Tue, 05 Jul 2022

Archbishop penalizes Nancy Pelosi over abortion advocacy, says decision is "pastoral, not political"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) cannot receive holy communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and should not present herself for the eucharist until she "publicly repudiates" her support of abortion, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone announced on Friday.

Pelosi says she is a devout Roman Catholic, but called on Americans to vote for Democrats in order to legalize abortion after a leaked Supreme Court opinion questioned the practice.

"After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion 'rights' and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance," Cordileone wrote in a letter addressed to the Catholic faithful.

The archbishop said he had notified Pelosi, who is a member of his archdiocese, of the decision on Thursday. As of Friday afternoon, she has not publicly commented. She described herself as a "regular communicant" in a 2008 interview, and said being denied communion would be "a severe blow."

Cordileone noted that his instructions apply only to his archdiocese, meaning that Pelosi could still receive communion in Washington, DC and elsewhere. He said the decision is in line with the church law, which bars from communion those "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin."

In a separate letter to the priests of the archdiocese, Cordileone said he was not "weaponizing the Eucharist" and that his motive was "pastoral, not political." He said he had repeatedly tried to meet with Pelosi since September 2021, when she announced support for codifying abortion rights into law, and asked her to "repudiate this position, or else refrain from referring to her Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion."

Telling his clergy that Pelosi has refused to meet with him or answer his letters, Archbishop Cordileone said that her "resistance to pastoral counsel has gone on for too long," and there was "nothing more that can be done at this point to help the Speaker understand the seriousness of the evil her advocacy for abortion is perpetrating and the scandal she is causing."

The Roman Catholic Church regards abortion as a sin. It is currently considered legal in the US due to a 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which the highest court in the land may soon overturn - according to a draft opinion leaked to the media earlier this month. 

Speaking at an event in Texas in March, Pelosi described herself as "very Catholic, devout, practicing, all of that" and said the church "would like to throw me out," but insisted the court should not overturn Roe v. Wade.

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