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Posted on 05/21/2022 01:25 AM (CNA Daily News)
Mexico City Newsroom, May 20, 2022 / 17:25 pm (CNA).
Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos of Matagalpa has charged that the police of President Daniel Ortega’s government harassed him by following him all day and into the night, and announced he will fast indefinitely “on water and whey” until the harassment ends.
In a video message released May 19 by the Archdiocese of Managua, Bishop Álvarez said that "today I have been followed all day and into the evening hours by the Sandinista police."
The bishop said he was tailed when he went to his niece's house for dinner that evening. The police “entered my circle of family privacy, they came to my private, family, paternal, maternal home, putting the safety of my family at risk."
When he asked the police why they were following him, "they informed me they’re obeying orders.”
Later, he recalled, the policemen told him they were following him “for my safety. But we already know that the insecurity in this country is precisely (due to) the police.”
"Those who make us feel insecure by being followed are you, my brothers the police," he said.
This is not the first time that Bishop Álvarez, who has been a clear defender of human rights and freedom in Nicaragua, has been harassed by the police working for the Ortega government, which has been in power since 2007.
Father Harvin Padilla of the Diocese of Masaya also charged this week that he has been followed and harassed by police and paramilitaries connected to the Ortega government.
At the beginning of May the Nicaraguan National Assembly, controlled by Daniel Ortega's Sandinista National Liberation Front, which holds an 80% majority in the legislature, approved a report that accuses bishops and priests of participating in what Ortega considers a coup attempt in 2018.
The document accuses the Catholic Church of supporting the citizen protests that demanded in 2018 that Ortega leave power.
Ortega has been president of Nicaragua since 2007, and oversaw the abolition of presidential term limits in 2014.
He was a leader in the Sandinista National Liberation Front, which had ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979 and fought US-backed right-wing counterrevolutionaries during the 1980s. Ortega was also leader of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990.
A crisis began in Nicaragua in April 2018 after Ortega announced social security and pension reforms. The changes were soon abandoned in the face of widespread, vocal opposition, but protests only intensified after more than 40 protesters were killed by security forces.
Security forces killed at least 320 protesters, with hundreds more arrested.
In March, Nicaragua expelled Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, until then the apostolic nuncio, a decision that the Vatican described as "incomprehensible."
The Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Managua published a statement May 18 expressing its concern over "the situation in the country that we love as children of God, as Nicaraguans and as Christians."
"We join in prayer so that God might transform hard hearts into feeling hearts, with love for others, free from feelings that impede the normality that leads to authentic social peace."
"May love, forgiveness and mercy prevail in everyone in the search for the common good, practicing Christian principles," the commission urged.
"Faithful to the mandate of the Lord, and faithful to her vocation, the Church will continue to announce the Gospel, denouncing the social structures of sin, accompanying the people, especially the poor and the weak," they said.
"The mission of the Church will always provoke contradictions in this world where along with the light there is also the darkness of evil," the Justice and Peace commission noted.
Posted on 05/20/2022 23:37 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 20, 2022 / 15:37 pm (CNA).
Editor’s note: Below is the full text of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone’s notification to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, informing her that she should not receive Holy Communion in her home archdiocese, the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Cordileone made the following letter publicly available on Friday, May 20.
To the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress Nancy Pelosi
The Second Vatican Council, in its Decree on the Church in the Modem World, Gaudium et spes, reiterated the Church's ancient and consistent teaching that “from the first moment of conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes” (n. 51). Christians have, indeed, always upheld the dignity of human life in every stage, especially the most vulnerable, beginning with life in the womb. His Holiness, Pope Francis, in keeping with his predecessors, has likewise been quite clear and emphatic in teaching on the dignity of human life in the womb.
This fundamental moral truth has consequences for Catholics in how they live their lives, especially those entrusted with promoting and protecting the public good of society. Pope St. John Paul II was also quite consistent in upholding this constant teaching of the Church, and frequently reminded us that “those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a ‘grave and clear obligation to oppose’ any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them” (cf. Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life [November 24, 2002], n. 4, §1). A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others. Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons “are not to be admitted to Holy Communion” (Code of Canon Law, can. 915).
With regard to the application of these principles to Catholics in political life, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote to the U.S. bishops in 2004 explaining the approach to be taken:
“... when a person's formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church's teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist. When ‘these precautionary measures have not had their effect ... ,’ and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, ‘the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.’”
