“What are you really saying when you receive Communion? To me, it goes hand-in-hand with this decline in the belief of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist,” he said.
Archbishop Cordileone was explaining to EWTN his Jan. 21 statement to Speaker Pelosi, a Catholic who hails from the San Francisco archdiocese.
In that statement, Cordileone had said that “No Catholic in good conscience can favor abortion,” referring to Pelosi’s public support in Congress for legal abortion.
Pelosi, on a Jan. 18 podcast with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, had referred to the issue of abortion as “a woman’s right to choose” and said that Catholics should “love contraception” for reducing the abortion rate.
In response, Cordileone said that Pelosi “does not speak for the Catholic Church,” and that her phrase “right to choose” to describe legal abortion “is a smokescreen for perpetuating an entire [abortion] industry that profits from one of the most heinous evils imaginable.”
Regarding denial of Holy Communion, Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law states that Catholics who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”
In a 2004 memo to U.S. bishops, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote that a Catholic politician who is “consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” is engaging in “formal cooperation” in grave sin, cooperation that is “manifest.”
In these cases, Catholic politicians should not receive Communion, Ratzinger wrote, and their pastor must admonish them on the Church’s teaching.
The politician’s “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,” Ratzinger wrote.
If these conversations “have not had their effect,” he added, then “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”
When asked by EWTN under what circumstances Communion can be denied for the sake of the recipient’s soul, Cordileone answered that “private conversations” must first take place “to try to move the person in their conscience.”
The archbishop did not comment on whether he has had private conversations with Pelosi about her stance on abortion, or whether he is considering publicly prohibiting her from receiving Communion.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
In November, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. told a reporter that he would not deny President Joe Biden the reception of Holy Communion, if Biden were to present himself for Communion at Mass. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden pledged his support of taxpayer-funded abortion and promised to codify Roe v. Wade in law.
OnEWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Cordileone emphasized that worthiness to receive Holy Communion is a much broader problem among Catholics than just Catholic politicians who contradict Church teaching.
“We have a bigger problem too, in that so many Catholics don’t even understand the concept of worthiness to receive Communion, right? To be in the state of grace,” he said. “And before COVID, I often questioned how many people just nonchalantly go up to receive Communion when they’re really not supposed to be.”
The archbishop said that intentionally skipping even one Sunday Mass is an example of a serious sin that requires absolution in the confessional before a Catholic is worthy to receive Communion again.
EWTN Pro-Life Weeklyasked Cordileone this week if Pelosi’s support for abortion as a Catholic in public office was scandalous.
Cordileone answered that Pelosi is not only opposing Church teaching, but also is scandalously contradicting “fundamental human rights.”