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."
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."
"I know it can be very discouraging when you see legislation like this passing," Paprocki said.
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"I had one person say to me 'maybe I'm in the wrong state, maybe I need to move to another state.'"
Referencing the early Christians who lived in the Roman Empire, Paprocki said that "the Christians didn't try to move somewhere where they could all be together and not be surrounded by the pagan culture. What they did was they stayed in that culture but they tried to transform the culture. Or they just said 'We're going to live differently. We're going to live by our Christian values.'"
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.