Congresswoman Pelosi’s Letter to Archbishop Cordileone is Not a Letter. It’s Politics.

Congresswoman Pelosi’s Letter to Archbishop Cordileone is Not a Letter. It’s Politics. June 17, 2014


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.

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26 responses to “Congresswoman Pelosi’s Letter to Archbishop Cordileone is Not a Letter. It’s Politics.”

  1. I wish I could be so sure- it was so quickly followed up by “Faithful America”‘s online petition on facebook that I see something a bit more sinister than politics as usual in it.

  2. I do not know her motivations, either. I do know she is constantly trying to correct the Church and her dogmatic teachings to align with what Mrs Pelosi thinks and what she wants the teachings to be. Then, she argues with the competent authorities about what the Church can teach. I have an opinion about where she went off the rails, but that is only an opinion. I just find it weird that she insists that abortion should be approved by the Church just because she thinks so. The gay “marriage” thing is just politics. Releasing the letter is worse.
    I hope and pray Abp Cordileone will have the fortitude to stand up to the attacks, something Abp Niederauer could not do.

  3. I don’t know about the petition Ted. I am assuming from what you said that it was something that Faithful America put on FB to encourage people to write the Archbishop or some such. I believe that Faithful America had already been writing the Archbishop, asking him to not attend the march.

    I would not be surprised at all if Congresswoman Pelosi coordinated her letter with theirs, or that the whole mail campaign by elected officials (there were a number of them) to the Archbishop was coordinated and that the FB petition was part of that coordination. That’s the way politics works.

  4. Note: I’m deleting vile anti-Catholic comments as well as personal attacks and name-calling directed at Archbishop Cordileone almost as fast as my deleting finger will work. To be honest, if I wanted to defame gay marriage advocates, all I would have to do is let some of this through and let you defame yourselves. The message here is simple; I don’t mind deleting your comments, if you don’t mind making vicious idiots out of yourselves.

  5. The thing that is worrisome is this: Pelosi knows the Catholic church is against same sex marriage. All the Archbishop is doing is going to a political rally. All he is doing is exercising his 1st Amendment rights.
    And Pelosi objects to that?
    Now, supposedly she claims that NOM and FRC are “hate groups”. But no serious person would ever consider them to be the same thing as the KKK.
    They are merely the legitimate political opposition.
    So Pelosi has attempted to cast any political oppositoin as equivalent to the KKK?
    And their (rather weak) accusations about NOM and FRC have been strenuously rejected by those organizations.
    It’s the first time I can remember a top level politician trying to keep someone from exercising their First Amendment rights. From simply going to a political rally. And her excuse for doing (It’s a hate group!) so is so flimsy as to be laughable. It is scary when politicians demonize their legitimate opponents as belonging to “hate groups”.
    But it DOES illustrate is the essential weakness of their cause. They cannot win on calm, reasoned discussion. So they have take to demonization as their primary tactic. Sad for democracy

  6. This illustrates the point I am making above. For some reason, proponents of gay marriage feel justified in demonizing and mistreating their opponents on this issue. They believe the more fury they can show, the more the other side will back down. They pretend that same sex marriage is as essential to our basic civil liberties as having the vote. As a result, they feel no reason to restrain themselves in public debate – because by definition, the opposition are terribly evil people. And they believe their repeated assertions of the other side’s evil nature will make it so. They seek to create a social climate in which no one dares to speak out against them.

    This is a fundamental change in the way we do business in this country. It’s certainly the first time I have seen this.

    Brendan O’Neill said it better:

    “It seems clear that the radical civil rights imagery cynically wheeled out by gay marriage advocates disguises that this is in truth a highly elitist, debate-allergic campaign. That is because, fundamentally, gay marriage speaks to, not any public thirst for the overhaul of marriage, but rather the narrow needs of some of the most elitist strata in our society.
    The benefit of the gay marriage issue for our rulers and betters is twofold. First, it allows them to pose as enlightened and cosmopolitan, as bravely willing to to enact ‘civilising measures’, in contrast with the bigots who make up the more traditional, religious or lumpen sections of society.

    As one observer said yesterday, gay marriage has become a ‘red line’ in politics, determining one’s goodness or badness. Supporting gay marriage has become a key cultural signifier, primarily of moral rectitude, among everyone from politicians to the media classes to bankers: that is, members of an elite who have increasingly few opportunities for moral posturing in these relativistic times.”

  7. Rebecca, maybe you could let a few of the comments come through, some of the medium ones. Most people do not believe how nasty, boorish, obscene and angry they can be.

  8. I’ve seen this tactic before, Fredx2, when I was in college in the ’70’s. If you were against the war you were right, no matter how bad you were. On the other hand, no matter how logical or reasoned your opinions, your reasons did not matter you were evil and needed to be silenced if you disagreed. We see the same continuing in most political conversations. If you mention faith or religion you are an idiot and to be silenced.
    San Francisco is home to gay “pride” parades, Folsom Street Fair, all manner of vile perversions, but any criticism is immediately and viciously attacked. This is Fascism at its worst and is gaining strength.

