A Rhode Island priest is refusing to serve Holy Communion to state lawmakers who supported a pro-abortion bill.
In 2019, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a bill preserving federal abortion protections into state law. According to U.S. News and World Report, the law says that Rhode Island will not restrict a woman's right to abortion "prior to fetal viability or afterward if an abortion is necessary for the health or life of the mother."
What are the details?
According to the Providence Journal, the Rev. Richard Bucci, 72, passed out flyers at West Warwick, Rhode Island's Sacred Heart Church publicly highlighting all state lawmakers who voted on a pro-abortion bill.
Bucci also said that these lawmakers will not be able to serve as marriage witnesses, godparents, or lectors at church-sponsored events.
The flyer said, "In accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church for 2000 years, the following members of the legislature may NOT receive Holy Communion, as are all the officers of the state of Rhode Island, as well as Rhode Island's members of Congress.
"In addition," the missive continued, "they will not be allowed to act as witnesses to marriage, godparents, or lectors at weddings, funerals, or any other church function."
The Roman Catholic Diocese, according to the outlet, "tacitly condoned" the flyer.
In a statement, Bucci said, "If they are proud of what they have done, why do they want to keep it a secret? We all hear about responsibility. Let them take responsibility. If they think this is a good and wholesome and holy thing ... they should be proud of it, and why should I hide that from my parishioners?"
He continued, "They call me 'Father' so that I may have an influence in their lives, and this is a serious issue of life and death."
Through his spokesperson, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence acknowledged Bucci's flyers, saying that the priest was welcome to do as he saw fit in this particular regard.
“For every sacrament, the Church provides detailed norms for preparation and reception. It is the pastor's duty to apply them within his parish, in accord with Church law," the spokesperson said. "This includes the proper reception of Holy Communion as outlined by the Code of Canon Law. Because the Church entrusts to each pastor the duty of teaching, sanctifying, and governing his parish, the daily pastoral and administrative decisions are made at the local parish level."