On May 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is a Catholic, hinted in an interview that she could take communion if she wanted to. Archbishop Cordileone, however, responded to the congresswoman graciously, asserting that communion does not work that way.
Pelosi was interviewed Thursday by EWTN News Nightly correspondent Erik Rosales, who asked her about the Vatican’s letter to U.S. bishops regarding the reception of communion for pro-abortion politicians. The Lower House speaker said she was “pleased” because the Vatican “basically” said the Bishops not to “be divisive on the issue.”
“I think I can use my own judgment on that,” the Democratic representative said on whether or not she can receive communion.
The Vatican’s letter to the U.S. bishops was drafted by Cardinal Luis Ladaria and received by Archbishop Jose Gomez. The Vatican explicitly asks the bishops that the decision they make regarding the reception of communion by pro-choice politicians be made with a significant consensus respecting the decisions of all local bishops.
However, the cardinal also states that dialogue would help the bishops “to agree as a Conference that support of pro-choice legislation is not compatible with Catholic teaching,” making clear the Church’s position against abortion and politicians who support such legislation.
Archbishop Cordileone’s answer
Archbishop Cordileone, elegantly, decided to address a short response to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The tone, far from being hostile, advocated the hope of finding productive dialogue in a sensitive religious debate such as communion for pro-abortion politicians.
“We must never lose sight of this fact: in the last 50 years, in the United States alone, 66,000,000 babies have been murdered in their mothers’ wombs. This is not a matter about which one can use judgment. It is a fact,” the letter began. “66,000,000 babies murdered in their mothers’ wombs. If we look around us and see what is happening in our society today, we will see that this fact once again demonstrates that violence begets violence. 66,000,000 babies murdered in their mothers’ wombs. The response to a woman in a crisis pregnancy is not violence, but love.”
“It is for this reason,” Archbishop Cordileone continued, “that I’m happy to know that Speaker Pelosi said she is pleased with the letter of Cardinal Ladaria (…)In that letter, Cardinal Ladaria advises the U.S. bishops to use as a guide in discerning how to address this situation the principles laid out in a private letter in 2004 from the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the CDF at the time, to the bishops of the United States.”
Archbishop Cordileone added a paragraph explaining the content of Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter, which stated that those who systematically support abortion or euthanasia were cooperating directly and formally with a grave sin, therefore, “bishops must dialogue with Catholics prominent in public life who do so in order to help them understand the grave evil they are helping to perpetrate and accompany them to a change of heart.”
If these dialogues with political leaders are not fruitful, the archbishop explained in his response to Pelosi, “out of respect for the Catholic belief of what it means to receive Holy Communion, the bishop must declare that the individual is not be admitted to Communion.”
Rep. Pelosi’s vague words were unclear, but Archbishop Cordileone seized on them to make it clear that the Vatican’s position is not, as the representative claims, that parishioners can use their “own judgment” for Communion as they see fit.
“Speaker Pelosi’s positive reaction to Cardinal Ladaria’s letter, then, raises hope that progress can be made in this most serious matter,” culminated the response directed toward Pelosi.