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BREAKING: Archbishop Cordileone bars Nancy Pelosi from Communion until she ends abortion support

Luke Coppen By Luke Coppen for CNA

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at the U.S. Capitol on May 19, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (l), and Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Joseph Cordileone at St. Peter's Basilica on June 29, 2013, in Vatican City, Vatican (r). (Kevin Dietsch, Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 20, 2022 / 13:03 pm (CNA).

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone announced on Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should not be admitted to Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, nor should she present herself to receive the Eucharist, until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion.

Cordileone said on May 20 that the step was “purely pastoral, not political” and came after Pelosi, D-Calif., who has described herself as a “devout Catholic,” repeatedly rebuffed his efforts to reach out to her to discuss her abortion advocacy.

Cordileone said that he sent the notification to Pelosi, “a member of our archdiocese,” on May 19. The Democratic leader did not immediately respond publicly to Cordileone’s announcement after it was released to the media Friday afternoon. In a 2008 interview with C-SPAN, Pelosi said being denied Communion would be “a severe blow,” describing herself at the time as a “regular communicant.”

Cordileone’s instructions apply only within the San Francisco Archdiocese. Other bishops have jurisdiction over such matters when Pelosi is Washington, D.C., and other dioceses around the U.S. and abroad.

In a May 20 letter addressed to lay Catholics, Cordileone explained that he issued the instruction in accordance with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that “Those … obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

“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 unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone wrote in the letter.

Separate letter sent to priests

In a separate letter to priests of the San Francisco Archdiocese also released Friday, Cordileone responded preemptively to criticism that he was “weaponizing the Eucharist.”

He insisted that his decision was “simply application of Church teaching.”

“I have been very clear all along, in both my words and my actions, that my motive is pastoral, not political,” he said in the letter.

In the same letter, the archbishop described his repeated attempts to meet with Pelosi — who represents San Francisco, California’s 12th District, in Congress — since she announced in September 2021 that she would seek to codify Roe. v. Wade into U.S. law.

He said that he wrote to the Speaker in April this year, “detailing the extreme position to which she has moved on the abortion question and explaining the scandal that it is causing and the danger to her own soul.”

“I asked her to repudiate this position, or else refrain from referring to her Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion,” he wrote.

“I also advised her that if she refused to do this, I would be forced to make a public announcement that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

He said that he received no response, but contacted Pelosi again a month later when she described herself as a “devout Catholic” while explaining why she supported abortion, in the wake of the leak of a draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court could strike down Roe v. Wade.

“In consequence of all this and all that has led up to it,” Cordileone told priests, “it is my determined judgment that this resistance to pastoral counsel has gone on for too long, and there is nothing more that can be done at this point to help the Speaker understand the seriousness of the evil her advocacy for abortion is perpetrating and the scandal she is causing.

“I therefore issued her the aforementioned Notification that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” he wrote.

A long-running impasse

Cordileone and Pelosi have clashed repeatedly over abortion since Benedict XVI appointed Cordileone to lead the San Francisco Archdiocese in 2012.

Tensions rose notably in 2021 as the push to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision reached the Supreme Court and the U.S. bishops engaged in a heated discussion over whether pro-abortion politicians should be denied Communion.

In May 2021, Pelosi said that she was “pleased” with a Vatican letter to the U.S. bishops addressing the debate. She claimed that the Vatican had instructed the bishops not to be “divisive” on the issue.

In response, Cordileone said the Vatican was in fact promoting “dialogue” between bishops and pro-abortion politicians, “to help them understand the grave evil they are helping to perpetrate and accompany them to a change of heart.”

In July 2021, Cordileone sharply criticized Pelosi after she cited her Catholic faith while defending efforts to permit federal funding of elective abortions.

The archbishop launched a prayer campaign in September 2021 aimed at inspiring “a conversion of heart” among politicians supporting abortion, “beginning with the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”

Cordileone urged Catholics to sign up for the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign, which delivered thousands of roses to the speaker as a symbol of prayer and fasting for the 82-year-old mother of five.

In October 2021, Pelosi met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Commenting on the audience, Cordileone said that “popes meet with everyone” and that the encounter didn’t signal a papal endorsement of the Speaker’s views on abortion.

Warning about reprisals

In his letter to priests, Cordileone acknowledged that his decision could lead to an increase in attacks on Catholic churches.

“Our churches are already being targeted for violence, and our worship services are being disrupted, which motivated me to send you the memo last week asking you to be more attentive to security measures on your property. These attacks may now likely increase. I realize this,” he said.

