Nancy Pelosi loves to flaunt her Catholicism when it can be used to advance her political or ideological agenda. So it was when she used last Sunday’s Gospel reading, about the Good Samaritan, to chide President Trump on his immigration policy.
“It should be a sign to us,” Pelosi tweeted, “that today’s Catholic Gospel reading is the Good Samaritan, where Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves and treat them with mercy. Trump’s ICE raids today,” she continued, “tear families apart—the opposite of mercy.”
Yet Pelosi is very selective in her application of this reading, and of Catholic teaching in general, to public policy issues. When it comes to protecting unborn children from the violence of abortion, she does not “love our neighbors as ourselves and treat them with mercy.” Instead, she fully embraces her party’s support for unrestricted abortion, through all nine months of pregnancy—a policy that tears babies apart, the very opposite of mercy.
Pelosi has it backwards. She seeks to appropriate Catholic teaching to support her party’s current stance on immigration, an issue which admits of different prudential policy judgments within Catholic social teaching. But she rejects the Church’s definitive teaching that abortion is “intrinsically evil”; and she will not invoke that teaching to support legal protections for unborn human life.