Sen. Barbara Boxer holds up resolution welcoming Benedict XVI because of objections to pro-life content
California Catholic Daily - U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, temporarily blocked approval of a resolution welcoming Pope Benedict XVI to the U.S. because she disapproved of a passage referring to the pope’s respect “for each and every human life,” the online political journal Politico reports.
Boxer and other Democrats objected because they saw the phrase as a reference to abortion. “Three Senate Republican aides involved in the issue say that Boxer objected to the ‘life’ language, which Democrats see as an implicit reference to the Catholic church's opposition to abortion,” said Politico. “Senate Democratic leadership offices declined to comment but referred questions to Boxer's office.”
Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz told Politico in an email message after the controversy was resolved, "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."
The resolution welcoming the pope later passed the Senate on a voice vote, but only after its sponsor, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, agreed to remove any reference to "human life." Politico reported that Brownback, “a devout Catholic,” agreed to drop the language because he “did not want a high profile fight over the resolution.”
In fact, reported Politico, the Kansas senator, while attending a papal Mass at Nationals Park, used a hand-held messaging device to communicate to his staff that it was ok to delete the language to which Boxer and other Democrats objected.
"There was some politics involved here, and the objectionable language has been withdrawn," a senior Democratic Senate aide told Politico.
This is the language to which Boxer objected and which was later removed from the resolution at her insistence: "Pope Benedict XVI has spoken out for the weak and vulnerable, witnessing to the value of each and every human life."