Photo Credits: Chicago Tribune
The Illinois law, unlike many other legislatures in conservative states around the country, establishes the abortion procedure as a woman’s “fundamental right.”
An Illinois bishop who calls the abortion bill passed by the state legislature "extreme" issued a decree Thursday that no lawmakers who supported it will be able to receive communion for "promoting the abominable crime and very grave sin of abortion."
As the Fox News reports, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and state Senate President John Cullerton, both Catholics who pushed for The Reproductive Health Act, a sweeping abortion rights bill that repeals several restrictions on abortions, have been banned from partaking in the sacrament of communion at Mass in the Springfield diocese.
The bill, approved last Friday, is awaiting the governor's signature.
According to the Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, pro-abortion lawmakers — who supported the bill and removed waiting periods, spousal consent and criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions — are promoting a position that is "inconsistent with being a good Catholic, a faithful Catholic...We have to be clear that you cannot be pro-abortion and be a Catholic in good standing," Paprocki told the National Catholic Register. "And that’s what this is really intended to do."
On the other side, Cullerton makes the difference between religion and profession. “It’s very, very tricky,” Cullerton said in an interview with The Washington Post. “We don’t codify the Catholic Church’s positions. You have your beliefs that are taught by the church, and it’s in your mind, but your role as a legislator is a little different.”
Mike Madigan explains that the bill is "a recognition that women across Illinois deserve access to health care without intrusion from the government."
If Cullerton, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan or any other Catholic lawmaker who supported the measure want to receive Communion again, Paprocki said, they would need to confess, repent and display “a public conversion of life.”
“Contemporary Catholicism has long left behind the era when church officials used draconian and punitive measures and threats of hellfire to compel the minds and hearts of Catholics,” Father Stan Chu Ilo, a Catholic studies professor at DePaul University in Chicago, wrote in the Chicago Tribune. “This decree should be rescinded because it is not an appropriate and effective means of engaging Catholic politicians in their public role as representatives of all citizens.”