Springfield bishop: Lawmakers who voted for RHA shouldn’t get communion

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Bishop Thomas John Paprocki (Photo from Facebook)

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki (Photo from Facebook)

SPRINGFIELD — The bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield said this week that Catholic lawmakers who voted for the just passed Reproductive Health Act shouldn’t receive communion.

The RHA, which repeals unenforced anti-abortion laws such as parental consent and guarantees the right of access to abortion, was passed just last week. Supporters said the vote was in reaction to extreme anti-choice laws in several other states, including neighboring Missouri.

The Bloomington Pantagraph reported Thursday that Thomas John Paprocki of the diocese has barred House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, both Catholid, from receiving communion because of their support for the RHA.

From the Pantagraph:

The decree, Canon 915, states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion” and cites Canon 916, “a person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or to receive the Body of the Lord without prior sacramental confession unless a grave reason is present and there is no opportunity of confessing; in this case the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible.”

Madigan and Cullerton, both Democrats from Chicago, are the highest-ranking lawmakers in the General Assembly. 

Madigan through a spokesman on Thursday said Paprocki had notified him about not being able to take sacrament if he allowed the measure to proceed.

“After much deliberation and reflection, I made the decision to allow debate and a vote on the legislation. 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,” he said. “With women’s rights under attack in an increasing number of states across the country, Illinois is now a leader in making sure women are protected and their rights are upheld.”

The newspaper reported that the ban extended to all Catholic lawmakers who voted for the RHA and for House Bill 40 in 2017. That bill, signed by former Gov. Bruce Rauner, provided state health coverage for abortion services.

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