Catholic Archbishop Alexander Sample urged “personally pro-life” and abortion-supporting Catholics to recognize the significance of communion and the grave moral evil of abortion in a column this week at the National Catholic Register.
Sample, who serves the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, said a lot of people have been asking him about the recent decision by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to deny communion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because of her continued and unrepentant pro-abortion actions.
He said Cordileone’s decision was the “right thing to do” and he acted out of love for Pelosi.
Many do not view Cordileone’s actions that way, however, including Catholics who are “personally opposed” to abortion but don’t want to impose their “beliefs on others — or those … who identify as faithful Catholics but who are in support of abortion rights,” Sample said.
To recognize Cordileone’s actions as motivated by love, Sample said people need to understand the significance of communion itself as well as the grave evil of abortion.
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He said the Catholic Church believes “the Eucharist is the literal, real, true body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. The Real Presence of God Himself. The holiest of everything that is holy. And that to receive Communion is to join in unity — in common union — with Jesus, and through him, it is you joining in real union with the Church, her teachings, and with other Catholics.”
Sample warned Catholics against underestimating the “grave significance” of communion, continuing, “It’s spiritually dangerous to approach the awesome power of God in Holy Communion with anything less than the respect it demands.”
That respect includes the repentance and confession of sin – something Pelosi repeatedly has refused to do, despite claiming to be a devout Catholic. Cordileone, in his May 20 announcement about the Democrat leader, said he made repeated attempts to speak with Pelosi about her pro-abortion actions and urged her to repent, but she refused.
Sample said the church has been clear that killing unborn babies in abortions is a grave evil that cannot be supported.
“The Church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave evil. And that public advocacy for, and support of, abortion is — objectively speaking — such a manifest grave sin,” he said.
“What Archbishop Cordileone did was, therefore, actually an act of pastoral love and care for Speaker Pelosi, and for all those entrusted to his pastoral care who might have been led astray by her public support of the evil of abortion,” Sample concluded.
Pelosi professes to be a devout Catholic and frequently brings up her faith while pushing her political agenda, but she supports the killing of unborn babies in abortions up to birth and wants to force taxpayers to pay for their deaths.
In May, Cordileone, the archbishop of Pelosi’s home diocese, formally notified her that she may not receive communion unless she repents of her radical pro-abortion actions.
“After numerous attempts to speak with her 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 the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance,” the archbishop said in his announcement.
Since then, a number of bishops have voiced their support for Cordileone’s decision.
Pelosi has sparred with her archbishop numerous times over abortion in recent years.
Under her leadership, the U.S. House passed a radical pro-abortion bill that would legalize abortions for basically any reason up to birth nation-wide even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, force Catholic hospitals and pro-life medical workers to participate in the killing of unborn babies and force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions.
At the time, Cordileone said the legislation amounts to “child sacrifice” and chastised Catholic politicians who support it. He said the bill is what “one would expect from a devout Satanist, not a devout Catholic.”
A few days later, Pelosi laughed at the archbishop’s statement at a press conference, saying she and Cordileone “have a disagreement about who should decide this.”
Cordileone said Pelosi’s continuous refusal to repent, her increasingly extreme pro-abortion actions and her public contempt for even Pope Francis’s pro-life teachings prompted him to act. He urged people to pray for her to have a change of heart.
Many U.S. bishops and priests have expressed concerns that pro-abortion Catholic politicians like Pelosi and President Joe Biden are “creating scandal” for the Catholic Church by encouraging evil. They have said the church must do something to make it clear that Catholics cannot support the killing of unborn babies in abortions and must repent before participating in communion.