Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker and a Roman Catholic, met today with his Holiness. It looks as if it was a typical Pelosi chat – mixing policy and friendly exchanges about family:
“It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today.
“In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church’s leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father’s dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel.
“I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family’s Papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren.”
It’s interesting, policy wise, that she emphasizes the Israel component of the talk; Benedict is under pressure to make nice during his May visit in the wake of last month’s readmission to the Church of Holocaust denier Richard Williamson.
But I also wonder about the seemingly benign reference to the grandkids. One of Pelosi’s sons-in-law is Jewish and those grandchildren are being raised Jewish, while also learning about their mother’s heritage.
And Pelosi loves to shvitz about them, and their performances in purimshpiels..
Williamson’s denial of the Holocaust is of a sordid piece with his rejection of the Second Vatican Council, especially its removal of the guilt of deicide from the Jewish people.
So: Did Pelosi go into details? In other words, did she – in her inneffably steely-mom way – politely imply to Benedict, "And these little darlings are the kids your pal Dick would damn to hellfire"?