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Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois.rmsli via YouTube

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, March 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Illinois Bishop Thomas Paprocki is dedicating his Lenten prayers and fasting for the conversion of his state’s senior senator, Dick Durbin, a Catholic who has repeatedly promoted abortion during his tenure on Capitol Hill.   

“I am offering my prayers and fasting during this penitential season of Lent for the conversion of Senator Dick Durbin, that he will return to the pro-life position he once held when he was first elected to public office by the people of central Illinois,” said Paprocki in a tweet.

In 2018, Paprocki barred Durbin from receiving Holy Communion in his diocese because of the senator’s support for abortion.

Paprocki made headlines last year following the passage of the Reproductive Health Act in Illinois in 2019 which declared abortion a “fundamental right.” He issued a statement in accordance with Canon 915 which barred pro-abortion Catholic legislators from receiving Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield. Legislators who have “obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime” of abortion, wrote Paprocki, will only be readmitted to Communion “after they have truly repented these grave sins” and “made suitable reparation for damages and scandal.” 

Since becoming a bishop, Paprocki has been a strong defender of the Church’s teachings. In 2011, Paprocki co-authored a statement with five other Illinois bishops condemning the then-Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, for presenting an award at a pro-abortion event despite being Catholic. He held a rare public exorcism in 2013 as same-sex “marriage” became law in Illinois. Paprocki is an athlete who in 2018 ran a marathon with LIFE Runners and offered any pain experienced in reparation and for atonement for sins of clergy, himself included.

After Paprocki announced his Lenten intention to pray and fast for the conversion of Senator Durbin, Bishop James Wall of the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, tweeted “Amen” in response.  

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