Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke said earlier this week House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has no right to receive communion since she does not oppose abortion.
Burke, the head of the highest court at the Vatican, made the statement in an interview with The Western Center for Journalism. According to Canon 915, Roman Catholics who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin,” such as support for abortion, may not receive Communion.
The interviewer was referring to an incident in June during which Pelosi refused to answer a reporter’s question about the moral difference between infanticide—exemplified by Kermit Gosnell’s practice of killing babies born after botched abortions—and “successful” abortions, during which the child is killed inside the womb.
“[W]hat is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before her birth?” asked John McCormack, a reporter for The Weekly Standard.
According to The Washington Post, Pelosi refused to answer. “This is not the issue,” she exclaimed at one point. “You’re taking the extreme case.” Pelosi later contended that her faith and political views shouldn’t be mixed: “I don't think it should have anything to do with politics.”
But Cardinal Burke said that by separating her faith from her public life Pelosi and other politically prominent Catholics who support abortion are violating moral law and “not serving their brothers and sisters in the way that they must—in safeguarding and promoting the life of the innocent and defenseless unborn.”
According to the Pew Research Center, the combined number of Catholic Democrats in Congress just slightly outnumber Catholic Republicans—84 to 72. Between both parties, 30 percent of House members and 24 percent of senators are Catholic.