26 May 2022, The Tablet

View from Rome

View from Rome

A new leader of the Holy See’s doctrine office is expected to be announced by Pope Francis in the not too distant future. The incumbent, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, is 78 and his term of office expires on 1 July. One issue that the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith will face is how to respond to the bishops in the United States who are deciding to bar Catholic politicians who support abortion rights from communion. Many in Rome are alarmed by the politicisation of the Eucharist and by the eagerness of some bishops to sign up as partisans in the global culture wars.

All of this has come to a head following the declaration by the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, that he had was barring the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, from receiving communion in her home diocese. It is a decision that appears to ignore the Pope’s guidance. No one could accuse Francis of softening Catholic teaching on abortion, which he has repeatedly condemned as “murder”. But when asked last September about barring Catholic politicians from communion, he said he had never denied anyone communion, and warned pastors against “taking sides on a political front”. Not long after, Pelosi, a Catholic and mother of five, travelled to Rome and met the Pope and other Vatican officials, signalling Francis’ clear preference for dialogue over sanctions.

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