As I had predicted (see "What Will the Pope Say to Nancy Pelosi?"), neither the Holy Father nor Speaker Pelosi offered a public statement during the audience, which (the AP notes) "was closed to reporters and photographers." Normally, when the Holy Father meets with a high-ranking governmental official, photographers are allowed, even if the discussion is kept private.
As Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is second in the line of succession to the U.S. presidency, behind only Vice President Joseph Biden, another Catholic who dissents from Church teaching on abortion and contraception.
After the meeting, Speaker Pelosi did not meet with reporters or offer any comments (though a Reuters report notes that a "spokesman for Pelosi said she would issue a statement later in the day"), but the Vatican Press Office issued the following statement:
His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.
The statement is in line with what I had expected, and as I predicted in the previous article, it addresses the public aspect of Pelosi's dissent from Church teaching, while not telling us what private words Pope Benedict might have offered Speaker Pelosi regarding the danger that this dissent poses to her soul.
The statement from the Vatican Press Office, however, even though it is couched in the most diplomatic of language, should reassure those Catholics and other pro-life Christians who thought that Speaker Pelosi's meeting with the Holy Father would somehow legitimacy to her pro-abortion views. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, the lack of a photo opportunity speaks volumes.