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Archbishop bans Pelosi from receiving communion in San Francisco over abortion stance

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said his "motive is pastoral, not political."
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Feb. 24, 2015.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Feb. 24, 2015.Michael Macor / San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images file

The archbishop of San Francisco has prohibited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion in the archdiocese, citing her support for abortion rights.

“I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of penance,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone wrote in a letter to Pelosi on Thursday.

The directive applies to the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Pelosi’s congressional district covers much of the city.

In a separate letter to priests explaining his decision, Cordileone, who has been the archbishop for a decade, insisted that his "motive is pastoral, not political."

NBC News has reached out to Pelosi for comment.

Pelosi has long been a supporter of abortion rights. In addition to blasting this month's leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Pelosi condemned a restrictive Texas law when it was implemented last year, calling it the most "extreme, dangerous abortion ban in half a century."

The archbishop, referring to the speaker's Texas comments, said in his letter to Pelosi that he had previously warned her that he would “have no choice” but to refuse her admission to Holy Communion if she she if failed to publicly reject her advocacy for abortion rights and otherwise refrain from referring to her Catholic faith in public.

In November, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ issued a statement on communion that stopped short of prohibiting the holy sacrament for politicians like President Joe Biden who support abortion rights. Instead, it called on Catholics to ensure their views aligned with church teachings, adding that bishops have a “special responsibility” to respond to situations “that involve public actions at variance with the visible communion of the church and the moral law.”

Shortly before that statement, Biden said Pope Francis told him he was a "good Catholic" who can receive communion.