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Pope Benedict XVI met privately on Feb. 18 with Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representa-tives, and told her that all Catholics, especially those who are lawmakers, must work to protect human life at every stage. “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,” said a Vatican statement. Speaker Pelosi was making an official visit to Italy. The Catholic Democrat from California has been criticized by some Catholics for her support for keeping abortion legal. In a statement released by her office, Pelosi said, “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.”