Pope Benedict XVI has granted an audience to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a staunch supporter of abortion rights who is on an official trip to Italy.
There had been contradictory reports about whether the Pope — who has said supporters of abortion rights should not receive Holy Communion — would meet with the California Democrat, The Hill newspaper reported.
But the Vatican’s press office confirmed on Monday that the audience would take place on Wednesday.
The move would likely stir more controversy about Pelosi and the Church. In August, Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl chastised Pelosi for saying in a “Meet the Press” interview that the moment of conception has been a matter of controversy within the Church.
Wuerl issued a statement saying the Church has made it clear for centuries that abortion is “gravely contrary to the moral law.”
Wuerl also said Pelosi “misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion."
When asked last year if Catholic politicians who had legalized abortion in Mexico City should be considered excommunicated, Pope Benedict said: “Yes.”
A spokesman later said the Pope did not intend to formally excommunicate the politicians, but added that politicians who vote in favor of abortion should not receive Communion.
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