“But for us, as faithful disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is a cause for rejoicing, for the only reason this is happening is due to the Catholic Church’s consistent defense of the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions, and especially at its beginning in the womb of the mother.”

Cordileone continued, “I am convinced that this is a time that God is calling us to live the last beatitude: ‘Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven’ (Matthew 5:11-12).”

This is a developing story.


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42 Comments

  1. Deo Gratias!

    Can. 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

  2. I pray that the good archbishop’s courage will give strength and courage to the SCOTUS justices whose upcoming ruling will determine whether millions of sweet, funny, beautiful children will be allowed to live.

    The time of martyrdom is upon us. God grant us the strength we will need to stand up for the truth.

  3. “Speaker Pelosi, we love you. It’s not too late. Choose life” (Archbishop Cordileone quoted by Kevin Jones in another CNA article and reminding us Cordileone means Heart of a Lion).
    Admittedly, I thought he carried on the roses appeal too long and should act, then retracted my criticism. He is every bit of a good, loving shepherd, seeking to coax the lost back into the fold. Now he’s made it official, she cannot receive the Eucharist.
    Cordileone, like many faithful priests has endured the ire, demands to Rome for his removal by the very sheep he loves. Like Christ he perdures. Now we wait to see what his Holiness will do. Will he dare abuse, attempt to shame Cordileone as he did DiNardo? Surely, Archbishop Cordileone now has a host of iron mailed supporters.

    • As a San Franciscan, I am sure that Archbishop Cordileone sincerely hoped that he would never have to take this step. What to some seemed like weakness or procrastination was a truly loving patience. I have no doubt that he is not thinking of the politics of this.

      • Albert, when I hesitated and retracted my criticism of what I perceived as procrastination my thoughts later went to what I read on such instances as Mrs Pelosi’s sin, and the ancient Church policy of making every effort to reconcile the penitent. Even after excommunication [as alluded to by Pope Francis elsewhere on the article on recent pontiffs on abortion] as love for the sinner].
        We’re all, except for the few critics of Catholicism who posted rejoicing over Archbishop Cordileone’s compassionate, but faithful and concise response to the House Speaker’s intransigence. Now it’s the moment for all of us to pray that she reconsiders, and converts for the sake of her soul’s everlasting sorrow or happiness.

        • I think what you wrote is exactly what Archbishop Cordileone is thinking and it could not have been put better. Thank you.

  4. Here is a misguided Archbishop who by his teaching and declaration is misguiding the faithful not only in his diocese but beyond who are led to believe that one’s position on abortion is the only criterion of being a Catholic in good standing worthy of receiving the Eucharist. His claim of simply applying the Church’s teaching in this act is either an intentional misrepresentation or an utter misunderstanding of the Church’s position. Even by going back to the teaching of Jesus, at the last judgment on who inherits eternal life (Matthew 25), one is judged not on abortion but one’s action on active – not only affective – care of (not only the unborn but above all) the born: the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the stranger (immigrant!), the imprisoned (especially those facing the death penalty). It’s high time we Catholics get beyond the limitation of the understanding of being Pro-Life as limited to concern for the unborn (even as some bishops called for it to be considered the pre-eminent) but for all life especially the born, that is the whole range of life from womb to tomb. On weighing matters of life prudential judgment calls for consideration of all life issues not just abortion. The archbishop neglects to teach the Social Teaching of the Church and the Bible (like Matthew 25) by focusing on abortion alone which sounds too protestant-like (faith alone, grace alone, bible alone!). The true Catholic position is not “Pro-Life” (the way it is currently [mis-]understood to consist as anti-abortion alone) but “Pro-Whole Life” (the full range of life; from womb to tomb.

    • Paula: Your ability to squeeze so much sanctimonious falsehood into such a short space is nearly breathtaking. It’s certainly nauseating.

      The Archbishop never says or suggests that “one’s position on abortion is the only criterion of being a Catholic in good standing worthy of receiving the Eucharist.” In short, you are lying.

      “His claim of simply applying the Church’s teaching in this act is either an intentional misrepresentation or an utter misunderstanding of the Church’s position.”

      Another lie. Read his letter. Read canon law. Read the Catechism.

      Do you really think that Christ, in condemning lust, divorce, idolatry, and a host of other violations of the Commandments (surely you’ve heard of the Sermon on the Mount?), really had no concern in upholding the Fifth Commandment? He did, after all, say: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them”(Mt 5:17).

