Congresswoman and Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, left Mass at a church in Rome Saturday evening. Her sudden departure was spurred by protesters criticising the introduction of a Covid ‘green pass’ in the city, according to journalist Joan Lewis. The representative of California had travelled to the Vatican with her husband to meet Pope Francis and other prominent Vatican officials.
Speaking in the aftermath of the incident, the church’s rector, Fr Steven Petroff Pelosi, confirmed that Ms Pelosi was unable to remain in the church amid doubts over her safety, “unfortunately there was a security incident and sadly Speaker Pelosi and her husband had to leave”. Pelosi, who was due to contribute to the Mass by taking part in the readings, was safely evacuated from the church as the rector believed that her safety “was most important” at the time.
Joan Lewis, a journalist based in Rome, stated that she had spoken to [Fr] Petroff, who told her that the security concerns stemmed from demonstrations going on in the streets of Rome that were moving into the area where St Patrick’s is located around the time of the 6 pm Mass. “What Fr Petroff learned after Mass was that a large number of the anti-Green Card protesters were moving in the direction of Via Veneto and they appeared to be violent”.
Although it was reported by certain media outlets that Ms Pelosi was subjected to heckling and jeering, Lewis maintained that Pelosi was not the recipient of such abuse while a spokesperson for Pelosi disclosed that “it was Italian security officials who made the decision to pull the Speaker out of the church.”
Ms Pelosi, a self-professed practicing Catholic, has a long and tempestuous history with the Church, which includes disputing with her local ordinary, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, over her support of abortion and travelled to Rome to give the keynote address at the opening session of the G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit on Friday.