In striving to follow this direction, I am grateful to you for the time you have given me in the past to speak about these matters. Unfortunately, I have not received such an accommodation to my many requests to speak with you again since you vowed to codify the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in federal law following upon passage of Texas Senate Bill 8 last September. That is why I communicated my concerns to you via letter on April 7, 2022, and informed you there that, should you not publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion “rights” or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion, I would have no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915, that you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.
As you have not publically repudiated your position on abortion, and continue to refer to your Catholic faith in justifying your position and to receive Holy Communion, that time has now come. Therefore, in light of my responsibility as the Archbishop of San Francisco to be “concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to [my] care” (Code of Canon Law, can. 383, §1), by means of this communication I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.
Please know that I stand ready to continue our conversation at any time, and will continue to offer up prayer and fasting for you.
I also ask all of the faithful of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to pray for all of our legislators, especially Catholic legislators who promote procured abortion, that with the help and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they may undergo a conversion of heart in this most grave matter and human life may be protected and fostered in every stage and condition of life.
Given at San Francisco, on the nineteenth day of May, in the Year of our Lord 2022.
Salvatore J. Cordileone
Archbishop of San Francisco
Posted on 05/20/2022 23:10 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 20, 2022 / 15:10 pm (CNA).
Catholics are responding in a variety of ways to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's decision not to admit Nancy Pelosi to Communion, from viewing it as a compassionate act to the "waging [of] a culture war."
Cordileone notified the Speaker of the House of his decision May 19, and released letters to the priests and the laity of the Archdiocese of San Francisco explaining the act May 20.
Cordileone said on May 20 that the step was “purely pastoral, not political” and came only after Pelosi, D-Calif., who has described herself as a “devout Catholic,” repeatedly rebuffed his efforts to reach out to her to discuss her abortion advocacy.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois tweeted an earnest commendation of Cordileone's decision, saying that "politicians who promote abortion should not receive holy Communion until they have repented, repaired scandal, and been reconciled to Christ and the Church."
I fully support and earnestly commend Archbishop Cordileone’s action in regard to Speaker Pelosi. All politicians who promote abortion should not receive holy Communion until they have repented, repaired scandal, and been reconciled to Christ and the Church. https://t.co/TTncsZWVu2— Bishop Paprocki (@BishopPaprocki) May 20, 2022
Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa said that he spoke to the pastor of St. Helena Catholic Church in St.Helena, a parish that Pelosi reportedly attends on occasion.
Vasa said, “I have visited with the pastor at St Helena and informed him that if the Archbishop prohibited someone from receiving Holy Communion then that restriction followed the person and that the pastor was not free to ignore it.”
“The new Canon (1379 §4) makes it clear that providing sacraments to someone prohibited from receiving them [has] its own possible penalties,” he said.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver tweeted, “I support and commend my brother bishop, Archbishop Cordileone, for making this courageous, compassionate, and necessary decision.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler tweeted, “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Archbishop Cordileone for loving Nancy Pelosi in the Truth of Jesus Christ!”
Bishop James Conley of Lincoln tweeted, “I support Archbishop Cordileone in his courageous pastoral outreach to a member of his flock. His actions are made as a shepherd with the heart of Christ.”
I support Archbishop Cordileone in his courageous pastoral outreach to a member of his flock. His actions are made as a shepherd with the heart of Christ. https://t.co/mRGCtE2ZN3— James D Conley (@bishop_conley) May 20, 2022
Jamie L. Manson, president of the abortion advocacy group Catholics for Choice, maintained that the archbishop "is waging a culture war that the bishops have already retreated from," and claimed that Cordileone's action is "extreme."
Bishop Hying of Madison supported Cordileone, saying: “I fully support Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s prudent decision to recognize that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, has persistently taken public positions in support of legal abortion, contrary to her professed Catholic faith, choosing to separate herself from full communion with the Catholic Church, and therefore is not to present herself for the reception of Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.”
Hying said that “Cordileone’s public statement made it clear that this serious measure is ‘purely pastoral, not political’ in a further attempt ‘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…’”
“This is not a decision that was made rashly, but rather one made after almost ten years of patient dialogue and repeated attempts at reconciliation with the congresswoman and the consistently held teachings of the Catholic Church,” Hying wrote. “Please join me in prayer for Speaker Pelosi, that she may embrace the sacred truth and dignity of the human person, formed in the womb, in the image of God.”
