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Crouere: Pelosi, Pope Francis are not often ‘Catholic’ role models

Two super-liberal Catholics in very important positions met last weekend in Rome, Italy. On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Photos and videos showed the Pope warmly greeting Pelosi and her husband at his official residence. This encounter will be followed by the Pope meeting with another liberal Catholic, President Joe Biden, in late October.

The Pope met with the Speaker and her husband in the immediate aftermath of a Fox News investigation that showed the couple had accumulated a net worth of $315 million by 2020, with a shocking increase of $200 million in the last two years. This is quite a payday for a woman earning a government salary.

Despite questions about her wealth, the Pope welcomed Pelosi because he shares her views on a range of issues. For example, both are strong advocates of governmental action to curb climate change. On Saturday, the Pope gave a speech urging a “change of direction” that “will require great wisdom, foresight and concern for the common good: in a word, the fundamental virtues of good politics.”

Afterwards, Pelosi lauded the Pope for issuing “a powerful challenge to the global community to act decisively on the climate crisis with special attention to the most vulnerable communities.”

Pope Francis has also been a proponent of open borders and the embrace of illegal immigrants. He was a frequent critic of President Donald Trump’s southern border wall and restrictive immigration policies. Obviously, the Pope is more supportive of Biden’s open border policies. On Saturday, Pelosi also expressed her support for the Pope’s commitment “to embrace the refugee, the immigrant and the poor, and to recognize the dignity and divinity in everyone.”

Along with his advocacy of climate change action and his embrace of the plight of illegal immigrants, Pope Francis is a strong advocate for the poor and regularly decries the inequalities of capitalism. His economic philosophy is more closely associated with socialism. Unfortunately, socialism has not worked anywhere in the world and neither have progressive policies enacted in states like California and New York.

While the Pope shares many liberal political views with both Pelosi and Biden, he is pro-life and opposes their staunch support of abortion. Since there is such disagreement on a teaching so vital, many Catholics wonder why Pelosi, Biden, and other liberal Democrats, such as former U.S. Senator John Kerry, continue to be given such special treatment by the Pope and are allowed to receive communion in their local parishes.

At least one Catholic leader in Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco, Calif., home is not happy with her support of abortion rights. The Archbishop of the San Francisco, Salvatore J. Cordileone, recently criticized her abortion stance. He noted that “In the last 50 years, in the United States alone, 66,000,000 babies have been murdered in their mothers’ wombs.” According to Cordileone, “If we look around us and see what is happening in our society today, we will see that this fact once again demonstrates that violence begets violence. The response to a woman in a crisis pregnancy is not violence, but love.”

Instead of welcoming liberal Democrats like Pelosi to the Vatican and advocating a range of progressive political causes, the Pope should focus on the spiritual problems in the Catholic Church. Clearly, it is in crisis around the world and especially in the United States.

The devastating pedophilia disaster among priests will impact the Catholic Church for the foreseeable future. Along with the horrific abuse of minors and the damage those impacted will face for the rest of their lives, there have been huge financial losses as lawsuits have been settled. This is another factor in the continuing struggle that the Catholic Church has faced in recruiting more priests.

In the last 50 years, the number of priests in the United States has declined significantly. A Georgetown University study showed that the number of priests dropped almost 40 percent, from 60,000 to approximately 37,000.

As the number of priests decline, churches are closing nationwide. This is one factor in the huge reduction of practicing Catholics in America. In a recent Gallup survey, it was reported that among American Catholics, regular church attendance has dropped significantly. In 1955, about 75 percent of Catholics attended weekly mass. By 2017, that percentage dropped significantly to only 39 percent of American Catholics.

While the devout population is shrinking, the overall percentage of Catholics is declining nationwide. A Pew Research survey estimated that there are about 51 million Catholics in the United States. However, this is only 21 percent of the nation’s adult population, a significant decline in just the last few years.

All these statistics show a massive problem for the Catholic Church, which needs strong spiritual, not political, leadership. Unfortunately, for the past eight years, the Catholic Church has been led by a very liberal Pope who has chosen to highlight a very woke progressive agenda.

The latest papal directive is to demand vaccine mandates for all employees and visitors to the Vatican. This resulted in the resignation of several members of the Pope’s armed security forces, the Swiss Guard, who refused to take the vaccine.

While the Pope salutes Pelosi and advocates a progressive agenda, many conservative Catholics feel abandoned. As the Pope emphasizes social justice, the calls to protect the unborn have not received as much of an emphasis in recent years.

Conservative Catholics should not expect much of a change during the papacy of Pope Francis. He will continue to punish conservative leaders in the Catholic Church and welcome progressive icons like House Speaker Pelosi to the Vatican.

His papacy has been as divisive as the relatively new presidency of Joe Biden and the long tenure of Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker. None of these Catholic leaders have succeeded in bringing people together. All of them have pursued progressive policies, which have not only failed to unite, but they have also failed to work.

Jeff Crouere is the host of “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Sunday on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 a.m. till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. He is the political analyst for WGNO-TV ABC 26 and a columnist for selected publications. For more information, visit his web site at RingsidePolitics.com. E-mail him at jeff@ringsidepolitics.com.