Two Catholic bishops defended their decision to refuse Communion to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, saying his persistent support for the killing of unborn babies in abortions puts him “outside of Communion with God.”
Durbin, a pro-abortion Democrat from Illinois, recently complained that his home diocese, the Diocese of Springfield, is being “fundamentally unfair” in an interview with America Magazine. He said he found another diocese that will give him Communion.
This week, Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki and the Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann, a bishop and former priest in Springfield, responded to the senator’s complaint in a letter to the editor of the magazine, according to California Catholic Daily.
The bishops said Durbin “misconstrued” their reasons for taking the action that they did, and they did not single him out for correction.
“Senator Durbin’s comments in the America interview must be corrected, out of concern for his soul and out of concern for the confusion and scandal his words and actions present to the faithful of the church,” they wrote.
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“ … we must clarify that Senator Durbin’s sustained promotion of pro-abortion policies places him objectively outside of communion with the church, and we offer this additional correction in hopes of his conversion and return,” the bishops continued.
Years ago, Paprocki said he spoke directly with Durbin to clarify that he must stop promoting abortion if he wanted to continue to receive Communion.
In response, Durbin “affirmed his ongoing commitment to promoting legal abortion and has since publicly persisted in actions opposed to God’s law in the grave matter of the taking of innocent human life,” Paprocki said.
The bishops continued:
In the section of the church’s law governing the Eucharist, Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law prescribes that, “people who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Senator Durbin’s public support and promotion of policies—clear and concrete actions, not mere opinions—that advance abortion are “manifest grave sin.” He has persevered obstinately in these actions despite repeated correction. According to the church’s law, he should not be admitted to holy Communion, and Senator Durbin alone has the power to change this reality.
Senator Durbin suggests that the standard for worthy reception of the Eucharist is a “well-formed conscience.” This is also untrue. Rationalizing one’s actions does not equate to a well-formed conscience, and one’s own self-assessment does not erase the objective reality of one being outside of communion with God and the church.
The bishops said aborting an unborn baby is an intrinsic evil and its legalization has led to the murder of millions of innocent human lives.
They expressed hope that Durbin will have a conversion of heart and mind on the matter and recognize the value of babies in the womb.
Durbin, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 1997, has a 100-percent pro-abortion voting record, according to National Right to Life. He recently even opposed a bill to protect newborns who survive abortions from infanticide.
According to Townhall, the Diocese of Springfield has refused to allow him to participate in the sacrament since 2004 because of his pro-abortion stance.
In recent months, many Catholic bishops have expressed serious concerns that pro-abortion Catholic politicians like Durbin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden are creating “scandal” for the church by making it seem acceptable to be Catholic and support abortion.
Though some have accused the church of politicizing the matter, the bishops made it clear that the issue is about faith and their concern for people’s souls, and they are not targeting any political party or politician. Pro-abortion politicians in both parties have been denied Communion.