Like a sonic boom that catches everyone by surprise and shakes things up a bit, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone announced that he was banning Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion in San Francisco. In a letter he sent to Pelosi, Cordileone communicated his disappointment that recent efforts to speak with her about her support for abortion, and now for her campaign to codify Roe v. Wade in law, have been ignored. That same letter notified her that, because of her vigorous and unrelenting support for abortion “rights”, she was not to be admitted to Holy Communion on the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Archbishop Cordileone wrote:
“As you have not publically repudiated your position on abortion, and continue to refer to your Catholic faith in justifying your position and to receive Holy Communion, that time has now come. Therefore, in light of my responsibility as the Archbishop of San Francisco to be “concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to [my] care” (Code of Canon Law, can. 383, §1), by means of this communication I am 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 your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.“
While supporters of Pelosi naturally were aghast at Cordileone’s action, and didn’t hesitate to make their dissatisfaction known (the San Francisco Examiner wrote a ridiculous op-ed demanding that Pope Francis remove Abp Cordileone – yeah, that’s not gonna happen!), most devout Catholics honestly wondered why it had taken so long for a bishop – any bishop – to discipline Catholic politicians who persistently support abortion. Happily, a few other bishops from around the country have expressed their support for the archbishop.
I may be speaking too soon, but there seems to be a new breeze blowing in the Church. First, bishops around the world have publicly called on the German Church to embrace orthodoxy in light of the radical demands of the Synodal Assembly. Now, an archbishop disciplines a Catholic politician who supports abortion, and brother bishops have come out publicly to support him. Am I being too optimistic in hoping that these events signal a new willingness for orthodox bishops to speak and act publicly and plainly in defense of the Church’s teachings? I honestly don’t think this would have happened twenty years ago. Bishops were too cautious in not wanting to offend or be seen as stepping on the toes of other bishops by being publicly critical of the actions, inactions, or statements of bishops that confused the faithful by reflecting priorities and teachings other than those of the universal Church. No one who has any awareness of what has been going on in the Church over the last few decades doubts that those who are less committed to the teachings of the Church, those who have been outspoken in demanding that Church teaching be changed to accommodate the modern culture, have essentially had free reign in making public their positions and even teaching them in Catholic schools and universities without consequence. There has been little to no effort at stopping the spread of heresy or moral confusion among the faithful by those in the Church who prefer a vision of the Church frankly counter to what God has revealed to us in Scripture and Tradition. On the contrary, they’ve often been rewarded, lionized, and recognized for their supposed distinguished “service” to the Church by their colleagues in the effort, and even by their pastors and bishops.
Perhaps the tide is turning. I would like to think so. I would like to think that those Catholics who have dedicated their lives to orthodoxy and orthopraxy are finally to be recognized for their devotion and perseverance. Too often shunned by those in the parish who preferred a “pastoral” approach (as if accommodating equals pastoral), it may be that these forgotten faithful will now be able to rightly offer their time and talent along with their treasure in the mission of the Church to present the Gospel to the world in all its true wonder. To speak the truth with passion is what is needed in this present age when many even in the Church are suspicious of both the truth of the faith and passion for the faith. Let the age of accommodation be done. Let a new age of speaking the truth with passion begin.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.