Did Nancy Pelosi seek an exorcism in her home after attacking her husband?

Claim:

US Rep. Nancy Pelosi called priests to her home to perform an exorcism and prayer service after her husband was attacked there by a man with a hammer.

Valuation:

TRUE

context

This information was provided to the New York Times by Pelosi’s daughter, Alexandra. An exorcism is described as a form of prayer against the power of the devil. We reached out to Pelosi’s office to learn more about the type of exorcism that took place.

In October 2022, the husband of then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was Paul attacked of a man wielding a hammer in her San Francisco home. The man, David Wayne DePape, was arrested and charged with assault, attempted murder, attempted kidnapping and more, to which he pleaded not guilty January 2023.

An investigator from San Francisco testifies that DePape said there was “evil in Washington,” and he wanted to hurt Pelosi because she was second in line for the presidency. DePape also reportedly tended to follow conspiracy theories.

Soon after the attack, Pelosi announced her decision to step down as Democratic leader of the House of Representatives. The incident reportedly shocked her and her family, as well as her daughter described how Pelosi even called priests to perform an exorcism at her home in San Francisco.

tabloids jumped to this detail, describe it as a “stunning admission”. Conservatives also poked fun at Pelosi, saying they hoped she wouldn’t “disappear” after an exorcism:

On January 21, 2023, New York Times Opinion Story interviewed Maureen Dowd Pelosi and her daughter Alexandra. They described the toll the violent attack had taken on her family, and Alexandra specifically described her mother’s feelings of guilt.

In exchange, Alexandra described an exorcism at her home in San Francisco, the site of the attack:

Back to the topic [Pelosi’s] Husband, she said it’s inconceivable that her home would be turned into a “crime scene” and then be plagued by sick conspiracy theories about Paul and Republicans poking fun at the attack.

“The fact that they came after me and then hit him,” Pelosi said, looking concerned. “He is a strong person, athletic. That was hard. It’s going to be about three or four months before he’s really back to normal.”

Alexandra, who was always the id to her mother’s superego, was blunt: “I think that weighed really heavily on her soul. I think she really felt guilty. I think what really broke them was an exorcism of the house and holding prayer services.”

Pelosi who has described even as a “believing Catholic”, did not contradict the description in the interview. We reached out to her office to find out more about what exactly the exorcism entailed.

An exorcism may not be as extraordinary as some think. According to United States Catholic Bishops Conference, an exorcism is “a specific form of prayer used by the church against the power of the devil”. However, the conference describes exorcisms as primarily involving “affected persons,” so it was not clear how they were performed in the home:

In addition to the use of the Psalms and readings from the Gospels and the recitation of the exorcism prayers, a number of sacred symbols are used in the rite of the Great Exorcism. Water is blessed and sprinkled at the beginning to commemorate the centrality of the new life the person received in baptism and the ultimate defeat of the devil through the saving work of Jesus Christ. The exorcist’s laying on of hands and breathing of the person’s face (exsufflation) affirms the power of the Holy Spirit working in the person as a result of their baptism, and confirms them as a temple of God. Finally, the subject is shown the cross of the Lord and the sign of the cross is made over him to demonstrate Christ’s power over the devil.

Father Vincent Lampert, exorcist for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said New York Post that exorcisms can be performed on homes where a violent crime has taken place, and he gets thousands of requests to do so every year.

“It would be the reciting of a specific prayer that invites the presence of God back into the home and drives out any presence of evil that may be there. Then the house would be blessed with holy water, reminding us of our new life in Christ and the fact that we need fear no evil because we realize that Christ dwells with us,” Lampert said said.

Although we know little about how the exorcism was performed, the Pelosi have stated that one took place at their home. We’ll update this post with specific details when we get feedback from their team. We evaluate this claim as “true”.

Sources:

“David DePape pleads not guilty to the federal charges in the attack on Paul Pelosi at the family home.” 6abc Philadelphia, November 15, 2022, https://6abc.com/nancy-pelosi-husband-attack-paul-house-david-wayne-depape/12456740/. Retrieved January 23, 2023.

Dowd, Maureen. “Opinion | Nancy Pelosi, free and loving it.” The New York Times, January 21, 2023. NYTimes.com, January 23, 2023.

“Exorcism.” USCCB. Retrieved January 23, 2023.

“Man accused in attack on Paul Pelosi pleads not guilty to 6 counts.” PBS NewsHour, Dec 28, 2022, Jan 23, 2023.

“Man charged with assault and attempted kidnapping after breaking into and entering Pelosi residence.” U.S. Department of Justice, Oct. 31, 2022, Jan. 23, 2023.

“Nancy Pelosi Tricked Priests into Performing an Exorcism in the Home of Paul Pelosi’s Assault.” TMZ, accessed January 23, 2023.

“Nancy Pelosi describes herself as a ‘devout’ Catholic who was raised in a ‘pro-life family.'” Catholic News Agency, accessed January 23, 2023.

“Nancy Pelosi summons priests to exorcise the home of evil spirits.” New York Post, January 21, 2023, accessed January 23, 2023.

Saber, Adam. “Nancy Pelosi called on priests to perform ‘exorcism,’ after husband’s hammer attack, daughter says.” Fox News, January 21, 2023, January 23, 2023.

Singh, Kanishka. “Accused Paul Pelosi Attacker Pleads Not Guilty to Charges.” Reuters, Dec 28, 2022. www.reuters.com, Jan 23, 2023.

Walsh, Deirdre, and Susan Davis. “Speaker Pelosi says she will step down as party leader after two decades at the helm.” NPR, November 17, 2022. NPR, January 23, 2023.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/nancy-pelosi-priest-exorcism-husband/ Did Nancy Pelosi seek an exorcism in her home after attacking her husband?

Brian Ashcraft

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