Let’s make something clear at the outset.
When you send a letter to someone and then give the letter to the press, it’s not a letter. It’s a statement, an attempt to garner publicity, or something of the kin. It is not, most emphatically not, a communication between two people.
Things like this are not written or sent with the intention of persuading, informing or asking. They are not a discussion. These “public” letters are grandstanding, plain and simple.
Which brings me to the case of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s famous letter to Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco.
It seems that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the Archbishop, with the supposed intention of asking him not to participate in the March for Marriage, which is scheduled for June 19.
So, Congresswoman Pelosi disagrees with her Archbishop and took it on herself to write him about the disagreement. So far, we have a sort of pastoral thing going on here. We also have a private communication between a priest and member of his parish, which in this case is the diocese.
What Congresswoman Pelosi did next negates all that. She gave the letter to the press.
That changes everything, my friends.
The single act of giving the letter to the press turns it into a political stunt.
Representative Pelosi represents San Francisco. You know, the San Francisco which hosts the notorious Folsom Street Fair.
That letter is a great little vote-getter for a politician representing San Francisco. But, if it’s just between the Congresswoman and the Archbishop, no one will know, and no political gain will be had.
Once the letter became public fodder, it stopped being a letter and became a political act in an election year.
I haven’t been able to find a copy of the full text of the letter. If anyone has one, please send me a link and I’ll post it. However, from what I’ve read, it was the usual stuff.
According to SFGate, she took Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge?” rhetorical question out of context to make it into an endorsement of homosexual sex, gay marriage and whatever what-not she wanted to put into it.
My reaction to this is simple: Yawn. In fact, Big Yawn.
Everyone who’s been keeping up with current events knows this is a deliberate mis-use of the Holy Father’s words by taking them out of context. I’ll just bet Congresswoman Pelosi knows it, too.
There was more, and from what the Chronicle reported, it was, as I said, the usual character assassination claptrap that is leveled at organizations and individuals who have the temerity to oppose redefining marriage. It sounds as if the Congresswoman cut and pasted from a good many propaganda pieces to write this thing.
That makes sense because the whole point of it seems to have been politics. I think she was piling on, along with a lot of local politicians, in order to grandstand for her constituency. This letter is politics. It isn’t and was never intended to be an attempt to communicate with or persuade the Archbishop.
I would include all the other similar public statements to the Archbishop from elected officials in this same assessment. I think Archbishop Cordileone’s public and cordial response to these political missives was well done.
As a Democrat, I’m embarrassed by Congresswoman Pelosi’s little letter. But I’m not as outraged as more normal people who’ve never held office appear to be. I just view it as another pre-election bit of campaigning by a woman who is a Congresswoman first and a Catholic second. Or maybe she’s a Catholic third … or fourth.
I’ve been told by people who’ve discussed it with her that Congresswoman Pelosi talks about her faith in an emotional and seemingly sincere fashion. They think she’s trying to be a good Christian and is deluded about abortion and gay marriage.
What do I make of that?
I mean that. I don’t have a clue.
Maybe she means it. Maybe she doesn’t. I see people all the time who cut their faith to fit their politics and don’t have the first notion that they are doing anything wrong. In fact, they — every last one of them — tend to get highly indignant and can even become abusive when someone points out to them that they are, in fact, walking on the wrong side of the issues if they want to be consistent Catholics.
Is she another self-deluded my-own-little-g-god Catholic, albeit a very public and powerful one, who has persuaded herself that the little g gods of her political party trump the two-thousand-year teachings of the Catholic Church? Is she just another person who’s drunk so deeply of the intoxicating propaganda of power politics that she’s convinced herself the Church is wrong and the little g gods are right? Does she honestly believe that the Church needs to change to align itself with her politics to preach, teach and follow Christ? Has she sold herself the whole bill of goods?
Or, is she callously doing what she has to do to get elected in San Francisco?
Orrrr … to take another look at it, has she been doing what she has to do to get elected for so long that she no longer knows, really, what she believes?
I don’t know.
I can tell you that I’ve seen a lot of this. I’ve seen good people who are deluded and bad people who don’t care and lots of people who have so totally lost contact with themselves that they no longer know much about anything as to what they believe or who they are.
All I think I know — and I’m pretty sure of this one — is that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s letter to Archbishop Cordileone asking him to withdraw from participation in the March for Marriage was pure politics. There was nothing else to it.