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The archbishop of San Francisco told U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that she is barred from receiving communion over her support for abortion rights, the archdiocese said in a letter released Friday.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he in the letter that he had previously asked Pelosi to “publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion ‘rights’ or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion” — or face the consequence of being denied access to the rite.
“As you have not publicly repudiated your position on abortion, and continue to refer to your Catholic faith in justifying your position and to receive Holy Communion, that time has now come,” the archbishop said.
“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,” he added.
“Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi’s position on abortion has become only more extreme over the years, especially in the last few months,” Cordileone wrote. “Just earlier this month she once again, as she has many times before, explicitly cited her Catholic faith while justifying abortion as a ‘choice,’ this time setting herself in direct opposition to Pope Francis.”
Pelosi, a lifelong Catholic from California, said she would work to pass a law to confirm women’s continued right to abortions after the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that guaranteed access to the procedure nationwide.
The archbishop quoted Pelosi from a statement Pelosi gave to the Seattle Times following that leak:
“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,” Pelosi said in the statement. “They say to me, ‘Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the Pope.’ Yes I do. Are you stupid?”
The archbishop continued: “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.
“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,” he added, asking for faithful Christians to pray for her.
Cordileone referred to the church’s Cannon 915, which says: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church opposes abortion.
Pelosi’s office made no immediate comment to AFP after the archbishop’s letter was made public.
Catholics believe that during Mass a priest, through the power of the Holy Spirit, transforms simple bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus – a rite that is central to Catholic belief.