  9. Rebecca, maybe you could post some of the middle of the road, rude comments. Most people make decisions about homosexuality based on sentiment, not logic. They want to be nice. Maybe they can see what we are dealing with.

  10. If you listen to the President, he says his “enemies” are Republicans. Many commentators say if you disagree with the administration, it is because you are a racist. This is a continuation of the same tactic. I don’t think Pelosi is a bigot, I just think she’s wrong and traveling a very dangerous path.

  11. You have a few misconceptions.
    1. The archbishop is not simply attending the rally, he is one of the main speakers.
    2. The KKK is not the only hate group in America. FRC and NOM are not hate groups because they simply have a different political view. They are hate groups because they intentionally lie and spread misinformation with the intent to incite anger or fear of a minority group. There are plenty of anti-gay groups that are not designated as hate groups, because they don’t intentionally lie.
    3. If the archbishop wants to rally to support marriage, then great. Just invite the gays, that’s all they want!

  12. I have no idea what words I am using that are being flagged for approval from the moderator.

  13. Are you sure you aren’t just deleting every comment that disagrees with your political views? I made no personal attacks. Waiting on approval for my comments…

  14. Brian, I checked, and none of your comments have been deleted. They aren’t in the spam file, either. Which means I don’t know what you’re talking about.

    However, I will say this: Public Catholic is my blog. I can delete for any reason or no reason. I can also not allow comments at all or ban a person from posting altogether.

    I never do that. This is the blog of endless second chances. No matter how obnoxious a person may be, I don’t ban them. I also don’t close comments on posts and not allow anyone to say anything. There are plenty of comments on Public Catholic I disagree with, btw, including this one of yours.

  15. Get over yourself Brian.

    I do have the blog itself set to stop certain words. They are curse words that have no other usage, such as pejorative names for women’s body parts. I also ban words that are used to attack whole groups of people and have no other purpose. If you’ve run afoul of that, so be it.

    If you haven’t used those words, it’s probably just Disqus, being itself.

    Not stop griping, and comment if you want to. You are welcome to comment here. You’re just getting on my last nerve with this complaining. Sorry if I sound grouchy. It’s hot and muggy here in Oklahoma, so you may be paying for the weather.

  16. Is this the comment you’ve been complaining about?

    It was down in the pile and hadn’t been monitored yet

  17. Labeling the FRC and NOM as hate groups is over the top. Calling either of these two groups “hate groups” is just political bullying and propaganda. It’s akin to describing everyone who supports traditional marriage as a “hater.”

    As for the KKK, they burned down people’s houses, lynched people, drug them behind horses and cars, shot people, beat them with whips, sometimes to death, and all sorts of other terrorists tactics. This wasn’t aimed only at black people. Catholics and Jews got a good bit of it, too. To compare the completely peaceful political action, which is not even electoral in nature but educational, of these two groups with the KKK is ridiculous political hyperbole.

    As for the Archbishop being one of the featured speakers, good on him.

    Now, what did you say about gays “being invited?” I don’t grok that one at all.

  18. Ha, I didn’t know this was a one person blog and that you have to approve every comment. It is very muggy here in Virginia as well.

  19. I wasn’t the one that labeled FRC and NOM hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center did. They are the ones most respected for tracking hate groups of all kinds in this country. Their stance on marriage actually had nothing to do with the designation. It was them trying to convince everyone that gay people were pedophiles and were coming after your children etc… I don’t think that is an appropriate tactic to simply try to keep marriage between a man and a woman. That is why the archbishop should not be standing shoulder to shoulder with these groups IMO and in Pelosi’s.

    The KKK was mentioned by the previous poster and I was explaining that you didn’t have to be violent in order to fall into the hate group category. The KKK was much more than just a hate group. Non-violent hate groups can still incite others to violence, though. Some people might respond violently if they think a gay person is a pedophile.

    Gays being invited was a little snarky. I thought his explanation that it wasn’t anti-LGBT it was pro-marriage, was disingenuous. Gay people are also pro-marriage, that’s why they want to get married. So celebrate marriage and invite the gays to do the same. No need to shun them or keep them out if you are really not anti-LGBT.

  20. Rebecca doesn’t delete viewpoints that are different from hers. I know because sometimes I have disagreed with her. She deletes for the reasons she has stated. Disagreements can be done in a civilized manner using respect for the other persons views.

  21. Rebecca, thank you for standing up for the faith. I wish there were more Catholic politicians who had the courage to go against the political grain.

  22. I am aware of what the Southern Poverty Law Center did. This kind of dishonest mis-use of language in order to attack other people’s viewpoints is an example of an organization dishonoring itself and what it has stood for in the past. I was sorry to see the Southern Poverty Law Center degrade itself and its mission with this kind of cheap trick.

    Frankly, I have no idea what you are talking about as to either group trying to convince people that homosexual are all pedophiles. I have dealt with the FRC on legislation and never found them to be anything but professional and honest. The fact that they were so willing to deal with me, a Democrat, speaks well of them and their bi-partisanship, in my opinion.

    Frankly, I am troubled by this labeling of everyone who opposes redefining marriage with some pejorative term. It not only makes those who favor same sex marriage look dishonest and bullying, it stops honest discussion.

