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Archbishop Cordileone responds to criticism that he’s ‘politicizing the Eucharist’

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone celebrates Mass during a "Free the Mass" demonstration Sept. 20, 2020. (CNS photo/Dennis Callahan, Archdiocese of San Francisco)

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 23, 2022 / 19:47 pm (CNA).

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Monday responded to criticism that he is “politicizing” the Eucharist by denying Nancy Pelosi Holy Communion, saying he would prefer the Democratic House Speaker remain in office “and become an advocate for life in the womb.”

“What does it mean to politicize the Holy Eucharist if one is following Church teaching and applying Church teaching?” Cordileone said in an interview with EWTN News’ Erik Rosales that aired May 23 on “EWTN News Nightly.”

“One would have to demonstrate that one is doing that for a political purpose,” the archbishop said.

“I’ve been very clear all along, my purpose is pastoral, not political,” he added. “I am not campaigning for anyone for office. As a matter of fact, my preference would be for Speaker Pelosi to remain in office and become an advocate for life in the womb.”

On Friday, Cordileone announced that he had notified Pelosi, who describes herself as a devout Catholic, that until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion, she should not be admitted to Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, her home diocese, nor should she present herself for Communion.

Cordileone told Rosales that he has not received any response from Pelosi so far. Nor has the 82-year-old speaker issued any public statements about the Communion ban as of yet. You can watch Cordileone’s interview in the video below.

As of May 23, at least a dozen U.S. bishops have publicly supported Cordileone’s action, which only applies within the San Francisco Archdiocese. Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila called Cordileone “a shepherd with the heart and mind of Christ, who truly desires to lead others towards Christ’s love, mercy, and promise of eternal salvation.”

Cordileone told Rosales that politicizing the Eucharist can even occur “in reverse.” One could “receive Communion as a means to furthering a political agenda, when one is motivated for that reason,” he said. “So it cuts both ways.”

Cordileone noted that many Catholics don’t understand Church teaching on the Eucharist, “what it is, who it is, and what the proper disposition is to receive it, what it means to receive the most Holy Eucharist.”

He added that he wanted to help Catholics understand “the grave evil of abortion and what it means to cooperate with evil on the different levels.”

“I wanted to be clear in laying out that teaching,” he said.

‘Aggressive’ abortion stance

Rosales said that Cordileone told him his decision is not related to the recent leak of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that shows the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide.

However, Rosales said that Cordileone was “motivated by Speaker Pelosi’s reaction to the Texas Heartbeat Law,” which bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at about six weeks gestation.

“That’s when Speaker Pelosi became very outspoken and aggressive — I’ll use that word — in vowing to codify the Roe vs Wade decision into federal law,” Cordileone told Rosales, referring to her ardent support for the Women’s Health Protection Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives but failed to garner enough votes in the Senate.

“So it would guarantee open, unqualified access to abortion for all 9 months, all through out the country,” Cordileone said. “This was very alarming, very disturbing.”

It was at this time that Cordileone began the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign, asking Catholics to pray and fast to soften her heart for the unborn.

Cordileone said that Pelosi frequently speaks fondly of her five grown children.

“I think she has a maternal heart, there is a real sensitivity there,” he said.

“So I asked people to pray and fast for her and I’ve been trying to meet with her. Ever since then I’ve made several attempts to speak with her. I’ve either been denied or just received no response.”

Cordileone added that Pelosi “knew in advance that I would make this announcement if she did not repudiate her position on abortion or at least not refer to her Catholic faith and not go to Communion.”

Rosales brought up Pelosi’s recent October meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican and asked whether the pope should take a greater stance on the issue.

“I think Pope Francis has taken a very strong stance on this,” Cordileone said. “He’s been very outspoken about the evil of abortion. He sees how everything is interconnected.”

Citing Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’, Cordileone said the pope “talks about the interconnectedness of it all. He brings up this issue that care for the environment, care for our common home also includes care for the poor and the vulnerable, including life in the womb, and he compares it to hiring a hitman to solve the problem.”

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  1. This woke notion that a pastoral decision to have Pelosi refrain from receiving the Eucharist because of her support of killing defenseless human persons in their mothers’ womb is a “politicization of the Eucharist” is nothing more than the “Ghost of McCarrick” rearing its ugly head in the Church.

  2. The Archbishop’s purpose was Pastoral, not political – that is obvious, no matter what his detractors say.

    The person involved is a prominent politician, and – outside of repenting – she and her defenders really have no other way of responding other than on political grounds.

    So yes – it has unavoidably become a political AND pastoral issue, but that is NOT the fault of the Archbishop.

  3. Her earnest position advocating abortion on demand is highly disturbing, as it is with her cronies. She should be disciplined, and if I remember correctly, the New Testament instructs us to confront those who persist in sin.

    Also, she’s not allowed to rewrite the Catechism.

  4. Her earnest position advocating abortion on demand is highly disturbing, as it is with her cronies. She should be disciplined, and if I remember correctly, the New Testament instructs us to confront those who persist in sin.

    Also, she’s not allowed to rewrite the Catechism.

