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San Francisco archbishop bars Pelosi from receiving communion due to abortion stance

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Friday announced that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would not be allowed to receive communion due to her stance on abortion in an open letter.

Cordileone said that Pelosi was sent a notification that "she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion "rights" and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance."

Cordileone said in he sent Pelosi a letter April 7 expressing his concerns after she vowed to codify the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion into law because of the Texas law banning most abortions that will take effect if the high court overturns Roe. Cordileone also said Pelosi never responded to that letter.  

The open "letter to the faithful" that was posted on the San Francisco Archdiocese website on Friday offered some details behind Cordileone's decision and announcement.

He opened the later by giving several examples of what he described as Pope Francis repeatedly affirming "the Church's clear and constant teaching that abortion is a grave moral evil."

In the letter, Cordileone said he had "received letters from very many of you over the years expressing distress over the scandal being caused by such Catholics in public life who promote such grievously evil practices as abortion."   

"Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi's position on abortion has become only more extreme over the years, especially in the last few months.  Just earlier this month she once again, as she has many times before, explicitly cited her Catholic faith while justifying abortion as a "choice," this time setting herself in direct opposition to Pope Francis," the open letter read.    

Cordileone also tweeted a link to the open letter.

Cordileone said that he had tried to speak with Pelosi multiple times to "help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking" through her position on abortion.    

"Please know that I find no pleasure whatsoever in fulfilling my pastoral duty here. Speaker Pelosi remains our sister in Christ. Her advocacy for the care of the poor and vulnerable elicits my admiration. I assure you that my action here is purely pastoral, not political. I have been very clear in my words and actions about this," the letter said.  

So far, Pelosi and her office have not given a response to the announcement. 

However, last September, Pelosi addressed the friction between her and the archbishop while answering questions about the proposed Women's Health Protection Act, which would have protected abortion access in the United States.

"The archbishop of the city, that area, of San Francisco, and I have a disagreement about who should decide this," Pelosi said at the time. "I believe that God has given us a free will to honor our responsibilities."

State Senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, issued a statement that was critical of Cordileone, calling him "our right wing Archbishop" and describing his refusal to give Pelosi communion "shameful."   

Over the past year, Cordileone has been among the most outspoken U.S. bishops advocating that Communion be denied to President Joe Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights.

However, each bishop has authority in his own diocese on this matter, and the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, has affirmed that Biden is welcome to receive the sacrament there.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last November overwhelmingly approved a long-anticipated document on Communion that stopped short of calling for withholding the sacrament from politicians who support abortion rights but offered justifications for individual bishops to do so.

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