A quartet of Roman Catholic bishops have endorsed the San Francisco archbishop’s decision to bar House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from receiving Communion in her home diocese over her support for abortion.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone earlier this month wrote to Pelosi, whose congressional district includes parts of the city, that she is banned from receiving the sacrament “until 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’s announcement was triggered by Pelosi’s outspoken reaction when a draft Supreme Court opinion was leaked that suggested the justices were on the verge of striking down Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion across the nation.
“The church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave evil, and that public advocacy for — and support of — abortion is, objectively speaking, such a manifest grave sin,” Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample said in a video posted on Facebook Friday.
“What Archbishop Cordileone did was actually an act of pastoral love and care for Speaker Pelosi and for all those entrusted to his pastoral care, who might have been led astray by her public support of the evil of abortion,” Sample added. “That’s why what Archbishop Cordileone did was the right thing.”
Three other dioceses have since followed Cordileone’s example.
The same day Cordileone sent his letter to Pelosi, Bishop Robert Vasa barred her from Communion in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, which borders Cordileone’s.
Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington, Va., and Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas followed suit.
Vasa said in a statement that canon law “makes it clear that providing sacraments to someone prohibited from receiving them has its own possible penalties” including suspension for knowingly administering a sacrament to “those who are prohibited from receiving it.”
In a “Dear Colleague” letter earlier this month, Pelosi said that once Roe v. Wade is overturned, Republicans will “take aim at additional basic human rights.”
“While Republicans want to punish and control women for exercising their constitutional rights, Democrats believe that a woman’s health decisions are her own – and we will fight relentlessly to enshrine Roe v. Wade as the law of the land,” she wrote.
She also praised protesters who demonstrated outside the homes of the conservative justices after the draft decision written by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked.
Last year, a number of conservative bishops began pushing to ban President Biden, a devout Catholic, from receiving Communion because of his stand on abortion.
Biden has said he is personally opposed to abortion, but believes that women should be able to make their own decision free of government interference.
The president met Pope Francis at the Vatican in October 2021. While Biden said the two did not discuss abortion, he added that the pontiff told him that he should continue receiving Communion.