Pelosi’s Abortion Stance Is Out of Communion

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks about defending abortion rights on Capitol Hill, May 13.


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Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco on Friday said he would ban House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving Communion in her home diocese. Ms. Pelosi, a Catholic, has been at the center of Democrats’ push to codify abortion protections in federal law after a draft Supreme Court decision was overturned. Roe v. Wade leaked this month. She has spent decades viewing her political career as an expression of her faith, while working to expand access to abortion in defiance of Catholic doctrine.

In a letter to Ms. Pelosi, Archbishop Cordileone said he had previously discussed with her church teaching on the immorality of abortion. The archbishop said Pelosi eventually stopped taking his calls. He felt it was time to make a decision about the spiritual consequences of Ms. Pelosi’s sacramental life, both for her sake and for the good of his flock. His friends say he was reluctant to do it.

In Catholic theology, the Eucharist is the sacramental presence of Christ’s own Body and Blood. It is also an expression of the unity of the Church. Since the first centuries of Christianity, communion was accessible only to believers who lived under their bishops and followed Catholic teachings.

Everyone commits crimes, but there’s a difference between fighting to get things right and openly denying that struggle outright. Church law says that a Catholic who is “persistently persevering in mortal sin” should not receive Communion because a discord between life and practice causes spiritual harm.

Archbishop Cordileone is not the first American bishop to ban a Catholic politician from the Lord’s Supper. Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Illinois banned two legislators from the state’s abortion bill in 2019. But the state legislators are not of the stature of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

At their annual meeting last year, the US bishops debated how to handle Catholic politicians who support abortion. The majority agree with Archbishop Cordileone that in some ways the abortion scandal requires a specific sacramental response. Some theologically liberal bishops consider Archbishop Cordileone’s views to be “anti-Francis”. But Pope Francis himself said last year that while bishops should work as pastors with pro-abortion politicians to change hearts, such lawmakers “do not can be in communion, because they are outside the community”.

Now the focus turns to how the other bishops will react. Bishop Robert Vasa of Napa Valley, where Ms. Pelosi has a motel, on Friday said San Francisco’s ban would apply while she is in his diocese. But it is unlikely that Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC, will uphold the ban. He compared the prospect of sacramental discipline to a “gun on the table” in his dialogue with pro-choice politicians. But dialogue is not always fruitful. And for major ethical issues, such as abortion, mortuary care and the death penalty, politics is of lasting spiritual importance.

This week, Archbishop Cordileone said that when Catholics emphasize moral reality in political discourse, the soul — and life — is always in balance. And when souls hang in the balance, pastors are obligated to act.

Mr. Flynn is the editor and co-founder of Pillar Catholic.

Wonderland: The End of Roe will erode the foundations not only of abortion but of the entire American philosophy of governance that was born 50 years ago with Lyndon’s “Great Society.” Johnson. Image: Olivier Douliery / AFP via Getty Images

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Appears on May 23, 2022, print. Pelosi’s Abortion Stance Is Out of Communion

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