Pope Francis and Nancy Pelosi Meet at the Vatican

The Holy Father met with the U.S. speaker of the House of Representatives on Saturday.

Pope Francis greets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Vatican Oct. 9.
Pope Francis greets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Vatican Oct. 9. (photo: Vatican Media / National Catholic Register)

Pope Francis met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Saturday.

The first Italian-American speaker of the House was in Rome to give the keynote address at the opening session of the G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit. She also met with the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

At the time of publication, the Vatican had released no information about what the Pope and Pelosi discussed, in line with its usual custom for papal meetings with non-heads of state. 

But it noted the audience in its daily bulletin for Oct. 9, saying that the House Speaker was accompanied by her husband, businessman Paul Pelosi, and entourage.

The day before, the 81-year-old discussed the environment, migration and human rights during a visit to the Vatican.

The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced the visit on Oct. 8 in a post on its Twitter account.

Pelosi was accompanied to the Vatican on Friday by Patrick Connell, the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.

On the same day, the White House announced that former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana is President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.

Pelosi, a Catholic mother of five, has clashed repeatedly with the archbishop of her home diocese over her support for abortion.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone launched a prayer campaign last month aimed at inspiring “a conversion of heart” among politicians supporting abortion.

“A conversion of heart of the majority of our congressional representatives is needed on this issue, beginning with the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” the San Francisco archbishop said. 

“I am therefore inviting all Catholics to join in a massive and visible campaign of prayer and fasting for Speaker Pelosi: Commit to praying one Rosary a week and fasting on Fridays for her conversion of heart.”

Archbishop Cordileone urged Catholics and people of goodwill to sign up for the “Rose and a Rosary for Nancy Pelosi” campaign. 

A rose will be sent to the speaker “as a symbol of your prayer and fasting for her,” he explained.

In May, Pelosi said that she was “pleased” with a Vatican letter to the U.S. bishops that addressed Communion for pro-abortion politicians. She claimed that the Vatican had instructed the bishops not to be “divisive” on the issue.

In response, Archbishop Cordileone said the Vatican was in fact promoting “dialogue” between bishops and pro-abortion politicians, “to help them understand the grave evil they are helping to perpetrate and accompany them to a change of heart.”

“I’m happy to know that Speaker Pelosi said she is pleased with the letter,” the archbishop said. 

“Speaker Pelosi’s positive reaction” to the letter, he noted, “raises hope that progress can be made in this most serious matter.”

In July, Archbishop Cordileone criticized Pelosi after she cited her Catholic faith while defending efforts to permit federal funding of elective abortions.

“Let me repeat: No one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,” he said.  

Pope Francis is expected to receive Biden on Oct. 29, in the U.S. president’s first official visit to the Vatican since his inauguration, according to sources at the Apostolic Palace.

Biden, the second Catholic president in U.S. history, is due to attend the G20 Summit in Rome Oct. 30–31.