By John-Henry Westen

SAN FRANCISCO, February 8, 2007 ( – In an interview with KCBS radio in San Francisco aired Sunday, was asked sensitive questions about communion for pro-abortion politicians, ordination of homosexuals and homosexual adoption. 

  While the Catholic Church’s official teachings on the issues are very clear and direct, the Archbishop was described as having taken “great pains to avoid direct answers.”  The California Daily Catholic,  which transcribed portions of the interview, also said that the Archbishop of San Francisco “resisted every opportunity to make a clear statement about what the Church teaches.”

  In what is likely to be viewed as the most bizarre statement in the interview Niederauer says he does not understand House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stand on abortion.  Rated by the National Abortion Right’s Action League as 100% in support of abortion, Pelosi has for years been a leading abortion proponent while continuing to call herself Catholic. 

  One of the show hosts described Pelosi as “not only pro-choice, but she would be someone who would be working to try to keep abortion legal.”  The Archbishop was asked, “In your view is she less of a Catholic because of that?”  He replied saying about Pelosi, “We haven’t had an opportunity to talk about the life issues. I would very much welcome that opportunity, but I don’t believe that I am in a position to say what I understand her stand to be, if I haven’t had a chance to talk to her about it.”

  Niederauer did say that he had spoken to Pelosi last year, but not about abortion, but  about  “immigration”, explaining “because that was very much the hot-button topic of the time.”

  The radio hosts pressed the Archbishop whether he would deny communion to pro-abortion politicians.  After avoiding the question twice,  the Archbishop said: “I think that when I stand at Communion time, in front of the altar, to distribute Communion, I, like all priests and bishops, I believe, am counting on the individual communicant who’s coming forward to receive Communion, to decide whether he or she is worthy of Communion and is ready to receive it, this Sacrament. I am not there principally as a gatekeeper. I am there as a priest and a celebrant to give forth the Eucharist.”

  The answer can be seen to contradict the Vatican’s directives which indicate that once instructed and warned and still persistent in the sin and presenting themselves for communion, pro-abortion politicians “must” be denied communion.

  The Archbishop was also asked about a compromise he approved on homosexual adoption when the state required that adoption agencies,  including the Catholic agency be required to treat homosexual partners as equally valid adoptive parents.  The compromise which Archbishop Niederauer said he was “really very happy with” saw the church involved with a secular agency that would carry out homosexual adoptions, but the Church involvement was simply to put up information on the Internet information on children in need of adoption.   Prospective adoptive parents, homosexual couples included, seeing the information provided on the Internet, would then apply to the secular agency to adopt the children.

  However, the official Church teaching on the matter considers adoption of children by homosexual couples to be “violence” toward the child.  In a document issued before he was elected Pope,  “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in (homosexual) unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.” See the full document here:

  The Archbishop admitted there was controversy around his decision.  “Now there are those within the Church, and I understand and respect their opinion, who feel that’s, even that is too much of an involvement, but I believe we have examined what we’re doing and vetted it very carefully, and what we’re really doing is putting potential adoptive parents in touch with adoption agencies that can help them,” he said on radio.

  Hear the full radio interview here:

  (with files from the California Catholic Daily )