ROME — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a Catholic and vocal supporter of abortion rights, received Holy Communion on Wednesday during a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, according to an attendee at the Mass.
The ceremony at the Vatican stood in marked contrast to the decision by conservative San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone to instruct the priests in his diocese to withhold Eucharist from Pelosi
In September, Pope Francis had said, “I have never refused the Eucharist to anyone,” although he later added that he had never knowingly encountered during Communion a politician backing abortion rights and reiterated the church position that abortion is “murder.” But Francis had said that the decision on granting Communion to politicians who support abortion rights should be made from a pastoral point of view, not a political one.
Pelosi’s home archbishop, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, has said he will no longer allow her to receive the sacrament in his archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights. Cordileone, a conservative, has said Pelosi must either repudiate her support for abortion or stop speaking publicly of her Catholic faith.
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.”
Pelosi met with Francis on Wednesday before the Mass and received a blessing, according to one of the Mass attendees.