Illinois bishop bans abortion-supporting lawmakers from Holy Communion

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, the state capital, says legislators who have voted for laws promoting abortion should not present themselves to receive the Blessed Sacrament

Bishop Thomas Paprocki (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

The Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, has decreed that state legislative leaders may not be admitted to Holy Communion within his diocese, because of their work to pass the state Reproductive Health Act. The bishop also directed that Catholic legislators who have voted for legislation promoting abortion should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion until they have first gone to confession.

“In accord with canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law…Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan, who facilitated the passage of the Act Concerning Abortion of 2017 (House Bill 40) as well as the Reproductive Health Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 25), are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois because they have obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime and very grave sin of abortion as evidenced by the influence they exerted in their leadership roles and their repeated votes and obdurate public support for abortion rights over an extended period of time,” Bishop Thomas Paprocki wrote in a June 2 decree.

“These persons may be readmitted to Holy Communion only after they have truly repented these grave sins and furthermore have made suitable reparation for damages and scandal, or at least have seriously promised to do so, as determined in my judgment or in the judgment of their diocesan bishop in consultation with me or my successor,” the bishop added.

Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act was passed by the state’s House and Senate just days ago, and observers credited the advocacy of Cullerton and Madigan with helping to secure passage. It is expected to be signed by Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The bill declares abortion to be a “fundamental right” in the state and would remove regulations on abortion clinics and doctors.

Among the provisions that the bill would remove are regulations for abortion clinics, required waiting periods to obtain an abortion, and a ban on partial-birth abortion. In addition, it would lift criminal penalties for performing abortions and would prevent any further state regulation of abortion.

The legislation would require all private health insurance plans to cover elective abortions, and eliminate reporting requirements as well as regulations requiring the investigation of maternal deaths due to abortion.

In a statement issued June 6, the bishop said that “in issuing this decree, I anticipate that some will point out the Church’s own failings with regard to the abuse of children.”

“The same justifiable anger we feel toward the abuse of innocent children, however, should prompt an outcry of resistance against legalizing the murder of innocent children. The failings of the Church do not change the objective reality that the murder of a defenseless baby is an utterly evil act.

“We also understand many unplanned pregnancies come with fear and difficulty,” Paprocki acknowledged.

“It is our obligation, as a society, to be there for these pregnant mothers, help them in any way possible, and empower them to make life affirming decisions. This also includes continued support for the mother and her child after birth. We must acknowledge a child in the womb is not a problem. He or she is a gift from God.”

Full story at The Catholic Herald.


  1. Sienna Sam says

    Wondering whether Cdl. Dolan and his henchmen in New York have the same fortitude and courage to deal with Governor Cuomo and his henchmen in the same manner?

    • Ellie M. says

      Card. Dolan is very political. Unfortunately he plays both sides of the street. I pray for him every night that he will be courageous and faithful. When he became cardinal he explained that the red on his cap signified that he would shed his blood for the Faith. Not withstanding he should have done something with Gov. Cuomo..

    • Anonymous says

      Cardinal Dolan has explained that this is exactly what Cuomo wants and that he is not going to play his game. Cuomo cannot present himself for communion. Everyone knows that. Cardinal Dolan is not going to give Cuomo the media circus that he wants to make the Church look like a bully and drive more people from the Church.

  2. Deacon Craig Anderson says

    Amen. God bless this good bishop and may other bishops follow his example.

  3. St. Christopher says

    Ah, Bishop Paprocki, you have done well. And, where are your brother bishops? These cowards (some few exceptions) run for cover when faced with actually, really, truly, and sincerely being required to respond to a moral issue or circumstance. Why bother to give these leeches your hard earned money? If they are ashamed of their Faith, then they should also be ashamed to receive your treasure, given to protect, defend, and advance the True Faith they cower from.

  4. prediction: no California bishop will have the courage to make this common-sense decree as it pertains not only to support for abortion, but threats to the seal of confession, support for gay marriage, support for transgender redefinitions of human nature and so many other things

  5. Anonymous says

    I admire Bishop Paprocki! The entire Catholic Church must preach and proclaim the same thing– starting with the Pope.

  6. I’m not sure Cullerton and Madigan are that recognizable by face most Illinois priests, let alone others who function as Eucharistic Ministers. How is the Bishop going to enforce this? Post “Not Wanted” fliers at each parish communion rail?

    • Anonymous says

      So your solution to this difficulty would be to have the bishop do nothing? Your reaction trivializes the seriousness of the bishop’s decree, aimed not only at these particular pro-abortion legislators, but also used as a means of instructing the faithful. The politicians can try to evade the bishop’s restrictions, but they do so at the peril of their own souls. As the bishop said, “the murder of a defenseless baby is an utterly evil act.”

