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Archbishop Cordileone ‘stood up for what’s right’ in actions toward Pelosi, Fresno bishop says

Kevin J. Jones   By Kevin J. Jones for CNA

Bishop Joseph V. Brennan of Fresno, California. (Screenshot of Diocese of Fresno YouTube video)

Denver Newsroom, Jun 8, 2022 / 18:01 pm (CNA).

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco was right to ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to receive Holy Communion because of her abortion stand, Bishop Joseph V. Brennan of Fresno, California, has said.

In a June 6 letter addressed to clergy, seminarians, and Catholic faithful of his central California diocese, Brennan cited the need to show true concern for Pelosi’s soul and for unborn children and the need to protect Holy Communion.

At the same time, the bishop criticized what he suggested was “virtue signaling” on the part of some Catholic politicians who approach the Eucharist as an opportunity to demonstrate their “Catholic credentials” for “a kind of spiritual photo op.”

“There is more than enough hypocrisy to go around these days — in my own life too — but it takes some kind of immense spiritual hubris and hypocrisy to waltz up for Communion while at the same time publicly ignoring and positively working against essential Church teaching and practice, much less promoting something that is intrinsically evil,” Brennan said in the letter.

Saying that Cordileone “has taken a lot of heat, in and out of the Church, for standing up for what’s right,” Brennan said he wanted to write in support of the San Francisco archbishop for several weeks.

“He chose this course of action for her persistent stand in support of abortion and for her recent participation in an effort to codify into Federal law the right to take the life of an innocent, unborn child so as to enshrine that right in the law of the land,” Brennan said.

Pelosi, a prominent San Francisco Democrat, has persistently invoked her Catholic faith as a motivation for her abortion stand. She had pushed for major pro-abortion rights legislation to maintain nationwide legal abortion as a matter of federal law if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns current precedent established in decisions like Roe v. Wade.

On May 20 Cordileone said 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. He said the step was “purely pastoral, not political” and said Pelosi had repeatedly rebuffed his efforts to reach out to her to discuss her abortion advocacy.

“The archbishop has done his due diligence and has made consistent attempts for a number of years to communicate with the Speaker about authentic Church teaching in this regard,” Brennan said. “In other words, like a good pastor, he is trying to lead her away from a very sinful situation. He is caring for her soul.”

Cordileone’s announcement prompted strong reaction from many political and religious commentators. On Saturday two groups of pro-abortion rights protesters with a history of targeting Catholic churches for demonstrations and even disruption protested outside of San Francisco’s Catholic cathedral and blocked parking spaces just before Cordileone was about to ordain two men as Catholic priests. You can read Brennan’s full letter below.

‘It is his job’

Brennan, without mentioning her by name, quoted Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of the television daytime talk show “The View,” who defended Pelosi and criticized Cordileone.

“This is not your job, dude! That is not up to you to make that decision … What is the point of Communion, right? It’s for sinners. It’s the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners,” Goldberg said in late May. “How dare you!”

Brennan said it is indeed the archbishop’s job “to teach, to correct, to admonish and, if necessary, to impose sanctions.”

“It is his job (everyone’s job in fact) to point things out to and charitably correct anyone who is in a sinful situation,” he said. “That is even more important to do when the person and the situation are so public, persistent, and brazen.”

Cordileone even has a role in helping guide Catholic politicians like Pelosi, the Fresno bishop said.

“Although it is not the archbishop’s job to make the decision for her to receive Communion or not — it is his job to make every effort to properly form her conscience. It is Nancy’s job to decide to refrain from taking Holy Communion until such time as she is reconciled to church teaching about the unborn and until such time as she desists in publicly promoting and advocating the protection and expansion of abortion and abortion rights.”

Brennan said he did agree with Goldberg’s commentary when she said “What’s the point of Communion, right? It’s for sinners.”

“Precisely!” Brennan answered. “Yes, Communion is not a reward for good behavior. It is not anything that we are entitled to in any way, shape, or form. Nobody is entitled to receive!”

This is why everyone, including the priest or bishop at Mass, prays, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”

“Yes, the Eucharist is medicine for the sin-sick soul,” Brennan said.

