(LifeSiteNews) – Democrat U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who identifies as Catholic, complained in an interview published Monday that it’s “complicated” to be denied Holy Communion over his support for abortion-on-demand.
“It’s not a happy experience,” Durbin, who has been barred from receiving Communion in his home Diocese of Springfield since 2004, told America Magazine’s Jim McDermott. “I found another Catholic venue, the Archdiocese of Chicago, and a church where they were willing to let me in and allowed my wife to join me. So it’s become my new faith home.”
“But now that’s been complicated again,” he continued, by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’s (USCCB’s) June vote to draft a document that pro-lifers hope and pro-aborts fear could lead to a policy of denying Communion to politicians complicit in legal abortion. Durbin said he was advised to wait for a pending “last word on the subject” from Pope Francis.
“But it is uncomfortable,” he said. “I am careful when I go to a church that I have never been to before for any kind of occasion. You just don’t quite know what kind of reaction you’re going to get from local clergy. And it may not be just the priest, it could be members of the congregation. I’ve had occasions where they’ve written letters and showed up to protest and such. I don’t want to be the subject of that any more than I have to be. So I keep a lower profile.”
Durbin went on to claim to “rely on” the Catholic faith as “part of my life,” and that “many of the things that I’ve learned over my years from my faith have become a part of my value system.” Yet throughout his career he has amassed an overwhelmingly pro-abortion voting record, according to pro-life and pro-abortion groups alike.
The senator claimed to “respect those who disagree with me on the issue of abortion” while decrying the idea of abortion as “the one take-it-or-leave-it issue for participating in Communion” as “fundamentally unfair.”
He also complained that his position as a public servant means his views are “publicized regularly” while other pro-abortion Catholics can receive Communion because their views are unknown, suggested many Catholics were hypocritical for opposing abortion while taking conservative positions on issues such as immigration and capital punishment, and called on the Catholic Church to “deal with” the “role of women in the church.”
While liberal Catholics and their secular allies routinely present abortion as just one issue among many of equal moral weight, since the first century A.D. an “unchanegable” teaching of Catholic doctrine on human life has recognized abortion as a “moral evil,” complicity in which “constitutes a grave offense” carrying the “canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.”
Capital punishment, by contrast, has been deemed “inadmissable” only by Pope Francis, who changed the Catechism in 2017, a break from longstanding teaching that the death penalty may be opposed on prudential grounds but is not an intrinsic evil forbidden by reason or revelation. Similarly, longstanding Catholic teaching recognizes a moral difference between intrinsic evils such as the act of abortion and social challenges such as illegal immigration, remedies for which the faithful can reasonably debate in good conscience.
Former Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput argues that it “give[s] scandal” for pro-abortion politicians to receive Communion by “creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional … Reception of Communion is not a right but a gift and privilege; and on the subject of ‘rights,’ the believing community has a priority right to the integrity of its belief and practice.”
Despite these longstanding principles, Communion for many pro-abortion politicians, such as President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has been allowed to continue in the United States.
Last month, the pro-abortion Biden said Pope Francis told him “he was happy I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion” during a Vatican meeting where the subject of abortion was not raised. In his interview with Durbin, McDermott cited the Pope’s September remarks admonishing pastors to “don’t go condemning. Be a pastor because [you are] a pastor also for the excommunicated.”