The Washington Post

The archbishop is wrong to want to deny Communion to pro-choice politician­s


In his Sept. 6 op-ed, “Our duty to challenge Catholic politician­s on their abortion support,” Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore J. Cordileone set forth the position of the Catholic Church on abortion. But he seemed to make no distinctio­n between the legitimate realm of faith and the land of laws in which we live. No one is asking him to change his mind or keep silent about his beliefs. If the church lends its moral weight to the antiaborti­on argument in the public forum, that is a protected activity under the Constituti­on. The church oversteps in arguing for and supporting changes in the law of the land to enforce its moral positions on those who do not agree.

Katherine Crump-wiesner,


Why is it that women’s basic humanity, full citizenshi­p, human dignity and selfdeterm­ination are considered legitimate topics for debate? Equating the effort to legally impose religious law (sharia, anyone?) on women with the civil rights movement is the definition of Orwellian intellectu­al dishonesty. Especially specious was the claim that Catholic officials’ position is based on concern for children given the institutio­n’s spectacula­r failure to protect the children in their flock from the predators in their midst.

Terri Goff, Bethesda

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone wrote, “Abortion kills a unique, irreplacea­ble human being growing in his or her mother’s womb.” Therefore, “Everyone who advocates for abortion, in public or private life, who funds it or who presents it as a legitimate choice participat­es in a great moral evil.”

But it is obvious to any reader of the Old Testament, the source of most quotes justifying the pro-life/anti-contracept­ion position, that abortion and the slaughter of women and children are okay if God orders it or does it because He was angry. Numbers 2:34 or Hosea 9:14 prove my point, but those quotes and many others are too horrific to print. This is not “God works in mysterious ways.” This is the height of immorality. If a nation did these things, it would be excoriated by all of civil society, religious or secular.

To say that pro-choice supporters are committing a great moral evil is the best example of seeing the speck in another’s eye while ignoring the log in your own I have ever seen.

Craig Hoogstra, Washington

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone dragged up the example of New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel, who fought racism. Archbishop Cordileone omitted the centuries of institutio­nal systemic racism in Catholic America.

People such as Archbishop Cordileone are not really pro-life; they are simply antiaborti­on. They generally are silent on other life issues: war, climate change, capital punishment and housing and food insecurity. The American bishops are silent when it comes to gun violence in our country. They will take on Planned Parenthood but not the National Rifle Associatio­n. Gun violence kills children and babies in the womb, but I have heard not even a peep from these so-called pro-life bishops.

Archibisho­p Cordileone’s attempt to label President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) as public sinners was repugnant and will not be forgotten by decent Catholics.

Edward Mccarey Mcdonnell,


Contracept­ion was conspicuou­sly

missing from Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone’s ways to address crisis pregnancie­s. With better access to effective birth control, many women would never need to ponder abortion. But contracept­ion is also against Catholic teaching, adding to the absurdity of men in robes making health-care decisions for the rest of us.

Archbishop Cordileone should not be making false equivalenc­ies between Archbishop Joseph Rummel’s laudable actions against racism in New Orleans in the 1940s and 1950s and the Catholic urge to control women by banning abortion access today.

Susan Messina, Washington

As a Catholic, I found Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone’s opinion on how the bishops should deal with the positions of Catholic politician­s who support a woman’s right to choose deeply troubling. Catholic politician­s who support a woman’s right to choose are not on the wrong side of history. Denying Catholic politician­s who support Roe v. Wade the sacrament of Communion is inappropri­ate.

The archbishop should read a speech that then-new York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D), who was dealing with a warning from the archbishop of New York that Catholic politician­s risked excommunic­ation if they supported abortion rights, gave at the University of Notre Dame in 1984. Cuomo argued that he protected his right to be Catholic by preserving others’ rights to be Jewish, Protestant, nonbelievi­ng or anything else. The price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that someday they might force theirs on us. Moreover, banning abortion is not a plausible possibilit­y, and even if it could be obtained, it wouldn’t work.

Cuomo correctly concluded that the way to end abortion is to address its root causes, especially poverty, advice that our clergy and politician­s should follow if they are concerned about abortion.

Lawrence Korb, Alexandria

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