House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will no longer be able to receive communion in her hometown of San Francisco after the local Archdiocese said her vow to make abortion legal crossed a line the Catholic church could not ignore.
In an announcement that he also tweeted out, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone notified Pelosi that her staunch support of abortion and her refusal to personally explain her position to him forced his hand.
Cordileone, now Archbishop of San Francisco, wrote the San Francisco Democrat on Thursday, saying he had previously warned her that he had “no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915 Law, that your are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi 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 she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” he said.
Cordileone said in a two-page letter to Pelosi, “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” to forbid you from receiving communion during Mass.
“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,” Cordileone wrote.
“His holiness, Pope Francis, in keeping with his predecessors, has likewise been quite clear and emphatic in teaching on the dignity of human life in the womb,” the Archbishop wrote to Pelosi.
“Please know that I stand ready to continue our conservation at any time, and will continue to offer up prayer and fasting for you.”
The archbishop’s decision comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of abortion within the next few weeks. A leak of a draft opinion earlier this month indicated a majority of Justices planned to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Catholic News Agency said Cordileone’s instructions only apply within the San Francisco Archdiocese. The agency also said on Friday that Cordileone said the step was “purely pastoral, not political” and came after Pelosi, who has described herself as a “devout Catholic,” repeatedly rebuffed his efforts to reach out to her to discuss her abortion advocacy.
Pelosi has been a vocal advocate of abortion rights for decades. But her decision in September to bring to the floor a bill making Roe v. Wade the law following passage of a Texas law that effectively bans terminating pregnancies beyond six weeks proved a bridge too far for her local archdiocese.
“Every woman, everywhere has the constitutional right to basic health care,” Pelosi said at the time of the House vote. The Texas law is the most extreme, dangerous abortion ban in half a century, and its purpose is to destroy Roe v. Wade, and even refused to makes exceptions for cases of rape and incest. This ban necessitates codifying Roe v. Wade,” Pelosi added.
A San Diego native who attended Crawford High School and both San Diego State University and the University of San Diego, Cordileone 65, was ordained by San Diego Bishop Leo Maher on July 9, 1982, and served as an associate pastor at St. Martin of Tours in La Mesa until 1985. After earning a Doctor of Canon Law degree in 1989 from Gregorian University, he was appointed as priest secretary to Bishop Robert Brom.
He was named auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of San Diego in July 2002 and then bishop of the Diocese of Oakland in March 2009. Pope Benedict XVI named Cordileone aArchbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco on July 27, 2012.