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Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights
The archbishop of San Francisco, Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, is calling for Holy Communion to be withheld from Catholics who support abortion rights, which may cause some friction in his congregation, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is one of his parishioners.
"[T]hose who reject the teaching of the Church on the sanctity of human life and those who do not seek to live in accordance with that teaching should not receive the Eucharist," Cordileone wrote in his statement, which is dated May 1.
Cordileone noted that the 50th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is coming up in 2023.
"Abortion is the axe laid to the roots of the tree of human rights: when our culture encourages the violation of life at its youngest and most vulnerable condition, other ethical norms cannot stand for long," Cordileone wrote.
"The Church's teaching and discipline on worthiness to receive Holy Communion has been consistent throughout her history, going back to the very beginning," he wrote.
Cordileone wrote that receiving Holy Communion and determining one's worthiness to do so is oftentimes a "private matter."
"There are, however, circumstances in which such is not the case, occasions when those in public life violate the boundaries of justifiable cooperation," he write. "In the case of public figures who profess to be Catholic and promote abortion, we are not dealing with a sin committed in human weakness or a moral lapse: this is a matter of persistent, obdurate, and public rejection of Catholic teaching."
He noted in an addendum to the letter that the statement is not directed at "specific individuals."
Pelosi has long voiced her support for abortion rights. She has also spoken about how her support diverges from her Catholic faith, which she has upheld as deeply important to her.
The Washington Post notes that Pelosi recently addressed abortion in relation in Catholicism during an appearance on Hillary Clinton's podcast.
During the interview, she criticized supporters of President Trump for being "willing to sell the whole democracy down the river for that one issue," adding it gave her "great grief as a Catholic."
At the time, Cordileone responded directly to Pelosi, saying the California Democrat "speaks in direct contradiction to a fundamental human right that Catholic teaching has consistently championed for 2,000 years."
Cardinal Raymond Burke, former head of the Vatican's highest court, also once called for the eucharist to be denied to Pelosi, saying in 2013 she "persists in a grave sin" for her continued support of abortion while still being a Catholic.