On Thursday, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone formally notified Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, of the consequences under Church law of her support for codifying Roe v. Wade into law:
you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publically repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.
The Notification (full text) also says in part:
The Second Vatican Council, in its Decree on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes, reiterated the Church’s ancient and consistent teaching that “from the first moment of conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes”….
… A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others….
The Archbishop also sent a lengthy Letter to the Faithful (full text) explaining his action, saying in part:
Please know that I find no pleasure whatsoever in fulfilling my pastoral duty here. Speaker Pelosi remains our sister in Christ. Her advocacy for the care of the poor and vulnerable elicits my admiration. I assure you that my action here is purely pastoral, not political.
He also sent a Letter to the Priests of the Archdiocese (full text) explaining the Canon Law basis of his decision and giving them further background. It reads in part:
Canon 915 is found in Book IV of the Code of Canon Law, which has to do with the Sanctifying Office of the Church. It is not in Book VI, which is the Church’s legislation on penal law. Thus, this is not a sanction, or a penalty, but rather a declaration of fact: the Speaker is “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” (canon 915). A sanction, on the other hand, such as excommunication, has its own particular process and reasons for being applied. This is quite distinct from the application of canon 915….
Let us not fool ourselves: this is, essentially, a spiritual battle. It is not poetic rhetoric to call the proliferation of abortion demonic. The prophets of old excoriated the people of Israel when they passed over to the worship of Moloch, sacrificing their children to this pagan idol (cf. Lev 18:21; Lev 20:2; Ps 106:37-38). Recall that in the biblical mentality, pagan idols are synonymous with demons. It should come as no surprise, then, that the first one to challenge the Texas heartbeat law was the Satanic Temple, and precisely on the grounds of denial of religious freedom: they need abortion to carry out their rituals….
In closing, allow me to observe that what we are facing in this particular moment of history is a powerful reminder to us that the Priesthood is not for the faint-hearted. Of course, it never was. But for a long time, up until recently, we lived in a society that allowed us to imagine that it was. Let us not fool ourselves any longer.
NPR reports on the Archbishop’s action.