This is a follow-up to today's post about the conflicting Our Sunday Visitor/Real Catholic TV & Pewsitter.com stories about Archbishop Niederauer's meeting with Nancy Pelosi.
I believe the Real Catholic TV story to be true. That a meeting did occur has now been reported in today's Congressional Quarterly as well.
Somebody, or a number of somebodies, lied to the OSV reporter. (Disclosure: I know Valerie Schmalz, the OSV reporter, personally, and her integrity is beyond question.)
• The February 17, OSV story cites an email from the Archdiocese of San Francisco on February 13 saying the meeting had yet to take place. The Real Catholic TV/Pewsitter.com story of February 18, said the meeting had already taken place, on February 8.
• So, if the Real Catholic TV story is true, either the spokesperson for the Archdiocese did not tell the truth, or he did not know what the truth was, and was speaking based on incorrect information he had been given:
“'While she (Pelosi) initially accepted the archbishop's invitation to a pastoral meeting, she has not been able to arrange such a meeting on her schedule, despite our putting forward several available dates,” said Maurice Healy, spokesman for the archbishop, in a Feb. 13 e-mail.'" --OSV story.
• The OSV story also cites a February 13 statement from the office of Nancy Pelosi, which, read in the light of the Real Catholic TV story, now takes on a totally different meaning:
“A Pelosi press spokesman said Feb. 13 that she did not know when or if Pelosi would meet with the archbishop or when Pelosi would respond to Our Sunday Visitor’s inquiry.”
• Please note the statement does not say if Pelosi already had met with the Archbishop, only that the spokesman did not know “when or if Pelosi would meet with the Archbishop.”
But in the Real Catholic TV story, that ambiguity evaporates:
“Pelsoi’s spokesman Brendan Daly said Pelosi described the meeting as quote .. ‘cordial and pleasant .. a fair exchange and good.’ -Real Catholic TV story
If I’m right, and the Real Catholic TV story is true, why the deception?
1) I believe that the Speaker decided it was in her best interest to meet with the Archbishop before her trip to Rome, but not to have the meeting known before the trip to Rome. I believe Pelosi’s meeting the Pope was conditional on her meeting with the Archbishop. I believe that someone from the Vatican told them (especially her, but through him): meet now or forget about meeting with the Holy Father.
2) I believe the meeting was covered up because that was a condition made by the Speaker, (easily acceded to by the Archbishop, because he saw it as a private pastoral meeting). For Pelosi, what is the political upside of having her meeting with the Archbishop known? None—it’s all downside. If it were publicly known, then the questions among faithful Catholics immediately arise: Well, do you now accept settled Church teaching? Do you plan on remaining a Catholic? If not, why do you want to meet with the Holy Father? She’d lose Catholic votes, without picking up any corresponding votes on the other side, because they know she’s not really Catholic anyway—if she were they would not be voting for her. What's the upside? She gets to meet the Pope.
3) I believe the timing of the leaked information (from both the Archdiocese and Pelosi’s office) to “Real Catholic TV” is deliberate—it came too late to affect Pelosi’s meeting with the Pope (with the hoped-for but not-to-materialize papal photo-op), but allowed her spokesman and the Archdiocese to claim they’ve done their duties as Catholics to prepare her for meeting with the Holy Father.
The more I think of this, the madder I get. Not only was the Our Sunday Visitor reporter deceived, but all of those who read her story (including me) were deceived.
Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney