SAN FRANCISCO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Nancy Pelosi is being forced to retract her claim she recently attended an indoor Mass in San Francisco and participated in Holy Communion.
Pelosi made the revelation on Friday morning when a reporter asked her response to San Francisco archbishop Salvatore Cordileone's op-ed complaint that the city's health regulations governing Mass attendance were unfair.
"I have been to church in San Francisco recently, and I did receive Communion," Pelosi told an EWTN journalist.
Within a few hours, the story had fallen apart. Pelosi's spokesman had to walk back key aspects of the House speaker's remarks and had to "clarify" that Pelosi had not been in San Francisco since Sept. 5 because of COVID relief and appropriations negotiations.
"The speaker misspoke," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told Catholic News Agency. "She has been participating regularly in church services virtually."
Hammill's terse retraction left many questions unanswered. The most obvious problem with Pelosi's statement is that indoor services have not been permitted in San Francisco since March, and yet she claimed to have attended one.
"With all due respect to my archbishop, I think we should follow science on this, and faith and science are sometimes counter to each other" — @ErikRosalesNews asked @SpeakerPelosi whether churches in San Francisco should be allowed to re-open if they adhere to safety precautions. pic.twitter.com/BgXr05fXd7— EWTN News Nightly (@EWTNNewsNightly) September 18, 2020
Pelosi's original statement also included a number of specific details. For example, she said she had to "sign up" to attend Mass, she described accepting the host in her hand and she said the priest washed his hands before distributing the Eucharist.
The incident and her retraction are especially noteworthy in light of the speaker's illegal hair salon appointment in late August. Pelosi explained that report by saying she had been "set up."
In the morning press conference, Pelosi dismissed the archbishop's plea for fairness. She ignored the inequity issue he raised and fell back on the "science" argument.
"With all due respect to my archbishop, I think we should follow science on this," she said.
Cordileone, known for his orthodoxy, organized a Eucharistic procession past city hall on Sunday. More than 1,000 Catholics participated in the event that called on the city to reopen churches for indoor Mass.
The right to worship has been a point of contention across the state, but San Francisco has been particularly aggressive in its enforcement of Wuhan virus restrictions, reprimanding the archdiocese at least twice.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on a couple who tried to have an indoor wedding for approximately 100 people at Sts. Peter and Paul Church. A representative from the city attorney's office arrived, sent most guests home but allowed some of the wedding party to remain for an outdoor ceremony.
According to the newspaper's reporting, "Both bride and groom, as well as multiple guests, later tested positive for the coronavirus."
Cordileone may well be losing patience. Within a week's time he has published his concerns in a national newspaper and organized a public protest. It is not clear what the next step would be for the archdiocese.
Beginning Oct. 1, San Francisco Mayor London Breed will be allowing indoor services up to a maximum of 25 people. This is unlikely to satisfy Cordileone, who has pointed out that the new regulations allow for less than 1% of the capacity of San Francisco's cathedral.