Archbishop Cordileone rebukes legislators take on Communion debate

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

San Francisco, Calif., Jun 25, 2021 / 13:13 pm (CNA).

On June 23, 2021, First Things published Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s paragraph-by-paragraph response to “Statement of Principles,” a document developed by 60 Democratic legislators in response to the USCCB vote to create their own Eucharistic document.

Each of the Democratic signers of the statement is pro-abortion.

Archbishop Cordileone’s rejoinder surfaces logical inconsistencies and practical contradictions as well as theological errors contained within the “Statement of Principles.”

To the point that Democratic members are “committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching: helping the poor, disadvantaged, and the oppressed, protecting the least among us and ensuring that all Americans of every faith are given meaningful opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country,” Archbishop Cordileone offered the rebuttal that “One of the ‘basic principles’ of Catholic belief is…[d]on’t intentionally kill, or collude in enabling others to kill, innocent human life.

“Catholic principles build systematically on one another. The protection of innocent, defenseless life is first and foundational,” he argued, pointing out the illogical nature of pursuing goods without securing the greater and more fundamental good that undergirds them.

The Archbishop of San Francisco also pointed out practical contradictions in the statement.  He noted that although these legislators profess “admirable words” on issues like reduction of child poverty and recognition of human dignity, these “Catholic members of Congress support laws that have the effect of destroying the natural family through marriage redefinition, no-fault divorce, and other similar policies” which exacerbate child poverty.”

He further argued that “the broken family is a leading cause of poverty but it also results in a host of other social ills, such as youth violence, incarceration, and substance abuse.”

The Archbishop also found practical contradictions in claims that Democratic legislators promote alternatives to abortion, such as adoption.

Additionally, he addressed theological errors in the document, including the need to consider the difference in kind and degree of various sins, and corrected a misrepresentation of the role of conscience.

“It’s hard to see this passage as anything less than evasion,” commented Archbishop Cordileone on the claim that primacy of conscience can give a moral right to hold abortion as a good. “Conscience is not deciding what’s right or wrong for oneself. We don’t invent truth; we search it out with ‘the Church’s guidance,’ and then submit ourselves to it.

“Conscience is the faculty to know and do what’s right in concrete situations, whether we find it politically convenient or not.”

Finally, he refuted the accusation that bishops were beginning a “weaponization of the Eucharist”—a charge Cordileone vehemently denies.

“The bishops’ motivation is pastoral: the salvation of souls and reparation of scandal. There is nothing punitive in stating and restating the truth of Catholic belief, and its implications for an authentically Catholic life,” he stated.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Catholic News Agency 10599 Articles
Catholic News Agency (


  1. The so-called Statement of Principles is a century-and-a-half out of date, also penned by cerebral ghouls who would substitute noise for reasoned thought and the “primacy” of self-will for conscience. This from St. John Henry Cardinal Newman:

    “[C]onscience has rights BECAUSE it has duties; but in this age, with a large portion of the public, it is the very right and freedom of conscience TO DISPENSE WITH conscience, to ignore a Lawgiver and Judge, to be independent of unseen obligations.… Conscience is a stern monitor, but in this century it has been superseded by a COUNTERFEIT which the eighteen centuries prior had never heard of, and could not have mistaken for it if they had. It is the right [rite!] of SELF-WILL” (From a Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, 1875, CAPS added).

  2. Abp. Cordileone’s response to the so-called Statement of Principles is well-worth reading. As is Dan Lipinski’s article, also in First Things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.