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Michael J. O’LoughlinNovember 21, 2010

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who will serve as House Minority Leader come January, answers a few questions in the New York Times magazine. She says, among other things, that she spends a great deal of her time at Sunday Mass (she talks about her faith often) thinking of her parents, and a brief discussion of her prayer life: Pelosi and Pope Benedict

"Do you think frequently of your father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., the former mayor of Baltimore?
My father died the year I was elected to Congress, 1987. I think about my parents all the time, especially on Sunday when I’m at Mass. My mother always said: “We do not pray to win elections. We pray for people’s health, we pray that God’s will be done, we pray that we do our best. But we do not pray to win elections.”

"Are you saying you have never prayed for an electoral victory?
Never. I only pray that I do my very best."

An interesting insight from one of the nation's most prominent Catholics. Would prayer for political victory be crass? What about prayer for the advancement of a political platform? Individual political issues? What is worthy of prayer, and who determines its value? Would praying for political victory be akin to the prayers of children, which can often be similar to asking Santa for various gifts? Private prayer is an incredibly personal exercise, and I'm not questioning Pelosi's views; in fact, they read to me as indicative of a mature and examined faith. It is interesting to hear what others ask in their prayers, especially someone as public and influential as Pelosi.  

(Image: Pelosi welcomes Pope Benedict XVI to the United States in 2008/LA Times).

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Gillian Brunet
12 years 6 months ago
Tom Maher, please do not be so quick to judge the faith of another.  Just because someone else lives out their faith in a radically different way than you do does not mean that their faith is somehow less central to their lives.  Of course, I don't know Nancy Pelosi, so I don't know anything about her personal spiritual life.  But I have seen her attend Mass on Sundays, which she seems to do very regularly compared to most politicians.  That has to count for something.  Question her political beliefs all you like, but do not judge her faith, which you cannot know.

It is very interesting to hear what others pray for, and how they pray.  It can be very eye-opening; I have learned and grown from hearing how and what others pray for in prayer groups and similar settings.  It seems to me that praying for help and not for outcome is a way of surrendering to God's will, and shows a willingness to accept the gifts we are given, rather than the ones we would sometimes choose.
12 years 6 months ago
Somewhere along the line in my Catholic education, I was taught to think of prayer as four fold and to use an acronym, ACTS, as a reminder.  It meant adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication.  Supplication comes at the end and as part of this lesson, we were taught to mainly pray for the well being of others spiritually especially their souls.  Praying for a specific outcome was never part of the lessons. 
david power
12 years 6 months ago

I dont think it is possible to spend a lot of your time at Sunday Mass.
It is once a week and lasts for less than an hour.Perhaps she goes to the
Latin Mass which can drag on for hours.
I am a fan of method as my mind wanders to quickly and if it were not for 
the spiritual genius of St Ignatius I would be lost.The examen of Consciousness is my favourite form of prayer.Fr George Aschenbrenner wrote a great little booklet on this.  
12 years 6 months ago
One of the sad commentaries on our church is how vitriolic some fellow Catholics have been to Ms. Pelosi because of her politics.
Such is the world of ideology,  blogdom and spin we live in.
Winifred Holloway
12 years 6 months ago
For the last several years, I pray only that those I am praying for feel the presence of God in their lives.  I have my wish list, of course, and I do mention it, but the grace and blessing of feeling the nearness of God, is what I implore from the Lord for those I hold in my heart, whether they are near to me, or simply those I have been exposed to through the chaos of the universe, natural disasters or the disruptions and tragedies of ordinary life.
Marie Rehbein
12 years 6 months ago
Given that the example of the widow pestering the judge was put forth as an example to follow, it would seem that constant praying for electoral wins would be a prayer answered.  What if the reason the chads were hanging in Florida in 2000 was because Bush prayed to win and Gore didn't?  Who wins an election is probably not of importance to God, but who prays just might be.  I say pray for wins.
david power
12 years 6 months ago
Fanstastic response Maria !
Helena Loflin
12 years 6 months ago
I'm having difficulty with the idea that God rewarded Bush with the presidency because Bush prayed for it (if he ever did), and the whole time our omniscient God knew that one of the many tragic outcomes of such a presidency would be an unethical, unjust and immoral Discretionary War waged at great human cost for the purpose of securing oil leases.
Marie Rehbein
12 years 6 months ago
Jimmy, I believe our onmiscient God has been tolerating tragic outcomes since almost the beginning of time.  Otherwise, how do you explain what happened?
Tom Maher
12 years 6 months ago
Oh please.  Nancy Pelosi is an ardent pro-abortion politician who has mislead the public by saying choice - having an abortion - was simply a matter of conscience,  She glibbly and dishonestly trivializes life isuues which are profoundly important without any sense of shame or decency.  She deceives the public on what the Catholic faith is and is not.  The Catholic faith is not the far left San Franiscao values which Nancy Pelosi has always been an advocate of.  Pelosi's Catholism is incidental to her far left political advocacy and social agenda.  She is doing harm to the Catholic church in Aerica by her deceitful midrepresentations of Cahtolism which she useds to justify her radical political and social agneda.

 Stop promoting Nanct Pelosi as a true representative of Catholism.  She is not.
Beth Cioffoletti
12 years 6 months ago
If Nancy Pelosi is not a true representative of Catholicism, who is?  You?  Me?  Newt?

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