Blog Post

Bishop Bars Catholic Senator from Communion

In response to the fourteen Catholic senators who voted against a bill that would have prohibited abortions at the point when an unborn child can feel pain, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield has barred Senator Richard Durbin from receiving Communion in his diocese.

According to a statement issued by the Bishop, Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Senator Durbin, who lives in the Diocese of Springfield, and who used to be pro-life, has been an ardent supporter of abortion “rights” during his time in office.

“Throughout my 20 years as an elected official, I have strived to be a leader in the fight to protect women’s rights. In addition to preserving women’s reproductive rights, I have fought cuts in family planning funding and supported the coverage of contraceptives in health insurance programs,” he said during the 2008 campaign according to On the Issues.

Senator Durbin, who has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, not only voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks, he voted against a ban on partial birth abortion and against a prohibition on minors crossing state lines for abortion. He also voted against a law that would inform parents if a minor had an out-of-state abortion and refused to support restrictions on funding for UN population control programs.

As a result, he has long been running afoul of Church teaching. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops state in their 2004 Statement on Catholics in Political Life, “Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good.”


His failure to fulfill his duty as a Catholic politician has resulted in him being barred from receiving Communion in the diocese.

“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,” the bishop 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.”

Let us keep Senator Durbin and the other 13 Catholic Senators who voted against a bill that would spare the unborn unspeakable pain, and their bishops, in our prayers.

Click here for a list of these senators and the names of their bishops.

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