Jun 20, 2022
Central to the decision by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to deny Communion to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the reality of scandal. As Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Va., said in repeating the ban, the aim of these decisions is “to guard the faithful from scandal.” Other bishops have also cited scandal in statements supporting Archbishop Cordileone.
But what does “scandal” actually mean in a case like this?
Certainly the issue here is not scandal in its everyday sense--an expression of more or less mild disapproval (“It’s a scandal the way that man talks about himself all the time”) or even aesthetic distaste (“It’s a scandal to charge so much to see such a lousy movie”).
Instead, when bishops talk about scandal in a situation like this one, the word has the sense explained by the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil.”