- The Washington Times - Friday, May 14, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scoffed this week when asked about the possibility that a priest would deny her Holy Communion.

The California Democrat, for all intents and purposes, told a reporter that “divisive” priests have no authority to deny her the Eucharist due to pro-abortion politics.

“The U.S. Archbishops and the Bishops Conference doesn’t want you to receive Communion,” a reporter said Thursday. “Your remarks on that?”

“No, they don’t. No,” Ms. Pelosi replied, Catholic News Agency reported. “I think I can use my own judgment on that.”

Mrs. Pelosi then said she was “pleased” with a recent letter by the Vatican to bishops regarding Communion and pro-abortion politicians, which urged U.S. bishops to present a unified front regarding “a national policy on worthiness for Communion.” 

The letter came in the wake of calls by the archbishop of San Francisco, Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, to deny unrepentant pro-abortion politicians Communion. 

“Did you read that [letter]?” Mrs. Pelosi asked the reporter.

“It’ll be up to the individual priest,” the reporter replied.

“No,” the Democrat countered. “It basically says, ‘don’t be divisive on the subject.’”

Both statements, however, are true.

Under Church teaching, Catholic priests have the authority — and the responsibility — to deny the Eucharist to any parishioner known to be consciously living in a state of grave sin.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reiterates as much on its website.

“A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession,” the USCCB states.

Archbishop Cordileone’s letter explicitly stated that pro-abortion politicians can not call their public advocacy of a grave sin a “private matter.” 

“In the case of public figures who profess to be Catholic and promote abortion, we are not dealing with a sin committed in human weakness or a moral lapse: this is a matter of persistent, obdurate, and public rejection of Catholic teaching,” the archbishop wrote on May 1.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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