San Francisco archbishop suggests Pelosi, Biden should be denied Communion

Thursday, 6 May, 2021 - 12:07

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hometown bishop is taking a not-so-subtle jab at her and President Biden's abortion advocacy, arguing that self-identified Catholics should refrain from publicly promoting the practice or face potential exclusion from Holy Communion.

"If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion," said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in a pastoral letter released Saturday.

While he doesn't mention Pelosi, D-Calif., or Biden by name, the archbishop's comments come as scrutiny has intensified surrounding the president's stance on the issue.

Both Biden and Pelosi have repeatedly pushed expanded abortion access while claiming to be devout Catholics — a contradiction, according to both catechism and Cordileone's statement.

The Catholic Church has long taught that members who are conscious of committing grave sin should not receive the sacrament of Holy Communion until after obtaining absolution through confession. In his letter, Cordileone argues that by participating in "moral evil," public figures who support abortion may need to be excluded from communion.

"Because we are dealing with public figures and public examples of cooperation in moral evil, this correction can also take the public form of exclusion from the reception of Holy Communion," he said.

"...this discipline has been exercised throughout our history, going back to the New Testament. When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table. This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it."

He added: "[P]lease stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil—one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right—is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith."

"It is not. Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith. We await you with open arms to welcome you back."

The issue is a contentious one that came up during the 2020 campaign, when a South Carolina priest refused Biden communion. More recently, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told a reporter that Biden "respectfully disagrees" with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' opposition to fetal tissue research. Biden has also pledged to repeal the Hyde Amendment and codify Roe v. Wade.

In the past, Pelosi faced numerous questions about abortion and whether she believed unborn children were human beings. In 2015, she didn't directly answer at least two questions about whether unborn children were human beings. Instead, she said she had "great standing" to speak on the issue and was a "devout practicing Catholic."

When asked about one of Pelosi's responses, Cordileone reportedly said: "This has been the consistent teaching of the Church from the very beginning, a teaching already discernible in the natural moral law, and so a teaching from which no Catholic can dissent in good conscience."

Some Catholics have dissented from these teachings, although they are clearly stated within the catechism.

The section of the catechism discussing abortion says that the procedure and infanticide "are abominable crimes."

It reads: "The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority." The Catechism also warns that "when the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined."

Neither the White House nor Pelosi's office responded to Fox News' request for comment.

Vatican officials have reportedly said Pelosi should be denied the sacrament of Holy Communion and the last pope -- Pope Benedict XVI -- personally reminded her of the Church's stance on the issue during a private meeting.