SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone barred Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) from receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion in the archdiocese.
“I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of penance,” Cordileone stated in a May 19 letter addressed to Pelosi.
The letter comes as the United States Supreme Court is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.
Cordileone stated in the letter that while the two of them have spoken in the past on the issue, he gave her an ultimatum April 7 that she should “publicly repudiate” her “advocacy for abortion ‘rights'” or she’d be barred from receiving the sacrament. Legislation to codify Roe v. Wade in federal law passed the House of Representatives last year under Pelosi’s leadership.
Cordileone made headlines last year for being at odds with Washington, DC Archbishop Wilton Gregory as to whether President Joe Biden — also a lifelong Roman Catholic who supports legal abortion — should be admitted to communion.
Holy Communion is part of the central ritual of Catholicism, when believers consume bread and wine believed to be the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church believes abortion is a grave sin.
Pelosi has represented San Francisco in the House of Representatives since 1987, and has been Speaker of the House since 2019, though she also held that position from 2007-2011. Representatives of Pelosi did not immediately respond to a request for comment midday Friday.
Eleventh-District State Senator Scott Wiener was among the first public officials to come to Pelosi’s defense, and called for the archbishop to be removed.
“After supporting Prop 8 and refusing to get vaccinated, our right wing Archbishop is now attacking one of the most effective leaders in the history of our country, because she supports reproductive health and safe access to abortion. The Archbishop’s refusal to give communion to Speaker Pelosi is shameful. He is deeply out of step with San Francisco and should be removed.”
Elsewhere, there was support for the Archbishop’s decision. Across the Bay, the Diocese of Oakland, Bishop Michael Barber, tweeted support for Cardileone, saying “I support @ArchCardileone in the heroic and compassionate stance he took today in the protection and defense of human life.”