Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone announced Friday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should not be admitted to Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, nor report to receive the Eucharist, until she repudiates publicly support abortion.
Archbishop Cordileone said May 20 that the step was “purely pastoral, not political” and came after Pelosi, D-Calif., who has described herself as a “devout Catholic,” repeatedly pushed back on her efforts to contact her to discuss her. advocacy for abortion.
The archbishop said he sent the notification to Pelosi, “a member of our archdiocese,” on May 19. The Democratic leader did not immediately respond publicly to Bishop Cordileone’s announcement after it was released to the media on Friday afternoon. In a 2008 interview with C-SPANPelosi said being denied communion would be “a big blow”, describing herself at the time as a “regular communicant”.
Bishop Cordileone’s instructions only apply within the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Other bishops have jurisdiction over these matters when Pelosi is in Washington, DC, and in other dioceses in the United States and abroad.
In a May 20 letter to lay Catholics, Bishop Cordileone explained that he had issued the instruction in accordance with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which states, “Those…who stubbornly persevere in manifest grave sin must not be admitted to Holy Communion. .”
“After many attempts to speak to her to help her understand the grave harm she is doing, the outrage she is causing and the danger she is risking to her own soul, I have determined that the time has come when I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion “rights” and confesses and receives absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the Sacrament of Penance,” Bishop Cordileone wrote in the letter.
Separate letter sent to priests
In a separate letter to the priests of the Archdiocese of San Francisco also published on Friday, Archbishop Cordileone preemptively responded to criticism that he was “arming the Eucharist.”
He insisted his decision was “simply the application of Church teaching”.
“I have always been very clear, both in my words and in my actions, that my motive is pastoral and not political,” he said in the letter.
In the same letter, the Archbishop describes his repeated attempts to meet with Pelosi – who represented San Francisco, California’s 12th District, in Congress – since announcing in September 2021 that she would seek to codify Deer. c. Wade in US law.
He said he wrote to the speaker in April this year, ‘detailing the extreme position she has taken on the abortion issue and explaining the outrage it is causing and the danger to her own soul’.
“I asked him to repudiate this position, or else refrain from referring to his Catholic faith in public and receive Holy Communion,” he wrote.
“I also told her that if she refused to do so, I would be obliged to make a public announcement that she would not be admitted to Holy Communion.”
He said he received no response, but contacted Pelosi again a month later when she described herself as a “Devout Catholic” while explaining why she supported abortion, following the leak of a draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court could strike down Roe v. Wade.
“As a result of all this and everything leading up to this,” Bishop Cordileone told the priests, “it is my determined judgment that this resistance to pastoral counseling has gone on too long, and there is nothing left. to do at this point to help the President understand the seriousness of the harm her pro-abortion advocacy is doing and the outrage it is causing.
“I have therefore delivered to her the aforementioned notification that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” he wrote.
A long stalemate
Archbishop Cordileone and Pelosi have clashed several times over abortion since Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Cordileone to lead the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 2012.
Tensions have risen notably in 2021 as the push to overthrow the 1973 Roe vs. Wade The decision has reached the Supreme Court and the US bishops have engaged in a heated discussion over whether pro-abortion politicians should be denied communion.
In May 2021, Pelosi said she was “happy” with a letter from the Vatican to the American bishops addressing the debate. She claimed the Vatican had asked the bishops not to be “divided” on the issue.
In response, Bishop Cordileone said the Vatican actually encourages “dialogue” between bishops and pro-abortion politicians, “to help them understand the grave evil they are helping to perpetrate and accompany them towards a change of notice”.
In July 2021, Bishop Cordileone sharply criticized Pelosi after citing her Catholic faith while defending efforts to allow federal funding for elective abortions.
The Archbishop launched a prayer campaign in September 2021 aimed at inspiring “a conversion of heart” among politicians supporting abortion, “beginning with the Leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
Bishop Cordileone urged Catholics to enroll in the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign, which presented thousands of roses to the speaker as a symbol of prayer and fasting for the 82-year-old mother of five.
In October 2021, Pelosi met Pope Francis in the Vatican. Commenting on the audience, Bishop Cordileone said that “the popes meet everyone” and that the meeting did not signal papal endorsement of the speaker’s views on abortion.
Warning about retaliation
In his letter to priests, Bishop Cordileone acknowledged that his decision could lead to increased attacks on Catholic churches.
“Our churches are already the target of violence and our services are disrupted, which motivated me to send you the memo last week asking you to be more attentive to security measures on your property. These attacks could now increase. I realize that,” he said.
“But for us, as faithful followers of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is a cause for rejoicing, for the only reason it is happening is because of the Catholic Church’s constant defense of the sanctity of the human life in all stages and conditions, and especially in its beginnings in the womb.
Bishop Cordileone continued, “I am convinced that this is a time when God is calling us to live the final bliss: ‘Blessed will you be when they insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12).”
This is a developing story.