‘The View’ Turns a Blind Eye to Catholic Teaching on Abortion, Communion
Panelist Whoopi Goldberg told Archbishop Cordileone, who banned Nancy Pelosi from receiving Communion in his archdiocese, “This is not your job, dude! That is not up to you to make that decision.”
Over the past few days, some prominent media figures have been reacting to the decision by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco to bar House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., from receiving Holy Communion in his diocese, where she resides, due to her “advocacy for abortion ‘rights.’” Many of the comments surrounding the ban betrayed misconceptions about Catholic teaching on Communion and the role of the Church in speaking out on issues like abortion.
ABC’s ‘The View’ held a panel discussion on the matter Monday in which host Whoopi Goldberg told Archbishop Cordileone, “This is not your job, dude! You can't — that is not up to you to make that decision.” She also asked, “What is the point of Communion, right? It’s for sinners. It’s the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners. How dare you?”
In their recent document on the Eucharist, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) says the opposite of what Goldberg contends:
It is the special responsibility of the diocesan bishop to work to remedy situations that involve public actions at variance with the visible communion of the Church and the moral law. Indeed, he must guard the integrity of the sacrament, the visible communion of the Church, and the salvation of souls.
Goldberg also claimed that Archbishop Cordileone was “going against Pope Francis” in his decision, saying, “You have your own issues about what’s right and wrong in the Church.”
However, in an interview with the Register last year, Archbishop Cordileone cited the words of then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, who was the lead author of the 2007 Aparecida document which said:
We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia. ... We must adhere to ‘Eucharistic coherence,’ that is, be conscious that they cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act with deeds or words against the commandments, particularly when abortion, euthanasia, and other grave crimes against life and family are encouraged.
More recently, when asked in September about denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians, the Pope replied that he personally had never denied Communion to anyone. But he went on to say that “abortion is more than an issue. Abortion is murder,” adding, “This is why the Church is so strict on this issue, because accepting this is kind of like accepting daily murder.”
He also said that for “the person who is not in the community and is not able to take Communion because he is outside of the community, this is not a penalty: you are outside. Communion is to unite the community.” He asked, “What should the pastor do? Be a shepherd, do not go around condemning, not condemning, but be a pastor. But is he also a pastor of the excommunicated? Yes, he is the pastor and he has to shepherd them, and he must be a shepherd with God’s style.”
‘The View’ host Sunny Hostin asked later in the discussion why the Church was “weaponizing the sacrament against Nancy Pelosi, but not treating ... other pro-death penalty politicians the same way?” This question is similar to Pelosi’s response to Archbishop Cordileone Tuesday in which she wondered “about the death penalty, which I’m opposed to. So is the Church, but they take no actions against people who may not share their view.”
In certain comments, Pope Francis has explained the emphasis on abortion as a foundational issue of particular concern for the Church. In January 2020, Pope Francis, in a meeting with bishops, identified “the protection of the unborn as a preeminent priority.” Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis told Catholic News Service at the time that it “was ‘beautiful’ when the Pope explained why life was the number one, most important issue, ‘because if you’re not alive you can’t do anything else.’”
In his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis asked, “How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?” He then quoted his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote, “If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away.”
“It’s not to denigrate or demote how important the other issues are,” Archbishop Cordileone told the Register in 2019. “The reason abortion is preeminent, besides the extreme gravity of tearing babies apart limb by limb, is the fact that if there’s no right to life, then all other rights fall. It’s the first right — it’s logically the first right. People have to have a right to life before they can have access to other rights; otherwise, other rights will fall.”
Archbishop Cordileone has spoken out against the death penalty in the past as well, and praised California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty in 2019. He wrote on behalf of the California Catholic Conference, “We appreciate this recognition that the state has the adequate means to defend human dignity and public safety without recourse to capital punishment. We ask the Governor to urge the legislature to find a permanent legislative solution that will end the practice of capital punishment in our state for good.”