Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) surprised many when she told the Catholic Community Conference that she feels compelled to "give voice" through public policy to "the Word made Flesh," CNS News reported Tuesday.
"My favorite word is the Word," Pelosi, a lifelong Catholic, said to the May 6 conference on Capitol Hill. "And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the Gospel reference of the Word. And that Word is, we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word."
"Fill it in with anything you want," she said. "But, of course, we know it means: ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.' And that's the great mystery of our faith. … So, we have to make sure we're prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up."
Commentators of all stripes had something to say about Pelosi's revelation. Some, remembering how she voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion in 2003, suggested that Pelosi does not in fact, listen to the Word.
"That perfect pro-abortion record must be getting to her," wrote Jim Hoft on First Things's "Gateway Pundit" blog. "Because if this San Francisco radical leftist thinks she can dupe Americans into believing she's some kind of Bible-thumpin, verse-quoting revival minister, she's really lost it."
Coming from the other end, political commentator Taylor Marsh accused Pelosi of "religious groveling."
"It's stunning that leading politicians continue to be so clueless of the harm traditional religions do to women across the globe, but also the harrowing message they continue to send to American women, circa the 21st century," Marsh wrote.
If groveling it was, Sarah Posner believes that it will not do any good: voters, she wrote, are more interested in virtuous policy than verbal piety.
"I have serious doubts," Posner wrote, "about whether a politician talking "authentically" (as the political consultants like to say) about their faith is actually seen as "authentic" by voters (particularly since it's political consultants who have sold their services to help with that "authentic" talk). Voters want to see action, don't they?"
FoxNews.com reports that Pelosi did urge her fellow Catholics toward action in the area of immigration reform, and that she said it was not "practical" to tell the millions living in America illegally to ""go back to wherever you came from or go to jail."
"The cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops that come to me and say, ‘We want you to pass immigration reform,' and I said, ‘I want you to speak about it from the pulpit…' you have to tell them that this is a manifestation of our living the gospels," she said.
It's a beautiful thing to listen to different points of view," she told the conference, which was sponsored by the National Catholic Reporter and Pelosi's alma mater, Trinity Washington University. "From a religious perspective we come from a similar Catholic background but sometimes we have to come to a different conclusion about how we translate that into public policy."
Elizabeth Scalia, of First Things's Anchoress blog, urged readers to pray for the Speaker of the House.
"It takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance to speak fervently of the Word Made Flesh, and to understand that by his Incarnation God has ennobled all mortal flesh with a sanctity and a holiness relative to his own, and yet to consistently vote–as Nancy Pelosi did in 2003–against legislation that would have banned the most savage of abortion procedures."