People should pray especially for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s change of heart on abortion, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco has said in an announcement of a prayer campaign for her.
“A conversion of heart of the majority of our Congressional representatives is needed on this issue, beginning with the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” Cordileone said Sept. 29. “I am therefore inviting all Catholics to join in a massive and visible campaign of prayer and fasting for Speaker Pelosi: commit to praying one rosary a week and fasting on Fridays for her conversion of heart.”
Cordileone invited Catholics and everyone of good will to sign up for the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign at the website of the Benedict XVI Institute. A rose will be sent to the Speaker “as a symbol of your prayer and fasting for her,” he said.
The archbishop lamented the House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 3755, which he said would “impose abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy.” The bill passed Sept. 24 in a largely party-line vote of 218 to 211. It was part of the reaction to a Texas heartbeat-based abortion bill, which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect.
The reaction to the Texas bill, Cordileone said, shows “how desperately our country, and many of our political leaders, need a conversion of heart to steer us away from the path to death and reclaim a culture of life.”
Pelosi, a Democrat who is a longtime supporter of legal abortion, represents a congressional district which covers most of the city of San Francisco. She has said she disagrees with Cordileone on legal abortion, arguing that God gave people “free will” to choose abortion, and that it was not the “business” of lawmakers to make that decision for them.
“I come to this as a Catholic mother of five (children) in six years and one week,” she said last week on the House floor in support of the bill. “And the joy that all that meant to us. But with the recognition that my husband and I – it was our decision.”
Cordileone’s remarks appeared to respond directly to Pelosi.
“Speaker Pelosi speaks fondly of her children. She clearly has a maternal heart,” he said. “Pope Francis has called abortion murder, the equivalent of hiring a hitman to solve a problem. The solution to a woman in a crisis pregnancy is not violence but love.”
“Please join me in praying the rosary and fasting for a conversion of Speaker Pelosi’s maternal heart to embracing the goodness and dignity of human life not only after birth, but in the womb as well,” he said.
The archbishop noted that Oct. 1 marks the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, the French saint known as the “Little Flower” who is remembered for her words “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth. I will raise up a mighty host of little saints. My mission is to make God loved…”
“And after her death, the roses began to shower down from heaven. Roses have been called St. Therese’s ‘signature,’ a sign that the petitioner’s prayer has been heard,” said the archbishop.
“The rose is also a symbol of our Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the ‘mystical rose’," he added. “At this particular moment in the history of our nation, we need more than ever the intercession of our Blessed Mother, St. Therese, and all other saints who have shown us the path to life.”
Cordileone launched the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship in 2014 to help provide practical resources to help parishes have more beautiful and reverent liturgies, and to promote a Catholic culture in the arts. Among its upcoming events are requiem Masses for the homeless and the unveiling of a painting of the patron saints of the homeless.
Maggie Gallagher, executive director of the Benedict XVI Institute, said support for the homeless and support for the unborn has the same roots: “our faith in the equal dignity of every human soul.”
“We matter not because of how rich, or powerful, or useful, or beautiful we might be, but because of ‘who we are’: equally beloved children of God,” Gallagher said.