An Illinois bishop has issued an order barring Sen. Dick Durbin from receiving Holy Communion because the Democratic lawmaker's vote against a bill that would have prohibited abortion procedures after 20 weeks from conception.
Citing church law, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, said Durbin would be prohibited from the sacred rite until "he repents of this sin."
The dramatic move comes a month after the Senate failed to pass The Pain-Capable Unborn Children's Act.
"Fourteen Catholic senators voted against the bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, including … Durbin, whose residence is in the Diocese of Springfield," Paprocki explained in a statement.
"Canon Law states that those 'who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.'''
Building on that law, Paprocki said, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that "failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice."
"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," the bishop 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."
Durbin has been banned before.
The State Journal Register reports that in 2004, 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.
Durbin, a senator since 1996, had been pro-life, but changed his view to pro-choice in the late 1980s after meeting with victims of rape and incest, the newspaper said.
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