      “On weighing matters of life prudential judgment calls for consideration of all life issues not just abortion.” But, of course, it’s impossible to clothe, help, aid, assist, support, feed, and otherwise care for someone if she is killed in the womb.

      Your misrepresentation of Abp. Cordileone’s stance, as well as the beliefs of pro-lifers in general, is false and despicable. I just addressed these sort of ugly lies and slanders yesterday in my editorial on abortion and adoption.

      “… by focusing on abortion alone which sounds too protestant-like (faith alone, grace alone, bible alone!).”

      Another lie. And I find it especially angering as a former Evangelical Protestant, because you not only slander Catholics, you use Protestants as straw men, showing that your disrespect for those who don’t adhere to your false claims has few, if any, bounds.

      • Proverbs 26:12 (ESV) 12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
        There is more hope for a fool than for him.

        That describes Paula…and Nancy Pelosi.

      • I suggest that Carl Olson stop using “lies” to counter the position of others like Paula, implying that Paula is a “liar’ and intentionally falsefying what she knows to be the true and the real about pro-life issues, and so attributing evil motives to Paula. Paula’s motives and her conscience may be as pure as Carl Olson’s. Call her “mistaken”, call her “misguided” even perhaps claim that she is the willing victim of others’ lies, but avoid anything that calls her a liar. St. Augustine said lying was among the most serious sins any human could commit and was a direct affront to God whose creation endowned humans with the ability to know the true and the real, and if they intentionally falsyfied to others what they believed in their heart and mind to be true, this was a grave sin. Augustine could not even justify “white lies.” Even the Archbishop seems to hold out some hope that the Speaker will eventually recognize her “misunderstanding” on the issue of abortion.

        • “Call her ‘mistaken’, call her ‘misguided’ even perhaps claim that she is the willing victim of others’ lies, but avoid anything that calls her a liar.” Why? If the shoe fits, wear it.

      • At last. Spine from one of our Bishops. Thank you. I, personally, know at least ONE person who has been considering leaving his Protestant church and moving toward Catholic, BECAUSE of the Sacraments, yet he has railed against Ms. Pelosi “What good is something sacramental if the likes or her and Biden and other supposed Catholics can go to Communion and still literally fight for killing the unborn?”. He sent me this news in shock,…and pleased..yesterday. One more person moving toward the Sacraments.

      • Thank you Carl Olson. I pray the next Pope will be of the same caliber of AB Cordileone and repair the errors that have been spread on the unsuspecting catholic culture and help return them to the true Faith of Jesus Christ. “Be in the world but not of the world”.

    • More mangling of Matthew 25. Will Catholics ever become serious students of Scripture again? Read the Church Fathers’ interpretation of this passage. It is nothing like the modern mis-exegesis of the chapter.

      • The consensus of the Fathers is that “the least ones” of Matthew 25 refers to Christians. In fact, they are virtually unanimous on this point. And the internal evidence the text of Matthew 25 fully and strongly supports their position. The “brethren” of Jesus in the book of Matthew are his disciples, and the “least ones” is simply an alternate form of the “little ones” –also a reference to Christ’s followers. Jesus is not identifying with poor, hungry, and suffering people generally; he is identifying with his poor, hungry, suffering disciples. That is what the text indicates, that is what the Fathers teach, and that is the correct interpretation of Matthew 25. Too many Catholics today are Scripturally illiterate.

    • Paula, what a pitiful montage of manipulation of Catholic teaching you have written and besmirched with falsehoods the good intentions of the Archbishop. What you have written is indeed a scandalous misleading of the Faithful. Shame on you.

    • Paula, NOBODY has ever said that one’s position on abortion is a sole criteria for judging their standing within the church.However, BOTH Pelosi and Biden have given public scandal repeatedly on the subject of abortion. Not just tolerating it as public officials but actively pushing legislation to make its availability wider, and justifying it, all while citing their “Catholic” faith. Pelosi has evidently refused to speak to the archbishop one to one on the subject. Thus she should not be shocked at his action. Any REAL catholic who attends church regularly knows the remaining social teachings of the church. “Love your neighbor” covers a lot of ground and church members actively engage in that mandate.

    • You have the right to be wrong. Archbishop Cordileone is not using Canon 915 as the only Church teaching that one must believe to be a “devout Catholic.” It is simply the one that Nancy Pelosi is publicly and loudly denying every time she opens her mouth on the subject of the murders of children in the womb. It is sufficient to keep her from receiving the Body and Blood of Christ worthily. Most of us try to lead lives that honor our beliefs. She publicly doesn’t. We go to Confession to restore our relationships with God and promise to “sin no more.” She apparently doesn’t. Archbishop Cordileone is simply affirming what Pelosi has done by supporting murders in the womb — she has excommunicated herself, and he has agreed with her decision.

