On Wednesday June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles – the two pillars of the Roman Church – Pope Francis presided over a Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome during which he presented their pallium to the 44 new metropolitan archbishops, as tradition dictates. Among the lucky wearers of the fine white woolen scarf, four Frenchmen raised to this dignity in recent months: Mgr Guy de Kerimel (Toulouse), Mgr Antoine Hérouard (Dijon), Mgr Laurent Ulrich (Paris) and Mgr Jean-Paul Vesco ( Alger).
In the audience was a noted Catholic faithful: the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. On a visit to Rome where she was received by Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Tuesday June 28, the speaker was able to take communion during the mass in Saint-Pierre, according to the American Catholic magazine Crux, which cites several sources who witnessed the scene. And this while the elected, figurehead of the Democratic Party, was denied access to the sacrament of the Eucharist in the diocese of San Francisco, where his constituency is located.
“War of Communion”
Nancy Pelosi is indeed one of the main targets of the “war of communion” led by certain American bishops against political leaders of the Catholic faith who, in their eyes, are guilty of supporting the right to abortion.
In a letter dated May 19, the archbishop of San Francisco, Msgr. Salvatore Cordileone, had formally forbidden his priests to administer the sacrament of the Eucharist to him.
“After many attempts to speak with President Pelosi to help her understand the grave wrong she is doing, the outrage she is causing, the danger she is risking to her own soul, I have decided that she should not be admitted to Holy Communion,” he explained on Twitter.
The archbishop reproaches the speaker for having made the commitment to engrave in stone of American federal law the content of the judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States “Roe vs. Wade” which established the right to abortion in 1973, so that it is not subject to the vagaries of a change in case law, which in fact took place on Friday 24 June.
Joe Biden too
Therefore, Bishop Cordileone banned her from communion until she publicly recanted, confessed and received “the absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of penance”. Nancy Pelosi had replied by indicating that she came from a family whose many members were opposed to women’s access to voluntary termination of pregnancy and that, if she respected “People’s opinion about it”, she did not accept “not the fact that we impose it on others”.
In his letter to Nancy Pelosi, Bishop Cordileone summoned the constant teaching against abortion of Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.
The latter, however, has never advocated the refusal of communion for policies supporting the right to abortion. Received in October 2021 by Francis at the Vatican, Joe Biden commented on their meeting as follows: “We just talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic and that I should continue to take communion. » The next day, the President of the United States received communion at Saint Patrick’s Church, the main place of worship for the American Catholic community in Rome.
Cordileone not present in Rome
At Saint-Pierre, however, Nancy Pelosi did not receive the host from the hands of the pope, but from one of the many priests present. “We don’t know if the priest knew who she is,” commented Crux.
The Archbishop of San Francisco, who was awarded his pallium in 2013, was not present in Rome on Wednesday June 29. At the same time, he was hosting a much-talked-about liturgy conference in California, offering sponsorship deals ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.