“Something essential is missing in all this,” the bishop continued. “The problem I have with most abortion-promoting Catholic politicians is that they do not seem to be acknowledging the sin in any of this. Even if they somehow acknowledge the sin in the depth of their soul and their conscience as they approach the Eucharist, something which only they and God can know, they cannot publicly persist in the sin.”

The bishop explained that in the Sacrament of Penance, which is commonly known as confession, the penitent person must have “firm purpose of amendment.” The Act of Contrition, often memorized by grade school students, reads, “I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.”

“If you are going up to receive Communion and have no intention of changing your heart, mind, and actions regarding these teachings, then you should make the decision not to receive Communion,” Brennan said. “Otherwise, someone may have to impose the sanction on you.”

Brennan said Cordileone’s action will have effects in other parts of the country.

“It is personally challenging, as it should be to every bishop in this beautiful country of ours, as this encourages all of us to engage in the same kind of dialogue with Catholic politicians in our own jurisdictions about these very same issues,” the bishop said. “That takes time, effort, and courage.”

He asked for prayers that the Holy Spirit will bless his own service in the Fresno Diocese and help him “be a better shepherd of souls for you and with you.”

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  1. This is a bit rambling.
    BTW, Whoopi Goldberg, in her attempt to align herself with Pope Francis, misquotes him. If I’m not mistaken, Francis said Communion is not the reward of saints.

  2. “Captain Obvious” also missed that the the virtual totality of his episcopal colleagues were silent, either in their formal agreement that abortion is not an egregious mortal sin or in their cowardice and sycophancy for further career advancement. Isn’t the real question here not that pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians are no not in fact Catholic but rather that most American “Catholic” bishops are not Catholic either? The mortal sin of abortion is so fundamental that, as with the homosexual abuse crisis, it leaves no doubt about whether the hireling shepherds in this country are even Catholic in fact.

  3. We read: “…the bishop criticized what he suggested was ‘virtue signaling’ on the part of some Catholic politicians who approach the Eucharist as an opportunity to demonstrate their ‘Catholic credentials’ for “a kind of spiritual photo op.’”

    Back in the day, the Church taught that in order to receive the sacrificial/communal Eucharist worthily, the three things necessary were to be in the state of sanctifying grace, to adhere to the fast (used to be from midnight), and to “have the right intention…”

    “To have the right intention?” In those apparently more innocent times, this meant to not be too fixated on simply showing off your new Easter bonnet. But, today, to get away with posturing as “spiritual photo-op” leaders of a new and different Church–cross-dressed to fit in well with the fetishes and human sacrifices of radical Secularism.

    Archbishop Cardilione simply turned the lights on. When the shepherds become sheep, then the path and the “smell of sheep” take on an old and familiar fragrance. As for Cardileone’s brother bishops, quo vadis?

    • Yes. To receive Communion rightly you must not be in a state of mortal sin. Maybe that’s why parishes have confession right before Mass. Of course people ignore this now.

    • 6/10/22 3:40 PM
      From New York City

      Hello CWR, thank you for an opportunity to reply to the comment from:

      KNOWALL June 9.

      My Reply, Hello Knowall. Regarding your comment/question
      posted on June 9,
      you quote, Doesn’t Communion wipe out only venial sin?
      He told the adulteress to “sin no more”.

      I gently and respectfully suggest that you read
      Colossians 1:15-23 with an emphasis on Colossians 1:19-23.
      COLOSSIANS 1:19-23 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I Paul, became a minister.

      Yes, “for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell”.
      God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit – are One God in the “The Preeminence of Christ” Colossians 1:15 and John 1:1-5 The WORD Became Flesh.
      Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30.
      My point is this, Jesus Messiah is the human sacrificed Passover Lamb of God who died ONCE for ALL humanity’s sinful nature. My LORD included in His Anointed Lamb of God Sacrifice on the tree, the Roman Cross of execution, ALL the Ten Commandments sins broken and ALL thinkable and unimaginable sins broken by humanity!
      My LORD did not forget or leave anything out of His plan of Salvation. He did not leave an opening for the old serpent of Genesis 3:15 to claim any soul.
      With God, there IS NO CONTEST.
      Jesus crushes the serpent! DONE.

