San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone announced the release of his first pastoral letter on abortion at the Mass for Life at St. Mary’s Cathedral, May 1. (Photo by Dennis Callahan/Catholic San Francisco)
May 1, 2021Catholic San FranciscoArchbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone today published his first pastoral letter, “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You: A Pastoral Letter on the Human Dignity of the Unborn, Holy Communion and Catholics in Public Life.”
For text of the pastoral letter and a link to today’s homily, please go to InTheWomb.org.“Abortion is the axe laid to the roots of the tree of human rights…Without protection of the right to life, no other talk of rights makes sense,” Archbishop Cordileone wrote in the teaching document to the priests and laity of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.Archbishop Cordileone publicly announced the letter in the homily of the 8 a.m. monthly Mass for Life at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. Afterwards, many walked while saying the rosary to pray at the Planned Parenthood clinic four blocks away.Archbishop Cordileone spoke directly with compassion to pregnant women and those who have had abortions: “God loves you. We love you,” he said.“Abortion advocates argue that they are empowering women, but in fact the widespread practice of contraception and abortion has created a tremendous burden for a pregnant woman. …Now…. the pregnancy has become ‘her problem’,” Archbishop Cordileone wrote.The Archbishop emphasized Catholic teaching on who is morally responsible for abortion.“The teaching of our faith is clear,” he said. “Those who kill or assist in killing the child (even if personally opposed to abortion), those who pressure or encourage the mother to have an abortion, who pay for it, who provide financial assistance to organizations to provide abortions, or who support candidates or legislation for the purpose of making abortion a more readily available ‘choice’ are all cooperating with a very serious evil.”Reverence for the Holy Eucharist is at the heart of his concerns. Archbishop Cordileone pointed to St. Justin Martyr’s words in the second century A.D. to affirm this ancient and consistent teaching of the Church: “No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes what we teach is true; unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.”“To apply these ancient requirements to the present topic,” Archbishop Cordileone wrote, “those who reject the teaching of the Church on the sanctity of human life and those who do not seek to live in accordance with that teaching should not receive the Eucharist.”Archbishop Cordileone spoke directly to Catholics in public life who advocate for abortion: “Please, please, please: the killing must stop,” he wrote. “And please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil – one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right – is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith. It is not. Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith. We await you with open arms to welcome you back.”The open letter from the Archbishop to the clergy and laity of his diocese was published on the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, who is also the patron of the Church and protector of the Blessed Mother and the Child Jesus.Visit InTheWomb.org.