Resolution Welcoming Pope Sparks Controversy Over Abortion

Posted April 17, 2008 at 12:56pm

A resolution welcoming Pope Benedict XVI’s historic visit to Washington, D.C., passed the Senate on Thursday afternoon by voice vote after a minor controversy over a perceived reference to abortion.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) had objected to wording in the resolution saying the pope cares for “each and every human life,” believing that it was a reference to the Roman Catholic Church’s anti-abortion stance. An Boxer aide described that language as “political.”

The entire phrase was removed from the resolution that passed.

But Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), a devout Catholic, agreed to tweak the language in order to avoid an embarrassing standoff over what should have been a noncontroversial measure.

Many lawmakers attended the pontiff’s two-hour Mass at Nationals Stadium on Thursday morning.

— Tim Taylor