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A growing number of Catholic bishops come out in support of Pelosi's excommunication

“This fundamental moral truth has consequences for Catholics in how they live their lives, especially those entrusted with promoting and protecting the public good of society,” the archbishop wrote

Catholic bishops
Catholic bishops | Shutterstock

May 23, 2022 7:02pm

Updated: May 24, 2022 2:48pm

Just days after San Francisco’s Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone barred U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) from receiving Communion over her public support for abortion rights, a growing number of U.S. Catholic bishops have voiced their support for the excommunication.

According to The Catholic World Report, several bishops came out in support of Cordileone’s decision over the weekend.

“Bishop Robert Vasa said on May 20 that he spoke to the pastor of St. Helena Catholic Church in St.Helena, a parish that Pelosi reportedly attends on occasion,” the report stated.

“Vasa said, ‘I have visited with the pastor at St Helena and informed him that if the Archbishop prohibited someone from receiving Holy Communion then that restriction followed the person and that the pastor was not free to ignore it. The new Canon (1379 §4) makes it clear that providing sacraments to someone prohibited from receiving them [has] its own possible penalties,'” it further stated.

Similarly, Bishop Michael Barber of the Diocese of Oakland was among the first to come out in support of the San Francisco prelate, taking to Twitter to write:

“I support @ArchCardileone in the heroic and compassionate stance he took today in the protection and defense of human life. As @Pontifex   said, 'Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ.”

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln tweeted, “I support Archbishop Cordileone in his courageous pastoral outreach to a member of his flock. His actions are made as a shepherd with the heart of Christ.”

Bishop Donald Hying from the Diocese of Madison in Wisconsin also expressed his support for Pelosi’s excommunication.

“I fully support Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s prudent decision to recognize that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, has persistently taken public positions in support of legal abortion, contrary to her professed Catholic faith, choosing to separate herself from full communion with the Catholic Church, and therefore is not to present herself for the reception of Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco,” he said in a statement.

Ultimately, Catholic bishops from at least eight states were cited throughout the report, showing the emerging nationwide support for the Cardileone’s decision.

The San Francisco archbishop’s feud with Pelosi is not new, however, and Cardileone previously made his concerns known to Pelosi in an April 7 letter sent after she promised to the right to abortion into federal law following the leak of Justice Alito’s majority decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"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 in a letter to members of the Archdiocese.

Cordileone added that he'd written to Pelosi the day before about “the consequences of citing her faith in justifying abortion and refusing to retract her stance on the issue,” NPR reported.

"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," he wrote in the letter to Pelosi.

Following the SCOTUS leak, Pelosi invoked her Catholic faith to raise support for her abortion rights legislation.

"The very idea that they would be telling women the size, timing or whatever of their family, the personal nature of this is so appalling, and I say that as a devout Catholic," Pelosi told The Seattle Times. "They say to me, 'Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the Pope.' Yes I do. Are you stupid?"

In his announcement, however, Cordileone emphasized that 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.”

“This fundamental moral truth has consequences for Catholics in how they live their lives, especially those entrusted with promoting and protecting the public good of society,” the archbishop wrote.

“Pope St. John Paul II was also quite consistent in upholding this constant teaching of the Church, and frequently reminded us that ‘those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a ‘grave and clear obligation to oppose’ any law that attacks human life.”