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The apocalyptic warning sent to Speaker Pelosi

Archbishop denies her right to Holy Communion because of support for abortion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

The apocalyptic warning sent to Speaker Pelosi
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In a stunning development, Salvatore J. Cordileone, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has denied Nancy Pelosi standing to take Holy Communion. As clearly outlined in the archbishop’s pastoral letter and an ensuing interview with America magazine, the current speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is barred from partaking in the sacrament from the Roman Catholic Church “until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.”

Up until this point, Pelosi has boasted about her Catholic identity while also strenuously advocating for abortion. Those days are gone. She is no longer a member in good standing. She is under church discipline, instituted by duly appointed pastoral authority. This is right and good. For too long, politicians have had a free hand to repudiate truth while claiming a religious identity.

Pro-lifers of all religious stripes likely uttered, “It’s about time.” Pelosi is one of several prominent Catholic politicians who tout their faith while also countenancing and even promoting the legalized murder of the unborn. Not only is abortion one of the most grievous social evils of contemporary America, but it also flies in the face of clear, explicit, ancient Catholic teaching, which finds its roots in Scripture, Christian tradition, and natural law. What results from this contradictory behavior?

Such behavior is defined in Catholic moral teaching as scandal—a harmful confusion that results when a member publicly embraces and maintains a pattern of unrepentant sin while at the same time partaking of Holy Communion. The Scriptures are exceptionally clear that such scandal must be remedied by repentance, confession, and reconciliation (even though Protestant Christians will disagree with how this is practiced by Roman Catholics). And believers that refuse an exhortation to repent that is grounded in God’s truth and declared by the church’s pastors must not be allowed to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Instead, they must suffer a break in fellowship.

Speaker Pelosi and other lawmakers must now either renounce their Catholic faith or repent. Their real religion will be revealed in this decision.

This discipline may end up being permanent, but the hope and prayer are that the sinner would come to a better mind and return, just like the prodigal son. If pastors neglect this duty, the world attributes hypocritical unaccountability to God’s people even while other Christians are tempted to think that sin is trivial. They soon justify their own pet evils while renouncing penitence. Church becomes a matter of empty, dead ritual. The scandalous sinner, in partaking of the Lord’s Supper unworthily, also risks divine chastisement, as 1 Corinthians 11 warns. Scandal hurts the world and the faithful, dishonoring Christ’s name. It is our holiness that should separate us from the world. One way that holy distinction manifests is in the ethics we adopt.

Apparently, Archbishop Cordileone has been trying to persuade Speaker Pelosi to repent for many years. Now, a sheep under his care is shrilly championing the codification of Roe v. Wade into federal law. The archbishop responded by exercising his ecclesial office.

Notably, the potential striking of Roe means that dithering Catholic politicians are going to have to make a stand, one way or another. They can no longer pass the moral buck on to a Supreme Court decision that erroneously found a right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution. If the abortion issue fully returns to the state legislatures of this country, Catholic officeholders are going to have to vote.

Archbishop Cordileone has instigated an unveiling of truth—in other words, a good old-fashioned apocalypse. Speaker Pelosi and other lawmakers must now either renounce their Catholic faith or repent. Their real religion will be revealed in this decision. Similarly, we shall discover who simply offered lip service to the pro-life cause and who meant it, both in civil government and in the church’s rolls. Politicians may end up finding membership at faithful churches and clear religious identity is too costly, and either openly abandon faith altogether or join theologically liberal bodies. There will be church members who complain about “pushing out” high-profile elite members and find offense at the loss of social status, revealing they fear man more than God.

True loyalties will be unveiled. Even though we may complain about his slow timing and hesitance, Archbishop Cordileone has presented a model of courage. He exercised his episcopal authority and ministry. The ball is now in Nancy Pelosi’s court. Will she renounce murder and stand up for innocent life as her Lord requires of her?

Barton J. Gingerich

The Rev. Barton J. Gingerich is the rector of St. Jude’s Anglican Church (REC) in Richmond, Va. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Patrick Henry College and a Master of Divinity with a concentration in historical theology from Reformed Episcopal Seminary.

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