The message was as unequivocal as it was powerful. Pope Francis will not tolerate American bishops who try to politicize and weaponize communion in a bizarre attempt at conservative Catholic virtue signaling. Yesterday, the Pope had Nancy Pelosi seated in a VIP area of a papal mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, where, without fanfare, Pelosi received communion. According to NPR:
Pelosi attended the morning Mass marking the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul, during which Francis bestowed the woolen pallium stole on newly consecrated archbishops. She was seated in a VIP diplomatic section of the basilica and received Communion along with the rest of the congregants, according to two people who witnessed the moment.
Similar to appealing to a higher court, Pelosi sought the highest priest, who received her warmly, with full participation in the mass, unlike her home diocese of San Francisco, where San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvadore Cordileone recently said that Pelosi would be denied communion due to her pro-choice advocacy.
Cordileone, a conservative, has said Pelosi must either repudiate her support for abortion or stop speaking publicly of her Catholic faith.
This is not Pope Francis’s first strong message to political American bishops generally and Cordileone, specifically. With the retirement of Los Angeles’s Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Catholics expected the appointment of a new cardinal based in California, with the high-ranking Archbishop Cordileone a natural successor. As of now, there are six American cardinals, located in Boston, New York, Newark, Washington DC, Chicago, and Houston. Pope Francis elevated the lower-ranking, but far less political, Archbishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, as the new cardinal-designate (to be officially bestowed on August 27th at St. Peter’s Basilica). McElroy has strongly spoken out about not “weaponizing the Eucharist.”
When the College of Cardinals next convenes, “Cardinal McElroy” will participate. “Archbishop Cordileone” will watch on television, perhaps regretting weaponizing his mouth.
The American Speaker of the House…
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