Over the past few months, a number of Catholics have expressed their exasperation with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone—one of our best American bishops, by all accounts—for admitting on the Crisis Point podcast that he wasn’t ready to deny Nancy Pelosi Holy Communion for her rabid and long-time pro-abortion advocacy. If even one of our strongest bishops won’t act in an obvious case of “Eucharistic incoherence,” then what hope do we have in the episcopate?
These Communion Wars highlights the great divide that exists between the bishops and the lay faithful today. Bishops are unconvincing in their arguments for doing nothing, and the laity have gotten nowhere in trying to push the hierarchy to a more robust stand. It’s as if the two groups are not speaking the same language—because they’re not.
When a bishop considers this issue on the practical level—what to do when a Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi presents himself or herself for Communion—he will consider many factors (assuming he even cares about reserving the Eucharist for Catholics in a state of grace): How will denying the politician Communion impact the diocese? Will it cause a revolt among his clergy? Will it dry up donations for charitable works? Will it cause a media frenzy? Ultimately, how will the work of the diocese be impacted?