    • Paula, have you ever even heard of the concept of a strawman argument? I’ll explain it to you. It’s when you think you refute someone’s argument by refuting positions they have never taken. Not very complicated. And it’s easy to bolster phony refutations with false analogies made to premises that were never held by the target of your contempt. Worst of all, it involves reducing the innate dignity of other human beings and what they value most sincerely to simplistic caricatures. You seem to have accomplished a hat trick in demeaning false-witnessing and trivializing truths for which people sacrifice to give witness. There is a Commandment from God against doing this sort of thing.
      I was involved in pro-life work for years as a non-religious atheist prior to my conversion. There goes one of your stereotypes. As far as the stereotype of not caring for children after they’re born. How can you be so sure that all the doctors and nurses and teachers and attorneys and scientists and scholars and technicians and homemakers and construction workers and truck drivers and emergency workers and others from numerous other vocations who comprise the pro-life movement never once did anything for a child after they were born? I’ll tell you what. If you will agree to pay me back for all the bills I paid for my children after they were born, I’ll let you insult me personally and you can accuse me of never having done anything for born children, but the deal only applies to me, no one else. I warn you there is a lot of money involved, but you can have the privilege and joy of insulting me. Deal?

  5. Pelosi would have it both ways, (a) that she a sacramental Catholic, and (b) that late-term child abuse is “sacred ground.”

    Besides possible ill-will, and besides possible very deep-seated “invincible ignorance,” and besides the protest that allegiances in the domain of personal conscience have no bearing on notorious advocacy in the public domain (for abortion)— might there be yet another and cultural presumption that accounts for such contradictions?
    Are Pelosi & Co. actually aligned with probably the deepest fallacy of Islamic (!) thought?

    Under Islamic thought, it is possible for something to be both true theologically and false philosophically. Contradictory. This is the premise of the double truth—as in a religion of “peace” which does not prohibit violent jihad. Certainly, this fallacy of the double-truth is very much in play in the antics of the German “synodal way” and generally the fictional and imposed “paradigm shift” in moral theology.

    The 11th century Sufi mystic, al-Ghazali, explained it this way: “It is not farfetched that [contradictory] ideas should coincide, just as a horse’s hoof may fall on the print left by another . . .” (Al-Munqidh min al-Dalal, translated by R.J. McCarthy, Al-Ghazali’s Path to Sufism: His Deliverance from Error, 1999, p. 39).

    In what is still resilient in human thought (not parochially Western), we recognize, instead, the “non-demonstrable first principle of non-contradiction,” which states that contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time. This principle applies in some way to the abortion culture where the unborn child is only half human, as it is apparently possible to be only half-pregnant!

    As a possible prerequisite for any faithful Evangelization, Pelosi & Co. must first decide whether (a) they are heirs to consistent thought and to the revealed coherence of the Incarnation—and indeed, to non-schizophrenic thought!—or whether they are unwitting Muslims; and then (b) rethink the undeniable contradiction between their stated conscientious adherence and their imposition of mandatory public funding for Aztec rituals.

    • Although the Aztecs [and Mayans] practiced extensive human sacrifice and were known to cannibalize their fallen enemy, they were candid about their excesses and made no effort to camouflage this as medical care, as do abortionists [except that is was worship of sun god Huitzilopochtli]. They might have been offended by the comparison.
      Catholic purveyors of abortion do indeed unwittingly worship an alien god. The Prince of this world.

  6. Praised be Jesus Christ! It’s about time we had a Bishop stand up; I sincerely pray it causes a ripple effect within the other Bishops to do the same thing in their dioceses.

    • Unlikely that William Koenig, Biden’s Ordinary in Wilmington, will broach the topic. Wilton Gregory has already said that he will refuse to enforce Canon 915 when Biden is in DC.

  7. Thank you Good Shepherd, for your faithful shepherd Archbishop Cordelione.

    May the God of Hosts strengthen him, and strengthen the faithful for the spiritual combat we are called to fight.

    Thank you Archbishop Cordelione, for being true to your name.

  8. Archbishop Cordileone is simply agreeing with Nancy Pelosi’s excommunicating herself. She alone must take responsibility for denying Church teaching and, therefore, denying herself access to the Eucharist. Perhaps Nancy is confusing “devout” with “deluded.” I will join Archbishop Cordileone in praying for her conversion.

