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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attended morning mass at the Vatican on Wednesday, marking the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul in a papal service officiated by Pope Francis. Pelosi was seated in the VIP section of St. Peter's Basilica and received communion along with other congregants, The Associated Press reports, citing two witnesses at the mass.
The conservative archbishop in Pelosi's hometown of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, took the unusually aggressive step of announcing in May saying Pelosi could not receive the Eucharist in the archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights. President Biden, another active Catholic who supports abortion rights, said Pope Francis told him last fall to continue receiving communion. Both can receive the Eucharist in the Washington archdiocese. Francis has described the sacrament as "not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."
The pope did not administer communion during the mass, but he met with Pelosi before the mass and gave her a blessing, AP reports. "We had the pleasure of attending mass this morning with His Holiness and many, many, many leaders of the church," Pelosi said at the Sant'Egidio Community charity in Rome. "In the spirit of St. Francis, which is the name of His Holiness and my city of San Francisco, I thank you for preaching the Gospel, sometimes using words."