U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D) will continue to be banned from receiving Holy Communion in his home diocese for his pro-choice stance.
Citing church law, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Springfield Diocese said that Durbin’s record of support for abortion constitutes “obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin.”
Cannon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Paprocki said that in its 2004 Statement on Catholics in Political Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops noted that “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.”
Paprocki noted that since 2004, Durbin’s pastor and the previous bishop of the diocese have expressed reservations about having the senator take Holy Communion.
“(In 2004,) Senator Durbin’s pastor, then Monsignor Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, Calif.) said that he would be reticent to give Senator Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position puts him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life,” Paprocki said in a statement. “My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision. I have continued that position.”
It was Durbin’s vote against the Pain-Capable Unborn Children’s Act that brought the public announcement of the continued ban on Holy Communion, according to Paprocki. Durbin was one of 14 Catholic senators who voted against the bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization.
Paprocki said he completely agrees with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, who called the Senate’s failure to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act “appalling.”
“Because his voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes ‘obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,’ the determination continues that Senator Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin,” Paprocki said. “This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart. Senator Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life.”
Durbin has yet to make a public statement about the upheld ban.
— Bishop says communion ban for Durbin stands —