House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during her press briefing Thursday she can use her “own judgment” regarding the decision to receive Holy Communion, in light of the controversy over the fact that she supports legalized abortion and legislation to help more women obtain abortions.
CNSNews.com noted Pelosi’s response to a reporter’s question that “the U.S. archbishops and the Bishops’ Conference … doesn’t want to … allow you to receive communion” —
“No, they don’t,” Pelosi interjected.
When asked for her reaction to the Catholic bishops’ consideration of a document regarding whether politicians who claim to be Catholic, and yet support abortion and euthanasia and work to pass legislation that promotes them, should receive Holy Communion, Pelosi stated, “I think I can use my own judgment on that.”
“But, I’m pleased with what the Vatican put out on that subject,” she added. “Did you read that?”
“It will be up to the individual priests?” the reporter asked.
“No,” Pelosi answered. “It basically said, ‘Don’t be divisive on the subject.’”
As Breitbart News reported, the Vatican prefect, Jesuit Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, wrote to Archbishop José Gomez, president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference on May 7, citing a Vatican document titled “The Participation of Catholics in Political Life.”
Ladaria was responding to Gomez’s previous letter, informing the Vatican of the bishops’ intention to draft a document on the subject of public figures who support legislation that the Catholic Church considers evil.
The document states that, regarding laws permitting or promoting abortion or euthanasia, “it is impossible” for Catholic politicians “to promote such laws or to vote for them.”
Breitbart News reported:
In his letter, Ladaria states that the bishops should unite as a conference to insist on the duty of Catholic politicians to oppose all legislation that undermines the right to life.
Ladaria also addresses the matter of the worthiness to receive Holy Communion and circumstances in which Communion should be denied …
The Vatican prefect recommended a memorandum written in 2004 by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who subsequently became Pope Benedict XVI, which, he noted, provides “general principles on the worthy reception of Holy Communion” and can be helpful “to assist local ordinaries in the United States in their dealings with Catholic pro-choice politicians.”
“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia,” Ratzinger wrote in his letter. “The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin.”
Ratzinger continued, citing other Church documents:
Christians have a “grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. […] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it.”
“Apart from an individual’s judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone,” Ratzinger continued.
He recommended how a pastor should act when faced with a Catholic politician who supports abortion and/or euthanasia:
Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
“When ‘these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,’ and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, ‘the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it,’” Ratzinger said.
Breitbart News reported that Ladaria also stated in his letter to Gomez it would be “misleading” if the bishops’ statement conveyed the message that abortion and euthanasia are “the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics.”
Ladaria also clearly warned in his letter of the “contentious nature” of the controversy, and that the risk exists the debate could “become a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States,” which is likely the part of the letter Pelosi attended to during her press briefing.