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Archbishop Aquila on Archbishop Cordileone’s Pelosi decision: ‘I support and commend my brother bishop’

Today, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Archdiocese of San Francisco announced to his archdiocese that he had sent a notification to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi regarding her continued advocacy for abortion. 

“After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance.” 

In a letter to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the official notification sent to Speaker Pelosi, and an additional letter sent to the priests of the archdiocese, Archbishop Cordileone clearly articulates the Church’s teaching on abortion, details the extensive efforts he made to have dialogue with Speaker Pelosi, and explains the canonical and pastoral reasons for this decision. 

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila has encouraged the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver to read these communications at the above links, and has made the following statement in support of Archbishop Cordileone:

“I support and commend my brother bishop for making this courageous, compassionate, and necessary decision. I know Archbishop Cordileone to be a shepherd with the heart and mind of Christ, who truly desires to lead others towards Christ’s love, mercy, and promise of eternal salvation.  

As Archbishop Cordileone writes, ‘conversion is always better than exclusion, and before any such action can be taken it must be preceded by sincere and diligent efforts at dialogue and persuasion.’ He has made every attempt to try and avoid this step.

As I have previously written and Archbishop Cordileone makes clear as well, this issue is not about politics or simply enforcing Church rules, but rather about love — love for the individual and love for the entire community. 

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Church teaching is clear that people endanger their souls if they are separated from God because of grave sin and then receive the most Holy Eucharist in an unworthy manner. If the Church truly loves them, as she does, then it is more than appropriate to call them back to an intimate relationship with each person of the Trinity through repentance before receiving the body and blood of Jesus in a way that risks their eternal salvation. Jesus as he begins his ministry, calls people to ‘repent and believe’ (Mk 1: 15).

And when that person is a public person, love for the community means guarding against scandal and confusion and allowing others to be led into sin if they don’t see the issue addressed in an appropriate and compassionate manner. 

I would encourage the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver, including our own political leaders, to read the letters written by Archbishop Cordileone, and to ask the Holy Spirit with an open heart to clear away any doubt or confusion you have about this issue, and lead you into a more intimate and full relationship with Jesus. What Peter and the apostles told the authorities and those in power in their day, ‘We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5: 29), is still valid today.

Let us pray for all political leaders, that they may govern in a way that promotes and protects the God-given dignity of every person, from conception until natural death.  And let us pray for our state and country, that we may once again view every precious life as a true gift from our heavenly Father.” 

Archbishop Aquila has written extensively on the topic of Eucharistic Coherence over the past year. Find his previous writings below. 

April 15, 2021: Eucharistic coherence and the condemnation of sin 

April 19, 2021: Eucharistic coherence is a question of love 

July 2, 2021: Enter the narrow gate to receive the Eucharist  

Oct. 21, 2021: Honesty and closeness unlock the communion debate 

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