Nancy Pelosi has been locking horns with San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. The good archbishop forbade that Holy Communion be administered to Nancy Pelosi within his diocese wherein is her residence. He requires that the sacrament of penance be observed for the “serious sins” of supporting abortion and homosexual behavior, including same-sex “marriage.” Besides these, Pelosi runs afoul of Catholicism for advocating that women enter the priesthood.
What is penance? The Catholic Church observes seven sacraments: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist or Holy Communion, marriage, confession or penance, ordination or holy orders, and extreme unction. Most Protestants recognize only the two sacraments in which Jesus participated: baptism (although it was his disciples and not himself who baptized) and Holy Communion. Rather than confession to a Catholic priest and submission performing penitential acts prescribed by the priest, Protestants practice confession to the Lord and repentance. Repentance means turning away from evil.
Is the Bible ambiguous about abortion? Science has confirmed the Catholic teaching that life begins at conception. Fascinatingly, the Bible tells of God knowing us even earlier. Besides speaking to life, these verses contraindicate transgenderism, unless God makes mistakes. Speaking to the prophet Jeremiah, God said, “I chose you before I formed you in the womb[.]” Similarly, the prophet Isaiah recorded, “The LORD called me before I was born. He named me while I was in my mother’s womb.” And one of the psalms proclaims, “For it was You who created my inward parts, You knit me together in my mother’s womb[.] … Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.” These verses indicate that the Decalogue commandment “do not murder” certainly applies to unborn babies.
Is the Bible ambiguous about marriage? It teaches that the institution of marriage is as old as mankind, in which a man and woman unite to oneness. Jesus emphasized that marriage is a permanent unity of man and woman, the two becoming one. Proscriptions against homosexual behavior are well known (see here, here, here), so homosexuals calling themselves married is profanation.
Christians aren’t homophobic (i.e., afraid of homosexuality). Rather, Christians are homoabdico, aligning with the Lord in disapproving of homosexual behavior. Similarly, Christians aren’t transphobic (i.e., afraid of transsexuality). Rather, Christians are transabdico, disapproving of transgender transitions, associated with irreversible reproductive system damage, surgical mutilations, and bodily damage done pharmacologically. After this lucrative medical malpractice, every natural cell in the body testifies to an unchanged biological sex. And fully “transitioned” victims have rates of suicide 20x higher (i.e., a 2,000% increase) than otherwise.
Why is the archbishop being mean to Pelosi? No person or church is Christian who celebrates sin. Although all believers sin, believers are called always to repent and turn away from evil. This is the basis for the archbishop’s discipline of Pelosi. She is celebrating sin of two types and must turn away from such sins before she’s eligible to receive the Eucharist again.
What’s with this thing about women as priests? The answer lies in the derivation of authority. The Catholic Church maintains that authority comes from both formalized Church traditions and Holy Scripture. The two Lateran councils established priestly celibacy. Protestant churches maintain that authority derives sola scriptura — i.e., only what is written in the Bible. There being no proscription in the Holy Scriptures, Protestant churches permit clergy to marry and have families.
Regarding ordination, it seems significant that Jesus chose twelve men as apostles and, at one time, sent 72 others out to preach repentance and that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. Most translations use “others,” but in the autographa, the word is masculine, meaning that 72 men were sent out. The sum would be 84 men selected and no women. In any case, no command was given by Jesus against women’s ordination. But the apostle Paul made a distinct statement that women are not to teach in the church and discussed women’s other roles.
What is an apostle? An apostle is one who has been sent with full authority. Pelosi has observed that the real power in Catholicism lies in conveyance of the sacraments. Therefore, she thinks women should not be subordinated in the church. Chances are nil that the Catholic Church will make such a reform.
Major Protestant denominations have gone into schism over the last decade or two. Schisms have centered on ordination of women into the priesthood and celebration of LGBT sexual deviancy. Whether Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, or Anglican/Episcopal, the believing set of churches hold to the inerrant, infallible Scriptures for all verses, while apostate churches embrace preferred biblical verses. Correlation isn’t causality, but all apostate churches have ordained women as priests or pastors. So Pelosi’s advocacy of female ordination is highly charged.
How is Pelosi’s declaration of devout Catholicism reconciled with her celebration of sin? It appears there is willful ignorance or else a fundamental misunderstanding of theology. Instead of orthodox views, Pelosi substitutes her own thoughts. An insight into Pelosi’s theology comes from her retort that the archbishop was erroneous in denying her right to partake in Holy Communion because of her free will. “We have a free will. God has given us a free will, and we have a moral responsibility to live up to that free will and what it gives us.”
What is free will? The Protestant view of free will is that all men are free to choose to act or to act otherwise, to choose or to choose otherwise. The great American theologian Jonathan Edwards postulated that men always choose what they desire most at that time. But men won’t desire goodness or righteousness unless God has changed their hearts. Martin Luther taught that unless a man is born again of the Spirit, he is in bondage to sin and cannot free himself.
Free will is the means by which God makes individuals accountable. The Bible teaches, “No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.”
What is Pelosi’s misunderstanding? She seems to think free will equates to free choice or license. The moral code doesn’t apply because it is superseded by individual choices. A person is free to do whatever she wills. If this interpretation is correct, then it goes a long way toward explaining Pelosi’s moral relativism. It would be a shame if theological error were the root cause of decades of morally bankrupt progressive legislating and politicking.
Assuming Pelosi sincerely desires to be a devout Catholic, she would benefit greatly from theological instruction. Otherwise, it is most likely that Archbishop Cordileone will remain adamant on the prerequisites for Pelosi’s return to receiving the Eucharist.
Pelosi has options. She can feign compliance, change to a residence outside Cordileone’s diocese, receive Holy Communion at churches that turn a blind eye to recurring and unrepentant sinfulness, or repent. Believers would do well to pray that Pelosi’s heart is changed and her eyes are opened, so she comes to true repentance, wherein lies forgiveness. We all need redemption.
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