LGBTQ Catholic Organization Blasts Archbishop for Denying Nancy Pelosi Communion

Archbishop’s edict denying key sacrament was issued in response to Pelosi’s views on abortion access.

(Left) Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone – (Right) Nancy Pelosi

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DignityUSA, the LGBTQ-affirming organization representing U.S. Catholics who support full inclusion, denounced San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s decision to deny Communion to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion rights.

Cordileone, who last year called for Communion to be withheld from pro-abortion public figures without mentioning specific names, issued his edict on Friday, specifically rebuking the 82-year-old Democratic House Speaker for her longstanding support of reproductive rights, including access to birth control and abortion.

“After numerous attempts to speak with her to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone said in a letter to members of his archdiocese.

The archbishop’s edict drops at a time when Democrats, facing a difficult midterm election, have sought to rally their base by warning of the loss of access to abortion should the GOP regain control of Congress. That move comes on the heels of a leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that appears to signal that the nation’s highest court is poised to overturn the nearly five-decades-old decision in Roe v. Wade, which established the right to obtain an abortion. By overturning Roe, abortion access would be determined by individual state laws, making it illegal in several states but potentially legal in neighboring ones.

But DignityUSA argues that Pelosi should not be penalized for defending the right to obtain an abortion, particularly since polling indicates a majority of rank-and-file Catholics do not support overturning the Roe decision, regardless of their personal views on abortion rights.

“DignityUSA firmly believes that the sacraments of our church should never be weaponized against Catholics, no matter their identity, beliefs, or public stances,” Marianne Duddy-Burke, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement. “Communion is a gift to help us grow in grace, not a reward for compliance.

“It is wrong for Speaker Pelosi to be denied Communion for striving to serve the people of this diverse nation,” Duddy-Burke continued. “We call on Archbishop Cordileone to withdraw this ban, and for Catholics across the country to stand against attempts to use Communion to coerce the violation of anyone’s sincerely held beliefs.”

In November 2021, DignityUSA lead the “Bread Not Stones” witness at the fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which sought to sway bishops from issuing barring Catholics, including President Joe Biden, from receiving Communion for holding opinions on political or public policy matters that run counter to the Church’s views on abortion, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage, among others.

The bishops ultimately rejected an explicit ban, instead issuing guidelines for practicing Catholics to consider when receiving Communion — relying on individuals’ ability to examine their actions and their consciences, rather than a top-down edict.

Madeline Marlett, the co-chair of DignityUSA’s Young Adult group, who volunteered as an altar server for Archbishop Cordileone for several years, praised Pelosi for standing up for her political beliefs and criticized Cordileone for seeking to punish and ultimately force her into compliance with his preferred worldview.

“We call for this injustice to be righted and will continue to hold Speaker Pelosi in prayer as she faces the unjust weaponizing of this core sacrament of Catholicism,” Marlett said in a statement.

“Withholding Communion from any Catholic pushes them to the margins of our Church,” Duddy-Burke added. “It shames them by encouraging people to speculate about why they are unworthy of approaching the sacred table. It violates the duty of care that is the central ministry of the ordained. It is simply wrong.

“Speaker Pelosi holds the same view on abortion that the majority of U.S. Catholics share. Nearly two-thirds of Catholics do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. Denying her Communion is a clear attempt to intimidate Catholics. It will not work. It will simply disgust and alienate Catholics and widen the growing gap between church leaders and members,” she said. “The majority of U.S. bishops seem to understand this, based on their rejection of the kind of ban Archbishop Cordileone has announced. We call on Catholics to speak out against the weaponization of Communion.”

Complete Article HERE!

Too Much Church in the State

Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

By Maureen Dowd

During her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Amy Coney Barrett tried to reassure Democrats who were leery of her role as a “handmaid” in a Christian group called “People of Praise.”

The group has a male-dominated hierarchy and a rigid view of sexuality reflecting conservative gender norms and rejecting openly gay men and women. Men, the group’s decision makers, “headed” their wives.

Justice Barrett said then that she would not impose her personal beliefs on the country. “Judges can’t just wake up one day and say ‘I have an agenda — I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion’ — and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” she said amicably. “It’s not the law of Amy. It’s the law of the American people.”

Yet that’s what seems to be coming. Like a royal queen, she will impose her will on the world. It will be the law of Amy. And Sam. And Clarence. And Neil. And Brett.

