House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone are seen in a composite photo. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters, and Lisa Johnston/St. Louis Review via CNS)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone are seen in a composite photo. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters, and Lisa Johnston/St. Louis Review via CNS)
Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample is supporting San Francisco’s archbishop for declaring that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not to be admitted to Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Many Portland Catholics had asked for Archbishop Sample’s thoughts on the matter, which arose because of Pelosi’s longtime leadership in maintaining abortion rights.

“What Archbishop Cordileone did was actually an act of pastoral love and care for Speaker Pelosi and for all those entrusted to his pastoral care who may have been led astray by her public support for the evil of abortion,” Archbishop Sample said in a May 27 video recorded in his Portland office.

Archbishop Sample said his message was mainly to Catholics who support abortion rights or who are personally opposed but reluctant to push that teaching on others.

“What Archbishop Cordileone did was as much about Holy Communion as it was about abortion,” Archbishop Sample said, explaining that Communion is about being united to Christ and to one another. He reminded listeners that God is present in the sacrament, a matter on which there is no debate in Catholic circles.

“It is dangerous to approach the awesome power of God in Holy Communion with anything less than the respect it demands,” Archbishop Sample said.

Once that is understood, it makes sense that the church has rules about Communion, especially since Jesus gave authority to the church, said Archbishop Sample, trained as a canon lawyer. He cited church law that says anyone who obstinately persists in manifest grave sin is not to be admitted to Communion.

The church teaches clearly that abortion is gravely evil. Public advocacy and support for it constitutes manifest grave sin, Archbishop Sample explained, concluding, “That’s why what Archbishop Cordileone did was the right thing.”