Since Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco excluded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from obtaining the Eucharist in his diocese on May 20, three more bishops from the conservative side of the Catholic Church have followed since then, citing her public backing for abortion rights as a reason to deny her the sacrament. Watch the news video below:
Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, which borders Cordileone’s archdiocese, barred Pelosi from Communion on the same day that Cordileone determined in a public letter for her “to not be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution.”
“I have visited with the pastor at St Helena and informed him that if the Archbishop prohibited someone from receiving Holy Communion then that restriction followed the person and that the pastor was not free to ignore it,” Vasa said in his statement, per report.
Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington and Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, a well-known conservative firebrand, joined Vasa on Wednesday.
Cordileone, Vasa, Burbidge, and Strickland are among a tiny but vocal number of bishops in the United States who feuded with their peers last summer about whether priests should deny Biden the sacrament because of his support for abortion rights.
Months later, a report on the subject was released, with the main recommendation being that American Catholics be better educated on the significance of the Eucharist.
Vasa cited an item of canon law in his speech Friday that, in his view, “makes it clear that providing sacraments to someone prohibited from receiving them has its own possible penalties.” As per Vasa, a person who willfully administers a sacrament to “those who are prohibited from receiving it” might be “punished with suspension” under canon law.
“Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” according to Canon 915.
Vasa’s reasoning, which defies the widely held assumption that Communion denials are restricted to a single bishop’s diocese, was dismissed by Fr. John Beal, a canon lawyer, and teacher at the Catholic University of America.
In an email, Beal added, “Bishops are rarely punctilious about procedural niceties.”
Burbidge, like Vasa, said on a podcast that he intended to respect Cordileone’s prohibition on Pelosi because “he is her bishop and as that bishop, the direction and guidance he provides is not limited to just a geographical area.”
The Arlington Diocese stated they couldn’t confirm whether Burbidge and Vasa were making the same argument.
As previously reported, Pelosi was barred from receiving communion in San Francisco.
Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was barred from receiving Holy Communion by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. He stated this was due to Pelosi’s opinion on abortion, which highlights the battle between the Catholic Church and liberal Democrats who support abortion.
Cordileone wrote to Pelosi, saying she should not appear or present herself for Holy Communion during Mass and that no priests will give her communion if she tries, per a report.
“A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,’” he says in the letter.
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