      So, to answer any doubt, whether you are a Catholic or a secular individual, any persuasion, or gender,
      Jesus is the Holy Communion, the body and blood of Christ the everlasting covenant (eternal contract) between
      The “I AM”, God the Son and His Holy Spirit. It represents the living Presence of God face to face when you approach and receive The Communion Host. It is a private moment between Jesus Christ and each soul and although everyone is invited to receive The Father’s gift of Jesus Christ and Salvation, and yes know this – it is a gift – not an entitlement, a gift provided the individual understands the significance and power that it holds and represents. If defiled, it is blasphemy with grave consequences. I mean, one must examine their conscience and sincerely acknowledge their regrets regardless of the nature and degree of falling away – please, please, please for the sake of your eternal soul – do not approach or receive
      the Holy Communion without a sincere contrite confession and repentance which means to turn from the sin(s).
      Do Not disrespect or commit blasphemy in the face of the LORD and HIS Beloved Son and Holy Spirit.

      I pray for your soul that you will make the willful conscious decision to choose life. The LORD is waiting for you.
      2 Peter 3:9

      Be Blessed

  4. I am tremendously grateful to Archbishop Cordileone to defend the Eucharist; and the Eucharist is God and defending the faith and teaching of the Church, and the Church is God. In other words, He is defending Christ and the Truth of Christ. And I am grateful to all the apostles of the Lord who support Archbishop Cordileone. It is time for all true believing Catholics to stand up to the truth of Christ We follow Jesus Christ and no one else even if they are dressed in white.

  5. To repeat myself, I find Bishop Brennan’s letter a bit rambling. I’m not sure it’s necessarily a good thing to make it all about support/admiration for Abp. Cordileone. I see no evidence that Abp. Cordileone is unable or unwilling to speak for himself. I think each bishop should be able to speak for himself, not just ride on the coattails of someone else. The Colorado bishops’ statement is exemplary in this regard, IMO. Granted, not every bishop is as articulate as every other, and I think it is incumbent upon a bishop to recognize his own gifts and also his limitations, and proceed from there.

  6. “Although it is not the archbishop’s job to make the decision for her to receive Communion or not — it is his job to make every effort to properly form her conscience. It is Nancy’s job to decide to refrain from taking Holy Communion until such time as she is reconciled to church teaching about the unborn and until such time as she desists in publicly promoting and advocating the protection and expansion of abortion and abortion rights.”
    Looking at the problem from the speaker’s point of view, she seems to be saying that she does not support abortion, but she does not want to use government to stop women from having one.

    • From a 2018 address at (surprise) Georgetown U: “But the fact is, God gave us all the free will [and] our sense of responsibility to answer for that. So I am a rabid supporter of a woman’s right to choose and a similar issue of the LGBT community, because they are connected.”

      It is true that Pelosi often frames the issue in terms of rights. But her consistent and vocal support of a “woman’s right to choose” speaks for itself. (And she gets a 100% rating from NARAL, has been given awards by Planned Parenthood, etc.)

      Let’s put it this way: if Pelosi yammered on and on about a “man’s right to have slaves” and repeatedly said she’s “pro-choice” on the topic of slavery, would anyone dare say she’s actually against slavery or is somehow taking a principled “personally opposed, but…” stance?

  7. To help refute the claim that ‘because of its healing power for the soul, the Eucharist should not be denied to anyone’, the following analogy/comparison can be useful:

    A medicine that can heal a sick person’s body can at other times cause more harm to that person’s body if the body is not properly disposed to receiving it. Similarly, the Eucharist’s healing power for the soul will actually cause more harm to a person’s soul if that person’s soul is not properly disposed to receiving it as is made clear by St. Paul:

    “27 Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians: 11: 27-29)

    While St. Paul admonishes the Corinthians for not being properly focused on the reality of the Eucharist as Christ’s body and blood, these passages have always been further understood as a warning to anyone not in a state of grace that if they partake of the Eucharist, they bring about a self-inflicted condemnation.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Archbishop Cordileone ‘stood up for what’s right’ in actions toward Pelosi, Fresno bishop says – Via Nova Media
  2. Bishop Brennan of Fresno cites Whoopi Goldberg - California Catholic Daily

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