Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone  , Archbishop of San Francisco in California, officially announced this afternoon that he is officially invoking Code of Canon Law 915 and therefore officially barring Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi from presenting herself for and receiving communion anywhere in the Archdiocese of San Francisco in California until she "publicly repudiates her support for abortion “rights” along with receiving absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance."

According to the San Francisco Archdiocese, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone officially notified Speaker Pelosi of this decision yesterday.

Speaker Pelosi becomes the second high ranking Democrat at the Federal Level to be officially barred from presenting themselves for and receiving communion since U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois was barred in 2004 by his pastor at the time Msgr. Kevin Vann (now bishop of Orange, California) and since upheld by both Bishop Thomas John Paprocki (bishop for the Diocese of Springfield, IL) and Paprocki's predecessor and current Archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska Archbishop George Lucas.

Canon 915 states that "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion." 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019
Official photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019. Photo by John Harrington - www.speaker.gov. This US Congress image is in the public domain

It must be noted that when a bishop invokes Canon 915 and barres Speaker Pelosi and others from receiving communion under can. 915 does not mean that they are excommunicated and are no longer Roman Catholics. Invoking canon 915 and barring someone from presenting themselves for and receiving communion and Excommunication are two totally separate things altogether.

According to the the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Canon Law (another name for a law in the Code of Canon Law) is a code of ecclesiastical laws governing the Catholic Church. In the Latin or Western Church, the governing code is the 1983 Code of Canon Law, a revision of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. A separate but parallel Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, issued in 1990, governs the Eastern Catholic churches. That document was the first comprehensive code of church law governing all Eastern Catholic churches.

In his Letter to the faithful on the Notification sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the faithful of the Archdiocese of San Francisco regarding his decision and Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

I have received letters from very many of you over the years expressing distress over the scandal being caused by such Catholics in public life who promote such grievously evil practices as abortion.  I have responded that conversion is always better than exclusion, and before any such action can be taken it must be preceded by sincere and diligent efforts at dialogue and persuasion.  With regard to Speaker Pelosi, I have striven to follow this wise route, as delineated by then-Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) in a letter to U.S. bishops regarding Holy Communion and Catholic politicians who cooperate in the grave evils of abortion and euthanasia:

… when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.  When ‘these precautionary measures have not had their effect …,’ and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, ‘the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.’[3]

This instruction is in accordance with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which stipulates, “Those … obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”  In the pastoral letter I issued a year ago, Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You, I laid out the Church’s teaching on cooperation in evil, especially that of abortion, and the proper disposition for receiving Holy Communion, precisely to help our people better understand these principles and what is at stake here.

Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi’s position on abortion has become only more extreme over the years, especially in the last few months.  Just earlier this month she once again, as she has many times before, explicitly cited her Catholic faith while justifying abortion as a “choice,” this time setting herself in direct opposition to Pope Francis: “The very idea that they would be telling women the size, timing or whatever of their family, the personal nature of this is so appalling, and I say that as a devout Catholic”; “They say to me, ‘Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the Pope.’  Yes I do.  Are you stupid?”[4]

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 public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion “rights” and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance.  I have accordingly sent her a Notification to this effect, which I have now made public.

  • Letter to the faithful on the Notification sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on May 20, 2022 by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

As the National Catholic Register points out, Archbishop Cordileone' s actions only applies within the San Francisco Archdiocese and that other bishops have jurisdiction over such matters when Pelosi is in Washington, D.C., and other dioceses around the U.S. and abroad.  As Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone points out in his Letter to priests of the Archdiocese on the Notification sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, this is simply application of Church teaching and not “weaponizing” the Eucharist as many people who support abortion have been accusing the bishops and Catholics like myself of doing.

Many Catholics like myself believe this action is long overdue and more bishops need to grow a spine and take this action against more "Catholic" Politicians like Speaker Pelosi and Senator Dick Durbin.

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