Nancy Pelosi Tells Pope Francis During Emotional Visit, 'You Overwhelm Me'

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit to Rome
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit to Rome

VATICAN MEDIA/IPA/Shutterstock

Rep. Nancy Pelosi shared an emotional moment with Pope Francis during a weekend visit she called a "spiritual, personal and official honor."

The House speaker, who is a devout Catholic, told the leader of her faith, "You overwhelm me," as she took a seat before him at the Vatican on Saturday.

"His Holiness's leadership is a source of joy and hope for Catholics and for all people, challenging each of us to be good stewards of God's creation, to act on climate, to embrace the refugee, the immigrant and the poor, and to recognize the dignity and divinity in everyone," Pelosi said in a statement.

"His Holiness commands our attention to honor the Gospel of Matthew," Pelosi, 81, continued, "by serving 'the least of these,' lifting up those who have been left out or left behind, especially in the time of COVID."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit to Rome
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit to Rome

VATICAN MEDIA/IPA/Shutterstock

Following their meeting, Pope Francis called on lawmakers around the world to come together to address climate change.

"To meet this challenge, everyone has a role to play," Francis, 84, told leaders Saturday during a meeting to prepare for the United Nations' annual climate conference at the end of October.

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Pelosi said she shared her gratitude for the "immense moral clarity and urgency that His Holiness continues to bring to the climate crisis."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit to Rome
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit to Rome

VATICAN MEDIA/IPA/Shutterstock

Her meeting comes before President Joe Biden, who is also Catholic, is scheduled to meet with Francis for the first time since he took office.

Both the president and the speaker have been mentioned in a debate among U.S. Catholic bishops about whether political leaders who support women's rights to abortion access should be allowed to receive communion.

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Francis appears to support allowing politicians to take communion regardless of their positions on abortion rights. Although he didn't address the U.S. bishops' debate directly, Francis said in September that the question should be "pastoral" rather than political.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit to Rome
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visit to Rome

VATICAN MEDIA/IPA/Shutterstock

Saturday was not the first time Pelosi has been in the presence of Pope Francis. She attended his installation in 2013 as well as his address to a joint session of Congress in 2015. Two years later, she visited the Vatican with her grandchildren in 2017, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Pelosi, who represents the congressional district that includes San Francisco, also spoke of the connection between the city and the leader of the Catholic church.

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"In San Francisco, we take special pride in Pope Francis," she said in her statement, "who shares the namesake of our city and whose song of St. Francis is our anthem. 'Lord, make me a channel of thy peace. Where there is darkness, may we bring light. Where there is hatred, may we bring love. Where there is despair, may we bring hope.'"