Published April 17, 2008
A resolution welcoming and honoring Pope Benedict XVI to Washington hit a temporary rough patch on the way to its eventual approval — and the rough patch involved the always-nuclear topic of abortion.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., crafted a resolution "Welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the United States and recognizing the unique insights his moral and spiritual reflections bring to the world stage."
But when the resolution was circulated for approval of all the members, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., an outspoken "pro-choice" advocate, put on the brakes.
The offending language: "Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable, witnessing to the value of each and every human life."
A Boxer aide pointed specifically to the last 10 words of that sentence, saying it points directly to "pro-life" language. Boxer, with the support of a number of her Democratic and Republican colleagues, held up the bill for three days, trying to find a compromise.
One senior Republican leadership aide told FOX News, "What's the problem with this? Does Sen. Boxer not value life? It speaks directly to the message the Pope delivered when he arrived here."
From the Papal mass this morning, FOX News has learned, Brownback e-mailed his staff to strike the offending language.
Now, the resolution, which was just approved by unanimous consent, reads: "Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable."
Boxer also objected to another line that has since been changed.
The original line said: "Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken approvingly of the vibrance of religious faith in the United States, a faith nourished by a constitutional commitment to religious liberty that neither attempts to strip our public spaces of religious expression nor denies the ultimate source of our rights and liberties."
It was changed to: "Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has spoken approvingly of the vibrance of religious faith in the United States, a faith nourished by a constitutional commitment to religious liberty."
Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz e-mailed a statement to FOX News saying, "We are very pleased we were able to reach an agreement with Senator Brownback to remove the political language and pass this resolution welcoming Pope Benedict."