Abortion-communion controversy: Pope Francis elevates bishop who defended pro-choice politicians in service

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Pope Francis on Sunday nominated Bishop of San Diego Robert W. McElroy, a Roman Catholic leader who had spoken out against calls for bishops to exclude pro-choice politicians like President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Holy Communion for their positions on abortion.

The move comes following the announcement by the Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone earlier this month that he prevent Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion because of its position on abortion. In nominating McElroy, Francis ignored Cordileone, who holds a higher rank.

McElroy, one of 21 new cardinals announced Sunday by Pope Francis, will be installed Aug. 27 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Diocese of San Diego announced.

The Bishop of San Diego has warned against denying Communion to pro-choice politicians in 2021 as US bishops consider changing their policy on Communion, which Catholics also call the Eucharist.

Robert W. McElroy, bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, arrives to attend a conference on nuclear disarmament, at the Vatican, Friday, November 10, 2017.
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Robert W. McElroy, bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, arrives to attend a conference on nuclear disarmament, at the Vatican, Friday, November 10, 2017.
(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

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“The proposal to exclude pro-choice Catholic political leaders from the Eucharist is a wrong step,” McElroy wrote for Jesuit magazine America. “It will lead to extremely destructive consequences, not because of what it says about abortion, but because of what it says about the Eucharist.”

The bishop warned that “[t]The Eucharist is weaponized and deployed as a tool of political warfare. This must not happen.”

Cordileone, whom Pope Francis ignored, congratulated McElroy on his appointment.

The Archbishop of San Francisco previously wrote to Pelosi, “You must not present yourself for Holy Communion and, if you do, you must not be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said Nancy Pelosi would be barred from Holy Communion, due to her stance on abortion.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said Nancy Pelosi would be barred from Holy Communion, due to her stance on abortion.
(Reuters/Getty Images)

In public”letter to the faithful” Cordileone said he acted ” After many attempts to talk to him [Pelosi] to help her understand the grave evil she is committing, the scandal she is causing, and the danger she is risking to her own soul.”

The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church states that those who have been excommunicated or who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion.”

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Cordileone clarified that her decision had “nothing to do” with the Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which would overrule Roe v. Wade, but rather with Pelosi’s “advocacy to codify the Roe decision in federal law – it’s getting more and more extreme and more and more aggressive.”

Despite Cordileone’s clear statement, Pelosi received Holy Communion during 9 a.m. Mass at Holy Trinity in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, last Sunday.

Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi blessing after celebrating Easter Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on Sunday, April 4, 2021, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi blessing after celebrating Easter Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Sunday, April 4, 2021, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
(Filippo Monteforte/Pool Photo via AP)

Pelosi defended his position and condemned Cordileone’s decision in his remarks last Tuesday. She asserted that the issue of abortion is not just about terminating a pregnancy, as people who criticize its legality and morality also oppose contraceptives, family planning and in vitro fertilization.

“This decision which brings us to privacy and precedent is very dangerous in the lives of so many Americans and yet again inconsistent with the Gospel of Matthew,” she argued.

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The editorial board of the San Francisco Examiner urged Pope Francis will abolish Cordileone for his decision to ban Pelosi from communion. The editorial board lambasted the archbishop for ‘punishing’ Pelosi, instead of ‘right-wing politicians’ who ‘[vote] against health care or financing the poor.”

Democrats have backed abortion wholeheartedly following Justice Alito’s draft opinion leaked in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the project that overthrew Roe. Although Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed that the draft is authentic, it dates back to February and does not represent the current or definitive opinion of the Court.

activists Roman Catholic churches targeted for Mother’s Day events.

Vandalism on the Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

Vandalism on the Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary.
(Marc Hass)

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The vandals too targeted a church in Boulder, Colorado, earlier this month, spray-paint “ban our bodies” and “my body my choice” on the building.

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