Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.) is banned from receiving communion by the bishop of Durbin's Catholic diocese in Springfield, Illinois, until the senator "repents" of his pro-abortion "sin."
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki noted in a Feb. 13 news release that Durbin's longtime voting record in support of abortion constitutes “obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin." Therefore, Paprocki declared, the senator "is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin."
What is the bishop's prayer for Durbin?
"This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart," the bishop continued. "Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life."
Paprocki noted the U.S. Senate's failure to pass the the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — which would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization — and that 14 Catholic senators voted against the bill, including Durbin.
He also invoked Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, California, who used to be Durbin's pastor and said in April 2004 he'd be "reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church's teachings on life."
Paprocki's predecessor — now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha — indicated he would support Vann's decision, Paprocki said.
More from Paprocki's statement:
Canon 915 of the Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." In our 2004 Statement on Catholics in Political Life, the USCCB said, “Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good."
How did Durbin respond?
Durbin's offices in Washington, D.C., and Springfield on Thursday didn't immediately reply to TheBlaze's request for comment on the matter.
What did Durbin say last year about abortion?
Durbin said during a CNN interview last April that while he understands some Democrats may hold pro-life views on a "personal basis," they must back the party's pro-choice stance.
"As long as they are prepared to back the law, Roe vs. Wade, prepared to back women's rights as we've defined them under the law, then I think they can be part of the party," he said.
"I am committed to women's rights under the law, reproductive rights certainly, and our party is," Durbin added. "We've made that part of our platform and position for a long, long time."