Lila Rose, head of Live Action, tweeted that "this is the kind of leadership we need" and that "allowing publicly unrepentant, pro-abortion politicians to receive the Eucharist is damaging to their own souls and the conscience of the nation."
In a string of tweets, Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote, stated that “Catholics across America commend Archbishop Cordileone and his pastoral leadership in handling the scandal posed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. For too long Catholic public officials have created confusion and disunity by advocating for policies that destroy innocent human life – in direct contradiction of the teachings of the Catholic faith.
“The persistent disobedience of these public officials is a source of enormous sadness and scandal that begged for a response. The Church has no choice but to protect itself and to encourage all of its members to live in communion with its teachings.”
“For the sake of Speaker Pelosi and the rest of the flock in his charge, Archbishop Cordileone is right to call her to return to full communion with the Church. We hope and pray she will do so.”
Wow, +Cordileone has the heart of lion. https://t.co/ogCKTxQmCL— Craig de Aragón (@Lowercase_de) May 20, 2022
Another Twitter user, Craig de Aragón, tweeted, “Wow, +Cordileone has the heart of lion.” Twitter user Jeff Culbreath tweeted, “Thank you, Archbishop, for ending this scandal and caring for the souls of your flock. Including Speaker Pelosi's.”
Posted on 05/20/2022 22:41 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 20, 2022 / 14:41 pm (CNA).
Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver released a statement Friday in support of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s decision to deny Communion to Nancy Pelosi because of her persistence in supporting abortion.
“I support and commend my brother bishop for making this courageous, compassionate, and necessary decision,” Aquila said. “I know Archbishop Cordileone to be a shepherd with the heart and mind of Christ, who truly desires to lead others towards Christ’s love, mercy, and promise of eternal salvation.”
Cordileone’s announcement came out Friday at 3 p.m. EDT and explained that the reasoning for his decision is ”purely pastoral, not political.”
Aquila says that Cordileone’s notification to Pelosi and his separate letter to the priests of the archdiocese “clearly articulates the Church’s teaching on abortion, details the extensive efforts he made to have dialogue with Speaker Pelosi, and explains the canonical and pastoral reasons for this decision.”
Aquila encouraged the faithful of his archdiocese to read the separate letters that Cordileone issued.
Aquila quoted Cordileone saying, “conversion is always better than exclusion, and before any such action can be taken it must be preceded by sincere and diligent efforts at dialogue and persuasion.”
Cordileone “has made every attempt to try and avoid this step," the Denver archbishop added.
“As I have previously written and Archbishop Cordileone makes clear as well, this issue is not about politics or simply enforcing Church rules, but rather about love — love for the individual and love for the entire community,” Aquila wrote.
Aquila continued: “Church teaching is clear that people endanger their souls if they are separated from God because of grave sin and then receive the most Holy Eucharist in an unworthy manner. If the Church truly loves them, as she does, then it is more than appropriate to call them back to an intimate relationship with each person of the Trinity through repentance before receiving the body and blood of Jesus in a way that risks their eternal salvation. Jesus as he begins his ministry, calls people to ‘repent and believe’ (Mk 1: 15).”
“And when that person is a public person,” he said, “love for the community means guarding against scandal and confusion and allowing others to be led into sin if they don’t see the issue addressed in an appropriate and compassionate manner.”
Aquila added that he “would encourage the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver, including our own political leaders, to read the letters written by Archbishop Cordileone, and to ask the Holy Spirit with an open heart to clear away any doubt or confusion you have about this issue, and lead you into a more intimate and full relationship with Jesus.”
“What Peter and the apostles told the authorities and those in power in their day, ‘We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5: 29), is still valid today,” he said.
Aquila concluded by calling for prayer for “all political leaders, that they may govern in a way that promotes and protects the God-given dignity of every person, from conception until natural death. And let us pray for our state and country, that we may once again view every precious life as a true gift from our heavenly Father.”
Posted on 05/20/2022 22:03 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 20, 2022 / 14:03 pm (CNA).
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone announced on Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should not be admitted to Holy Communion in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, nor should she present herself to receive the Eucharist, until she publicly repudiates her support for abortion.
Cordileone said on May 20 that the step was “purely pastoral, not political” and came after Pelosi, D-Calif., who has described herself as a “devout Catholic,” repeatedly rebuffed his efforts to reach out to her to discuss her abortion advocacy.
