(CNSNews.com) -- Because Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) supports abortion on demand and recently voted against a bill to ban abortions after 5 months, the Catholic bishop of his diocese in Springfield, Ill., has declared that Durbin is objectively "cooperating in evil," persisting in "manifest grave sin," and he must therefore "not be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of his sin."
In a statement on the Diocese of Springfield website, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki said, "Fourteen Catholic senators voted against the bill that would have prohibited abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, including Sen. Richard Durbin, whose residence is in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois."
"In April 2004, Sen. Durbin’s pastor, then Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, CA), said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life," said Bp. Paprocki. "My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision. I have continued that position."
The bishop continued, "Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states that those 'who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.' In our 2004 Statement on Catholics in Political Life, the USCCB said, 'Failing to protect the lives of innocent and defenseless members of the human race is to sin against justice. Those who formulate law therefore have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good.'"
"Because his voting record in support of abortion over many years constitutes 'obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,'" said Bp. Paprocki, "the determination continues that Sen. Durbin is not to be admitted to Holy Communion until he repents of this sin."
"This provision is intended not to punish, but to bring about a change of heart," said the bishop. "Sen. Durbin was once pro-life. I sincerely pray that he will repent and return to being pro-life."
Senator Dick Durbin (D), 73, has worked as a U.S. senator from Illinois since 1997. He currently is the Minority Whip of the Senate. He is married and has three children. He earned his B.S. and J.D. degrees from Georgetown University.