(PresidentialWire.com)- Pope Francis rejected conservative Catholic efforts to exclude President Joe Biden from Communion last November, warning against politicizing the Eucharist. In Catholic teaching, bishops and priests decide who can receive Communion. The bishops who oversee the president’s churches in Delaware and D.C. support him. Nancy Pelosi is not that lucky.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, a longtime hard-liner on this topic, has excluded Pelosi from Communion, noting her support for the Women’s Health Protection Act, which codifies abortion privileges the U.S. Supreme Court may be on the brink of extinguishing.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone made this proclamation “after several attempts to engage with her to help her comprehend the great evil she is doing, the scandal she is making, and the danger to her soul she is incurring.”
Cordileone said Pelosi wouldn’t be re-admitted until she went to confession and got forgiveness “for her complicity in this wickedness.”
Bishops and priests have taken political stances before. During his 2019 presidential campaign in South Carolina, Biden was denied Communion. In 2004, John Kerry, the first Catholic since John F. Kennedy to earn a presidential nomination, was excluded from Communion in at least one diocese; his aides had to phone beforehand to assure he wouldn’t be humiliated by a conservative bishop or priest. Senior Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is used to it, writes America Magazine.
Senator Durbin hasn’t received Communion in his hometown for 17 years. Monsignor Kevin Vann (now bishop of Orange County, Calif.) stated he would be “reticent” to give Mr. Durbin Communion because of his pro-choice voting record.
Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki has maintained this stand and prohibited additional pro-choice politicians from Communion.
Given Pelosi’s position and the timing — not long after the USCCB backed down from excluding pro-choice politicians from the Eucharist and before the Supreme Court rules on abortion rights — Cordileone is throwing down the gauntlet not only to Catholics who support abortion rights but indirectly to the Vatican.
Pelosi met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in October, soon before Francis met with Biden and told him he was a “decent Catholic” who should receive Communion. Francis has quietly but undermined conservative bishops’ plans against Biden and other pro-choice American politicians. He has also said the Eucharist is “not a trophy for the flawless but a potent cure and nutrition for the weak” and has never denied Communion to anybody.
It’s uncertain if the Vatican can intervene when a bishop “disciplines” Catholics under his authority. Like Durbin and others, Pelosi may still attend Mass and receive Communion in Washington or other churches. If Francis and other Catholic leaders worried about the politics of the church, let this continue without remark (and so far, most American bishops have enthusiastically supported him), the cultural wars will split a church that seeks unity above all.