Well, this is awkward. Self-proclaimed “devout Catholic” Nancy Pelosi appears to be in serious danger of being excommunicated from the Catholic Church over her equally devout support of abortion.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of Pelosi’s home diocese in San Francisco, wrote in a Sunday op-ed for The Washington Post: “You cannot be a good Catholic and support expanding a government-approved right to kill innocent human beings.”
The archbishop then took Pelosi to task for her histrionic comments after the Supreme Court refused to block the Texas “fetal heartbeat” abortion law. Excerpts, as transcribed from WaPo:
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Prominent politicians lost no time in reacting hyperbolically to the Supreme Court’s decision refusing to enjoin Texas’s new law banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. President Biden announced a “whole-of-government effort” to find ways to overcome the Texas measure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denounced the Supreme Court’s refusal as a “cowardly, dark-of-night decision to uphold a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health,” and promised new legal action: “This ban necessitates codifying Roe v. Wade” in federal law.
As a faith leader in the Catholic community, I find it especially disturbing that so many of the politicians on the wrong side of the preeminent human rights issue of our time are self-professed Catholics. This is a perennial challenge for bishops in the United States.
This summer, we provoked an uproar by discussing whether public officials who support abortion should receive the sacrament of the Eucharist. We were accused of inappropriately injecting religion into politics, of butting in where we didn’t belong.
In the op-ed, titled Our duty to challenge Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, Cordileone said, “This summer, we provoked an uproar by discussing whether public officials who support abortion should receive the sacrament of the Eucharist. We were accused of inappropriately injecting religion into politics, of butting in where we didn’t belong.” (Spoiler: beatdown coming.)
I see matters differently. When considering what duties Catholic bishops have with respect to prominent laymen in public life who openly oppose church teachings on abortion, I look to this country’s last great human rights movement — still within my living memory — for inspiration on how we should respond.
The example of New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel, who courageously confronted the evils of racism, is one that I especially admire. Rummel did not “stay in his lane.”
Unlike several other bishops throughout this country’s history, he did not prioritize keeping parishioners and the public happy above advancing racial justice. Instead, he began a long, patient campaign of moral suasion to change the opinions of pro-segregation White Catholics.
Rummel did not just wage a patient campaign, Cordileone noted, he pressed hard on individuals he knew who supported policies of segregation, “closed a church for refusing to accept a black priest,” desegregated New Orleans Catholic schools, and when confronted about his decision, “patiently sent letters urging a conversion of heart.”
When his patience failed, Cordileone wrote, Rummel threatened excommunication, eventually following through, “excommunicating a former judge, a well-known writer, and a segregationist community organizer.”
“Two of the three later repented and died Catholics in good standing, Cordileone added.
“In our own time,” the archbishop continued, getting back to abortion:
[W]hat could be a more egregious “denial of the unity and solidarity of the human race” than abortion? Abortion kills a unique, irreplaceable human being growing in his or her mother’s womb. Everyone who advocates for abortion, in public or private life, who funds it or who presents it as a legitimate choice participates in a great moral evil.
I don’t want to rain on the archbishop’s parade, but Nancy Pelosi “repenting” for her staunch support of abortion? That would be a miracle, all but assuring Cordileone’s eventual beatification and ultimate canonization as a saint [sarc]. I mean, we’re talking about a defiant-as-hell she-devil woman who — with all seriousness — refers to late-term abortion as “sacred ground.”
And if Nancy Pelosi and other prominent politicians continue to support abortion?
If their participation in the evil of abortion is not addressed forthrightly by their pastors, this can lead Catholics (and others) to assume that the moral teaching of the Catholic Church on the inviolate sanctity of human life is not seriously held.
The constant teaching of the Catholic Church from her very beginning, the repeated exhortations of every Pope in recent times up to and including Pope Francis, the frequent statements by the bishops of the United States, all make it clear what the teaching of the Catholic Church is in regard to abortion.
Archbishop Cordileone was hardly the first — nor even the most prominent — senior Catholic official to take Nancy Pelosi to task over her steadfast support of abortion.
In February 2009, as reported by Reuters at the time, then-Pope Benedict told Pelosi in a Vatican meeting that Catholic politicians and legislators cannot back abortion rights. A statement from the Vatican on the meeting read, in part, as transcribed by Reuters:
His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural and moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.
[Such teaching] enjoins all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men of goodwill in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.
incidentally, Pelosi had previously kissed Benedict’s ring, during the Pope’s arrival ceremony on the south lawn of the White House in April 2008.
The bottom line.
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? What’s going on, here? With Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s continuing, no-longer-veiled threats to excommunicate Nancy Pelosi? Is he bluffing, praying, and hoping she’ll eventually “repent,” and cast aside her in-your-face, staunch as hell, devout support for on-demand, government-funded (taxpayer-funded) abortion, including the despicable practice of late-term abortion?
If so, as I suggested above, the archbishop is going to be sorely disappointed.
Or, given his reference to former New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel and Rummel’s follow-through on his threat to excommunicate prominent public figures of his time, is Cordileone honestly threatening to follow through with Pelosi, if all else fails?
Then again, the sometimes –ahem — “confused” House Speaker is a frail 81-years-old, and could probably outrun the clock on the archbishop. Not that she’d try, of course [wink-wink].
What are your thoughts, RedStaters?