  5. Of course the left would reject the excommunication of Pelosi as exercised as the politics of power. More importantly, the announcement revealed the balkanization, the internal politics, of the American Roman Catholic Church as the preponderance of bishops are simply sitting on the hands. Nancy will simply take her clues from Rome by never responding to the letter while taking communion within other dioceses.

  6. Pity poor Nancy Pelosi that she is up against such a kind, articulate and infinitely patient sparring partner.

  7. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone thank you for your sincere saving of the soul of Pelosi. Even though I have another opinion of her remaining Speaker of the House, I do agree that she should NOT be allowed the Holy Eucharist, she goes against the beliefs of the Catholic Church, plus she is a public figure and that her actions have been saying to other catholic’s that it’s ok. No it’s not. Perhaps now the Pope will do the same…. He needs to speak up on this to be a sheppard of his flock– after all he is pope to save souls as well.

  8. Nancy Pelosi (and Joe Biden, along with other pro-abortion Catholics) has denied herself Communion by declaring her “devout Catholic” status (her claim) while supporting the murders of millions of babies before birth (and sometimes after). The “Women’s Health” bill is so misnomered as to make it laughable, because statistically half of those killed are females. Having made many attempts to talk with Pelosi, Archbishop Cordileone has simply agreed with her decision to deny herself the Sacrament.

  9. Pelosi won’t back down, retract or change her stance because she knows that when she passes, she will get full catholic honors at her funeral and whoever does her mass will tell everyone that she is in heaven and all the people will nod in agreement and comment what a great person she was……..guaranteed!

  10. The Archbishop is not a politician. Does any government pay his living expense? No.
    The People of God, the Mystical Body of Christ, employ him. No Protestant, atheist, Muslim, Hindu, None, or Shamanist pagan has any part to play in the Archbishop’s religion. Pelosi claims to represent the same religion while acting in opposition to its laws. This is a falsehood which harms Christ’s Church, His Body, and Nancy is harmed most of all, jeopardizing her eternal happiness.

    The People of God, acting on behalf of God’s Law, accept and support the teaching of God, His Law, and the Laws of His Catholic Church. The Archbishop has every right and duty to act in accord with the Lawful and Just Mission of God’s Church. The Archbishop acts totally within the right, duty, mission, and just operation of God, His Church, His People, and His Body.

    The man saying otherwise unlawfully and unjustly opposes the Body of Christ. Nancy P., and others who believe as she does, have besmirched their once-beautiful souls which God’s power cleansed at Baptism. That is not politics. That is sin. Simple ghastly and ugly SIN. Nancy is called to come clean.

  11. He’s being a true Soldier of Christ. It takes bravery (particularly in these times) and always did. Thank you Archbishop Cordileone.

  12. So what if it IS political? Pelosi’s stance needed to be addressed in a public way. Time for Joe Biden to be called out too.

  13. Of course it’s political if it were not he would deny communion to supporters of the death penalty or the second amendment. He’s sided with the white supremacy party which is his right. It’s my right not to continue to attend or support a church that supports republikkkans.

    • Oh, right, Nancy.

      The Demokkkrats who actually founded the KKK, and who initiated and for a hundred years enforced Jim Crow laws through the threat of lunching, and who in recent decades have supported the murders of nearly half of the African-American babies born in America, is the diversity party.

      And the Republicans, who don’t want any babies of any race murdered, are the racists and killers.

      Amazing. What you say makes about as much sense as everything the other Nancy says.

  14. I had little respect for Pelosi. Now that she has been told she was barred from Communion by a Bishop, she did it ANYWAY at another diocese. Its clear by that action how little respect she has for her church or for God. What absolute nerve and disrespect. She made a statement that the church bars contraception, etc,”Its all the same to them”a statement she made in the sense of the church being a negative for women. . Its not up to Pelosi to decide what is fit or not in church doctrine. I have not heard she was a theologian. The Bishop of the DC diocese where she took communion is another person who has made his liberal stance known.I would not count on him to discipline this priest in any way, nor to support the archbishop of San Francisco. In the absence of any action or statement by the pope supporting the Archbishop of San Fran, I think there is little hope this ban can be effective discipline, which is a sad state of affairs. It shows how weak and what a mess the church is in right now. No leadership and few true to basic church principles. Jesus spoke of sin and punishment more than once. The church hierarchy is not doing the people any favor by pretending all is sweetness and light. Penance and confession is a long running theme in the Catholic church for a reason. I pity the Bishops too week to go along with Cordileone. They too will have to account for themselves some day.

  15. Now. if only our cardinals (where are they?) and other bishops would
    follow Archbishop Cordileone in upholding church teaching, despite the
    rich and powerful. Other clergy claim to “dialogue” with pro-abortion
    “Catholics.” And how many pro abortion politicians have become pro-life
    because of a dialogue with their bishop?

  16. It is not Archbishop Cordileone who has politicized the abortion/communion issue, it is Pelosi herself and the progressives who believe as she does. They politicize everything; as the party of government, confirmed statists, they can do nothing else.

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