In an interview discussing his recent admonition of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco emphasized the need for Catholics to recover the sense of worthiness to receive Holy Communion.

“Catholics no longer understand the idea of worthiness to receive Communion. It’s just seen as a sort of a token gesture of welcome and belonging,” Cordileone told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly in an interview that aired on Thursday night [Jan. 28].

The archbishop was addressing the topic of denial of Holy Communion to someone “for the sake of their soul.” He said that Catholics must first understand the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist in order to grasp the significance of the denial of Holy Communion to a public figure.

“For that kind of action [denial of Communion] to make sense to a lot of people, we need to reclaim this sense of what it means to receive [Communion],” Cordileone said, pointing to a lack of belief in the Real Presence of the Eucharist among Catholics.

“What are you really saying when you receive Communion? To me, it goes hand-in-hand with this decline in the belief of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist,” he said.

In that statement, Cordileone had said that “No Catholic in good conscience can favor abortion,” referring to Pelosi’s public support in Congress for legal abortion.

Pelosi, on a Jan. 18 podcast with former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, had referred to the issue of abortion as “a woman’s right to choose” and said that Catholics should “love contraception” for reducing the abortion rate.

In response, Cordileone said that Pelosi “does not speak for the Catholic Church,” and that her phrase “right to choose” to describe legal abortion “is a smokescreen for perpetuating an entire [abortion] industry that profits from one of the most heinous evils imaginable….”

On EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Cordileone emphasized that worthiness to receive Holy Communion is a much broader problem among Catholics than just Catholic politicians who contradict Church teaching.

“We have a bigger problem too, in that so many Catholics don’t even understand the concept of worthiness to receive Communion, right? To be in the state of grace,” he said. “And before Covid, I often questioned how many people just nonchalantly go up to receive Communion when they’re really not supposed to be….”

The above comes from a Jan 27 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.