Not everyone is happy that Trinity takes pride in the historic achievement of Trinity Alumna Nancy Pelosi, Class of 1962, the first woman ever to be the Speaker of the House of the United States. During the last few weeks, I have received some very critical comments about Speaker Pelosi and Trinity’s willingness to welcome her to campus for Mass and a reception last week. These criticisms concern Trinity’s essential Catholic identity and Speaker Pelosi’s political positions on certain issues, particularly abortion.
As a university with mission commitments to the Catholic faith tradition, to women’s advancement, and to liberal learning, we must join discussion of these complex issues. We may agree or disagree, but we must be open to listening and learning.
In this and my next blog, I will present these other voices by quoting directly from representative samples of the messages I have received. Later in the week, I will offer further reflections on the Church’s teachings and Trinity’s mission. As always, I invite the Trinity community and other readers to offer your comments by clicking on the envelope icon at the bottom of this entry, or click on the link in the upper right corner, or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org Please indicate whether I may share your comments.
While I offer the comments below without making any specific reply right now, I want to state clearly that Trinity affirms the teachings of the Catholic Church on the dignity and sacredness of human life. We do not agree with claims that expressions of pride in the achievements of our alumnae means that we endorse their political positions.
Here is the first group of critical comments:
“The peace of Christ be with you! I am writing out of concern for Nancy Pelosi’s appearance at a Mass scheduled for Jan.3rd. Ms. Pelosi is very outspoken in her support for legalized abortion. This position is contrary to Church teaching, and puts her outside the communion of the Church. I pray that Ms. Pelosi will return to the Church and change her position on abortion. I also pray that the priest who celebrates the Mass she will attend will find the strength of Christ to deny Ms. Pelosi the blessed sacrament should she present herself at the altar. I pray that she will not do so, putting her salvation on the line as well as putting the priest in a predicament. My prayers are with the priest, as I know this would not be an easy situation. My best hope is that Ms. Pelosi changes her stance on abortion and reconciles herself back with Holy Mother Church. In the meantime, I also pray that she doesn’t present herself for communion. Thank you very much for your time and consideration, Yours in Christ, (Kim)”
“How can you give the Eucharist to someone who promotes and encourages murder? It is NOT possible to be a pro-choice Catholic. When Pelosi takes communion, she commits mortal sin. When you give her communion knowing her pro-abortion views, you commit mortal sin. Do you really want to exlain your act to our Lord?” (Christine)
“I am saddened that Nancy Pelosi continues to advocate for the destruction of human life. I wonder if she ever reads the Catechism of the Catholic Church? She calls herself Catholic but her public actions are not those that should be honored by the Catholic Church. Nancy Pelosi flaunts her disobedience in the face of faithful Catholics. We should continue to pray for the conversion of Nancy Pelosi but please stop the Mass at Trinity honoring the sinful political career of Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi is a sinner as are all of us but her sins are public and should not be honored by this display at Trinity.(Anne Marie)”
“These are not a questions about a specific entry. Rather, they about the general celebratory tone on your website over the rise of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Is Trinity a “Catholic” university? In what sense is it Catholic? I understand Ms. Pelosi will be attending a mass at the school as part of her victory celebration. How does her stand on abortion square with Catholic teachings on morality? To allow a politician to use her Catholic heritage to further a professional career with clear anti-Catholic positions is both pathetic and tragic. Unless of course you share those same positions in which case it’s completely understandable. If you do share them, in what sense is Trinity a catholic university?” (Tom)
“I just read Nancy Pelosi will be visiting Trinity. Given her strong pro-abortion stand, I am appauled that she would be welcomed and allowed to influence others with her anti-life views at a Catholic Unvirsity. Catholics are watching these kinds of events and I can ensure you, upcoming students with a strong faith will not be going to such universitites. Please put your Catholic Faith first. If you build it, they will come. Thank you.” (John)
“Considering Nancy Pelosi’s position on abortion, which is the murder of a perfectly innocent human being, I find it reprehensible that Trinity College, a Catholic educational institution, would give Mrs. Pelosi any platform from which to speak or make a public appearance. I realize the she is a graduate from Trinity, but she is in defiant contradiction to one of the major tenets of the Church. Please do not allow Mrs. Pelosi a public forum which may advance her views until and unless she reverses her position on abortion and recognizes the value of every human life.” (Joe)
“I understand Nancy Pelosi is going to have a Mass at Trinity College in celebration of her becoming Speaking of the House. Nancy Pelosi has a record of constantly voting against Church teaching on abortion, fetal stem cell research and homosexual marriage. She publicly denounces Church teaching. Please show some respect to the teachings of the Church and not allow this woman to receive the Eucharist at this Mass. To allow her to receive would cause grave scandal. I note our governor, Kathleen Sebelius, is also a Trinity grad. She is also very pro-abortion and in fact receieved much of her campaign money from pro-abortion PACS. I don’t think you should be proud of these two former students. They should both join churches that are more in line with their beliefs and stop the damage they are doing to the Catholic church.”(Joan)
“Just heard about the Mass you are having for pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi. As a Catholic institution, you should be upholding the truths of our faith, not supporting someone that is in direct opposition to them. I am respectfully asking your president to consider changing your support of this woman. We need to pray for her conversion, not encourage her by giving her more publicity. Will you be offering her the Eucharist at this Mass? Thank you.” (Elizabeth)
“Please change your plans to honor Rep. Nancy Pelosi and so withdraw your invitation to her for January 3, 2007. She very publicly supports the practice and sin of abortion. Please do not be collaborators in evil with her and so let her drag you into the abyss with her. The bishops of the USCCB have said the following: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” (Catholics in Political Life, USCCB, June, 2004) Please do not become a participant with her in scandal of the little ones.” (Cliff)
“It is disheartening to read today that Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi will be attending a Mass at Trinity as part of the four day celebration of her ascendancy to House Speaker in January.What bothers me is that Ms.Pelosi is one of the more fierce,strident supporters of abortion,including the “Partial Birth” procedure! In my judgment,there has to be some reasonable line where our Catholic Universities refuse to accomodate politicians who proclaim their Catholicity,but cheerfully deny many of the basic precepts of our faith.I have no illusion that it is a difficult challenge to foster academic freedom,support the different convictions of a pluralistic society,and remain faithful to our Catholic traditions and the teachings of our Church.I wish Ms.Pelosi would have quietly planned to attend mass without the fanfare and media “hype” we know will occur.I don`t object to the big show that will accompany her hard fought victory.I do seriously object to Trinity joining the coronation. Perhaps,Trinity will invite Ms.Pelosi to a mass in January during the annual “March for Life” to pray for the millions of unborn who were victims of abortion.We know that won`t happen because the Speaker-elect will be joining the counter protests of Planned Parenthood,NARAL/Choice /America.She is at least consistent…and I doubt she will change! Merry Christmas/Best wishes in 2007!”(Bill)