The Catholic archbishop whose archdiocese includes abortion advocate and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is laying down the law in terms of pro-abortion Catholics receiving the sacrament of Communion.
A pastoral letter from the Most Rev. Salvatore Joseph Cordileone of San Francisco directly mentions neither Pelosi nor President Joe Biden, another high-profile Catholic who strongly supports abortion.
After months of rumblings by some Catholic leaders that Biden’s embrace of abortion flouts Catholic doctrine, American bishops will vote in June on a document outlining whether high-profile pro-abortion Catholics such as the president should be discouraged from receiving Communion.
Cordlieone’s letter, published Saturday, argues that when attempts to alter the pro-abortion mindset of an erring public figure fail, as they usually do, Catholic clergy must do more than just talk.
“Because we are dealing with public figures and public examples of cooperation in moral evil, this correction can also take the public form of exclusion from the reception of Holy Communion. As seen above, this discipline has been exercised throughout our history, going back to the New Testament,” Cordileone wrote.
“When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table. This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it.”
In reporting on the letter, The Washington Post reached out to Pelosi but did not receive a comment.
Cordileone said that even amid all of the other issues that beset American society, abortion cannot be ignored because “abortion is a specific act that perpetuates a grave moral evil. It is not an attitude that can manifest itself in more serious and less serious ways, nor a matter of prudential judgment in which one decides the best path toward achieving the good.”
“Indeed, when one looks directly at what actually happens in an abortion, it is hard to imagine anything more heinously evil. One such thing is genocide. But with almost one out of five pregnancies in the United States ending in abortion, what we are witnessing before our very eyes is, effectively, a genocide against the unborn,” he wrote.
The archbishop said those who are leaders bear responsibility for the policies they promote.
“Prominent figures in society help to shape the mores of that society, and in our culture their advocacy of abortion definitely leads others to do evil. This must be stated with clarity: anyone who actively works to promote abortion shares some of the guilt for the abortions performed because of their actions,” he wrote.
The archbishop sent a direct message to Catholic politicians who cheer on abortion in between trips to the altar for Communion.
“Your Catholic ideals inspire you in your work to help those who experience discrimination, violence, and injustice, and you deserve the gratitude of your fellow Catholics and our nation for this service. But we cannot empower the weak by crushing the weakest! A compassionate, inclusive society must make room at the table for the most defenseless, and it should help a woman to keep her unborn child, not kill her or him,” he wrote.
“If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion. To publicly affirm the Catholic faith while at the same time publicly rejecting one of its most fundamental teachings is simply dishonest.”
The letter also includes a general plea to Catholics in public life who support abortion.
“[T]he killing must stop. Please, please, please: the killing must stop. God has entrusted you with a prestigious position in society. You have the power to affect societal practices and attitudes. Always remember that you will one day have to render an account to God for your stewardship of this trust. You are in a position to do something concrete and decisive to stop the killing,” he wrote.
“Please stop the killing. And please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil — one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right — is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith. It is not.
“Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith. We await you with open arms to welcome you back.”
The archbishop wrote that it was necessary to speak out against a “source of scandal that pertains specifically to Catholics in public life: if their participation in the evil of abortion is not addressed forthrightly by their pastors, this can lead Catholics (and others) to assume that the moral teaching of the Catholic Church on the inviolate sanctity of human life is not seriously held.”
“When public figures identify themselves as Catholics and yet actively oppose one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Church — the inherent dignity of each and every human being and therefore the absolute prohibition of taking innocent human life — we pastors have a responsibility both to them and to the rest of our people,” he wrote.
“Our responsibility to them is to call them to conversion and to warn them that if they do not amend their lives they must answer before the tribunal of God for the innocent blood that has been shed.”
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