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CNS' Holy War Against Nancy Pelosi, Part 2 cheered that Pelosi's Catholic bishop forbade her from receiving Communion for refusing to impose anti-abortion laws on the entire country, then got mad that she visited the Pope.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 10/31/2022

One of's favorite pastimes is to lash out at Nancy Pelosi for refusing to impose her Catholic faith on the entire country on the issue of abortion. And the leak of a draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade gave CNS an excuse to bash Pelosi anew. And editor Terry Jeffrey did just that in his May 4 column:
Pelosi immediately released a statement condemning the court's apparent intention to overturn Roe — and suggesting that aborting a child is part of "the fundamental human right to reproductive care."

"Democrats believe that every woman everywhere has the fundamental human right to reproductive care, one that is not limited by background, income or zip code," said Pelosi. "Her health decisions, including whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, belong to her."

Overturning past decisions that declared the killing of unborn babies a right, Pelosi argued, would "erode the legitimacy" of the court.

"In brazenly ignoring 50 years of its own precedent, the United States Constitution and the will of the American people, this draft ruling would seriously erode the legitimacy of the Supreme Court in the eyes of the American people," she said. "Upholding the rule of law and maintaining the faith of the people require that the Court allow Roe to remain the law of the land."

Who is correct about abortion? The Catholic Church, which calls it murder? Or Nancy Pelosi, who calls it a right?
The church is right. Pelosi is wrong.

Susan Jones complained in a May 9 article:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) devoted part of her Mother's Day to an interview with Margaret Brennan, host of CBS's "Face the Nation." The topic was abortion -- the leak of a draft Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade and send the issue back to the states to decide.

"This is about something so serious and so personal and so disrespectful of women," Pelosi said:


Pelosi said the leaked Supreme Court majority draft opinion "puts an urgency on what's happening in the election. Two more -- one or two more senators could sweep back the filibuster rule for this purpose, and then women would have a right to choose."

Pelosi also claimed that "most people always thought that this debate in the Congress was about the termination of a pregnancy, but it wasn't."

Pelosi said the debate is about "family planning."

Jones further complained in a May 16 article that Pelosi said "the possible reversal of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling must be put 'in perspective.'" An anonymously written article later that same day rewrote Jones' piece to emphasize something else Pelosi said:

“And I say this as a practicing, devout Catholic: five children in six years and one week,” Pelosi went on to say. “I don't disrespect people's views and how they want to live their lives. But I don't think that it's up to the Donald Trump appointees on the Court or any politicians to make that decision for women.

“I will just say what I have been saying for decades,” she said. “Understand this. This is not just about terminating a pregnancy. This is about contraception, family planning. They have been against it.”

CNS didn't explain why a single TV appearance by Pelosi warranted two articles when both said basically the same thing.

Bishop's Communion ban was already engaging in a new round of attacks on Nancy Pelosi for failing to impose her Catholic faith on the entire country by agitating for abortion bans when it got an assist from her San Francisco bishop, who felt the need to insert himself into this political issue. Craig Bannister cheered in a May 20 article:

Because of her steadfast and outspoken opposition to Church teaching on abortion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been banned from receiving Holy Communion, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone announced Friday.

“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi 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 she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Archbishop Cordileone tweeted, linking to a copy of an open "letter to the faithful" on the archdiocese website.

According to the letter, Pelosi is banned from 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,” the archbishop writes. “I have accordingly sent her a Notification to this effect, which I have now made public.”

CNS was so giddy about this development that it plastered its front page that day with all the anti-abortion attacks it had published on Pelosi and President Biden over the past few months.

An anonymously written article the next day quoted Cordileone claiming that he wanted to “help her understand that it is unacceptable to kill babies in the womb," adding: "I know people will accuse me of being political, but this is not political at all. It’s pastoral."As much as we hate to accuse a Catholic priest of lying, he's clearly lying here -- he has very deliberately inserted himself into a political debate with an action he knows will give him positive attention in certain political circles (witness the above work on CNS' front page). There's simply no plausible way for him to deny being political.

