- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2022

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received Communion during a papal Mass at the Vatican Wednesday despite her support of abortion contrary to Catholic teaching.

Mrs. Pelosi, who had met earlier with Pope Francis, was observed by two people to have received Communion from a priest at the Mass, The Associated Press reported. Francis presided at the Mass but did not personally distribute Communion at the event, which honored St. Peter and St. Paul.

Mrs. Pelosi’s action comes roughly six weeks after San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a letter that she should not present herself for Communion within the archdiocese.

“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 publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” Archbishop Cordileone wrote in the May 19 letter, a copy of which was posted online by the independent Catholic News Agency.

The Washington Times has contacted the San Francisco Archdiocese for comment on Wednesday’s events in Rome.

The San Francisco cleric’s declaration followed a 2021 effort by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a document codifying rules denying Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians, even though each bishop is authorized to set policy in their diocese.

In November, the bishops approved a document that stopped short of issuing such a blanket rule but provided a basis for individual bishops to do so.

Earlier that autumn, as he returned to Rome from a visit to Slovakia, Francis told reporters Catholic bishops “must minister ‘with compassion and tenderness’” to pro-choice politicians, the AP reported at the time. The pontiff said the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect” but instead is “a gift of the presence of Jesus in the Church.”

In October, following a 90-minute audience with the pontiff, President Biden — himself a pro-choice Catholic — said Francis encouraged him to continue to receive the sacrament.

“We just talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic and … keep receiving Communion,” Mr. Biden said at the time.

A 2021 Pew Research Center poll reported that 67% of U.S. Catholics said the president should be allowed to receive Communion, while 29% opposed his being given the sacrament.

Those percentages varied by party identification, with 55% of Republican or GOP-leaning Catholics in favor of a Communion ban and 11% of Democratic or Democrat-leaning Catholics opposing such a ban.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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