Communion should be open to almost everyone

The number of Catholic churches where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can receive Holy Communion has decreased.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who is in the congressional district of Pelosi, announced last month that he had barred her from receiving communion because of her support for abortion rights.

While publicly announcing the ban, Cordileone said he made “many attempts to speak to her to help her understand the grave harm she is doing, the outrage she is causing and the danger she is risking for his own soul”. The ban will remain in place “until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion ‘rights’, confesses and receives absolution.”


Cordileone’s decision to deny Pelosi communion set off a chain reaction. Bishop Robert Vasa, whose diocese is just north of San Francisco, announced he would also block Pelosi from receiving the sacrament. Bishop Michael Burbridge of Arlington, Va., and Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas jumped on the No-Communion-For-Pelosi bandwagon.

Closer to home, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield tweeted, “I fully support and sincerely commend Archbishop Cordileone’s action on President Pelosi. All politicians who promote abortion should not receive Holy Communion until they repent, fix the scandal, and are reconciled to Christ and the Church.

Non-practitioners – in fact, all non-Catholics – really cannot understand how important this is.

I was raised Catholic and I remember well the importance of communion for members of this denomination.

In my time, Catholic schoolchildren made their first communion in the second year. Our teacher, who was a nun called Sister Wilma Marie, taught us that a miracle happens every time a priest celebrates Mass. The bread and wine undergo a profound transformation through a process called transubstantiation and, although their appearance and taste remain unchanged, they become the literal body and blood of Christ.

A First Communion is a major event in the life of a Catholic child. Relatives, whether near or far, pack the church to witness it. The little girls of my time were dressed in white like miniature brides. We boys, on the other hand, simply wore our everyday St. Mary’s school uniforms of that era: navy blue pants, light blue shirts, and dark blue ties that fastened with a snap to form a V. reverse.

In my time, communion meant receiving only the host. The wine, which had become the literal blood of Christ, was consumed only by the priest who celebrated the mass. I recall the consecrated host as being sacred for Catholics. As a schoolboy, I participated in the forty-hour devotion in which the faithful, working in shifts, prayed before an exposed host for forty continuous hours. The host was displayed in a golden object called a monstrance.

The Catholic Church takes the Sacrament of Communion so seriously that non-Catholics cannot receive it. As Father Charles Grondin of Catholic Answers explains online, there are two reasons for this. “A non-Catholic who does not believe in the Real Presence would not be properly prepared to receive the Eucharist,” he observes. The second reason is “Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the unity of faith, life and worship, members of faith communities with whom we are not still fully united are not admitted to Holy Communion. ”

When my father and mother died in 1993 and 2005, respectively, this fallen Catholic was unable to take communion at their funeral masses.

Pelosi took her communion ban graciously. However, I was delighted to learn that on the May 24 “Morning Joe” show, she pointed out a glaring inconsistency in the Bishops’ reasoning. “I wonder about the death penalty, which I oppose,” Pelosi said. “The same goes for the church, but they take no action against people who may not share their views.”

I would like to point out another inconsistency. For decades, the Catholic Church has been infested with priests who sexually prey on children. Although well aware of their criminal activity, the church has never denied them communion. In fact, he continued to allow them to offer communion to the faithful.

If such men can receive Communion, then this sacrament should be open to almost everyone.

John J. Dunphy is an author, bookseller, and recording secretary for the Godfrey Democrats.

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