Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said Catholic politicians may be denied Communion when they persist in supporting the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
In a pastoral letter published Saturday, Cordileone said these politicians are causing scandal for the Catholic Church, and denying Communion may be “the only recourse a pastor has left,” according to the Catholic News Service.
“When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table,” Cordileone wrote. “This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it.”
The archbishop did not mention any politicians or political parties by name in his letter, but it is timely. Catholic Church leaders are debating whether President Joe Biden, a radical pro-abortion Democrat who professes to be a devout Catholic, should continue to be allowed to participate in the Eucharist. One of Cordileone’s parishioners, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also supports abortion on demand while professing to be a strong Catholic.
“Those who reject the teaching of the church on the sanctity of human life and those who do not seek to live in accordance with that teaching should not receive the Eucharist,” Cordileone responded in his letter, “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You: A Pastoral Letter on the Human Dignity of the Unborn, Holy Communion and Catholics in Public Life.”
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Quoting Ezekiel 33:8, the archbishop said Catholic leaders have a duty to call out wickedness or else be held responsible along with those who persist in sinning.
“I tremble that if I do not forthrightly challenge Catholics under my pastoral care who advocate for abortion, both they and I will have to answer to God for innocent blood,” Cordileone continued.
One section of his letter specifically addressed the problem of Catholic public figures who promote the killing of unborn babies in abortions. First, he said these public figures should be confronted privately, corrected and urged to repent; but those who stubbornly persist in evil may be denied Communion.
He referred to 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, which states: “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
Cordileone said everyone sins, but “there is a great difference between struggling to live according to the teachings of the Church and rejecting those teachings.”
He emphasized that abortion is a grave moral evil because it destroys the most basic of all human rights, the right to life, and he urged Catholic public officials to use their leadership positions to protect life instead.
“Please stop the killing,” the archbishop continued. “And please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil — one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right — is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith. It is not.”
“Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith. We await you with open arms to welcome you back,” he continued.
Cordileone also welcomed women who have had abortions to come to God, repent and be healed.
“God loves you. We love you. God wants you to heal, and so do we, and we have the resources to help you,” he wrote.
Cordileone and other Catholic leaders have been speaking out against prominent Catholic politicians like Pelosi and Biden because of their support for the killing of unborn babies.
Though Biden professes to be a devout Catholic, he openly defies church teachings about the sanctity of human life. After just 100 days in office, he already surpassed President Barack Obama as the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history by ending safety regulations that protect mothers and unborn babies from abortion and forcing taxpayers to fund the billion-dollar abortion industry.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been grappling with the issue for months as Biden persists in describing himself as a devout Catholic while supporting the “grave moral evil” of abortion.
At their June meeting, the bishops are scheduled to vote on a document from their Committee on Doctrine “with the aim of clarifying the church’s stance” on pro-abortion politicians and Communion, the Associated Press reports.