Hope and Change Marched on Washington

The new era of “hope” and “change” in Washington, D.C., wasn’t a week old before Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, was defending a contraceptive-funding measure in a proposed economic stimulus bill the president had been pushing before Congress.

On one of the Sunday morning political shows, Pelosi defended the plan, arguing: “ The family-planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those — one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

Nancy Pelosi, boldly marching the Beltway deeper into a Brave New World, is, by the way, a Roman Catholic.

Pelosi has preached her own unique gospel of death in the past on the Sabbath Day morning political shows. As the Democratic Convention was set to begin in Denver this summer, Pelosi announced that the Church really had no idea when life began, citing Augustine and Aquinas as backup. She had absolutely no qualms with her party’s continued legal-abortion activism and their nominee’s radical position on even infanticide.

But none of this comes as a surprise to me. Consider what she wrote in a book called Being Catholic Now earlier this year. In it she explained, “I’ve always been pro-choice. To me, it’s like saying, ‘Should we surrender our brains?’ I feel very comfortable with it.” But then, we really got to the core of the problem.

In the book, she recalls that around the time of her swearing in as the first woman speaker of the House, her granddaughter was preparing to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time (my words, not hers).

Relaying an exchange with the girl, her mother and Grandma Nancy, the congresswoman writes that the girl announced that she wanted to explain that “‘it is the BODY and BLOOD of Christ. When we go to church, IT IS THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.’”

Her mother corrected the girl: “‘Yes, the host and the wine REPRESENT the body and blood of Christ.’”

But Nancy’s granddaughter protested, God bless her: “‘NOT represent. IS, it IS the body and blood of Christ.’”

Pelosi writes, “My granddaughter was buying into it.”

Pelosi goes on to explain: “Okay. But it is hard. Every Sunday for me it’s hard. Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. Now think of it; we say that every week. Do I really believe he’s coming again? Yes, I believe he’s coming again. Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. This is my body; this is my blood. They’re asking a lot. In my era, we didn’t question any of it.”

Of course, it’s not “they” who are asking anything. It’s Him.

Meanwhile, it’s no wonder Nancy Pelosi is freelance gospel-writing in the public square; due to bad formation or whatever the cause, she hasn’t embraced the core of the faith. How could she ever be a truth-telling public Catholic witness, how could she ever let the faith lead her in the public square, if she doesn’t even buy into the source and summit of it all?

One could get discouraged when waking up to such confused “Catholics” on Sunday morning TV. Don’t be. Go to Mass on Sunday; don’t stress about the Catholics misspeaking on “This Week” or “Meet the Press” or wherever it may be next Sunday. Do as the March for Lifers did this year: Pray without ceasing.

I confess I was slightly dreading the March for Life this year.

The town was awash in Obamamania, as the Mall was still littered with celebration debris. Look to the Capitol and picture Pelosi. Look to the White House and know the radicalism of he who resides there. Look to the Supreme Court and know with a few more openings in the next four to eight years, the chief justice can only do so much for the Constitution.

And yet, it was hard to see anything other than smiles. Americans of all ages from sea to shining sea (I saw people from Nebraska to Tennessee to Rhode Island to Georgia myself) were on their knees at Masses and prayer services. Current political circumstances could not leave them despairing. They elect to rest their expectations in a Higher hope.

That’s always an important reality. And if you’re politically active, you may come to understand it during these next four years like never before.

It didn’t take a week for the 44th president of the United States to have us exporting our most liberal abortion position overseas. The Catholic speaker of the House is a modern-day eugenicist, throwing life overboard in the name of economic recovery.

The Obama administration, which has promised the most dangerous legislation life has ever been threatened with, is filled with “Catholic” cover: the vice president, the chief of staff, first choice for secretary of Health and Human Services. Even if they don’t go all the way — a real possibility with postcard and education campaigns already in action in churches nationwide — this is going to be a scandalous time for public Catholic witness.

But I think it’s going to be an arduous but good time. I think it’s going to mean a further renewal in the Church.

Catholics (I know you’re with me) are not going to stand for the scandal, just as we wouldn’t stand for the heartbreaking and soul-tormenting scandals unveiled in the past decade.

A lot of Catholic bishops, yes, will have no choice but to be brave shepherds. But the rest of us are going to have to do our part. We can’t wait for a bishop to speak truth to the speaker (and whine if he doesn’t).

We, the members of the One Body, must love one another and do that by teaching one another in word and deed. We’re going to be public witnesses of that Real Presence outside Mass on Sunday, in letters to the editor, in the halls of Congress.

And therein lies the real hope and change to come. See you on the march.

Kathryn Jean Lopez

([email protected]) is the editor of

National Review Online.