Four more Catholic bishops have spoken out in support of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s decision to deny communion to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over her advocacy for abortion, according to reporting from the New York Post.
In a May 20 letter to Pelosi, Cordileone wrote that she is banned from receiving the sacrament “until you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.”
Archbishop Alexander Sample — of Portland, Oregon — posted a video to Facebook on Friday in support of Cordileone’s decision to withhold communion from Pelosi.
“The church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave evil, and that public advocacy for — and support of — abortion is, objectively speaking, such a manifest grave sin,” Sample said.
“What Archbishop Cordileone did was actually an act of pastoral love and care for Speaker Pelosi and for all those entrusted to his pastoral care, who might have been led astray by her public support of the evil of abortion,” he added. “That’s why what Archbishop Cordileone did was the right thing.”
Several other bishops have also joined in barring the speaker from receiving communion, including Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, which borders Cordileone’s San Francisco diocese, Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, and Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas.
Vasa stated that canon law “makes it clear that providing sacraments to someone prohibited from receiving them has its own possible penalties,” including suspension for administering a sacrament knowingly to “those who are prohibited from receiving it.”
Thirteen additional archbishops previously backed Cordileone’s letter, though it was unclear if their support meant that they would actually follow through with denying Pelosi communion.
One of the thirteen archbishops, Green Bay Bishop David Ricken, offered his support of the letter with a strongly worded statement via Twitter.
“Speaker Pelosi’s aggressive promotion of abortion and blatant public disregard for Church teaching has consequences. In many ways, she has made this choice herself through her words and actions,” Bishop Ricken said.