House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband met Wednesday with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. The two had a chance to talk about a wide range of issues, and Speaker Pelosi's office issued a statement afterward that said, "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."
Speaker Pelosi was traveling with a delegation in Italy just days after she successfully stewarded new economic stimulus legislation through Congress to help jumpstart the U.S. economy. Because economic factors have been so closely linked in recent studies with the incidence of abortion, many Catholics are hopeful that restoring economic health will help blunt the effects of the Bush Recession on abortion rates in the US over the coming months. The Pope shared his concerns about abortion with Speaker Pelosi, who has indicated on many occasions her determination to pass legislation that will help reduce the number of abortions.