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WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back Tuesday on the decision by San Francisco's conservative Catholic archbishop to deny her Communion over her support of abortion rights, saying she respects that people have opposing views but not when they impose them on others.
The California Democrat says she comes from a large family with many members who oppose abortion. “I respect people’s views about that. But I don’t respect us foisting it onto others.” Pelosi added, “Our archbishop has been vehemently against LGBTQ rights. In fact he led the way in an initiative on the ballot in California.”
Pelosi made her comments on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” In a letter last week to Pelosi, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said he would refuse her Communion after she vowed to codify into law the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. That legislation passed the House but died last week in the Senate.
Pelosi said women and families need to know this is about more than abortion. “These same people are against contraception, family planning, in vitro fertilization. It’s a blanket thing and they use abortion as the front man for it.”
Cordileone has said he told Pelosi that she must either repudiate her support of abortion rights or stop speaking publicly about her Catholic faith. In a separate letter to church members, he said he had asked several times to meet with Pelosi but that her office didn’t respond or told him she was busy.
“After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote.
Over the past year, Cordileone has been among the most outspoken U.S. bishops advocating that Communion be denied to President Joe Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights.
However, each bishop has authority in his own diocese on this matter, and the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, has affirmed that Biden is welcome to receive the sacrament there.
No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois, who has been denied Communion for years by his Springfield, Illinois, diocese due to his abortion-rights views, voiced support Tuesday for Pelosi. “I still believe that the authorities in the church believe that we have issues that can only be decided by our own conscience and not by some bishop’s conference,” Durbin told reporters.