The attacks on Pelosi continued. For a May 23 article, Bannister dug up a 19-year-old interview in which Pelosi claimed she "would rather have been a priest because priests have more power" (which Bannister doesn't refute). The next day, Susan Jones complained that Pelosi called out Cordileone's hypocrisy in sanctioning her on abortion while ignoring other Catholics who don't follow church teaching on other political issues (which also went unrefuted):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who often professes her Catholic faith, nevertheless supports a woman's right to abort a baby. Last week, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco publicly announced that Pelosi should not take Holy Communion until she repudiates her support for abortion.

Pelosi responded Tuesday morning, telling MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the archbishop also opposes the death penalty and LGBTQ rights, but he does not deny Holy Communion to people who don't share those views.

She also suggested that many pro-life advocates reject the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus instructs his followers to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

CNS went on to cheer that other Catholic bishops were getting on the denial bandwagon:

Even though that last article claimed "many" bishops support Cordelione, writer Janey Olohan lists only eight -- a tiny number given that there are 196 bishop-run dioceses, archdioceses and other units in the U.S.

And, of course, the usual uber-Catholic suspects felt the need to weigh in, led by dishonest Catholic Bill Donohue:

  • He huffed on May 23 that Pelosi "has been begging for a confrontation with him for many years. Now she has succeeded." He then gushed over Cordileone: Over the past decade, Archbishop Cordileone has demonstrated great prudence and patience in dealing with Pelosi. He is a man of courage and goodwill, and a loyal son of the Catholic Church."
  • Donohue ranted in a May 24 column that Pelosi "is at war with the Catholic Church," adding: "There is not a single Church teaching on women, marriage, the family, or sexuality that Pelosi accepts, so out of touch is she with the Catholic Church. There are atheists who agree more with the Church on these issues than she does."
  • Donohue's June 8 column was devoted to Pelosi's responses to criticisms of various bishops and others, again huffing, "There is no Catholic politician who has a record of openly defying the Catholic Church on the issues of women, marriage, the family, and sexuality worse than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

Jeffrey used his May 25 column to bash Pelosi, starting with rehashing a gotcha question a CNS reporter asked her in 2015. After a lot of lecturing, Jeffrey declared that "Archbishop Cordileone did the right thing. Now, Speaker Pelosi should do the right thing and join the pro-life cause." Like his other writers, Jeffrey didn't refute Pelosi pointing out Cordileone's hypocrisy in sanctioning her but ignoring others who violate church teachings on other issues.

CNS' favorite Catholic priest who really wants to be a right-wing blogger, Michael Orsi, defended Cordileone in a May 31 column, insisting that "The archbishop’s action was not political. Rather, it was sacramental. And certainly it was his job," going on to grumble that "Pope Francis elevated Cordileone’s California colleague, San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy, to the rank of Cardinal. Cordileone was not so honored. He then complained that Pelosi "chose to hide behind a classic pro-abortion dodge, a variation on the old 'I’m personally opposed, but...” cliché,' adding that "I choose to pray that this misguided woman might come to understand the seriousness of her sin, and repent."

Meeting with the pope

When Pelosi went to the Vatican and met with Pope Francis, CNS had itself a little meltdown -- perhaps being a little jealous that she got to meet him and the more-Catholic-than-the-pope boys who run CNS have not.

It was foreshadowed in a June 16 article in which intern Janey Olohan was dispatched to Pelosi's weekly press conference to ask her a well-rehearsed right-wing gotcha question: "St. John Paul II said in Evangelium Vitae that abortion is murder. Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy for Life that abortion is 'truly murder.' Do you agree with St. John Paul II and Pope Francis that abortion is murder?" Pelosi knew better than to play along with a clearly biased reporter:

Pelosi replied: "What I agree on is that whatever I believe or agree with the popes on is not necessarily what public policy should be in the United States, as people make their own judgments, honor their own responsibilities, and tend to the needs of their families."

An anonymously written June 29 article reported on the visit and its purported hypocrisy:

Pope Francis met today at the Vatican with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) and her husband Paul Pelosi, just two days after the speaker had publicly declared her commitment to pushing Congress to enact legislation “to enshrine Roe v. Wade into the law of the land.”