It’s outrageous that five or six people in lifelong unaccountable jobs are about to impose their personal views on the rest of the country. While they will certainly provide the legal casuistry for their opinion, let’s not be played for fools: The Supreme Court’s impending repeal of Roe will be owed to more than judicial argumentation. There are prior worldviews at work in this upheaval.

As a Catholic whose father lived through the Irish Catholics “need not apply” era, I’m happy to see Catholics do well in the world. There is an astonishing preponderance of Catholics on the Supreme Court — six out of the nine justices, and a seventh, Neil Gorsuch, was raised as a Catholic and went to the same Jesuit boys’ high school in a Maryland suburb that Brett Kavanaugh and my nephews did, Georgetown Prep.

My father was furious that Catholic presidential candidates Al Smith and J.F.K. had to defend themselves against scurrilous charges that, if they got to the White House, they would take their orders from the pope.

One must tread carefully here. A Catholic signed on to the Roe v. Wade decision and another was in the court majority that upheld it in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Catholic, has expressed support for Roe, and Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative Catholic, may be working for a compromise decision that can uphold Roe.

Still, this Catholic feels an intense disquiet that Catholic doctrine may be shaping (or misshaping) the freedom and the future of millions of women, and men. There is a corona of religious fervor around the court, a churchly ethos that threatens to turn our whole country upside down.

I come from a family that hews to the Catholic dictates on abortion, and I respect the views of my relatives. But it’s hard for me to watch the church trying to control women’s sexuality after a shocking number of its own priests sexually assaulted children and teenagers for decades, and got recycled into other parishes, as the church covered up the whole scandal. It is also hard to see the church couch its anti-abortion position in the context of caring for women when it continues to keep women in subservient roles in the church.

Religiosity is a subject some Catholics on the court have been more open about in recent years.

Last year, at Thomas Aquinas College in California, Justice Samuel Alito fretted that there was growing cultural hostility toward Christianity and Catholicism. “There is a real movement to suppress the expression of anything that opposes the secular orthodoxy,” he said. Precisely which belief or practice of his religion does he feel he has been denied?

President Biden is a Catholic who is uncomfortable with the issue of abortion despite his support for Roe. Still, when Barrett was a law professor at Notre Dame, a group she belonged to unanimously denounced the university’s decision to honor Biden even though he didn’t support the church’s position on abortion.

We have no one in the public arena like Mario Cuomo, who respected the multiplicity of values in an open society and had the guts to wade into the lion’s den at Notre Dame in 1984.

“The Catholic who holds political office in a pluralistic democracy — who is elected to serve Jews and Muslims, atheists and Protestants, as well as Catholics — bears special responsibility,” Cuomo said. “He or she undertakes to help create conditions under which all can live with a maximum of dignity and with a reasonable degree of freedom; where everyone who chooses may hold beliefs different from specifically Catholic ones — sometimes contradictory to them; where the laws protect people’s right to divorce, to use birth control and even to choose abortion.”

The explosive nature of Alito’s draft opinion on Roe has brought to the fore how radical the majority on the court is, willing to make women fit with their zealous worldview — a view most Americans reject. It has also shown how radical Republicans are; although after pushing for this result for decades, because it made a good political weapon, they are now pretending it’s no big deal. We will all have to live with the catastrophic results of their zealotry.

Complete Article HERE!

It is blatant hypocrisy for Pope Francis to lecture anyone about violence against women

From opposition to abortion to a reductive view of women’s roles, the Catholic Church should consider its own role in perpetuating a culture of misogyny.

By Michael Coren

The Pope, it seems, is having a bad few days. This week he made a quite extraordinarily insensitive and crass comment, claiming that couples choosing to have pets instead of children are selfish, and their decision leads to a loss of “humanity” and is a detriment to civilization. Aside from the sweeping generalization and failure, ironically, to grasp the humanity involved, he is a celibate man named after the patron saint on animals!

The statement garnered international coverage, but something he said on New Year’s Day was much more significant. Pope Francis delivered a sermon in which he condemned violence against women as “an insult to God.” Addressing the issue with evident passion he argued: “Since mothers bestow life, and women keep the world together, let us all make greater efforts to promote mothers and to protect women.”

