Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took Communion at a Mass on Wednesday presided over by Pope Francis in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica, according to news reports.
Pelosi was in Rome on a family vacation when she had a visit with the pope and attended a Mass for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, sources told Catholic news outlet Crux Now, a newspaper that covers the Vatican.
Before the service, Pelosi had met with Francis and received a blessing, one of those who attended the Mass told the wire service.
Pelosi did not receive Communion from the pope himself but from one of the priests at the service, Crux Now reported. According to Crux Now, the priest’s nationality was unknown. It was also unclear if the priest knew who Pelosi was.
Francis himself does not distribute Communion often, according to the AP.
“From the time he was archbishop in Buenos Aires, Francis has rarely distributed Communion, precisely to prevent the sacrament from becoming politicized,” the news service reported.
News of Pelosi receiving Communion was the latest development in a long-running story over the conflict between Pelosi’s political position on abortion and the tenets of the church.
“After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a declaration that she is not admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote in a May 20 letter to fellow Catholics, according to Crux Now.
Cordileone wrote in the letter that the ban would remain in place until Pelosi “publicly repudiates her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confesses and receives absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of penance,” Crux Now reported.
Pelosi was apparently unfazed by the decision.
“I respect people’s views about that. But I don’t respect us foisting it onto others,” Pelosi said at the time in response to the ban and Cordileone’s letter, according to Crux Now.
“Our archbishop has been vehemently against LGBTQ rights. In fact, he led the way in an initiative on the ballot in California,” Pelosi added.
Pelosi recently stressed her support for abortion in a news briefing following the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the two Supreme Court decisions that established and maintained the right to abortion in the U.S.
The House Speaker called the Supreme Court “radical” in the news conference and claimed the court was “eviscerating American’s rights and endangering their health and safety.”
“Today, the Republican-controlled Supreme Court has achieved their dark, extreme goal of ripping away a woman’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions.
“Because of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party, their supermajority on the Supreme Court, American women today have less freedom than their mothers,” Pelosi said.
When Francis was questioned in 2021 about pro-abortion politicians and Communion, he replied by saying that Communion is for those “in the community” and pro-abortion politicians were “outside of the community,” Crux Now reported.
“I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone,” the Pope continued, according to the U.K. Independent.
The pope however mentioned that issues related to giving Communion to pro-abortion politicians constituted a matter that should be dealt with by the pastor of the individual in question.
The Catholic Church maintains its stance that abortion constitutes murder.
The Church holds that abortion is immoral even if it is carried out to save the mother’s life and even in cases of rape or incest, according to summaries of the church’s beliefs posted by Arizona’s Diocese of Phoenix.
During his homily on Wednesday, according to Crux Now, Francis stressed that the Catholic church must be a place where “everyone can feel welcomed,” but also stressed its commitment to the cause of life.
He urged the bishops and those present, Crux Now reported, not “to retreat into our ecclesial circles and remain pinned to some of our fruitless debates. Together we can and must continue to care for human life, the protection of creation, the dignity of work, the families, the elderly, all those abandoned or rejected.”
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