SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The conservative Catholic archbishop of San Francisco said Friday that he will no longer allow U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive Communion because of her support for abortion rights.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in he sent Pelosi a letter April 7 expressing his concerns after she vowed to codify the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion into law because of the Texas law banning most abortions that will take effect if the high court overturns Roe. Cordileone also said Pelosi never responded.
Cordileone said he told Pelosi in the letter that she must either repudiate her support of abortion rights or stop speaking publicly about her Catholic faith and that if she didn't, he would have no other choice but to declare she is not allowed to receive Communion.
"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 publically repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone's letter said.
Cordileone said in a separate letter Friday to church members that he asked six times to meet with Pelosi but that her office didn’t respond or told him she was busy.
“After numerous attempts to speak with her 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 the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion," Cordileone wrote.
Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment on Friday.
Cordileone over the past year has been among the most outspoken U.S. bishops advocating that Communion be denied to President Joe Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights.
However, each bishop has authority in his own diocese on this matter, and the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, has affirmed that Biden is welcome to receive the sacrament there.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last November overwhelmingly approved a long-anticipated document on Communion that stopped short of calling for withholding the sacrament from politicians who support abortion rights but offered justifications for individual bishops to do so.
Olga R. Rodriguez, The Associated Press