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Pelosi has audience with Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Lawmakers have a responsibility to protect human life, Pope Benedict XVI told U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Vatican said Wednesday.

Benedict said the Roman Catholic Church requires ''all Catholics, especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society'' to promote life from conception to death during what Vatican officials called a "brief" meeting Wednesday with Pelosi, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

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Although she is a practicing Catholic, Pelosi, D-Calif., supports U.S. President Barack Obama's positions on stem cell research, abortion rights and bioethics.

In a statement, Pelosi said she and her husband Paul "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."

She said also she showed Benedict photographs of her children and grandchildren.

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