San Francisco's Catholic archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, has said U.S, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may no longer receive the holy sacrament of Communion in the archdiocese, because she supports abortion rights, but she did not immediately comment.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in an open letter addressed to Pelosi and in another directed toward "the faithful" said that "Pelosi's position on abortion has become only more extreme over the years, especially in the last few months."
"After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion," Cordileone tweeted on May 20.
"Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi's position on abortion has become only more extreme over the years, especially in the last few months," said the archbishop.
"Just earlier this month she once again, as she has many times before, explicitly cited her Catholic faith while justifying abortion as a 'choice,' this time setting herself in direct opposition to Pope Francis."
"I have accordingly sent her a Notification to this effect, which I have now made public," he noted.
In a separate letter to Pelosi, Cordileone ordered her "not to present yourself for Holy Communion" and warned that if she does, she will not be given the sacrament.
The Washington Post commented: "The edict from Cordileone, one of the country's most conservative Catholic leaders, represents an extraordinary rebuke of Pelosi's Catholic faith, which the 82-year-old speaker frequently invokes when discussing her family, her policies and her politics."
The archbishop said he sent Pelosi a private letter in April, warning that he would bar her from communion unless she publicly repudiated her support for abortion rights or stopped referring to her Catholic faith in public, Premier Christian News reported.
Cordileone highlighted comments Pelosi made to the Seattle Times editorial board this month, citing her Catholic faith and support for abortion rights, then said: "They say to me, 'Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the Pope.' Yes I do. Are you stupid?"
In his letter to the faithful, Cordileone wrote that "my action here is purely pastoral, not political."
"Speaker Pelosi remains our sister in Christ," the archbishop wrote. "Her advocacy for the care of the poor and vulnerable elicits my admiration."
The New York Times reported that a spokesman for Pelosi, a practicing Catholic who often mentions her faith in advocating for her progressive views, did not respond to a request for comment.
"In a 2008 with C-SPAN Ms. Pelosi described herself as a 'regular communicant' and said that if she were ever denied communion, 'that would be a severe blow to me.'"