And it goes even further than that, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago told CNA.
“What’s pernicious about this law, and what’s so very difficult, is that it says that the unborn child has absolutely no claim on rights,” Cupich said.
“It says that human life is cheap. That’s the message that we send—that human life is cheap in the State of Illinois.”
Cupich, however, told CNA that he thought it would be “counterproductive” to deny Holy Communion in his archdiocese to the legislators who championed the law.
“I think it would be counterproductive to impose sanctions, simply because they don’t change anybody’s minds, but it also takes away from the fact that an elected official has to deal with the judgment seat of God, not just the judgment seat of a bishop. I think that’s much more powerful,” Cupich told CNA.
“I have always approached the issue saying that the bishop’s primary responsibility is to teach, and I will continue to do that.”
Leaders in the state legislature, the Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, both supported the legislation.
Paprocki issued a decree on June 5 that, because of “their leadership roles in promoting the evil of abortion by facilitating the passage of Senate Bill 25 this legislative session and House Bill 40 in 2017, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have been barred from receiving Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.”
Furthermore, Paprocki instructed that other Catholic state legislators who supported the abortion bill should not present themselves for Holy Communion.
The earlier 2017 legislation he referenced, House Bill 40, facilitated taxpayer funding of abortion and mandated that, if Roe v. Wade were to be reversed at the Supreme Court, abortion would remain legal in Illinois.
Bishop Paprocki cited the Code of Canon Law, specifically canons 915 and 916, in his decree. Canon 916 forbids Catholics who are conscious of mortal sin from receiving Communion without first going to Confession and repenting of sin. Canon 915 instructs that public figures who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not be admitted to the sacraments.
“‘Obstinate’ means they’re stubborn,” Paprocki explained. “The Church has been clear on this teaching, they’ve been repeatedly calling them back to what the Church teaches, and they’re just digging in, they’re not going to change their views. And ‘persistent’ means that happens over a period of time.”
(Story cotinues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Both bishops said they had communicated, or attempted to communicate, directly with Madigan and Cullerton.
“I have conversations with them, and those continue to take place. They have to,” Cupich said.
Paprocki said he conversed with Madigan and made a phone call to Cullerton that was not returned, and subsequently wrote both of them “because I wanted them to hear directly from me” before he made the decree.
Both Paprocki and Cupich told pro-lifers to continue fighting for life.
“We’ve been at this since Roe v. Wade, and we’re going to continue. This is not going to daunt us at all. We are going to continue to say our message, and we are gaining ground among young people, especially,” Cupich said.
“This is not only an issue of the Church, it’s an issue for the soul of the country and for American people.”