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The Archbishop of San Francisco declared on May 20 that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is banned from taking Holy Communion until she repents of her public pro-abortion stance.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a statement that Speaker Pelosi’s recent push to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, or H.R. 3755, which would codify Roe v. Wade’s federal abortion access, is a “manifestly grave sin” of which she needs to repent.
Apparently this ban did not deter Speaker Pelosi from taking communion at a Georgetown parish on Sunday in defiance of her Bishop’s ruling.
The Archbishop makes clear in his statement that this is a pastoral issue that he has already discussed with Speaker Pelosi on prior occasions and in a previously unanswered letter.
Archbishop Cordileone’s Letter To Pelosi
“That is why I communicated my concerns to you via letter on April 7, 2022, and informed you there that, should you not publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion “rights” or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion, I would have no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915, that you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote to Pelosi.
“A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
And finally, the ban:
“Therefore, in light of my responsibility as the Archbishop of San Francisco to be “concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to [my] care” (Code of Canon Law, can. 383, §1), by means of this communication I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.”
After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, an the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion. https://t.co/l7M85CyG86
— Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone (@ArchCordileone) May 20, 2022
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As for Pelosi’s Catholicism, the Seattle Times reports that in early May, Pelosi made this incredible statement (emphasis added):
“The very idea that they would be telling women the size, timing or whatever of their family, the personal nature of this is so appalling, and I say that as a devout Catholic. They say to me, ‘Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the pope.’ Yes I do. Are you stupid?”
Will President Biden Also be Barred from Communion?
The Catholic Church leaves enforcement of this specific issue up to each individual diocese. In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, noted sacramental theologian Fr. Bruce Morrill, explains that Cordileone is taking a different stance on the Communion issue for Pelosi than Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory has taken with President Joe Biden, also Catholic.
Gregory has not sought to deny Biden communion. Cordileone for his part addressed all pro-abortion legislators in his statement.
“I also ask all of the faithful of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to pray for all of our legislators, especially Catholic legislators who promote procured abortion, that with the help and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they may undergo a conversion of heart in this most grave matter and human life may be protected and fostered in every stage and condition of life,” Cordileone said.
Pope Francis declared last September that he did not want to comment directly on the issue of denying communion in the United States “because I do not know the details; I am speaking of the principle” of the matter.
He warned against politicizing the Eucharist but he also reiterated his opposition to abortion, saying “abortion is homicide.”
Pastoral Duty or Political Pandering?
Some, including “The View’s” Whoopie Goldberg, are critical of the Bishop’s ruling, claiming that he’s stepping outside of his pastoral role to make a political statement.
Whoopi: “The archbishop of San Francisco is calling for speaker Nancy Pelosi to be denied receiving Communion because of her pro-choice stance … this is not your job, dude. That is not up to you to make that decision.” pic.twitter.com/TCSe0t6XLY
— Washington Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) May 23, 2022
Cordileone for his part is certain that this is within his pastoral duties.
“This fundamental moral truth has consequences for Catholics in how they live their lives, especially those entrusted with promoting and protecting the public good of society,” Cordileone’s statement said.
“… Please know that I find no pleasure whatsoever in fulfilling my pastoral duty here. Speaker Pelosi remains our sister in Christ. Her advocacy for the care of the poor and vulnerable elicits my admiration. I assure you that my action here is purely pastoral, not political. I have been very clear in my words and actions about this.”
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