Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco released a statement Monday reaffirming abortion as immoral and counter to Catholic doctrine days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents a San Francisco district, praised a Vatican call for dialogue on the issue.
Pelosi told the Catholic News agency EWTN last week she was “pleased” with a letter Vatican authorities sent to U.S. bishops warning them to be careful about the topic of offering communion to pro-abortion politicians within the church. Abortion is a mortal sin that Catholic doctrine teaches keeps one from Holy Communion without repentance.
The letter told U.S. bishops to steer clear of public controversy, and keep the issue a local matter between politicians and their own faith leaders. Pelosi characterized the letter as the Vatican merely telling Americans bishops “don’t be divisive on the subject” after two liberal bishops planned to ask the Vatican to clarify its doctrine on the topic.
“We must never lose sight of this fact: in the last 50 years, in the United States alone, 66,000,000 babies have been murdered in their mothers’ wombs,” Cordileone wrote, going on to praise Pelosi for celebrating a letter that also advised bishops to adhere to another letter by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2004 outlining the process for dialogue. That process culminates in church officials explaining to pro-abortion politicians they must be denied communion.
In his letter, Ratzinger confirmed that consistently advocating for abortion and euthanasia constitutes formal cooperation in grave sin, and that bishops must dialogue with Catholics prominent in public life who do so in order to help them understand the grave evil they are helping to perpetuate and accompany them to change of heart. He goes on to say in that letter that, if these dialogues prove to be fruitless, then, out of respect for the Catholic belief of what it means to receive Holy Communion, the bishop must declare that the individual is not admitted to Communion. Speaker’s Pelosi’s positive reaction to Cardinal Ladaria’s letter, then, raises hope that progress can be made in this most serious matter.
The statement arrived on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court revealed it would hear a case with the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, two landmark decisions that have kept the door open for legalized abortion since 1973.