Pope Francis concludes Asia trip
US bishop wants Communion denied to pro-abortion politicians
Support given to priest who refused Communion to a senator
Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa
- Marco Tosatti for Vatican Insider/La Stampa
- United States
- April 8, 2014
Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, who is well known for his fervent defence of the right to life and the natural family, has sent out a strong message, publicly announcing his support for priests who call themselves Catholics but refuse to administer Communion to Catholic politicians who favor policies that go against the Church’s teaching.
According to Lifesitenews, the prelate wrote to a pro-life activist explaining that he fully supports the decision taken by a priest in his diocese to deny the Eucharist to Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois. Durbin has a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood which favors abortion.
The content of Bishop Paprocki’s email was published by Catholic commentator Matt Abbott. “Senator Durbin was informed several years ago by his pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Springfield that he was not permitted to receive Holy Communion per canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law,” Paprocki wrote. “My predecessor upheld that decision and it remains in effect. It is my understanding that the senator is complying with that decision here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois,” the prelate wrote.
Canon 915 stipulates that “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” The local diocese explained that canon 915 leaves it up to the individual ministers to decide when to deny someone Communion, whereas canon 916 leaves the decision up to the faithful, in cases where they are conscious of having committed a grave sin. Naturally, this is the subject of much debate in the Church because some bishops claim that to deny someone Communion would turn the Eucharist into a political weapon. But others say, denying the Eucharist to someone who has sinned gravely is an act of charity because it prevents the individual in question from committing sacrilege. It also prevents a scandal in the Christian community.
In 2004, the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, gave a very thorough response to this, making specific reference to abortion and euthanasia. “The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a "grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law or vote for it.'"
Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa