By Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her family is “heartbroken and traumatized by the life-threatening attack” on her husband, Paul, whom police said was “violently assaulted” at home early Oct. 28 by a man with a hammer.
In an Oct. 30 statement addressed to her colleagues in the House, Pelosi said her family was comforted by their prayers and that her husband is making progress in his recovery.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott in an Oct. 28 news conference identified 42-year-old David DePape as the suspect, saying he will be charged with attempted homicide.
As the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office prepared charges against DePape, federal prosecutors charged him Oct. 31 with attempted kidnapping and assault of a family member of a federal official.
Scott said authorities were called to the Pelosi home at 2:27 a.m. for a priority well-being check and, upon responding, officers said they encountered the speaker’s husband, 82, and a suspect holding a hammer.
“The suspect pulled the hammer away from (Pelosi) and violently assaulted him … our officers immediately tackled the suspect and disarmed him,” Scott said.
The speaker’s spokesman said Oct. 28 that Paul Pelosi had surgery “to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands.”
The suspect also was taken to a local hospital for treatment, police said, and is expected to face additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and other additional felonies.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said he was praying for Paul Pelosi in an Oct. 28 tweet.
“Please join me in praying for the swift recovery of Paul Pelosi and comfort for his wife and family too. Mother Mary hear our prayer,” Archbishop Cordileone tweeted.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, also offered prayers.
“I join with Archbishop Cordileone in offering my prayers for the full recovery of Paul Pelosi and comfort for his family following the terrible attack that occurred earlier this morning,” he said.
“I am deeply grieved over this violence, which should have no place in our communities, our political process, or our great nation,” the archbishop added. “May Our Lady of Perpetual Help intercede for us, provide healing and guide us to paths of peace.”
At Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, the congregation prayed for the recovery of Paul Pelosi and also for an end to violence and division. Pelosi and President Joe Biden periodically attend Mass at the Jesuit parish church.
Scott said the investigation was ongoing and authorities were still determining a motive.
The speaker was in Washington at the time of the attack, but her office said she flew to California to be with her husband.
Some on Twitter lashed out at the Oct. 28 tweet by Archbishop Cordileone, saying he was being a hypocrite because of what he told Speaker Pelosi in a May 19 letter.
“You are not to present yourself for holy Communion,” he told her. “Should you do so, you are not to be admitted to holy Communion, until such time as you publically (sic) repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of penance.”
San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller also offered prayers for the speaker’s husband Oct. 28 and for other victims of violence.
“We pray for the children in Uvalde, the migrants burnt to death, and the people killed by shootings and violence, we pray for Mr. Paul Pelosi. We condemn violence. We all could be a target, especially the poor, migrants, the elderly and any life from conception to natural death,” he tweeted.