San Francisco Archbishop Bars Pelosi From Receiving Communion for Backing Abortion Rights
The speaker has been at odds with the Catholic Church for years, portraying herself as both a "devout" Catholic and a staunch defender of a practice that the Church regards as a sin and evil.
California's San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has barred House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from taking Holy Communion over her decision to throw her support behind abortion rights, thus escalating a decadeslong feud between the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Democratic politicians over abortion.
In a letter released on Friday posted on his office's website,
Cordileone told the California Democrat that she should not come forward for Holy Communion at Mass and that if she does, priests will not give her communion.
"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,'" the letter reads.
According to the denomination, the Catholic Church's Catechism
is clear on abortion, both in terms of obtaining one and assisting in one, as "since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion."
"This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable," the catechism says. "Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as a purpose or a means, is severely adverse to the moral law," before branding abortion and infanticide "abominable crimes."
The catechism also says that "formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of ex-communication to this crime against
Despite this clarity, liberal Catholic politicians have made a concerted effort to reconcile their Catholic convictions with their support for abortion rights. In 1984, then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo expressed his personal opposition to abortion but argued he couldn't force his views on the rest of the country, per Fox News.
However, a number of Democrats have become more vocal in their support of pro-abortion policies.
For instance, US President Joe Biden, himself a devout Catholic, formerly backed the Hyde Amendment, which prohibited US funds from being used to subsidize abortions in other countries. When he ran for president in 2020, he turned on the amendment, calling "a woman's right to choose" "fundamental."
Pelosi claimed in an interview once that "as a devout, practicing Catholic,"
the Church has "not been able to make that definition" of when life begins, and then added, "the point is, it shouldn't have an impact
on the woman's right to choose." She also reportedly stated in the same interview that she wanted abortion to be "rare."
Pelosi has not discussed abortion in the wake of a leaked SCOTUS opinion this month suggesting that the Supreme Court could soon overturn Roe v. Wade, but she has maintained that her pro-choice attitude is consistent with Catholic teaching.
"This [topic] really gets me burned up in case you didn't notice, because again I'm very Catholic, devout, practicing, all of that. They would like to throw me out. But I'm not going because I don't want to make their day," she said
Last year, Pelosi spoke with Pope Francis, but the attendees reportedly declined to specify whether abortion was discussed. Pope Francis has equated abortion to hiring a hitman but has refrained from calling for politicians to be excluded from communion.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops unanimously approved a declaration last year that stopped short of
refusing Holy Communion to Biden or anyone who supports abortion rights.
And while Biden met the Pope last year too, he said the church leader told him he was a "good Catholic"
and encouraged him to continue receiving communion.
Biden, however, was denied communion in a Catholic church in South Carolina in 2019 because of his support
for abortion rights.