On Friday afternoon, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco publicly stated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not permitted to receive Holy Communion due to her public support of abortion in contradiction with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
This means that the priests of his archdiocese are not to allow her to receive the Eucharist within the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Other bishops have followed suit for their own dioceses as well.
Banning a person from receiving the Eucharist is the Church’s statement that this person is not in full communion with the Catholic Church in their beliefs or actions. This statement only happens when that person is publicly and actively contradicting the Faith. The purpose of this ban is to prevent scandal, as well as to call the individual to repentance in order to reinstate their communion with God and the Church.
The ban flows naturally from the Church’s teaching that no one should receive the Eucharist knowing they’re in a state of mortal sin. This teaching is firmly rooted in Scripture. St. Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 11:27: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.”
Deliberate support for abortion constitutes a mortal sin for one with full knowledge of the Church’s teaching.
The Church normally won’t publically bar someone from the Eucharist, because most mortal sins are committed privately. If confessed, they are protected from public knowledge by the seal of Confession.
Pelosi’s situation is different because she publicly flaunts her support for abortion. This creates scandal, and it means the Church needs to give a public response.
It’s hard to say Pelosi doesn’t know about the Church’s teaching on abortion. She’s been warned about the incompatibility of her abortion stance with her Catholic faith over and over again. And she is now challenging Archbishop Cordileone’s disciplinary action.
Catholics owe obedience to their bishops in the areas of faith and morals, as the early Church Father St. Ignatius of Antioch stated:
“See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.”
As Catholics, we pray for repentance and salvation of everyone. Let’s turn to Our Lord and His Mother to pray for the conversion of Pelosi’s heart.