Archbishop Cordileone Says the Quiet Part Out Loud About Catholics Who Support Abortion

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco has taken the extreme step of publishing a letter informing Rep. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives and third in the line of succession for the presidency, that she must recant her public support for abortion and confess her sins before she will be allowed to partake of the Eucharist.


It’s the most drastic action yet taken by a leader of the Catholic Church against a high-ranking pro-abortion politician. The Bishop of the Springfield, IL diocese gave the same punishment to state politicians; House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton were also banned from receiving communion.

Many devout Catholics are asking “What took so long?” The answer to that question involves looking at the relationship between church and state in America and realizing there are never any easy answers.

Pelosi calls herself a “devout Catholic.” “I’m very Catholic. Devout, practicing, all of that. They would like to throw me out, but I’m not going, because I don’t want to make their day,” Pelosi said during a panel discussion last March.

But the archbishop reminded Pelosi in his letter, “a Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others.”

Related: A Big Mazal Tov to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone!

The Catholic hierarchy in the United States has a tradition of bending over backward to keep church and state separate. It stems from a strong anti-Catholic bias that manifested itself in American politics well into the 20th century and the necessity for the church to do nothing to give that prejudice an outlet.


Cordileone will no doubt be criticized by the more left-wing church leaders and liberal Catholic commentators for his strong stand. But the archbishop has gone ahead and said the quiet part out loud. And left-wing Catholics have no possible response that isn’t outside church law and tradition.

Indeed, even conservative clergy didn’t want this kind of a break. The church could easily be torn apart by this issue, and most clergy recognize that. The U.S. Bishops spent much of last year debating Eucharist bans for politicians like Pelosi and Joe Biden, who also claims to be a “devout Catholic.” In the end, a compromise was inevitable.

The Pillar:

After frequently pugnacious debate over the course of their June meeting, and in the media, the bishops published a document that said: “it is the special responsibility of the diocesan bishop to work to remedy situations that involve public actions at variance with the visible communion of the Church and the moral law.”

A cadre of bishops, of whom Cordileone was among the most outspoken, had called for a far more explicit discussion in the text on “Eucharistic coherence” for pro-abortion politicians, but most praised the text after it was completed.

In other words, talk it out. The archbishop tried that, and Pelosi refused to even meet with him.


In the May 19 notification published online, the archbishop recounted efforts to meet with Pelosi in recent months, noting that “I have not received…an accommodation to my many requests to speak with you again since you vowed to codify the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in federal law, following upon passage of Texas Senate Bill 8 last September.”

“That is why I communicated my concerns to you via letter on April 7, 2022, and informed you there that, should you not publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion ‘rights’ or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion, I would have no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915, that you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

“The time has now come,” Cordileone wrote.

Pelosi insists on treating opposition to abortion as a political issue, not as a matter of faith.

​​“It isn’t about ‘What is your religious belief.’ It’s ‘What is the right of people to make their own decisions and the size and time or if they’re going to have a family?’ This really gets me burned up, in case you didn’t notice, because, again, I’m very Catholic.

In fact, it’s very much about “what is your religious belief” and for Pelosi to deny that simple reality speaks volumes. No compromise, no retreat, no surrender. And in a large sense, that means war.


Cordileone wanted to avoid a public break with Pelosi and liberal Catholics, who will no doubt line up with the speaker against the church. But dancing around such a profound issue for the Catholic Church was destined to eventually give way to “sacramental discipline.” Instead of moving toward compromise, Pelosi and other left-wing politicians have become more radical on the question of abortion.

Until that changes, Pelosi and other pro-abortion fanatics will be considered outside the community of the faithful.




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