Four more Catholic bishops have backed the May 20 decision by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco to deny communion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her stance on abortion, the New York Post reports.
Pelosi's congressional district includes parts of San Francisco, and Cordileone wrote to her 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."
Cordileone was prompted to take the action by Pelosi's reaction to a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion suggesting that the court will be overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
In a "Dear Colleague" letter, Pelosi said that once Roe v. Wade is overturned, Republicans will "take aim at additional basic human rights," adding that "Democrats believe that a woman’s health decisions are her own — and we will fight relentlessly to enshrine Roe v. Wade as the law of the land."
Portland, Oregon, Archbishop Alexander Sample on Friday posted a video to Facebook backing the withholding of communion from the speaker, saying, "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.
"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," Sample said. "That’s why what Archbishop Cordileone did was the right thing."
Bishop Robert Vasa of the Communion in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, which borders Cordileone’s, barred Pelosi from communion on the same day that Cordileone sent his letter, the Post reported, and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington, Va., and Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas also barred her.
Vasa said 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 archbishops have previously backed Cordileone’s letter, but it was unclear if they were saying they would actually follow through with denying her communion.
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