Refused to take communion at home, Pelosi receives her at the Vatican
Pope Francis greets Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the Vatican on June 29, 2022.
Photo: VATICAN MEDIA HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Over the past year, as it became clear that the Supreme Court was poised to strike down abortion rights, a group of conservative Catholic bishops sought to exclude pro-choice American politicians from the central sacrament of the Church, the Holy Eucharist (i.e. Communion). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has emerged as the main object lesson after efforts to deny the President of the United States access to the sacrament failed. On May 20, the archbishop of Pelosi’s hometown of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, publicly barred him from receiving communion at any of the churches he oversees. Subsequently, three more bishops — in Santa Rosa, Calif., Arlington, Virginia, and Tyler, Texas — joined the ban, in case Pelosi thought going to Mass outside San Francisco would produce a different outcome.
When all of this happened, the eminent Catholic chronicler Michael Sean Winters recommended appealing to a higher authority:
Cordileone is an archbishop’s bomb thrower and he threw a bomb well. But the real damage will not be done to the halls of government. The real damage will be done – is being done – to the Catholic Church. For this reason, I hope Pelosi will appeal his edict to the Holy See.
And that’s what she did, at least implicitly, by attending a papal mass at the Vatican on Wednesday. The Speaker of the House was duly offered the Eucharist, as the Washington Job reports:
During Mass at the Vatican on Wednesday, it was not Francis, 85, who personally handed the host to Pelosi, as his active participation in Masses is increasingly limited by a knee condition that is hampering him. often requires the use of a wheelchair. Prior to Mass, Pelosi had a greeting with the Pope where she received a blessing, according to an attendee.
She would have been in Rome for a family vacation.
Although the Vatican has not commented on Pelosi’s attendance at the Mass, there is no doubt that it was a very direct repudiation of the conservative bishops. Pope Francis made it clear last October, after granting a private audience to President Biden, that he was not in favor of weaponizing the Eucharist in political battles, even over abortion, that the Church always condemns unconditionally. He told the president that he was “a good Catholic” and that he should continue to take communion. And Francis continued to repeatedly insist that the Eucharist is an instrument of healing and unity, not a reward for good behavior. It seems that the timing of Pelosi’s presence at the Vatican may not have been entirely coincidental, the Job Remarks:
Pelosi’s communion can hardly be considered an oversight. It came on the day Francis issued an apostolic letter extolling the virtues of the Mass, reminding his church how such a celebration belongs to “the totality of the faithful united in Christ.”
“The liturgy does not say ‘I’ but ‘we’,” Francis writes in his letter, “and any limitation of the scope of this ‘we’ is always demonic.”
Francis’ handling of this controversy is consistent with the Vatican’s reaction to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationwhich was far from triumphalist and in fact featured pointed challenges to conservative politicians celebrating the decision, such as Jesuit Magazine America reported:
A true pro-life celebration of the overturning of the US Supreme Court decision deer v. Wade would lead to cooperative efforts to pass legislation protecting life, women’s rights and maternity, said an editorial in Vatican News and L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
These efforts should include finding ways to protect maternal health and reduce maternal mortality, helping poor women, providing or expanding paid family leave, and controlling access to firearms in the country, said the article written by Andrea Tornielli, editorial director of the Vatican Dicastery. for communications.
Thus, the intra-Catholic maneuvers on the intersection of politics and religion continue. It’s not a simple picture, but it’s increasingly clear that the current pope will not endorse the use of the sacraments to score political points.