Nancy Pelosi Lectures Her Archbishop: Don’t March for Marriage! I Respond [Updated w/ +Cordileone’s Response]


Just who the hell does Nancy Pelosi think she is?

For decades she has said to her catholic critics that they should mind their own damn business.


Now she’s telling her archbishop that their “shared love for [their]Catholic faith” dictates that he can’t march in support of real marriage this Thursday:

“Pelosi, who is one of the country’s most powerful Catholic politicians, made a passionate appeal to the archbishop in a letter [link below]obtained by The Chronicle not to participate in the National Organization for Marriage’s June 19 march on the Supreme Court in Washington.

[…] The San Francisco Democratic leader is the most influential in a parade of public figures who have come forward to protest the San Francisco archbishop’s participation in an event that is also backed by the Family Research Council. Critics have called the organizers “hate groups” that are targeting gays and lesbians.

Last week, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with a host of Bay Area religious leaders, sent a joint letter to Cordileone protesting his plans to attend the march.

Some 20,000 people have signed an online petition by Faithful America demanding that the archbishop cancel his appearance.” [San Fransisco Chronicle]

I can think of about a thousand things that Nancy Pelosi and Archbishop Cordileone should have a chat about. Her lecturing her archbishop on the church’s teaching ain’t one of them.

The gall of this woman is unbelievable. And what she and dozens of politicians are doing by publicly demanding that the archbishop withdraw from the event should anger us. Because if the church is our family, we need to respond when our family is under attack.

Let’s understand the circumstances surrounding this milestone, because it is a milestone for dozens of politicians to tell an american archbishop that he is so wrong about his own faith that he is morally at fault when he acts in the public square in accordance with his conscience.

After all, dissenting Catholic politicians used to claim the right to quietly dissent from the church’s teaching on marriage. Now they refuse to acknowledge the right of Catholic bishops to quietly support the church’s teaching on marriage! That’s quite an “evolution”.

It’s also quintessentially hypocritical. The very same politicians who have hidden behind their “right” to dissent are now perfectly willing to force their view on the archbishop now that they feel their position is in the ascendancy.

The normal means of correcting a politician who distorts church teaching should be employed. The last time Pelosi horribly twisted the church’s teaching on an important issue (abortion) dozens of bishops publicly corrected her. I hope dozens of bishops publicly correct her again and I hope they stand by their brother bishop (and thereby, stand up for church teaching). Doing so would help repair some of the damage.

But seriously, do any of us truly believe that one more public rebuke will matter one iota or alter one scintilla of Pelosi’s views?

Pelosi can still do damage and cause scandal because she can still claim to be Catholic. To the average bystander, and to lots of Catholics, Pelosi is as Catholic as you or me. She goes to Mass. She receives Communion. She refers to herself as Catholic and talks about her faith in the public square. Sure, some bishops don’t always have nice things to say about her, but they never do anything about it. Pelosi herself seems to believe that she is still safely within the fold.

If words can’t reach Pelosi, maybe excommunication would.

Such a dramatic act would not only serve as the necessary wake-up call to Pelosi, it would also help protect the rest of us.

If politicians think they can lecture an archbishop about what he should and shouldn’t do, you can bet they also believe they can use the power of their office to dictate what you can and can’t do.  There is no neutral ground in the marriage fight. That is, there is no neutral ground and no compromise until we stand up for our beliefs as strongly as the Nancy Pelosi’s of this world are fighting for their view. They are not going to stop with forcing you to bake their cakes. They’re going to make you eat it, too.

What can we do? Plenty.

1) We can support the March for Marriage, where Archbishop Cordileone will be speaking, by attending it in person if we are nearby or attending virtuallyHelp get the word out about the march!

2) We can support marriage and Archbishop Cordileone this Thursday on social media, and by prayer all week! Be loud!

3) Most important of all, we can all commit to doing something, no matter how small! Write a letter to the archbishop in support. Make a small donation to the archdiocese of San Francisco. The possibilities are endless!

This is my response. What will yours be?

UPDATE: Here is a copy of one of the letters sent to Archbishop Cordileone — this one signed by California politicians, gay groups and liberal religious leaders (including the executive director of New Ways Ministry and the executive director of Dignity USA). I’m still looking for the letter that Pelosi sent — if you have access to a copy please share it!

UPDATE #2: Archbishop Cordileone has issued his response (PDF):



Dear Fellow Citizens,

Your letter sharing with me your thoughts on the upcoming “March for Marriage” in Washington, D.C., was forwarded to me while I was attending meetings out of town, and I have reflected on what you have to say. I appreciate your affirmation of my Church’s teaching—not unique to our religion, but a truth accessible to anyone of good will—on the intrinsic human dignity of all people, irrespective of their stage and condition in life. That principle requires us to respect and protect each and every member of the human family, from the precious child in the womb to the frail elderly person nearing death. It also requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing. I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th.

With regard to your request that I not attend the March, and the reasons you give for this request, allow me to explain the following points.

1. The March for Marriage is not “anti-LGBT” (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March. The latter does not imply the former. Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union. This is precisely the vision promoted by Pope Francis, who recently said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.” Rest assured that if the point of this event were to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there.

2. While I cannot go into all of the details here of your allegations against the sponsors of this event and scheduled speakers, I do know that at least some of what you say is based on misinterpretation or is simply factually incorrect. For example, it is not true that the National Organization for Marriage connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest. What is true is that three years ago a conference was sponsored in Baltimore by the group B4U-ACT for the purpose of finding ways to encourage tolerance for pedophilia. A statement on NOM’s blogpost objecting to this conference affirmed that this is something that would outrage people in the gay community as well. Unfortunately, many conclusions are being drawn about those involved in the March for Marriage based on false impressions.

3. It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric. Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence. It is true that historically in our society violence has been perpetrated against persons who experience attraction to members of the same sex, and this is to be deplored and eradicated. Sadly, though, we are now beginning to see examples, although thankfully not widespread, of even physical violence against those who hold to the conjugal view of marriage (such as, most notably, the attempted gunning down of those who work in the offices of the Family Research Council). While it is true that free speech can be used to offend others, it is not so much people exercising their right to free speech that drives us further apart than people punished precisely for doing so that does.

4. Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings. I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other. It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart. In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep disagreements. That may sound fanciful and far-fetched, but it is true, it is possible. I know it is possible, I know this from personal experience. When we come together seeking to understand the other with good will, miracles can happen.

When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us.

Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone
Archbishop of San Francisco

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author


Thomas Peters, 33, grew up in Southern California and attended college in Michigan. He has two graduate degrees in theology. He began his award-winning American Papist blog in 2006, which went on to become one of the most popular Catholic blogs in America. He was one of a handful of Americans invited to the Vatican’s first-ever Bloggers’ Meeting in Rome. Peters has appeared in dozens of TV, radio and online media outlets over the years discussing the intersection of Catholicism and political activism, debating topics related to life, family and religious freedom, in addition to writing and speaking about the future of social media and online organizing. From 2010-2016 he served as an advisor to He and his wife Natalie live in Washington DC. You can follow him on Twitter @AmericanPapist.


  1. Bill LaRocco on

    Nancy Pelosi talks a lot. She espouses her Catholicity. It is only talk. No action on crucial issues. I usually ignore what she has to say.

  2. Just who the hell does Nancy Pelosi think she is? – She is as far away from the Catholic Church as she can be – and probably still receives Communion whenever the mood strikes her –

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