Pope Francis elevated Bishop Robert McElroy, who has opposed clergymen denying President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion, to cardinal Sunday.
McElroy will be installed Aug. 27 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome as one of 21 new cardinals, NBC San Diego reported. The bishop argued in a May 2021 piece for the Jesuit magazine America that the Eucharist is “being weaponized” for political purposes.
“The proposal to exclude pro-choice Catholic political leaders from the Eucharist is the wrong step. It will bring tremendously destructive consequences — not because of what it says about abortion, but because of what it says about the Eucharist,” he said.
McElroy argued in the piece that the church cannot test each individual Catholic for rejecting a significant teaching.
“How many Catholic political leaders of either party could pass that test? And because any notion of eucharistic unworthiness in the theology of the church must apply not just to political leaders but to all Catholics, how many of the faithful will be eligible for the Eucharist by this criterion?”
The move came after Archbishop of the San Francisco Archdiocese Salvatore Cordileone ordered in a May 20 letter that clergyman within his diocese bar Pelosi from receiving communion due to the “grave evil she is perpetrating” through her support of abortion. (RELATED: Archbishop Cordileone Says He Had ‘Conversations’ With Pro-Abortion Pelosi About Holy Communion)
Catholic teaching states “conscious of grave sin” is not permitted to receive communion or celebrate Mass “without previous sacramental confession,” according to the Vatican’s code on Canon Law. The Church teaches that “human life begins at conception” and that abortion is “gravely wrong” and a “moral evil,” according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Pelosi reportedly received communion at a May 22 mass held at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown, Politico Playbook first reported. The church’s pastor, Father Kevin Gillepsie, said in 2021 that he would allow Biden to take Holy Communion since he is a “man of faith.” Then-Vice President Biden was denied communion in South Carolina by Father Robert E. Morey for his abortion stance in 2019.
“Everyone is welcome,” he said. “He’s a man of faith, and I would give Communion to him like any other Catholic coming up for the Eucharist.”
The House Speaker told “Morning Joe” that Cordileone denying her communion is a double standard as supporters of the death penalty, another policy rejected by the Catholic Church, have not been denied communion. She argued the Church uses abortion as a “frontman” for issues including contraception, in-vitro fertilization, and family planning.
The San Francisco Examiner’s editorial board called on Pope Francis to remove Cordileone for “punishing Pelosi” rather than “right-wing politicians” who oppose “healthcare or funding for the poor.”
“Cordileone seeks to deprive her of a key component of her faith, but where is his zeal for punishment and purity when it comes to right-wing politicians? Why don’t Republican Catholics have to fear being cut off from Communion when they vote against health care or funding for the poor? Where was Cordileone’s harsh judgment when right-wing politicians voted this week against a measure to ease the nation’s baby formula shortage?” the board wrote.
“Pelosi has consistently fought on the morally right side of these issues. Why is she being singled out for punishment in her hometown, especially when she can still receive Communion in Washington, D.C. or Oakland?” the piece continued.