Cordileone said that he sent the notification to Pelosi, “a member of our archdiocese,” on May 19. The Democratic leader did not immediately respond publicly to Cordileone’s announcement after it was released to the media Friday afternoon. In a 2008 interview with C-SPAN, Pelosi said being denied Communion would be “a severe blow,” describing herself at the time as a “regular communicant.”
Cordileone's instructions apply only within the San Francisco Archdiocese. Other bishops have jurisdiction over such matters when Pelosi is Washington, D.C., and other dioceses around the U.S. and abroad.
In a May 20 letter addressed to lay Catholics, Cordileone explained that he issued the instruction in accordance with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that “Those … obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
“After numerous attempts to speak with her 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 the point has come in which I must make a public declaration that she is not to be admitted to Holy 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,” Cordileone wrote in the letter.
Separate letter sent to priests
In a separate letter to priests of the San Francisco Archdiocese also released Friday, Cordileone responded preemptively to criticism that he was “weaponizing the Eucharist.”
He insisted that his decision was “simply application of Church teaching.”
“I have been very clear all along, in both my words and my actions, that my motive is pastoral, not political,” he said in the letter.
In the same letter, the archbishop described his repeated attempts to meet with Pelosi — who represents San Francisco, California’s 12th District, in Congress — since she announced in September 2021 that she would seek to codify Roe. v. Wade into U.S. law.
He said that he wrote to the Speaker in April this year, “detailing the extreme position to which she has moved on the abortion question and explaining the scandal that it is causing and the danger to her own soul.”
“I asked her to repudiate this position, or else refrain from referring to her Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion,” he wrote.
“I also advised her that if she refused to do this, I would be forced to make a public announcement that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
He said that he received no response, but contacted Pelosi again a month later when she described herself as a “devout Catholic” while explaining why she supported abortion, in the wake of the leak of a draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court could strike down Roe v. Wade.
“In consequence of all this and all that has led up to it,” Cordileone told priests, “it is my determined judgment that this resistance to pastoral counsel has gone on for too long, and there is nothing more that can be done at this point to help the Speaker understand the seriousness of the evil her advocacy for abortion is perpetrating and the scandal she is causing.
"I therefore issued her the aforementioned Notification that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion," he wrote.
A long-running impasse
Cordileone and Pelosi have clashed repeatedly over abortion since Benedict XVI appointed Cordileone to lead the San Francisco Archdiocese in 2012.
Tensions rose notably in 2021 as the push to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision reached the Supreme Court and the U.S. bishops engaged in a heated discussion over whether pro-abortion politicians should be denied Communion.
In May 2021, Pelosi said that she was “pleased” with a Vatican letter to the U.S. bishops addressing the debate. She claimed that the Vatican had instructed the bishops not to be “divisive” on the issue.
In response, Cordileone said the Vatican was in fact promoting “dialogue” between bishops and pro-abortion politicians, “to help them understand the grave evil they are helping to perpetrate and accompany them to a change of heart.”
In July 2021, Cordileone sharply criticized Pelosi after she cited her Catholic faith while defending efforts to permit federal funding of elective abortions.
The archbishop launched a prayer campaign in September 2021 aimed at inspiring “a conversion of heart” among politicians supporting abortion, “beginning with the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
Cordileone urged Catholics to sign up for the “Rose and Rosary for Nancy” campaign, which delivered thousands of roses to the speaker as a symbol of prayer and fasting for the 82-year-old mother of five.
In October 2021, Pelosi met with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Commenting on the audience, Cordileone said that “popes meet with everyone” and that the encounter didn’t signal a papal endorsement of the Speaker’s views on abortion.
Warning about reprisals
In his letter to priests, Cordileone acknowledged that his decision could lead to an increase in attacks on Catholic churches.
“Our churches are already being targeted for violence, and our worship services are being disrupted, which motivated me to send you the memo last week asking you to be more attentive to security measures on your property. These attacks may now likely increase. I realize this,” he said.
“But for us, as faithful disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is a cause for rejoicing, for the only reason this is happening is due to the Catholic Church’s consistent defense of the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions, and especially at its beginning in the womb of the mother.”
Cordileone continued, “I am convinced that this is a time that God is calling us to live the last beatitude: ‘Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven’ (Matthew 5:11-12).”