What would we do without Whoopi Goldberg?
As virtually the entire world knows by now, Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco, on May 20, issued a statement instructing Rep. Nancy Pelosi not to present herself for communion “unless and until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion ‘rights’ …” This, according to the Archbishop’s statement, comes after “numerous attempts to speak with her [Pelosi] to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul.” Catholics who actually understand Church teaching have long seen this coming, given the combination of Rep. Pelosi’s very public “Catholic faith” and her flagrant disregard for the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life. But apparently others, like Ms. Goldberg, were caught off guard by the announcement. And so, on The View the following Monday, she made her own statement, directly to Archbishop Cordileone:
“This is not your job, dude.”
Seriously. A woman who claims to be a non-practicing Jew, and whose only affiliation with Catholicism seems to be a childhood stint in Catholic schools and a couple of movie roles as a religious sister, is now telling an Archbishop of the Catholic Church how to do his job.
Clearly Ms. Goldberg doesn’t understand the job of a bishop. Given the backlash Archbishop Cordileone has received, it would appear that a lot of other people don’t understand it either. They say he is trying to influence politics by strong arming the faithful. They say he is “weaponizing” the Eucharist — using the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ to browbeat those with whom he disagrees. They accuse him of “forcing his religious beliefs on other people.”
In a way, it’s not surprising that so many misunderstand the role of bishop in today’s Catholic Church. To the casual observer, he looks a lot like a CEO. He oversees the administration of the Church in his diocese. He approves budgets, he hires and fires. He sits in a lot of meetings.
But Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone clearly understands that there is a lot more to the job. A bishop isn’t primarily an administrator; he is primarily a pastor of souls. He is entrusted in a special way with the souls of those Catholics — and even non-Catholics — who live within the boundaries of his diocese. In this he carries on the mission of the apostles, loving and tending to them as a father. In fact, the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium goes so far as to say that a bishop will one day have to render an account for the souls under his care.
This is clearly not something to be taken lightly.
Now let’s look at the situation vis a vis abortion and Catholic politicians. Any Catholic worth their salt knows the value and the priority that the Church places on the sanctity of human life, and the obligation to defend innocent human life in all its stages. All other rights follow from the foundational right. If a person isn’t allowed to live, any other rights are meaningless. And thus, “[s]ince the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” (CCC 2271)
Likewise, the Church has consistently taught that Catholics in leadership positions who vote to retain or expand the right to direct abortion (or any other clear violation of respect for human life, such as euthanasia or assisted suicide) are participating in that very grave sin.
Now let’s look at Scripture. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 says, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” Thus the Church has consistently taught that receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin constitutes another mortal sin and in fact a sacrilege, “a failure to show the reverence due to the sacred Body and Blood of Christ.” (USCCB, The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church, n.48)
So let’s follow the dots here. Archbishop Cordileone is a shepherd who holds a particular responsibility for the soul of Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who resides in his diocese. Her long, persistent and vocal support for the right to abortion places her in a very public state of mortal sin, according to the clear teachings of the Catholic Church. Then, to add insult to injury, her constant claims to be a “devout” Catholic have great potential to cause confusion among the rest of the faithful, who may look at her and conclude that one can be a faithful Catholic and still support the “right” to abortion. We call this the sin of scandal, and it’s another one Ms. Pelosi is regularly and publicly committing. And yet, she consistently presents herself for communion, receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in a manner that heaps additional sin and sacrilege on herself. He has reached out to her personally, asking her to reconsider and repent, but to no avail. And Canon 915, which the Archbishop is bound to follow and enforce, clearly states that Catholics “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” He holds the authority and the obligation to insist that the sacrilege cease, both for her sake and the sake of all the faithful.
So, yeah, I’d say that’s exactly his job. Dude.
No one but God can judge Nancy Pelosi’s heart. But we can judge her actions, and they are doing tremendous damage to the cause of life, and causing great confusion and dissent among the Catholic faithful. And they are endangering her own soul.
I thank God for courageous prelates like Archbishop Cordileone who have the courage to stand up to the Whoopi Goldbergs of the world, and to speak up for the souls in their care.
Even when those souls don’t want to hear it.