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More than 10,000 Catholics and other Christians Urge Speaker Pelosi’s Archbishop to Stop Playing Politics with Communion


Wednesday, May 25, 2022


John Gehring, jgehring@faithinpubliclife.org,

Shannon Craig Straw, media@faithfulamerica.org,

More than 10,000 Catholics and other Christians Urge Speaker Pelosi’s Archbishop to Stop Playing Politics with Communion

The open letter comes in response to Archbishop Cordileone barring Pelosi from receiving Communion because of her pro-choice views. 

Washington, D.C. –  In a new petition campaign launched by Faith in Public Life and Faithful America, more than 10,000 Catholics and other Christians are calling on San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to allow Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. 

The open letter follows the archbishop’s decree last Friday that Speaker Pelosi, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, is barred from receiving Communion in San Francisco.

“A holy sacrament should never be weaponized for political ends or to fight the culture wars,” the letter reads. “Your reckless action defies the pastoral guidance of Pope Francis and will only further divide our churches at a time of intense partisan polarization. We are also concerned that your selective policing of the Eucharist on a single issue sends a troubling message that the church is taking political sides.”

“Single-issue policing of the altar is pastoral malpractice,” said John Gehring, Catholic Program Director at Faith in Public Life. “Instead of publicly shaming Speaker Pelosi and further dividing the church, the archbishop could play a more pastoral role if he worked to bring people together, dialogued with the majority of Catholics who support abortion rights and followed the example of Pope Francis by seeking common ground.”

“It’s not suprising that an archbishop who tried to fire gay and lesbian Catholic teachers when he first came to San Francisco continues to be an ideologue who seems to have no interest in being a pastoral leader,” said Brian Cahill, a former Executive Director of Catholic Charities in San Francisco. “Denying Communion to people contradicts Christ’s message of love and inclusiveness. I pray that my archbishop will recognize how much damage he is causing to our church and stop playing politics with a holy sacrament.” 

“Following Archbishop Cordileone’s statement denying the Eucharist to Nancy Pelosi, one would expect him to offer a similar proclamation denying Communion to Republicans who support the death penalty,” said Patrick Carolan, Catholic Campaign Representative for Faithful America and former Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network. “Since the archbishop, a notorious culture warrior, is unlikely to do so, then he should immediately apologize to Speaker Pelosi and stop using Communion as a partisan tool. To not do so would make the archbishop nothing more than a hypocrite — and as Jesus tells us in In Matthew 23:13: ‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces.”

“Trinity is proud of our alumna Nancy Pelosi, the first and only woman elected Speaker of the House,” said Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity Washington University. “Throughout her  political career, she has been a champion for human rights and civil rights, and has worked tirelessly to ensure adequate healthcare for all citizens. Imposing a public religious sanction on Speaker Pelosi for faithfully discharging her duties as a leader in the secular world of legislation — specifically, for advocating protection for the rights of women — offends the fundamental American principle of separation of church and state, and ignores the guidance of Pope Francis to refrain from using Holy Communion as a political weapon. Bishops have every right to teach and preach about abortion. Secular lawmakers have every right to pursue their duties to advocate and enact laws that represent the will of the people they represent; they should be able to do so free from religious intimidation.”

“Whenever any Christian leader claims they can prevent someone from experiencing the real presence of Jesus Christ — as Archbishop Cordileone has done by denying Communion to Speaker Pelosi — they distort Jesus’s message of love, grace, and inclusion, and that is an issue of concern for the entire Body of Christ,” said the Rev. Nathan Empsall, Executive Director of Faithful America. “Under pastoral pressure from Pope Francis, and after 50,000 members of Faithful America called on Catholic bishops to stop weaponizing worship for partisan gain, the U.S. bishops’ conference backed off of its threat against President Biden last year. It’s time for Archbishop Cordileone to do likewise for Speaker Pelosi and stop going rogue.”

The full letter is available here.


Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, with a network of over 50,000 leaders, they are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level that affirm our values and the human dignity of all.

Faithful America is the largest online community of grassroots Christians putting faith into action for social justice. We use rapid-response digital campaigns to challenge white supremacy and Christian nationalism, reclaim our faith from the religious right, and renew Christianity’s prophetic role in building a more free and just society. Members are both clergy and lay; represent every major Christian denomination in the U.S.; and live in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Approximately one-quarter of Faithful America members are Roman Catholic.

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