Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the diocese of Arlington said he will withhold holy communion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, making his the fourth diocese to take action over her abortion advocacy.
Bishop Burbidge said Wednesday he would respect the ban imposed May 20 by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, who informed the House Democratic leader that she should not present herself for the Eucharist until she publicly repudiates her longtime support for abortion rights.
“He is her bishop and as that bishop, the direction and guidance he provides is not limited to just a geographical area,” Bishop Burbidge said on his diocese’s Walk Humbly podcast, as reported by the Arlington Catholic Herald.
He said such matters are “moral and they’re spiritual,” not political.
“They’re the result of prayer and discernment,” Bishop Burbidge said. “I can’t say it enough, [these] decisions are made for the good of individuals, to guard the faithful from scandal.”
Bishop Burbidge becomes at least the third Catholic bishop to line up behind last week’s decision by Archbishop Cordileone.
Bishops Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, and Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, California, have said they will also withhold communion until she repents of her pro-choice support.
Mrs. Pelosi, a self-professed devout Catholic, defied the decision by taking communion during Mass on May 22 at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown, which she regularly attends while Congress is in session, according to Politico.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington said in November 2020 that he would not deny the sacrament to Joseph R. Biden shortly after the pro-choice Democrat won the presidential election.
Mrs. Pelosi stood by her pro-choice stand after Archbishop Cordileone’s announcement.
“We have to be prayerful. We have to be respectful. I come from a largely pro-life, Italian-American Catholic family, so I respect people’s views about that. But I don’t respect us foisting it onto others,” Mrs. Pelosi said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
In his notice to Mrs. Pelosi, Archbishop Cordileone said he was “hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publically repudiate our advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.”