Archbishop Cordileone shows his love for the Church, the Eucharist and the soul of a lost sheep | National Catholic Registry

On May 20, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco sent a letter to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and a resident of the city, informing her that “you do not have to present yourself for Holy Communion”. and, if you do so, you will not be admitted to Holy Communion, until you publicly repudiate your plea for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution for this grave sin in the sacrament. of Penance.

The letter was the result of many years of failed pastoral efforts by Archbishop Cordileone to persuade President Pelosi of the error and immorality of her support for abortion. It was also a direct result of his refusing various requests to discuss one-on-one his recent attempt to codify the Supreme Court ruling. Roe vs. Wade ruling in federal law, as well as her failure to respond to her April 7, 2022 letter warning her that unless she publicly rejects her abortion advocacy or refrains from referring to her faith Catholic in public and to receive Holy Communion, he would have to issue such a decree in accordance with Church law.

Those who “willfully persevere in manifest grave sin”, says canon 915, “should not be admitted to Holy Communion”, and President Pelosi’s persistent public support for the intentional murder of unborn human beings, despite corrected privately by his archbishop, certainly meets the canonical description.

Bishop Cordileone – who says he finds “no pleasure in accomplishing [his] pastoral duty here” – simply doing its job, for the sake of President Pelosi’s soul and to remedy the outrage and confusion her actions are causing regarding the evil of abortion and the worthy reception of the Holy Communion.

Despite the lucidity of canon 915 and a 2004 letter to the American bishops by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) applying it to the situation of abortion and euthanasia, most American bishops have been reluctant to apply the barrel. They preferred to emphasize canon 916, which says that a person aware of a grave sin should not receive communion without prior sacramental confession.

In their November 2021 document, The mystery of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, for example, the American bishops have reiterated: “If a Catholic, in his or her personal or professional life, knowingly and willfully rejects the definite doctrines of the Church, or…repudiates its definitive teaching on moral questions…he or she should abstain” from receiving Holy Communion (48).

But what happens when someone – despite the precision of Church teaching on abortion and the norm that those who consciously and stubbornly reject Church teaching on abortion should abstain from receiving Holy Communion – come to receive anyway? What happens when a bishop meets with a member of his flock to discuss the incongruity of the person’s public actions and commands the person to abstain, but the person defies the instruction?

The U.S. Bishops, in their November Pastoral, say it “is the particular responsibility of the diocesan bishop to work to remedy situations that involve public actions contrary to the visible communion of the Church and the moral law “, which Bishop Cordileone sought to do with President Pelosi, unfortunately in vain. The U.S. bishops did not state unambiguously, in accordance with canon 915 and Ratzinger’s 2004 letter, that the bishop must refuse, but they did say that the diocesan bishop in question has a responsibility to “keep the integrity of the sacrament, the visible communion of the Church and the salvation of souls” (49).

The integrity of the Eucharist is at stake when those who persist outrageously and uncompromisingly in grave public sin, such as support for abortion, continue to receive in a sacrilegious manner. Moreover, the Church’s visible communion is fractured when those who consciously separate themselves from what Saint Justin Martyr in the 2nd century described as doctrinal, sacramental, and moral communion nevertheless claim they are in communion. And the salvation of souls is at stake when people live and die in a situation of grave unabsolved sin, rejecting communion with the truth of the faith on abortion and with the love of our least made neighbours. picture of Christ.

Those who consume the Eucharist in a state of sin, says St Paul, “must answer for the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27) and, as St Thomas Aquinas warns in Lauda Zion, “Good and bad, the party is shared, of what various destinies prepare: endless death or endless life. That’s what’s at stake.

Many bishops and faithful are hesitant, for various reasons, to publicly support Bishop Cordileone’s decision. The biggest problem, they say, is getting people back to Mass and Communion, and it is counterproductive to focus on denying Holy Communion to those who still attend. They fear that by remedying the scandal caused by a pro-abortion politician, the Church will cause a greater scandal by giving the impression that the Church allows the Eucharist to be manipulated for partisan political ends, or by discouraging those who disagree with the teachings of the Church of believing that they are still valued members of the family. Some note, further, that because some parishes are effectively pro-abortion, and those in President Pelosi’s situation will still receive Holy Communion somewhere, such a decree, rather than strengthening visible communion, could undermine it. .

But even if people are uncomfortable and distanced themselves from Archbishop Cordileone’s direct application of canon law and its potential consequences, the unambiguous message from the Church – prelates and faithful – should be a resounding : “Speaker Pelosi should absolutely not receive communion”. The document of the American bishops, which was adopted 222-8 last November, and canon 916, show this very clearly.

When a bishop, or a prominent Catholic voice, distances himself from the action of Bishop Cordileone, without simultaneously emphasizing, “but we all agree that she should not receive Holy Communion”, such action can only suggest by omission – shockingly – that President Pelosi, despite his stubborn advocacy for abortion, is doing well to receive Holy Communion.

Some prelates have declared that they would never refuse Holy Communion to anyone, including those who persist in committing manifest grave sin. Such a statement suggests they wouldn’t turn down a busy abortionist who just finished a full Saturday, a Satan worshiper wanting to steal Communion for a sacrilegious ritual, a mobster or a serial killer at school trying to entertain with blood dripping from his hands, a Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard wearing his hood, a human trafficker clutching his teenage victim, an avowed militant atheist or non-Christian with no idea what is – or better who – the Eucharist.

Never refusing anyone Holy Communion is equivalent to the Blessed Mother never refusing to give the Child Jesus to anyone, including Herod’s minions. This is the opposite spirituality of Saint Tarcisius, who gave his life to protect the Blessed Sacrament from teenage gang members wanting to desecrate it. Such a failure is not a badge of honor, but a cowardly failure of eucharistic stewardship and love for Jesus in his extreme eucharistic vulnerability.

Other critics claim that abortion isn’t the only serious issue and that President Pelosi isn’t the only outrageous figure violating canon 915. Both are true. But such a fantasy proves rather than undermines the importance of Bishop Cordileone’s action: the path to remedying other such scandals, after all, has to start somewhere.

Others who have criticized Bishop Cordileone’s action have quoted the words of Pope Francis that the Eucharist is not a “prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (Joy of the Gospel, 47). The American bishops point out in their recent document, however, that the “weak” refer to those who have venial and not mortal sins (45). Pope Francis himself has regularly distinguished “sinners” from “corrupt”. Sinners, he says, are those who recognize they have been wrong and humbly approach God’s mercy. The corrupt, on the other hand, are “solidified in sin”, “varnished putrefaction” refusing to acknowledge that they have sinned. Those who stubbornly persevere in manifest grave sin are, in Pope Francis’ terminology, “corrupt,” not weak. They are not beyond God’s mercy, but they must first recognize that and why they need it.

That’s what Archbishop Cordileone is trying to do with President Pelosi. And in his concern for the integrity of the sacrament, the communion of the Church, and the salvation of President Pelosi, he deserves the prayers and full support of the Church.

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