In this wide-ranging conversation on “The Gloria Purvis Podcast,” host Gloria Purvis speaks with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco….


Gloria Purvis: There has been a lot of reporting in the Catholic media and even secular media on the meeting between the Holy Father and President Biden. He says they did not talk about abortion. He says that “we just talked about the fact the pope was happy that I was a good Catholic, and I should keep receiving Communion.” It is well known that President Biden, while he says he’s personally pro-life, does not behave in a way that promotes policies around the issue of abortion that are in accordance with the church’s teaching.

How do you interpret this comment?

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone: You brought up that [Mr. Biden is] personally opposed [to abortion]. That was his position at one time. It’s not what it is now. He seems to be more guided by the Democratic Party than his Catholic faith on the issues where we’re not in harmony. He recently said that he no longer believes that life begins at conception, which is a problem for a couple of reasons. One is, it’s not a matter of religious belief when life begins. Science tells us life begins at conception. The church affirms that. So he is explicitly dissenting not only from church teaching but from sound science.

[On the pope’s comment], we don’t know if the pope really said that. The Vatican has neither affirmed nor denied it, but he may not have said that. I tend to believe that the pope didn’t say that, or at least exactly that. Many people in a position of leadership have had the experience that I’ve had, where often I say one thing and people hear something else. People tend to hear what they want to hear.

GP: A politician in your diocese, who is vocally pro-abortion, has put forward legislation [the Women’s Health Protection Act] that you would call “child sacrifice.” You’ve called on Catholics to pray and fast for [Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s] conversion. How has Speaker Pelosi spoken to you about that?

SC: I haven’t gotten any communication from her office on it…. [But] we’ve had conversations in the past, and she’s very respectful of me. I have to give her credit for that. She’s never defiant or mean-spirited. She’s always been very respectful. So I think she’s a good example of how, when there are bitter disagreements, we can still converse civilly.


GP: When you asked for prayers for Nancy Pelosi, one of the things that I was thinking about is the difficulty on the spiritual level. You’re dealing with your children—your spiritual children, and [as bishop] you have care and concern for our souls. But then some people somehow received that as attacking her or targeting her. What would you want to say [to them]?

SC: Pope Francis tells us that we should be pastors, not politicians. So I don’t know what could be more pastoral than prayer and fasting. How can you argue with that? This is a very serious issue. Since Roe, more than 60 million babies have been murdered in their mother’s wombs. I mean, it’s a bloodbath, not to mention the mothers who have been harmed and dealing with those scars, those emotional scars and psychological scars, and very often are not allowed to even talk about it. They’re feeling this hole, this anguish inside. Those who say that they’re for women, their response is, “You’re not supposed to be feeling that.” So then they have to bury it.

Who offers them healing opportunities? We do. Who offers them opportunities to give birth? There are many choices. Yes, abortion is only one choice. It’s the one wrong choice. But there’s adoption. There’s raising the child by herself. There’s the old-fashioned solution of marriage. Our pro-life crisis pregnancy clinics that are run by people of faith, they’re the ones who are pro-choice because they’re giving her every choice, except one. These abortion clinics, they give her only one choice. And one choice is no choice. You have to have at least two options to have a choice….

The above comes from a Nov. 9 story in America magazine.