    This kind of tactic is polarizing and deliberately dishonest.

    Brian, do you have anything to add to this discussion that does not involve defaming those you disagree with? Can you discuss the issues without pejoratives aimed at others?

  23. I have plenty to add but it may be from a different view point, which makes discussion possible and healing in my opinion.

    What FRC and NOM did was dishonest, even if they chose to partner with you because you held a similar stance. I do not think that you are understanding the depth to which they sank. Tomorrow will be a test, I wish you could be here for that. Let us see if they are not full of animus. Please read the quotations that come from different sources, not just conservative ones. I wish that you could go to the SPLC website and read their explanation as to why those groups got put on the hate group list and why other pro-marriage, and frankly, other anti-LGBT groups did not.

    It’s not an issue that a Catholic archbishop disagrees with same sex marriage, it is that he is doing it with horribly hateful people. I spent a lot of my childhood in Catholic Churches and most of my friends are Catholic and gay. I went to Georgetown University, maybe you think that is “Catholic light” but the priests are honest and open.

    You really have to look at who is bullying who. Gay people are doing nothing to straight people or to Catholics or to Christians in general. Neither group is doing anything to gays either, it is just a minority that are stifling gay people’s pursuit of happiness, then they hide behind religion, which most gay people were raised under. Why hasn’t religion conquered gay rights? Because most gay people in this country are religious.

    I am really starting to like you, so let me know which aspects I can politely disagree with you on. Again, I have plenty to add if you want to have a discussion.

  24. Brian, I’m going to bow out after this one reply and let Public Catholic readers discuss it with you. All you have to do to comment here is just avoid name-calling, hectoring, attacking Jesus and such.

    I occasionally delete someone for repeating themselves so much that they are becoming a boor and driving other commenters nuts. When that happens, I just start pruning their repetitive comments down to a representative few. I don’t delete them all. That only happens rarely. Very rarely.

    As to the FRC; I went to them and asked them for help and information about a bill I wanted to pass that would stop doctors in Oklahoma from paying women to harvest their bodies for eggs.

    The reason I chose them was because I had attended a meeting in which one of their scientists spoke about developing cures for illnesses using adult stem cells. He introduced me after the meeting to people who had been cured through these methods. They were a compelling group to meet.

    My reason for the legislation on egg harvesting was that I wanted to take the money out of the equation to protect the women.

    I actually went to Washington and met with this same scientist who worked there. He gave me a ton of information and help. Then, FRC supported me — a Democrat — against Oklahoma’s Republican establishment in every way they could throughout the fight to pass that bill. At no time did they falter. They had no problem with going against the Republican money people to do it.

    The fact that I am a Democrat was a non sequitur to them. They were focused on the issues. I can’t tell you how rare that is in politics.

    I got the bill through the House, but the Oklahoma Medical Association and the State Chamber of Commerce came in against it because of the powerful influence of Oklahoma egg harvesters in their constituencies, and it was killed in the Senate.

    Those special interests run Oklahoma governance, in toto, which is why I’m so glad to be leaving office.

    I had no idea at the time that these eggs that were being farmed from women’s bodies were being used to fuel a designer baby industry for gay couples. I learned about that from google searches after a reporter asked me why they needed so many eggs and what were they doing with them.

    I had surmised and then verified that the docs were selling the eggs to be used in embryonic stem cell research, but that didn’t explain the large numbers they were taking from these girls.

    I remember telling the reporter that it didn’t make sense and that the explanation the egg harvesters were giving — women with non-functional ovaries, most of whom, they claimed, were survivors of ovarian cancer, wanted the eggs — certainly did not account for it.

    In fact, that explanation was patent nonsense for many reasons. There just aren’t enough women who need to buy these eggs to support an interstate egg harvesting industry that involves advertising to young women on the internet and college campuses and offering the unsuspecting girls big chunks of money to have their ovaries harvested. Also, women who are truly in this situation would have the option of asking a relative or friend to donate eggs, which could be taken in a much smaller number.

    Nothing in their explanation explained the egg harvesting industry. So, I googled and found an ugly baby-making, baby-selling industry that preys on young women, reduces them to chattel, and callously endangers their lives, future fertility and health in the process.

    The point I’m making is that FRC never mentioned the homosexual connection to egg harvesting to me. They focused entirely on the issue of women’s human rights and the massive dangers and physical damage egg harvesting does to the women who submit to it.

    When I figured it out for myself and asked them about it, it turned out they did know. But even then, they did not try to use that in their support for the legislation.

    They’re not gay haters. They are people who are opposed to the changes in our society such as egg harvesting, abortion, embryonic stem cell research and gay marriage, which they see as a violation of human rights and damaging to the society as a whole.

    You can disagree with them about these issues, but there is no reason to label them as a hate group because of your disagreement. I stand by what I said; the Southern Poverty Law Center — an organization which I have admired for its good work — jumped the shark on this one, and they did it for the worst reasons; politically correct bullying.

    Now, let’s see what Public Catholic readers want to add to the discussion.

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