Reasonably Catholic: Keeping the Faith

The Congresswoman to the Archbishop: ‘You are not going to keep me out of my Church.’

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Click below to hear the episode:

rosa and book coverUS Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of New Haven, who has served Connectictut’s Third Congressional District since 1991, serving on a number of important committees, talks about her policy memoir The Least Among Us: Waging the Battle for the Vulnerable.

Raised by Italian-American parents, she is still a practicing Catholic and reflects wistfully about the days when Catholicism was synonymous with service. She tells how, to counter misinformation about what she and fellow pro-choice Catholic legislators stood for, she and her Catholic fellow legislators had to get out in front of the issue and clearly define their values of faith and service.

In this excerpt from the book, she describes a meeting with then-Archbishop Henry Mansell:

“In February 2012, I was called to Hartford along with the rest of the Connecticut delegation to meet with Archbishop Henry Mansell, Bishop William Lori, and Bishop Michael Cote to explain why we were aiding and abetting the abortion cause. At the end of this meeting, the archbishop asked me to stay behind so he could speak to me alone. He proceeded to tell me I was married to a Jewish man, who was divorced, and therefore, he asked, how could I present myself for communion on Sundays? I told him I would continue to receive the sacraments, and asked him a question: How could the church be so blind to the fact that healthcare reform could save millions of lives? How was that not a pro-life issue? And where were they when I voted against wars, or to grow programs for the poor? Where were they then? Meanwhile the pedophile scandal wherein senior church officials looked the other way as priests violated boys and girls – why had little been done about that? There was no rapprochement in this meeting. I arrived feeling on the defensive. I left pissed off…

” Then with the election of Pope Francis in 2013, a ray of light appeared. I went to St. Peter’s Square for his installation, along with many of the Catholic members of Congress. Francis gave a stunning homily, one that reminded me of why I got into politics in the first place. ‘[He] must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.’

“When Francis demoted Cardinal Burke, the one who had threatened David Obey [with excommunication], I called David. I would not call that phone call a celebration, exactly, but we did feel vindicated.”

The Congresswoman will hit the following stops on her book tour this week.





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