Barred From Sacrament at Home, Pelosi Receives Communion From Higher Authority
Pelosi’s home archbishop has said he will no longer allow her to receive the sacrament in his archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights.
ROME — Speaker Pelosi met with Pope Francis on Wednesday and received Communion during a papal Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica, witnesses said, despite her position in support of abortion rights.
Mrs. Pelosi attended the morning Mass marking the feasts of Saints Peter and Paul, during which the pontiff bestowed the woolen pallium stole on newly consecrated archbishops. She was seated in a VIP diplomatic section and received Communion along with the rest of the congregants, according to two people who witnessed the moment.
Mrs. Pelosi’s home archbishop, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, has said he will no longer allow her to receive the sacrament in his archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights.
Archbishop Cordileone, a conservative, has said Mrs. Pelosi must either repudiate her support for abortion or stop speaking publicly of her Catholic faith.
Mrs. Pelosi has done neither. She called the recent Supreme Court ruling removing constitutional protections for abortion an “outrageous and heart-wrenching” decision that fulfils the Republican Party’s “dark and extreme goal of ripping away women’s right to make their own reproductive health decisions.”
And she has spoken openly of her Catholic faith, including at a diplomatic reception at the residence of the American Embassy to the Holy See on Tuesday evening marking Independence Day.
Speaking to a crowd of ambassadors, Vatican officials and other Rome-based Americans, Mrs. Pelosi spoke about the Catholic virtues of faith, hope and charity and the important role they play in the American Embassy’s mission.
“Faith is an important gift, not everyone has it but it is the path to so many other things,” she told the crowd.
Mrs. Pelosi met with Pope Francis on Wednesday before the Mass and received a blessing, according to one of the Mass attendees.
Last year, President Biden, another Catholic who also supports abortion rights, said after meeting with Pope Francis that the pontiff told him to continue receiving the sacrament. Mr. Biden later received Communion during a Mass in a Rome church that is under the authority of the pope in his capacity as bishop of Rome.
Mrs. Pelosi’s partaking of the sacrament inside the Vatican during a papal Mass was even more significant, and a sign of the pope’s unwillingness to refuse the sacrament. He has described the Eucharist as “not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
Asked about some American bishops who wanted to refuse Mr. Biden the sacrament, the pope told reporters during an airborne press conference in September that priests shouldn’t be politicians and condemn their flock but should be pastors who accompany the faithful with tenderness and compassion.