Illinois bishop urges faithful to pray that bishops will stop giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians
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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, June 29, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, has written a public letter urging the Catholic community to pray for his fellow bishops to have the courage to obey their solemn oath and reject giving Holy Communion to those in grave sin.
“We must pray for all bishops to have the courage to fulfill their solemn oath,” Paprocki concluded his letter published this past Sunday, June 27.
In a letter published by the diocesan paper the Catholic Times, Paprocki wrote:
It has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for the past two thousand years that those persons conscious of grave sin must first repent, confess their sins to a priest, and receive sacramental absolution before receiving Holy Communion. This teaching is reflected in the Church’s canon law and sacramental discipline.
Paprocki further explained that before a bishop is ordained he takes an oath of office, and with his hand placed upon the Gospels, pledges to “hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety” and to “maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.”
His letter comes on the heels of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB) Plenary Assembly that took place virtually between June 16-18, 2021. The Assembly discussed the topic of distributing Holy Communion to those public figures, like President Joe Biden, that openly support abortion, euthanasia and other grave sins.
Paprocki said that it was a “hopeful sign” that the USCCB voted in favor of drafting of a document on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, but lamented the fact that “the minority of bishops who are opposed to drafting this document were very vocal in their opposition,” which he said means that “the path ahead to final approval of a clear statement of the Church’s teaching and discipline in this important matter will not be easy.”
Paprocki said that the some of the bishops and cardinals have voiced a “misleading argument” by saying that such a document would be “divisive and would harm the unity of the bishop’s conference.”
Rather Paprocki insisted that unity should always be pursued, but that it must be pursued in truth. The unity that the bishops need, he said, “should be based on the truths of our faith as found in Sacred Scripture and the constant Tradition of the Church.”
“No one should want to be united on the path to perdition,” Paprocki continued. “There should be no unity with iniquity.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1385) teaches, “To respond to this invitation [to receive Holy Communion] we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment.”
St. Paul, the Catechism notes, admonishes us to examine our conscience as he states in I Corinthians 11:27-29, "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."
Hence, the Church makes clear here that “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion.”
The Catholic Code of Canon Law (915) states:
Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.
In October 2020, prior to the U.S. presidential election, Paprocki stated that if one were to vote for a pro-abortion candidate, like Biden, there would need to be “a proportionately grave reason that outweighs the killing of 860,000 babies per year.”