Thomas Paprocki

A Great Step Forward for the Catholic Church but a Concerning Step Backwards for Committed Catholic Democrats

on June 10, 2019

The Catholic Church has been in the news lately, for things it does not want to be in the news for. But recent actions were taken by  Bishop Thomas Paprocki that showed the Catholic laity and the entire world one of the great tenets of the Catholic faith; the advocacy on behalf of innocent human life that is consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church and word of God. In a time when it is not popular to unequivocally stand for life according to the religious and political left Bishop Paprocki’s actions are refreshing and much needed.

The Roman Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois has banned Catholic State legislators who voted for legislation loosening abortion restrictions from receiving communion within his diocese.

Bishop Paprocki specifically banned Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. Paprocki’s ban, announced Thursday morning, orders all priests within his diocese to not present the Eucharist to the specific lawmakers.

Paprocki disapproved two pieces of legislation: the Act Concerning Abortion (passed in 2017) and the Reproductive Health Act of 2019. The Act Concerning Abortion expanded state health insurance and Medicaid to cover abortions. The Reproductive Health Act of 2019 recently passed by the Illinois House and Senate is expected to be signed by Governor Pritzker in the coming days. The bill lifts the ban on partial birth abortions and criminal penalties for performing abortions, and would prevent any further state regulation of abortion procedures. The bill also connotes abortion as a fundamental right in the state of Illinois and requires all private health insurance companies to cover elective abortions.

Paprocki referenced Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law as his justification for issuing the decree. Canon 915 forbids the administration of Holy Communion, a sacred part of mass as well as a sacrament, to those who have been excommunicated, interdicted, or anyone who “obstinately persists in manifest grave sin.”

In order for anyone to be denied communion, the sin must contain four elements simultaneously. These four elements include sin, which is grave, which is manifest, and which is obstinately persevered in. The action also must be a sin in the eyes of the church. Instead of being genuinely remorseful and repenting by making “suitable reparation for damages and scandal,” a way in which people denied communion under Canon 915 can get back in the good graces of the diocese and Jesus Christ, Madigan replied in reaction to Paprocki’s decree “It is more important to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.” A committed Catholic, we have not.

One with basic knowledge of Catholic doctrinal teaching and the scriptures knows that abortion is a grave sin. For instance, within the book of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a book summing up the beliefs of the Catholic church written by Pope John Paul II  in part three, section two, chapter two, article five the Catholic position pontificates on the fifth commandment in scripture “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). The Catholic Church’s position as noted in line 2258 of the book of Catechism of the Catholic Church is:

“Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.”

Furthermore, in that same book in lines 2270-2275, particularly line 2272, the Catholic Church considers the formal cooperation in abortion as constituting a grave offense. In other doctrinal teachings considered binding by the Catholic Church such as Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI, abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, is absolutely forbidden. In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI categorized abortion as “tragic” and a “widespread scrouge.” The official website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops notes that “every life is sacred from conception to natural death.” Even the current Pope, who has been more outspoken on politically liberal social justice causes, acknowledged that “abortion is never acceptable.”

Cullerton and Madigan are not operating consistent with the sanctity of life principles modeled in scripture or the church’s teachings. They use it as a tool to garner votes come election time. To devout Catholics — those Catholics who live out their faith every day — no number of votes, power, or virtue signaling is worth enacting legislation that does not take into account the innocent. Christian leaders, no matter their domination, should follow Paprocki’s example and act to advance pro-life policies. Roman Catholic officials, especially, need to be mindful of official church teaching and scripture, as Paprocki has demonstrated. This is a good step towards the Roman Catholic Church operating in line with basic doctrinal teachings as well as following the scriptures. If more and more church leaders follow Paprocki’s lead, maybe Catholic members of the Democratic party will reverse their trend of becoming more and moral radically leftist and “pro-choice” on a matter that the church regards as clearly defined.

  1. Comment by Lee D. Cary on June 10, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    For those not familiar with my home town/state – Chicago/Illinois: The two most important pols in Illinois are House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (the longest-serving leader of any state or federal legislative body in the history of the United States, having held the position for all but two years since 1983) and Alderman Ed Burke, at 50 years, the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history. (The many Chicago mayors and Illinois governors during their tenure have paled in clout capabilities.)

    Burke runs Chicago – Madigan runs downstate. Both are Roman Catholics.

    Burke was recently indicted in what is evolving to become the biggest political corruption scandal in Chicago history.
    It’s big news in the Windy City – where the Chicago Tribune and the Sun Times have known of City Council corruption for decades, but written relatively little. Complicit journalism.

    Madigan’s indictment is expected to take longer to develop.

    Now, do you suppose the Roman Catholic hierarchy was totally unaware of the political shenanigans these two have played for a total of nearly 90 years?

    And now, all of a sudden, the hierarchy is banning Madigan?

  2. Comment by Donald on June 16, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Lee – I left Chicago, Illinois in 1978 and have never looked back. My parents are buried there. They were wonderful parents who died too early (WWII veterans both). Forty one years later, I never regret the decision to leave and I do not attend conventions which are held in the state.

  3. Comment by Palamas on June 10, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    “It is more important to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.”

    So it is more important for a political leader to secure the right of women to kill healthy, viable children for convenience (in order to receive said women’s votes) than it is to do what is right. It’s always helpful when one’s political leaders self-identify as members of a death cult than to have to ferret them out.

  4. Comment by Sam on June 11, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Let’s face the truth: If one is a strong supporter of the right to kill unborn children, one cannot possibly be a Christian -of any denomination. They have no business being treated as if they are Christians/Catholics.

  5. Comment by senecagriggs on June 14, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Bishop Thomas Paprocki – a man WITH a chest

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