House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (search), D-Calif., like John Kerry a Catholic who supports abortion rights, said Thursday she will continue to ask for Holy Communion (searchin spite of Vatican opposition to pro-choice Catholics doing so.

"I fully intend to receive Communion, one way or another. That's very important to me," Pelosi told reporters during her weekly press conference.

A top Vatican cardinal said last week that priests must deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights. The cardinal stopped short of saying whether it was right for Kerry to receive Communion, and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee quickly affirmed his support for abortion rights (search) and took Communion the next day.

The head of a task force of U.S. bishops said Tuesday that Catholic politicians who advocate policies contrary to church teaching on abortion and other issues may risk sanctions that fall short of denial of Communion.

"I have not gotten to the stage where I'm comfortable in denying the Eucharist (search)," said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington.

Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat who was raised in a devout Italian Catholic home, told reporters, "I believe that my position on choice is one that is consistent with my Catholic upbringing, which said that every person has a free will and has the responsibility to live their lives in a way that they would have to account for in the end."

"I'm certainly concerned when the church comes together and says it's going to sanction people in public office for speaking their conscience and what they believe," she said.