    • Lou Varini says

      Bishop Paprocki’s jurisdiction only extends throughout the diocese of Springfield. Sinde these politicians also maintain residences in tje Archdiocese of Chicago, they are free to receive the Eucharist, even if in a state of mortal sin (as an act if defiance).

      As for the Chicago Archdiocese, it is up to the local ordinary there to either honor or reject Paprocki’s decisio.

  7. ELIZABETH T. says

    Let us all send this on to our own Archbishops and pray that they will ‘be not afraid’ to follow Bishop Paprocki….

    God Bless Bishop Paprocki!!!

  8. Mary Malatesta says

    Good for you, Archbishop! I fully support your proclamation!

  9. I find it ironic that these government leaders who profess to be Catholic and even do the sign of the cross while being interviewed on TV can turn around and take so lightly the Holy Eucharist which is the highest form of the Mass. I’m sure many who will read this little comment will say that being Catholic is a problem because of how we believe and what we believe. But in the end we all have to answer for what we do in life and life is precious and if we destroy that life because we make our decisions are (God) instead of the true God that gave us life to begin with. we are in trouble If these politicians who choose abortion over life then they are not letting their faith

  10. Hippo Gus says

    Rather than being a punishment, Bp. Paprocki’s action is an act of mercy. One who presents himself or herself for the Eucharist and actually partakes in it eats and drinks their own damnation according to St. Paul.

    Bp. Paprocki is actually helping the souls of these politicians.

    • Hippo Gus says

      Clarification—–Actually partaking in the Eucharist in an “unworthy manner” is the danger to the recipient.

      Apologies for forgetting to put in that important phrase.

  11. At the time of Germany’s third Reich, 98% of the population identified themselves as “Christians “. As the http://CatholicArrogance.Org/NaziLeadership website shows, most of the top Nazi leaders were Roman Catholics, which may explain why, instead of worrying about the morality of killing 6 million Jews of all ages, they demonstrated their moral concern for killing human fetuses by imposing the death sentence on German women found guilty of having two abortions! ( see http://CatholicArrogance.Org/AbortionUnderNazis )
    While US bishops want to deny communion to politicians who represent the views of 70% of America’s voters, not one of Germany’s diabolical Catholic leaders was ever excommunicated for directing the torture and killing of…

    • anonymous says

      Most of the top Nazi leaders were not Catholics. Honestly, do you think is a reputable source of information?!

      • Anonymous says

        Hitler was born half-Catholic, half-Jew– he hated both, especially the Jews! And followed a crazy, demonic Nazi philosophy!

    • Anonymous says

      Yes– Nazi Germany actually was made up of a Christian population. Hitler tried to destroy it. Same thing in Russia– the Communists tried to eradicate Christianity! But neither one succeeded. Only the top leaders in both countries, renounced their Christian beliefs. The rest lived in fear– millions were killed for their Christian beliefs! Pope Benedict had a cousin who was killed by Hitler– because he had Down’s syndrome! Hitler ordered executions for cripples, mentally retarded, gays, and many others, besides the Jews.

      • Anonymous says

        The Church excommunicates errant, unrepentant members — but not political parties. The Pope issued strong condemnations of Hitler and his Nazis, and all Church leaders suffered much, opposing Hitler– many clerics died in concentration camps. The Church has suffered violent persecutions of her clerics and laymen, in countries of atheist Nazi, Communist, or Fascist rule. Pope St. John Paul II faced this situation, in Poland.

  12. William Robert says

    Will the good Bishop apply the same standard to his brother bishops as well as to the priests and lawyers who participated in the cover up of the sex abuse scandal?

  13. I think any Catholic who sells an AR-15 used in the commission of a murder should be banned from Holy Communion.

    • anonymous says

      Do you think a car salesman who sells a Toyota Corolla which is driven by someone who runs over a person should also be banned from Communion?
      There is nothing intrinsically evil about a Toyota or a semi-automatic rifle. Both can be used for good or evil purposes.
      Intentional abortion is always evil.

      • Anonymous says

        I think we need stronger laws, regarding the sale and permission to own firearms– and violent, military-style firearms, ought to be banned. Our modern country is too violent! A different situation, than colonial America, with looser laws, deriving from the 2nd Amendment. Those days were pretty wild– every man for himself, on the frontier! Scary wild animals, wild Indian attacks, everything to potentially harm you and your family! A means of protection was necessary! No nice police station down the block, and dialing “911,” in case of an attacker! Different era!

        • Why? Gun control has never stopped a murder.

          • Anonymous says

            It is a responsibility for a country and local community, to have laws regarding dangerous weapons. Evil cannot always be stopped — but society needs controls, to lessen or deter all possible crimes– and keep citizens safe.

    • We have all been made a little dumber after FHK’s post

  14. CalCatholic reader says

    A strong leader and a Bishop we really need here in Calif, especially in LA and San Francisco.

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