“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.” –Bishop Thomas John Paprocki
The abortion industry is crumbling, and pro-choice advocates are not okay with it. In the wake of many heartbeat bills being passed throughout the U.S., Illinois is about to pass a pro-abortion law that exclusively states that the “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights.”
Now the Church is involved.
Bishop Paprocki has barred all lawmakers who are supporting this law from receiving Holy Communion within his diocese. To enforce his ruling, priests from within his dioceses are prohibited from presenting the Eucharist to said lawmakers, including the Senate president and speaker of the House.
Can we take a minute to rejoice with the fact that a Church leader is administering Church discipline!? This isn't happening as often as it used to – as often as it should.
In a statement dated June 2, Paprocki issued the following decree:
“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…”
“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..."
In an earlier statement, Paprocki noted that he is praying for the wayward lawmakers:
“I pray for our state legislators, entrusting them especially to the intercession of Saint Thomas More, a public servant who preferred to die at the hands of civil authorities rather than abandon Christ and the Church. May we also keep unborn babies and newborn infants, as well as all mothers, in our prayers and work to improve the dignity and quality of life of all people, especially the most vulnerable.”
According to Catholic News Agency, the bill would have the following devastating results:
• Illinois ban on partial-birth abortions would be lifted
• Private health insurance plans would have to cover elective abortions
• Eliminate reporting requirements and regulations requiring the investigation of maternal deaths due to abortions
It should be noted that Bishop Paprocki's decree does not mean that pro-abortion Catholic lawmakers are not allowed to attend Mass or Church functions, but specifically that they may not participate in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Paprocki is taking a holistic approach to this decree. He’s administering swift Church discipline, which should be done through the Catholic and Protestant Churches WAY more but I digress, but he’s also acknowledging the Church’s internal failures and how the Body of Christ can minister to mothers who are found in challenging pregnancies.
But, don't you guys molest children?
Paprocki acknowledged in advance that many will point out the Catholic Church’s recent exposure of child molestation from trusted leaders, as a means of deflecting from the topic at hand.
“The same justifiable anger we feel toward the abuse of innocent children, however, should prompt an outcry of resistance against legalizing the murder of innocent children. The failings of the Church do not change the objective reality that the murder of a defenseless baby is an utterly evil act.”
It's unfortunate that people can’t discuss one with issue without tossing deflective red herrings out left and right. Nevertheless, I’m glad the Bishop took the proactive initiative in hopes to guide the conversation peacefully. Paprocki also encouraged the Church to stand with women who are facing challenging pregnancies and how to manage life after birth.
“It is our obligation, as a society, to be there for these pregnant mothers, help them in any way possible, and empower them to make life affirming decisions. This also includes continued support for the mother and her child after birth. We must acknowledge a child in the womb is not a problem. He or she is a gift from God.”
Church! This is something to rejoice about. Church leadership needs to remain vocal about the horror of abortion and become aggressively bold when their congregants, those who Church leaders are charged to shepherd, take a pro-choice position. Abortion is evil, and to support it's existence with legislative foundations is, by proxy, participation in abortion itself.
Thank you, Bishop Paprocki.