Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Roman Catholic diocese of Springfield, Illinois, is upholding a 2004 decision to block Sen. Dick Durbin from receiving Holy Communion due to his pro-abortion rights views.
A statement issued by Bishop Paprocki on Feb. 13 said Mr. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, was among 14 Catholic members of the U.S. Senate who voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Children’s Act last month, which would have banned abortions nationwide after 20 weeks post-fertilization. The bill failed to pass cloture — receiving 51 votes in favor and 46 against — and could not proceed to a vote on final passage.
“In April 2004, Sen. Durbin’s pastor, then Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, CA), said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life,” the bishop said in his statement. “My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision. I have continued that position.”
Bishop Paprocki said the decision would stand unless and until Mr. Durbin repents for his past position on abortion.
“Because his voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes ‘obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,’ the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin,” he said. “This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart. Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life.”
Mr. Durbin’s office Thursday said he had no comment on Bishop Paprocki’s latest statement, The State Journal-Register reported.