The Supreme Court last Friday released its opinion in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, which declared that there is no federal constitutional right to abortion and that it is, therefore, up to the states to determine their own abortion laws.

On Monday, Pelosi released a “dear colleague” letter she had sent to other Democrats in the House of Representatives that day. The letter expressed her views on how the House should respond to the Dobbs decision.

“Our Caucus has been exploring avenues to protect the health and freedom of American women,” said Pelosi.

“Among them,” she said, “is legislation that: …Once again passes the Women’s Health Protection Act: landmark legislation to enshrine Roe v. Wade into the law of the land.”

Donohue vented his spleen in a column the same day, pretending to be aghast that Pelosi receive Communion at the Vatican:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who rejects the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion, marriage, and sexuality, received Holy Communion on June 29 at a papal Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. The pope was in attendance, but did not give out Communion.

Pelosi's stunt was done to undercut her bishop, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone: he has told her not to present herself for Communion, citing her lust for abortion rights.

Some will blame the Vatican for what happened; others will blame Pelosi; still others will blame Cordileone. There is only one person to blame — Pelosi.


Pelosi waiting in line to receive Communion is akin to a murderer waiting in line to pay his respects to his victim at a Catholic wake. The analogy is poignant in more ways than one.

Donohue didn't mention that a single bishop's denial of communion is not binding on other dioceses -- or that Pope Francis himself has specifically said not to deny Communion to or excommunicate anyone solely on the issue of abortion.

Another anonymously written article, on July 1, seemed miffed that Pelosi got even more quality time with the pope:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday visited the “Christian community” of Sant’Egidio in Rome after visiting the Vatican and told the people there that she had “had the pleasure of attending Mass this morning with His Holiness.”

“We had the pleasure of attending Mass this morning with His Holiness and many, many, many leaders of the Church,” said Pelosi.

“And [Pope] Francis’ name always reminds me of St. Francis saying: ‘We preach the Gospel; sometimes, use words.’ We also pray that—ask God in his anthem, in his song of St. Francis, to make us all instruments of God’s peace,” she said.

So in the spirit of St. Francis, which is the name of His Holiness and my city of San Francisco, I thank you for preaching the Gospel, sometimes using words,” she said.

The article somehow managed to avoid shoehorning in Pelosi's stance on abortion.

Anti-abortion activist Judie Brown raged at Pelosi in a July 5 column for refusing to force her faith on others, bizarrely calling her a "fraud" for not doing so:

Recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blew off her archbishop’s instruction that she refrain from receiving the body of Christ in the Eucharist with this response: “I come from a largely pro-life, Italian-American Catholic family, so I respect people’s views about that, but I don’t respect us foisting it onto others.”

This single self-promoting sentence tells us all we need to know about those who detest Christ, His Church, and the truth itself. We all know—at least all pro-life Americans know—that Pelosi is a fraud. But knowing that does not help us speak in the public square in a way that resonates with doubters.

When Pelosi was asked about whether her beliefs about abortion agree with those of Pope Francis and St. John Paul II, she said: “What I agree on is that whatever I believe, agree with the pope on, is not necessarily what public policy should be in the United States as people make their own judgments, honor their own responsibilities, and attend to the needs of their families.”

In other words, the shallowness of Pelosi’s convictions is only overshadowed by her ability to deceive the listener, the reporter, and/or the Vatican. We know what she believes, as it is apparent from her actions. Pelosi believes in abortion, and she does not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. After all, even the Speaker of the House can’t have it both ways.

Brown concluded by screeching: "Insulting Christ is an abomination, Madam Speaker!"

An anonymously written July 18 article complained that Pelosi "delivered a statement on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Friday in which she noted that “Catholics for Choice” had joined in what Pelosi called the “mobilization” behind bills taken up by the U.S. House of Representatives to legalize abortion nationwide," going on to huff:

"Catholic for Choice” says: “We believe that reproductive freedom is Catholic social justice value.”

However, as articulated in Evengelium Vitae, the Catholic Church itself says that abortion is “murder.”

The anonymous writer made no apparent effort to contact Catholics for Choice for comment, nor was it explained why the group's name was repeatedly put in scare quotes.

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