Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich will allow Illinois state politicians who helped pass a law guaranteeing women the right to abortion to receive what Catholics believe to be the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the form of Holy Communion.
Speaking with Catholic News Agency, Cupich said that barring pro-abortion Catholic politicians from receiving Holy Communion would be "counterproductive."
"I think it would be counterproductive to impose sanctions, simply because they don’t change anybody’s minds, but it also takes away from the fact that an elected official has to deal with the judgment seat of God, not just the judgment seat of a bishop. I think that’s much more powerful,” Cupich told CNA. "I have always approached the issue saying that the bishop’s primary responsibility is to teach, and I will continue to do that."
Senate Bill 25 — a.k.a., the "Reproductive Health Act" — passed the Illinois State Senate by a 34-20 vote and essentially guarantees that the state will enshrine abortion rights into law should Roe v. Wade be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. It even expressly states that the "fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights." Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law this past Wednesday.
According to Catholic Canon Law 915, people who publicly express grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion. The Catholic Church has always taught abortion to be intrinsically evil and that people who either procure or support the practice are in grave error that can only be reconciled through the sacrament of Confession.
Cardinal Cupich did, however, tell Catholic News Agency that the "Reproductive Health Act" is "pernicious" by denying the humanity of the unborn child.
"What’s pernicious about this law, and what’s so very difficult, is that it says that the unborn child has absolutely no claim on rights," Cupich said. "It says that human life is cheap. That’s the message that we send — that human life is cheap in the State of Illinois."
Cardinal Cupich's decision to give pro-abortion politicians Holy Communion stands in direct contrast to another bishop in Illinois — Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, who expressly forbid all priests under his governance to give Holy Communion to politicians that supported the "Reproductive Health Act."
"In accord with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law … Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan, who facilitated the passage of the Act Concerning Abortion of 2017 (House Bill 40) as well as the Reproductive Health Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 25), are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois because they have obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime and very grave sin of abortion as evidenced by the influence they exerted in their leadership roles and their repeated votes and obdurate public support for abortion rights over an extended period of time," Paprocki wrote in a statement.
In 2017, the American Catholic hierarchy elected Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann to head the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, who expressly stated that bishops should bar pro-abortion politicians from receiving Holy Communion.