It’s not the first time the 85-year-old leader of more than 1.3 billion Roman Catholics has spoken out about the subject, and many across the world took this as another example of the pontiff as an enlightened progressive. Which to an extent he is: on several themes, such as the importance of tackling climate change, he has shown himself to be forward-thinking, sometimes more so than ostensibly liberal secular leaders. But as is often the case, there’s more to the story.

While Francis has seemed to be supportive of LGBTQ rights, for example, it’s actually more difficult for a gay man to enter a Catholic seminary now than it was under previous Popes, including John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The church’s catechism still regards “homosexual acts” as being of “grave depravity” and “contrary to natural law”, insisting that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”.

Regarding gender-based violence, while it may be that on a visceral, personal level the Pope is appalled, even his language during his sermon reveals an inherent difficulty in the Catholic church’s attitude to women. “Since mothers bestow life… let us all make greater efforts to promote mothers and to protect women,” he said. Opposing violence against women on the basis that womanhood is intrinsically linked to motherhood is an abhorrent argument, but this model is at the epicentre of Catholic teaching: women as mothers, as spiritual heirs of the Virgin Mary, to be protected not because of humanity and equality but due to their fertility and piety.

That reductive view of women as virtual icons is part of the problem, rather than the solution. And it leads directly to the struggle for women’s reproductive rights.

Abortion is criminalised in many Catholic countries, causing widespread suffering, particularly for poor women. In El Salvador, three women who spent between six and 13 years in prison under draconian anti-abortion laws after suffering miscarriages have just this week been released. Even in the US, where church and state are allegedly separated, in Oklahoma last year a 21-year-old Native American woman was convicted of manslaughter after having a miscarriage. These are shocking but not unusual examples. With conservative Catholic justices so dominant on the US Supreme Court, abortion rights are under constant attack and the crucial Roe V Wade ruling may well be overturned this year.

The Catholic church teaches that abortion “is gravely contrary to the moral law” and the taking of innocent life, and many Catholic anti-abortion activists routinely make comparisons between women’s choice and the Holocaust. Francis may not be so irresponsible in his language, but he does describe abortion as “murder”. While seeming to be relatively understanding of Catholic politicians such as President Joe Biden who vote for women’s reproductive rights, the Pope has still said that “Those who carry out abortions kill.”

There are, of course, no women in position of power within the Catholic church. Christianity historically downplayed the central role of women in the ministry of Jesus and the life of the early church. The story of Mary Magdalene is indicative. She is referred to by name a dozen times in the four gospels, more than most of the male apostles, and she’s also present at Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. In 591, however, Pope Gregory I described her as a prostitute, likely confusing her with the maligned Mary of Bethany, and the ugly cliché of the saved “fallen women” has persisted in modern times. Rather than being a central figure in the story of Christ, Mary Magdalene became a passive example of restored brokenness, a sexual caricature.

1,500 years later women may be extremely active in the Catholic church, and in many cases keep it alive, but only men can be ordained and become leaders. The church’s catechism states: “The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.” In Roman Catholic terms, a priest celebrates the Mass “in persona Christi” – in the person of Christ – and Jesus was a man. (He was also Jewish and circumcised but this doesn’t appear to be an impediment.)

The Catholic church has a right to hold to this position, and other Christian denominations are similarly, if less rigidly, male-dominated. But the point holds that in spite of Catholic protestations of equality, it is only “Father” who represents Jesus, has the power and authority to turn bread and wine into body and blood, and to hear confessions. That matters. Contrary to what some people might assume, Francis has said, “the door is closed” on the issue. “On the ordination of women in the Catholic Church” he stressed, “the final word is clear, it was said by St. John Paul II and this remains.”

None of this should be compared directly the filth of gender-based violence, which is a plague that goes far beyond religion. But there’s context, culture, and cause involved in what Francis said, along with perceptions of power, the place and freedom of women in society, and real and absolute equality are central. The daily experience of women in the church varies, but there are numerous stories, many of them contemporary, of women being told by priests to return to abusive husbands due to the “sanctity of marriage”. The commonality of that theme, and its roots, are deeply troubling – as are the cases of mothers reporting of their children being abused by priests yet being dismissed by the church, always men, as dishonest or hysterical.

Pope Francis has often been startlingly impressive when speaking out on climate change, the dignity of refugees, and economic justice, but closer to home and Rome he can be inconsistent, and even in denial. Women face oppression and violence in all sorts of places, caused by all sorts of reasons, and it’s time that organized religion admitted its own part – its own sins – and put its house in order.

Complete Article HERE!