One prominent Catholic bishop has put defense of the faith over popularity by barring pro-abortion politicians in his state from receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion.
According to LifeSiteNews, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, recently asked all Catholic politicians who helped pass Senate Bill 25 — a.k.a., the “Reproductive Health Act” — to refrain from receiving Holy Communion in a Catholic church until they repent of their sin through the sacrament of Confession. The bill passed the State Senate by 34-20 vote and essentially guarantees that the state of Illinois 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 has already promised to sign the bill into law.
Paprocki especially forbid priests in his diocese from giving communion to both the Senate president and the speaker of the House.
“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.
“These persons may be readmitted to Holy Communion only after they have truly repented these grave sins and furthermore have made suitable reparation for damages and scandal, or at least have seriously promised to do so, as determined in my judgment or in the judgment of their diocesan bishop in consultation with me or my successor,” the statement continued.
John Cullerton and Michael J. Madigan were the only two lawmakers that Paprocki specifically named in his edict, though he did go on to say the rule extends to any other Catholic lawmaker that worked to pass the bill. “I declare that Catholic legislators of the Illinois General Assembly who have cooperated in evil and committed grave sin by voting for any legislation that promotes abortion are not to present themselves to receive Holy Communion without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church in accord with canon 916 of the Code of Canon Law,” he said.
One of the greatest scandals in the U.S. Catholic Church since the 1960s has been the hierarchy’s unwillingness to bar pro-abortion politicians from receiving Holy Communion. This prominent list includes Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, the entire Kennedy family, and many others. Fortunately, the American church hierarchy began correcting course in 2017 by electing Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann to head the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Naumann expressly stated that bishops should bar such politicians from receiving Holy Communion.