From NBC's Mike Viqueira
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, traveling in Europe with a congressional delegation comprised of several members of her inner circle and their spouses, had an audience earlier today with Pope Benedict.
The speaker has come under fire from church officials for her position on abortion, which she believes should remain legal and safe. Her comments on Meet the Press concerning the church's position on the issue were especially controversial.
Here are two statements issued at the conclusion of the meeting. The first is from the Vatican, the other from the speaker's office"
Vatican: "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."
From the speaker: "It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today. In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger, and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family's Papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren."