San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone warned pro-abortion Catholic public figures not to receive communion at Mass if they find that they “are unwilling or unable to abandon” their “advocacy for abortion.”
In a lengthy document titled “Before I Formed You In The Womb, I Knew You,” the archbishop examined the implications of high profile Catholics who publicly support abortion. Cordileone did not mention House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Joe Biden, or any other pro-abortion Catholics by name, but the document made clear that priests should deny communion to those Catholics who publicly support abortion.
“If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” the archbishop told Catholic public figures. “To publicly affirm the Catholic faith while at the same time publicly rejecting one of its most fundamental teachings is simply dishonest.”
“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,” Cordileone wrote. “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.”
Pastors have a responsibility to Catholic public figures to “call them to conversion and to warn them that if they do not amend their lives they must answer before the tribunal of God for the innocent blood that has been shed,” Cordileone said.
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The archbishop said that this correction begins with “private conversations between the erring Catholic and his or her parish priest or bishop,” but noted that the “sad truth” is that these private conversations often make no change, “thus leaving it easy for the individual to continue participating fully in the life of the Church” and causing scandal to other Catholics.
“Because we are dealing with public figures and public examples of cooperation in moral evil, this correction can also take the public form of exclusion from the reception of Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote. “When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table. This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it.”
“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,” he added.
Neither Biden nor Pelosi immediately responded to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Archbishop Cordileone’s pastoral letter is a beautiful call for a deeper appreciation of the sacredness of both the Blessed Sacrament and of human life,” Maureen Ferguson, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, said in a statement following the archbishop’s warning. “It is a call for Catholics who are private citizens and those who bear the responsibility of public office, to deepen the reverence with which Holy Communion is received and reverence for the dignity of human life.”
Cordileone’s warning came Saturday, a few days after the Associated Press reported that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will hold a national meeting in June where the bishops will decide whether to tell the president, and other high profile Catholic politicians, not to receive Holy Communion at mass if they continue to publicly advocate for abortion.
“Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, told the AP. “It can create confusion. … How can he say he’s a devout Catholic and he’s doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?”
Biden’s abortion stances prompted a South Carolina Catholic priest to deny Holy Communion to Biden during mass in October 2019.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Father Robert E. More told the Morning News in 2019. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
The former vice president later refused to discuss the incident, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “I’m not going to discuss that, that’s my personal life and I’m not going to get into that at all.”
LifeNews Note: Mary Margaret Olohan writes for Daily Caller. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience.