A Catholic bishop in Illinois is taking a stand for the unborn in his state and denying Communion to allegedly Catholic politicians who recently voted for the state's extreme abortion law.
In order to be given Communion at Catholic churches within his diocese of Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki explained in a Thursday decree, state lawmakers who supported a recent law expanding abortion in the Land of Lincoln must go to confession first.
"In view of their gravely immoral action to deprive unborn children legal protection against abortion, it must be said that any Catholic legislator who sponsored, promoted, advocated, or voted for these pro-abortion bills has acted in a seriously sinful manner unfaithful to the 2,000-year-old Christian teaching against abortion and therefore, would place themselves outside of the full communion of the Catholic Church," Paprocki said of the decree. "Such persons are not to receive Holy Communion until they have celebrated the sacrament of reconciliation and displayed a public conversion of life."
The degree cites the Catholic Code of Canon Law, which clearly states that Catholics "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion" and that "a person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or to receive the Body of the Lord without prior sacramental confession unless a grave reason is present and there is no opportunity of confessing." Paprocki adds that he consulted canon lawyers prior to the decree.
Illinois' "Reproductive Health Act" (RHA) — which was passed by the state Senate late last week and is awaiting an expected signature from the state's Democratic governor — goes even further than New York's extreme abortion law passed earlier this year. RHA repeals the state's previous ban on partial-birth abortions and removes virtually all barriers to late-term abortions; it also requires private insurers to pay for abortions with no religious exemptions.
"The Eucharist is the most sacred aspect of our Catholic faith," Paprocki's statement explains of his Thursday decree. "As sacred Scripture warns, 'Whoever eats unworthily of the bread and drinks from the Lord's cup makes himself guilty of profaning the body and of the blood of the Lord.' To support legislation that treats babies in the womb like property, allowing for their destruction for any reason at any time, is evil."
This is not the first time that Paprocki has made headlines with a defense of Catholic teaching, or even the first time he has barred politicians from receiving Communion.
In 2018, Paprocki said that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) couldn't receive Communion in the diocese because of the lawmaker's voting record on abortion. In 2017, he decreed that people in same-sex marriages could not receive Communion or funeral rites unless they repented. He also previously warned that voting for pro-abortion politicians could place a Catholic's soul "in serious jeopardy."