“A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others,” Cordileone writes in the letter addressed to Pelosi, D-Calif.
The letter continues:
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.
Pelosi, who says she is a Catholic, has long been in favor of abortion.
Throughout her career in Congress beginning in 1987, Pelosi has voted for several pieces of pro-abortion legislation as well as voted against abortion bans like the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.
Pelosi was also instrumental in getting the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, which codified abortion into federal law, through the House last year.
“By passing the Women’s Health Protection Act in September, the Democratic House took bold action to defend health freedom for every person and enshrine into law the essential protections of Roe v. Wade,” Pelosi said of the legislation, which eventually failed in the Senate.
Cordileone, who has served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco since 2012, has frequently tried to convince Pelosi to change her stance on abortion.
In response to Pelosi’s support of the Women’s Health Protection Act, the archbishop helped to organize a “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign in October 2021 with the Benedict XVI Institute.
Thousands of roses were delivered to Pelosi’s office in San Francisco as a result of the campaign.
In a video promoting the campaign, Cordileone said, “This is a critical time in our country when we especially need to pray for our political leaders as we see our country moving more and more in the direction of the culture of death.”
He mentioned Pelosi specifically, adding, “Our leadership is very important, so I invite you all to join me in prayer and sacrifice for the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi from here in San Francisco.”
While there is argument among rank-and-file Catholics over whether abortion is acceptable, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a summary of Catholic beliefs, is clear.
The catechism states:
Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
The catechism adds:
Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.
For Catholics, taking the Eucharist or Communion is an enormously important act. Politicians who have been active in supporting abortion have drawn calls from Church officials for Pelosi to be banned from receiving it before.
Last May, Cordileone sent a pastoral letter expressing his view that the Eucharist be refused to pro-abortion public figures, and in 2019, then-presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is Catholic, was refused Communion at a Mass in South Carolina.
In November 2020, Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of the Washington, D.C., Archdiocese said he would not refuse to give Biden the Eucharist over his views on abortion.
Catholics believe that the bread and wine involved in the process of Communion actually becomes the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.
The catechism states, “In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.’”
Last September, Pelosi was asked about her views on abortion and the criticism from Cordileone.
“The archbishop of the city—of that area, of San Francisco—and I have a disagreement about who should decide this,” Pelosi said, per the Washington Post. “I believe that God has given us a free will to honor our responsibilities.”
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