Durbin responds to Pelosi Communion ban, says ‘a bishop’s conscience’ cannot decide such questions

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Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., spoke out on Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was denied Holy Communion by the bishop of her hometown in San Francisco for her support to abortion.

“It’s very personal for President Pelosi as it is for me,” Durbin said at a press conference Tuesday in response to a question from Fox News’ Chad Pergram.

Durbin, who has not been allowed to take communion in the Catholic Archdiocese of Springfield, Illinois, since 2004 because of his own abortion record, has criticized Catholic bishops for weighing in on issues he says , should be left to individual conscience.

“The ruling of Catholic bishops and the treatment of pro-choice Catholics is different from one diocese to another,” he said.

“As a politician, they were prepared to act for the whole nation, but then withdrew that decision,” Durbin said, referring to a debate last year over whether Catholic politicians who support abortion should be denied communion.

“I still believe that church authorities believe we have issues that can only be resolved by our own conscience, not by the conscience of a bishop,” Durbin said.

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In April 2004, Bishop Kevin Vann, then pastor of Durbin Church in Springfield and now bishop of the Diocese of Orange, California, announced that he was “reluctant” to give communion in Durbin because of his support. to abortion. Several Springfield bishops have upheld this decision over the past 18 years.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leads an event with House Democrats after the Senate failed to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure protected abortion rights by the federal government, on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, Friday, May 13, 2022.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Durbin opened up about his experience of being refused communion in Springfield last year in an interview with Jesuit magazine America. The 77-year-old senator criticized “the individual decision of these specific bishops” who deny communion to politicians for their support of abortion.

“And I think that’s fundamentally unfair. I don’t think anyone should be tried in this case,” Durbin said.

Durbin said he found a “new home of faith” in the Diocese of Chicago, “where they were willing to let me in and allowed my wife to join me.”

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The Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, announced on Friday that he prevent Pelosi from receiving Holy Communion because of his position on abortion. “You must not present yourself for Holy Communion and, if you do, you must not be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote to Pelosi.

In a public “letter to the faithful,” Cordileone said he acted “after numerous attempts to speak to her [Pelosi] to help her understand the grave evil she is committing, the scandal she is causing, and the danger she is risking to her own soul.”

The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church states that those who have been excommunicated or who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Since President Biden’s election, Catholic bishops have debated how to address Catholic politicians who promote abortion laws that appear to run counter to Church teaching that abortion is a serious evil.

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops voted in June 2021 to draft a document expressing the nature of the Eucharist in the life of the Christian and issued a statement in November. Although many speculated that the group would impose a policy barring pro-choice politicians from Holy Communion, the final document on the Eucharist did not state outright that pro-choice Catholic politicians like Pelosi and President Biden should be denied Communion.

However, the document cites the authoritative Second Vatican Council in describing abortion, euthanasia, murder and genocide as “infamy indeed”, stating that “they do more harm to those who practice them than ‘to those who suffer from it’.

The USCCB also reiterated that those involved in manifest sin should not receive communion, and said that “it is the particular responsibility of the diocesan bishop to work to remedy situations that involve public actions that contradict with the visible communion of the Church and the right morals.”

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Pelosi responded to Cordileone’s action on MSNBC on Tuesday, saying the pro-life movement is a front to roll back other freedoms like contraception, same-sex marriage and more.

“I respect people’s opinions on this, but I don’t respect the fact that we’re forcing it on others,” Pelosi said.

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