It takes a special kind of cognitive dissonance to speak fervently of the Word Made Flesh, and to understand that by his Incarnation God has ennobled all mortal flesh with a sanctity and a holiness relative to his own, and yet to consistently vote–as Nancy Pelosi did in 2003–against legislation that would have banned the most savage of abortion procedures, the so-called “partial-birth abortion.”
There is simply no way to reconcile a belief in the centrality of the Incarnation--the Word made flesh--with a belief in unrestricted abortion in general and partial birth abortion in particular. For in the Incarnation, Jesus sanctified human life at every stage of its development including, and especially, life in the mother's womb. To invoke the name of Jesus while simultaneously enabling the slaughter of the most innocent and vulnerable of human beings is a particularly egregious form of blasphemy. But Ms. Scalia is, I believe, near to the mind of Christ with her intended response.
Mrs. Pelosi may seem confused to some; perhaps she is. I prefer to believe that her seeming inability to stop herself from conflating her religion and her politics is evidence that the Holy Spirit is working upon her–that perhaps her photo-op-free meeting with Pope Benedict, and with her bishop (or her public communion-taking) have flicked her conscience in such a way that we are now watching a woman try to reconcile her faith and her politics in a very public manner.
One can certainly serve the World by first being faithful to the Word; the great saints have proven this time and again. But can one serve the Word by employing the wisdom and sensibilities of the Worldly, without falling into an inconsistency (and spiritual chaos) that may cast one into mortal error?
I mean to pray for Mrs. Pelosi. I have no doubt that her identification as a Catholic is a sincere one, and I know firsthand how difficult it can be to form a conscience in the midst of sometimes pernicious influences. If she is being schooled and ravished by the Holy Spirit while also being pulled by all of her worldly attachments, then something will have to give, in God’s own time.
There is, Jesus said, "more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance" (Luke 15.7). In a day and age when so many "family values" politicians are woefully failing to walk the walk, what a marvelous testimony it would be to the transforming power of God's grace and Holy Spirit for this most wayward of wanderers to find her way home.
Let it be, Lord, according to your will.