexual and reproductive health–including her advocacy for condom use as a means to prevent the spread of HIV and family planning so that women can choose whether and when to start a family–shows how Speaker Pelosi has worked to create just laws that promote a culture of life.

“Catholics for Choice is encouraged that this important dialogue took place. As in any family, there will be disagreements. The Catholic church is certainly not exempt from these moments of difference. However, the ability to move forward and create spaces for healthy dialogue in order to better the church and the world is what will set the church apart in the long run.

“We hope that the dialogue will continue not just between Speaker Pelosi and Pope Benedict but also between all members of the church hierarchy and the Catholic faithful. Only then will the church hierarchy be able to fully comprehend the needs and views of Catholics in order to inform their proclamations on a wide range of issues, including those related to reproductive health.”