Catholics are responding in a variety of ways to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s decision not to admit Nancy Pelosi to Communion, from viewing it as a compassionate act to the “waging [of] a culture war.”
Cordileone notified the Speaker of the House of his decision May 19, and released letters to the priests and the laity of the Archdiocese of San Francisco explaining the act May 20.
Cordileone said on May 20 that the step was “purely pastoral, not political” and came only after Pelosi, D-Calif., who has described herself as a “devout Catholic,” repeatedly rebuffed his efforts to reach out to her to discuss her abortion advocacy.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois tweeted an earnest commendation of Cordileone’s decision, saying that “politicians who promote abortion should not receive holy Communion until they have repented, repaired scandal, and been reconciled to Christ and the Church.”
Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa said that he spoke to the pastor of St. Helena Catholic Church in St.Helena, a parish that Pelosi reportedly attends on occasion.
Vasa said, “I have visited with the pastor at St Helena and informed him that if the Archbishop prohibited someone from receiving Holy Communion then that restriction followed the person and that the pastor was not free to ignore it.”
“The new Canon (1379 §4) makes it clear that providing sacraments to someone prohibited from receiving them [has] its own possible penalties,” he said.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver tweeted, “I support and commend my brother bishop, Archbishop Cordileone, for making this courageous, compassionate, and necessary decision.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler tweeted, “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Archbishop Cordileone for loving Nancy Pelosi in the Truth of Jesus Christ!”
Bishop James Conley of Lincoln tweeted, “I support Archbishop Cordileone in his courageous pastoral outreach to a member of his flock. His actions are made as a shepherd with the heart of Christ.”
Jamie L. Manson, president of the abortion advocacy group Catholics for Choice, maintained that the archbishop “is waging a culture war that the bishops have already retreated from,” and claimed that Cordileone’s action is “extreme.”
Bishop Hying of Madison supported Cordileone, saying: “I fully support Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s prudent decision to recognize that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, has persistently taken public positions in support of legal abortion, contrary to her professed Catholic faith, choosing to separate herself from full communion with the Catholic Church, and therefore is not to present herself for the reception of Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.”
Hying said that “Cordileone’s public statement made it clear that this serious measure is ‘purely pastoral, not political’ in a further attempt ‘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…'”
“This is not a decision that was made rashly, but rather one made after almost ten years of patient dialogue and repeated attempts at reconciliation with the congresswoman and the consistently held teachings of the Catholic Church,” Hying wrote. “Please join me in prayer for Speaker Pelosi, that she may embrace the sacred truth and dignity of the human person, formed in the womb, in the image of God.”
Lila Rose, head of Live Action, tweeted that “this is the kind of leadership we need” and that “allowing publicly unrepentant, pro-abortion politicians to receive the Eucharist is damaging to their own souls and the conscience of the nation.”
In a string of tweets, Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote, stated that “Catholics across America commend Archbishop Cordileone and his pastoral leadership in handling the scandal posed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. For too long Catholic public officials have created confusion and disunity by advocating for policies that destroy innocent human life – in direct contradiction of the teachings of the Catholic faith.
“The persistent disobedience of these public officials is a source of enormous sadness and scandal that begged for a response. The Church has no choice but to protect itself and to encourage all of its members to live in communion with its teachings.”
“For the sake of Speaker Pelosi and the rest of the flock in his charge, Archbishop Cordileone is right to call her to return to full communion with the Church. We hope and pray she will do so.”
Twitter user Rich Budd tweeted, “Pray for Nancy Pelosi’s conversion.” Another Twitter user, Mark Brown, said: “A Bishop doing what a bishop should…”
Another Twitter user, Craig de Aragón, tweeted, “Wow, +Cordileone has the heart of lion.” Twitter user Jeff Culbreath tweeted, “Thank you, Archbishop, for ending this scandal and caring for the souls of your flock. Including Speaker Pelosi’s.”
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