U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., whose Roman Catholic archbishop barred her from receiving communion due to her public advocacy for abortion, reportedly received communion at the Vatican on Wednesday after meeting with Pope Francis.
As The New York Times reported Wednesday, an attendee claims Pelosi met privately with Pope Francis and received communion from a priest during a papal Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. The Vatican did not offer confirmation of the meeting, but it did release photos of Pelosi and her husband, Paul Pelosi, greeting Pope Francis at the basilica.
The Vatican did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.
Last month, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone sent a letter to Pelosi, informing her that she had been warned to either "repudiate your advocacy for abortion 'rights'" or "refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion."
The archbishop quoted the Roman Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law, stating, "Those obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."
Pelosi has endorsed policies that advance abortion access, which conflicts with the Catholic Church's teachings on the issue. The church has "affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion" since the first century.
Pope Francis said during Mass on Wednesday that church leaders must "continue to care for human life." He also told newly consecrated archbishops on the same day to be inclusive and not "remain pinned to some of our fruitless debates."
"So many times we become a church with open doors, but only to send people away, to condemn them," he said.
The pontiff issued a new apostolic letter about church liturgy, stating that celebrating mass belongs to "the totality of the faithful united in Christ."
"The liturgy does not say 'I' but 'we,'" he wrote, "and any limitation on the breadth of this 'we' is always demonic."
Last September, Pope Francis said that he has "never refused the Eucharist to anyone" but stressed he has never knowingly encountered a politician during communion who supports abortion.
The comments came amid debates among bishops in the United States about whether President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians that advocate for legalized abortion should be denied communion.
While he did not take a direct stance on whether politicians who advocate for policies that violate church doctrine should be denied communion, he advised bishops to be "pastors, and not go condemning."
According to Politico's Playbook, Pelosi reportedly took communion last month at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown. Two days after receiving communion at the Washington, D.C., Catholic church, Pelosi questioned her hometown archbishop's decision to forbid her from taking communion on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
She wondered why the archbishop had taken such a strong stance against her position on abortion but did not prevent other politicians who support other policies that violate church teachings, such as the death penalty, from receiving communion.
"I wonder about the death penalty, which I am opposed to," Pelosi said. "So is the church, but they take no action against people who may not share their view."
Last October, Cordileone released a statement calling on "all Catholics and others of goodwill" to fast and pray for Pelosi so that she would change her "heart" on abortion. The archbishop pointed to the House Speaker's five children, whom she reportedly "speaks fondly" of, claiming that Pelosi has a "maternal heart."
The call for prayer came after the House of Representatives passed the Women's Health Protection Act, which Pelosi supported. The bill would have codified the right to abortion into federal law but failed to garner enough votes in the Senate.
Cordileone called the WHPA "nothing short of child sacrifice" in a September 2021 statement. In May 2021 pastoral letter to Catholics who support abortion, the archbishop recommended that they not receive communion.
"Your Catholic ideals inspire you in your work to help those who experience discrimination, violence, and injustice, and you deserve the gratitude of your fellow Catholics and our nation for this service. But we cannot empower the weak by crushing the weakest," he wrote.
"If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion. To publicly affirm the Catholic faith while at the same time publicly rejecting one of its most fundamental teachings is simply dishonest."