Archbishop of San Francisco defends denial of Communion to Nancy Pelosi

ROME — San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said Friday he was “guided by the principles set forth by Pope Francis” in his decision to bar House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving the Holy Communion because of its aggressive defense of abortion.

In a long interview Along with Gloria Purvis, Archbishop Cordileone insisted he cannot judge Ms Pelosi’s conscience, but “promote her so aggressively – that’s not what a devout Catholic does. So I believe in her heart, she feels that, but there is a disconnect on this issue.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), center, flanked by Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), left, and Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), right, joins members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and the Pro-Choice Caucus at a press conference on Roe vs. Wade and women’s rights, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 23 2019. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

“I know people will accuse me of being political, but this is not political at all. It is pastoral,” the Archbishop said, noting that his decision came as a last resort due to the choice of Pelosi to persist on an issue that is at the heart of Catholic morality: the sanctity of human life.

When asked why he didn’t go further and excommunicate Pelosi, Cordileone replied that the excommunication was “tougher”, adding, “I don’t want to take a tougher approach if I I don’t have to. I prefer to do the minimum necessary to repair the scandal.

“Scandal is an action that would lead others into error or sin,” he said. “So the scandal here is that someone who strongly advocates something as bad as abortion and communion confuses people. And they may start to think it’s okay for a Catholic to believe that.

“I would really prefer not to do that,” Cordileone said. “But I cannot, in my conscience, allow the situation to continue and cause this scandal. And people get confused, people get angry, and that also fuels those flames of polarization and dissension.

“Some people might accuse me of doing that too. But I just know in my conscience that I have to do something to clearly teach this evil and that there are solutions to this dilemma we find ourselves in,” he said. -he adds.

Our vision “is not to make abortion illegal,” the Archbishop said, “the end is to make abortion unthinkable.”

A baby handed over to Pope Francis to bless him clings to his cross as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, September 25, 2019.

A baby handed over to Pope Francis for his blessing grabs his cross as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, September 25, 2019. (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Pope Francis has been a strong critic of the evil of abortion, noting last September that abortion is “more than a problem, it’s murder,” adding that “everyone who performs an abortion kills, in any way you looked at him”.

“To those who cannot understand, I would ask this question: is it right to kill a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hitman to kill a human life? He asked.

“Scientifically, it’s a human life,” Francis noted. “Is it OK to remove it to fix a problem?”

“That’s why the Church is so tough on this issue, because if they accept this, it’s like accepting the daily killing,” he said.


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