Since May 20, when San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone barred House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving the Eucharist in his diocese, three more conservative Catholic bishops have done the same, citing her open support of abortion rights as their justification.
On the same day that Pelosi was denied Communion by Cordileone in a public letter, Pelosi was denied it by Bishop Robert Vasa of the neighboring Diocese of Santa Rosa, which is part of Cordileone’s archdiocese. “to not be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution.”
“I have visited with the pastor at St Helena and informed him that if the Archbishop prohibited someone from receiving Holy Communion then that restriction followed the person and that the pastor was not free to ignore it,” Vasa said in his statement, per report.
On Wednesday, Vasa was joined by Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington and Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, a renowned conservative firebrand.
A small but vociferous group of American bishops, including Cordileone, Vasa, Burbidge, and Strickland, argued with one another last summer about whether or not priests ought to refuse Biden the sacrament because of his support for abortion rights.
A study on the subject was published a few months later, with the major recommendation being that American Catholics be better informed about the importance of the Eucharist.
Vasa cited an item of canon law in his speech Friday that, in his view, “makes it clear that providing sacraments to someone prohibited from receiving them has its own possible penalties.” According to Vasa, under canon law, a person who knowingly delivers a sacrament to “those who are not permitted to receive it” may be “punished by suspension.”
“Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” according to Canon 915.
Vasa’s arguments were rejected by Fr. John Beal, a canon lawyer and professor at the Catholic University of America, as being inconsistent with the commonly recognized belief that Communion denials are only permitted inside a single bishop’s diocese.
In an email, Beal added, “Bishops are rarely punctilious about procedural niceties.”
Burbidge, like Vasa, said on a podcast that he intended to respect Cordileone’s prohibition on Pelosi because “he is her bishop and as that bishop, the direction and guidance he provides is not limited to just a geographical area.”
The Arlington Diocese claimed they were unable to confirm whether the claims made by Burbidge and Vasa were related.
As previously reported, Pelosi was barred from receiving communion in San Francisco.
Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, forbade Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from partaking in Holy Communion. He claimed that Pelosi’s stance on abortion was to blame, highlighting the conflict between pro-abortion liberal Democrats and the Catholic Church.
Cordileone wrote to Pelosi, saying she should not appear or present herself for Holy Communion during Mass and that no priests will give her communion if she tries, per a report.
“A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,’” he says in the letter.
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