    • Bible Verses about Abortion.

      Exodus 20:13.. thou must not kill.

      Psalm 139:13-16.. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

      Psalm 127:3-5… Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.

      Let the innocent souls live. I would ask the Speaker if she would look into the brilliant eyes of her many grandchildren and ask “which one would you have aborted”. What more can be said!

  9. Finally…..one person in this church of millions steps up and shows a smidge of what a true Christian church is supposed to do….practice church discipline. Too bad they didn’t do this when the priests and lay people were abusing little boys and girls.

  10. Abundant blessings on Archbishop Cordileone! Thanks be to God we have a courageous true and holy Archbishop who is not afraid to witness and proclaim the truth of Christ, stand up for the sacredness of life in a world of chaos and evil destruction of God’s creation.

  11. This is a good beginning.

    This raises the obvious question – who, if any, will follow The Archbishop’s courageous statement? Will it be honored in other dioceses? I refer of course specifically to Washington D. C. – will Cardinal Gregory follow Cordileone’s action?

    This has now become a yes or no issue – there is no wiggle room left.

  12. Archbishop Cordileone on barring Nancy Pelosi from Communion: ‘I cannot in my conscience allow the situation to continue.’

    The Gloria Purvis Podcast
    May 20, 2022

    On May 20, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a public statement that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a life-long Catholic, will be barred from Communion in her home diocese of San Francisco. Gloria Purvis, the host of America Media’s “The Gloria Purvis Podcast”spoke to the archbishop about his decision.
    The transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

  13. Better late.Then never.I say! 50 years and 60 Millon lost lives later.The light bulb has finally gone on. Obama’s storm troopers of Biden,Pelosi and the “Rent a Mobs”outside the SCOTUS homes,and Court House itself.Testify to how serious Soro’s,Gates,and Zuck think this issue of Mass Murder has become to their plans,and ending it will start their whole
    house of evil cards to crumble.The Devil himself has come out of his basement to lend a hand.

  14. What I find telling is the refusal of Pelosi to even respond to AB Cordileone’s request for a meeting. One would think that by all norms of personal, professional and polite behavior that one would at least respond to an Archbishop’s communique. Is her refusal to respond hubris? It appears that Pelosi feels that she must answer to no one. Her actions, or lack thereof would indicate that. I pray that she has a conversion of heart, repentance and sacramental forgiveness before her end of days. But power is so intoxicating. ..

  15. Will democracy survive our dichotomous ego?

    I am taking some liberty by mixing politics and religion. That said, I will continue at my own risk.
    I am a Catholic Republican with an exuberance for both, politics and religion. I have found flaws in both, particularly my party.
    Nothing less than treason. The US Capitol, our citadel of democracy, is being invaded by Trump supporters with the intent of overthrowing the government. Trump labels those who take issue with his policies “RINOS”, (Republicans in name only). I consider myself a RINOP, (Republican in need of a party). He warns “Don’t cross me” to politicians seeking office. Finally, I will focus on dogma.

    Carl Olsen clips “I’m not interested in defending the Stupid Party, but the Evil Party needs to look in the mirror (it won’t; it never does); from the WSJ:” Divisive by any metric.

    I am pro-life with exceptions. For a threat of physical/mental health to the mother’s life, rape and incest.

    When Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone refuses Nancy Pelosi communion at the altar, things got hot. Will he give the host to those silent abortionists who follow in the line? The mass murders, especially among Black citizens, over the last decade have not motivated our clerics to “walk the walk”. Prayer is essential given the sin of murder.
    The GOP support for the NRA, which is associated with the radical right, take no prisoners… No law for background checks. No law to address the use of military-style high-capacity ammo clips, AR15. I ask if Wayne LaPierre ever attended the funeral of a murdered child killed by the AR15?

    God save our republic.

    • Speak for yourself regarding a dichotomous ego, especially given your propensity to commit sociological presumptions, without basis, and project attitudes onto those who irritate you as though this represents the expression of coherent principles. It does not.
      Given your willingness to dole out death sentences to babies whose exterminated lives would only exacerbate the already strained personal psychologies of women, a much greater long term trauma experienced through the crushing of their children, that also serves to expand the fault lines of a deteriorating social ethos, your decisions to blind yourself to how God does not cause long term social errors in the lives He decides to create, leads you to forfeit any role as moral arbiter, especially towards those of whom you lie about with such frivolous ease. You would do well to discover and learn more about the Catholic religion by reading the comments Donald Trump made to the nation at the March for Life in 2020.

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