Last week, on her way out of her weekly news conference, Nancy Pelosi was asked by James Rosen of Sinclair Broadcast Group whether she hated Trump. Rosen was referencing comments by Representative Doug Collins of Georgia who’d earlier suggested that the Democrats were impeaching the president because they hate him.
The Speaker, who had been walking away from the podium, exploded. She pointed a finger at Rosen and said “I don’t hate anybody. I was raised in a Catholic house. We don’t hate anybody.”
Then she added, “And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I pray for the President all the time. So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.”
I watched the exchange between Pelosi and Rosen with a mixture of emotions: pride, amusement, astonishment, and ultimately anger.
It may surprise some, but I was proud of this woman, even though I reject her politics and question her values. I have to admire anyone who is gutsy enough to say “don’t mess with me” to a room of reporters. Plus, this petite Italian brunette from Baltimore is - no one can deny - fierce. She reminds me a bit of my own mother (but not as nice).
But I was amused because of Pelosi’s idea that Catholics don’t hate anyone. As a Catholic, I can assure you that Pelosi does not speak for me, because I hate a lot of people, including some of the folks currently in Congress with the initials AOC.
While I am certain that the Speaker believes that her heart is bursting at the seams just like the Grinch after his conversion, her actions do not show it. Father Joe Zaleski, an archdiocesan priest who appeared on my radio show last week, observed: “It is the church’s teaching that we should not hate… is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition.” A slew of bishops had to correct her. In 2013, she opposed a bill that would have banned all abortions after 20 weeks, and is not a fan of the Hyde Amendment. She has even stated that opposing abortion is not required of Catholics.
For Pelosi to use her supposed Catholicism as a shield is unacceptable. As Matthew 7:16 notes, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Which means, if you have to tell people what a good Catholic you are, don’t bother.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.