Archbishop Cordileone Stands Tall

Last year San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone issued a pastoral letter Before I Formed You in the Womb, I Knew You. In this letter the Archbishop laid out the reasons why a pro-abortion Catholic politician should be denied Communion, and the steps that should be taken for this to happen. While Cordileone was not the first bishop to speak out about this important issue, his voice was particularly important due to a high-profile member of his flock: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic with a long history of rabid support for legalized abortion.

A year ago today I interviewed Archbishop Cordileone about his pastoral letter, and at one point in the conversation I asked him point blank if he would deny Holy Communion to Pelosi. He said he was not ready to do that, as he felt he still needed to further discuss with her the gravity of her actions. To be honest, I was frustrated and disappointed, and so were many Catholics. After all, Pelosi has been openly pro-abortion for decades, and Cordileone has been her Ordinary for almost a decade. What more could be said or done? What was the purpose of waiting?

Well, the wait is now over. Cordileone announced yesterday that Nancy Pelosi “is not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

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The timing of the announcement—one year after his pastoral letter was released—makes me wonder if this was his plan all along. Publish the letter to make clear what steps would be taken, reach out to Pelosi for a year to see if there is any change of heart, and then, if no repentance is shown, announce the denial of Communion.

Cordileone has also made clear the steps Pelosi needs to take to return to Holy Communion:

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.

These are hard words, but they are words of a pastor. Forgiveness is not impossible; Nancy Pelosi is a child of God who can be reconciled to our loving Father. But first she must repent and confess her sins.

Needless to say, the reactions to this news have been predictable. Faithful Catholics are rejoicing that a shepherd has taken concrete steps to defend both the unborn and the sacredness of the Eucharist. The scandal of a woman who proclaims herself a “devout Catholic” while advocating for the killing of innocent children is incalculable. The Church’s witness for life has always been muted by the hierarchy’s refusal to take action in this regard.

For the pro-abortion Left, whether Catholic or not, the anger is palpable. Critics are accusing the Archbishop of making Holy Communion a political event, as if abortion is just another political issue like tax reform or minimum wage laws. Abortion has never been just a political issue; it is a deeply moral and spiritual issue which touches what it means to be a nation.

One thing is sure: Archbishop Cordileone needs our prayers. He will be attacked, both spiritually and politically, for his act of moral courage. Abortion has always been the Sacrament of the Left, and this frontal assault on what they hold sacred will surely not go unchallenged. Expect everything to be thrown at the Archbishop in an attempt to unseat him. As Catholics, we are duty-bound to support this brave hierarch with our prayers.

One final note: with the leak of the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade a few weeks ago, and now this news, this might very well be the best month American pro-lifers have experienced in decades. Praise and thanks be to our glorious God!


  • Eric Sammons

    Eric Sammons is the editor-in-chief of Crisis Magazine.


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