Paprocki says senator needs to repent for supporting abortion
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Springfield Roman Catholic diocese has reaffirmed that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, should not be allowed to receive Holy Communion because of a recent vote on an abortion issue.
According to a statement issued by Paprocki on Feb. 13, Durbin was among 14 Catholic members of the U.S. Senate who voted against a bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization. The bill, dubbed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, on Jan. 29 got only 51 of a needed 60 votes to move forward in the Senate.
“Because his voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes ‘obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,’ the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin,” Paprocki said.
It was in 2004 that then-Monsignor Kevin Vann of Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield said he would not give Holy Communion to Durbin because of the lawmaker’s stand that abortion should be legal. Vann is now a bishop in Orange, California.
Durbin said at the time that while living in Springfield, he also had a condominium in Chicago and for 7 years had regularly attended a Catholic church, and taken communion, there.
Durbin was elected to the U.S. House in 1982 and the Senate in 1996. He had been anti-abortion, but changed his view to favoring abortion rights in the late 1980s after meeting with victims of rape and incest.
In his Feb. 13 statement, Paprocki said: “This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart. Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life.”
In 2004, Durbin said there had been incidents in past years where people had leafleted a church or complained when he was attending in Springfield.
“Occasionally, the priest would contact me, and some would say, ‘I have nothing to do with this. I just want to let you know these people are acting on their own.’
“It was a small group,” Durbin said of the protesters. “It’s been a number of years, and I don’t even recall their names. I just made a decision that I didn’t need to bring that kind of uncomfortable situation on any church that I attended.”
Durbin’s office Thursday said he had no comment on Paprocki’s latest statement.