Leaders of the Illinois General Assembly have been barred from receiving the Holy Communion in Springfield for “promoting the evil of abortion.”
After a pro-abortion bill was passed on May 29, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki reproached and blocked House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton from the Christian rite, based on a Catholic canon, according to KMOV4. Other legislators who voted for the bill were barred, as well.
Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki bars communion for House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton & other lawmakers for “promoting the evil of abortion by facilitating the passage of Senate Bill 25 this legislative session and House Bill 40 in 2017” pic.twitter.com/xoPtJzighL
— newsburrow (@newsburrow) June 6, 2019
“To support legislation that treats babies in the womb like property, allowing for their destruction for any reason at any time, is evil,” Paprocki said in a statement, obtained by the National Catholic Register (pdf).
The Reproductive Act contains ambiguous language that would permit a mother to get an abortion—regardless of the stage in pregnancy—if her “familial health” is at risk. The bill will now go to the Democrat-majority Senate, and if passed, go to Governor J.B. Pritzker—who has confirmed he will sign.
Today was a major step forward for every woman in this state and I look forward continuing my work as an ally by signing the Reproductive Healthcare Act into law.
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) May 28, 2019
Illinois is making history, because our state will now be the most progressive in the nation for reproductive health care. pic.twitter.com/W91r8WNp0g
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) June 1, 2019
Paprocki told Madigan that backing the bill would mean forfeiting Communion.
“I believe it is more important to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, including women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest,” said Madigan, according to KMOV4.
Politicians Challenge the Church
In an interview with the National Catholic Register, the Bishop said that this period of time requires the Church to take a firm stance.
“And so now, we’ve got politicians, Catholic politicians who are saying that they think the Church is wrong,” he said. “They think the Church is wrong about abortion and euthanasia and our teachings on marriage and family life. And I think that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.”
Bishop Paprocki’s Decree is Clear, Heroic and Desperately Needed https://t.co/HKmbLxT1cS
— Matthew Bunson (@MattBunson) June 6, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former presidential-hopeful John Kerry, both self-described Catholics, have been scrutinized by the church in the past for their pro-abortion stances. Kerry was denied Communion during his 2004 presidential run, the Associated Press reported.
Fox News reported that Catholic leaders have called to excommunicate New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his “flagrant celebration of a pro-abortion bill.”
Not All in Favor
Father Michael Pfleger of the Archdiocese of Chicago has accused the bishop of “using the Holy Communion as a weapon,” according to Fox News.
Pfleger wrote in a tweet that he is against abortion, but suggested that there are other things to worry about.
As I have continued to say I am against Abortion, but in all the conversations all I hear about is the Abortion in the womb..What about the Abortion of Racism, Poverty, lack of access to good Education,… https://t.co/eGmiQ72jJX
— Fr. Michael Pfleger (@MichaelPfleger) June 8, 2019
Pfleger has been a controversial figure in the Catholic church, making headlines over his involvement in politics, including inviting pro-abortion presidential candidate Al Sharpton to speak at a mass in 2003, and for threatening to leave the Catholic Church if forced to leave his parish.
By his denying Communion to politicians in the name of protecting children, Paprocki said he expects people to single out the Church’s flaws.
“The same justifiable anger we feel towards the abuse of innocent children, however, should prompt an outcry of resistance against legalizing the murder of innocent children,” stated Paprocki. “The failings of the Church do not change the objective reality that the murder of a defenseless baby is an utterly evil act.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.