Two days after San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone banned United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion, a report says she defied the warning given for the good of her soul and went ahead in doing so through a church located in Washington.
Religion News reported that Pelosi was spotted at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown on Sunday receiving the Eucharist. The media outlet cited footage of the church's service that was live-streamed wherein a person resembling Pelosi in an orange jacket went to the altar during the distribution of Holy Communion.
Catholic University of America Professor Rev. John Beal explained to Religion News that Cordileone's ban on Pelosi is limited only within his archdiocese. Beal, a canon lawyer, said that the prohibition imposed by Cordileone encompasses ministers, who are either ordained or non-ordained such as Pelosi, under the Archdiocese of San Francisco only and does not apply to those outside it. Thus, he said, Pelosi is free to receive it elsewhere.
An Archbishop's Ban For The Soul Of His Flock
Yet the ban is really not a matter of location, but a matter of one's salvation. Cordileone announced on Twitter last Friday, May 20, that he has decided not to admit Pelosi to Holy Communion for doing so only endangers her soul due to her stand on the grave evil of abortion. Cordileone then shared in a succeeding tweet the full text of the letter he sent to Pelosi that speaks of his decision. The archbishop then enjoined the faithful to pray and fast for the speaker's conversion.
In the letter dated May 19, Cordileone clarified that the ban was based on the 2004 letter of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI regarding principles of Catholics in political life. Cordileone cited the church's consistent doctrine on the teaching of life, which begins from conception that must be regarded with the greatest care.
The archbishop particularly cited "Gaudium Et Spes," which raised these realities on life in contrast to abortion and infanticide that it condemns as "unspeakable crimes." These teachings on the dignity of human life, he stressed, have always been upheld by Christians in every stage of human life, especially for the unborn who are most vulnerable. He noted that Pope Francis has been clear on this teaching in keeping with his predecessors.
The archbishop then underscored that a Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion despite knowing these teachings of the Church "commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others." He then quoted the Code of Canon Law that speaks of the "universal Church law" which "provides that such persons 'are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.'"
Archbishop Ban To Pressure Other Clergy
Cordileone thanked Pelosi for the times in the past that allowed him to speak of such matters to her despite not receiving any accommodation to his many requests on it. He then cited sending Pelosi a letter last April 7 informing her that should she not publicly repudiate her advocacy on abortion as a "right" or of refraining from publicly referring to her Catholic faith despite promulgating such a stand, he would be left with no choice but to declare the Canon Law against her.
"As you have not publically 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. Therefore, in light of my responsibility as the Archbishop of San Francisco to be 'concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to (my) care' (Code of Canon Law, can. 383, §1), by means of this communication 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 said.
There were many bishops who supported Cordileone in his decision for Pelosi, such as Oakland Diocese Bishop Michael Barber and Lincoln Diocese Bishop James Conley. Barber called Cordileone heroic and compassionate in his stance to protect human life. While Conley praised Cordileone for his courageous pastoral outreach to Pelosi, who is a member of his flock. He likened Cordileone to a "shepherd with the heart of Christ."
Catholic Information Center Christian Culture Panula Chair Mary Eberstadt in an op-ed in The Washington Post raised that Cordileone's pastoral letter serves as a public service to the many who are unchurched of how an oxymoron "pro-abortion Catholic" is and articulates an indisputable church law on the sanctity of life. Eberstadt underscored that the archbishop's letter echoes Pope Francis' statement that the unborn bear the face of Jesus Christ. Eberstadt also stressed that Cordileone's action will now put pressure on other bishops to do the same.
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