This week the Vatican's highest-ranking American was quoted as saying Pelosi and other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be denied communion.
'This is a person who obstinately, after repeated admonitions, persists in a grave sin — cooperating with the crime of procured abortion — and still professes to be a devout Catholic,' Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, told the Minneapolis-based Catholic Servant newspaper in July, but the article only achieved national prominence this week when The Wanderer, another Catholic paper, reprinted the article online.
Given the pope's criticism of the 'obsession' some clergy members have with the issue of abortion and gay marriage, Cardinal Burke's critics are already suggesting he talks as though he knows better than the pope.
Burke, the most important court official in the Holy See, has no patience for any politician who supports abortion under any circumstance.
According to Catholic News controversy over the issue arose when Pelosi refused to comment on the case of Doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of manslaughter and first-degree murder for the death of a patient and seven babies who were killed after being born alive.
'As a practicing and respectful Catholic this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics,' Pelosi told a press conference earlier this year.
When asked about her position Burke said Canon 915 of the church’s code should be applied in Pelosi’s case: Those who are 'obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,' it reads.
'To say that these are simply questions of Catholic faith, which have no part in politics, is just false and wrong,' said Burke, a former archbishop of St. Louis and bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
'I fear for Congresswoman Pelosi if she does not come to understand how gravely in error she is,' Burke said.
But the much less hardline Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. said in May that he would not deny communion to Pelosi, stating that the church does not use communion as a 'weapon.'
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