Priest denies Sen. Durbin Holy Communion. Bp. Paprocki supports priest.


This is from LifeSite

Illinois bishop upholds priest’s decision to deny Communion to pro-abort Sen. Dick Durbin

SPRINGFIELD, IL, April 3, 2014 ( – Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, known for his outspoken defense of the right to life and the natural family, has signaled his support for denying Communion to Catholic politicians who publicly endorse activities gravely contrary to the moral law.

The bishop wrote recently to a pro-life activist to affirm that he is upholding a diocesan priest’s decision to deny Communion to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, who has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood.

Paprocki’s e-mail was reported Thursday by Catholic commentator Matt Abbott.

“Senator Durbin was informed several years ago by his pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Springfield that he was not permitted to receive Holy Communion per canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law,” Paprocki wrote. “My predecessor upheld that decision and it remains in effect. It is my understanding that the senator is complying with that decision here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.”

Canon 915 states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

In placing the onus on ministers of Holy Communion, canon 915 is distinct from canon 916, which places the onus on the communicant to not approach for Communion if they are “conscious of grave sin.”

Canon 915 has been at the center of the dispute in recent years over how Church leaders should deal with the plethora of Catholic politicians who vote for pro-abortion and pro-homosexual legislation.


Read the rest there.

Bp. Paprocki is going to catch hell for this.   The Fishwrap types are going to go entirely bananas.

Stop and say a prayer for him as the wolves begin to howl.

UPDATE 4 April:

Distinguished canonist Ed Peters comments on his blog In The Light Of the Law:

Today, normal is newsworthy. Really.

by Dr. Edward Peters

If we didn’t live in such morally chaotic, socially unravelling, ecclesially antinomian times, none of this would have been news.

As things are, though, many Catholic politicians do not know (or care) that advocacy of abortion is mortally sinful (CCC 2271-2273), let alone that persons in mortal sin should not approach for holy Communion (Canon 916). Many priests do not know (or wish to recall) that holy Communion is to be withheld from persons who obstinately persevere in manifestly and gravely sinful actions (Canon 915). And many bishops do not know (or want to accept) that they are bound to enforce ecclesiastical discipline in all respects, including the protection of the sacraments (Canon 392)—the most august of which is the Eucharist (Canon 897)—and are to protect the rights of their priests and see to it that they fulfill their duties (Canon 384).

Against this backdrop of confusion regarding so many basic aspects of moral order and Church law, no wonder that Bp. Paprocki’s reaffirmation of support for a pastor’s decision to withhold holy Communion from a notorious pro-abortion Catholic politician makes news.

Today, normal is newsworthy. Really.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, Brick by Brick, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Uxixu says:

    Deo Gratias. I’m praying for him as well as the rest of the USCCB and the Holy Father tonight.

  2. Dundonianski says:

    Just the sort of courageous action in desperate short supply throughout the “catholic” world The recent revelation in Fr Blake’s blog regarding the supine failure of the Bishops of England & Wales to uphold canon915 makes for depressing reading-the doughty exception however is Bishop Egan of Portsmouth who is undergoing assault by “Catholic luminaries in good standing” just as we may expect for the admirable Bishop Poprocki.

  3. robertchacon says:

    Great news! Cant wait for he same message to be sent to Nancy Pelosi as well and every other pro abortion, pro gay “marriage” Democrat or Republican!

  4. Justalurkingfool says:

    Thank God!

  5. Andrew D says:

    God Bless Bishop Paprocki and all the priests, bishops and religious who are willing to practice, teach and DEFEND the Catholic Church and ALL of Her teachings. The good bishop will, no doubt, come under fire from (sadly) the CINOs at the Fishwrap and cathnewsusa dot com. May God have mercy on their ignorance and send the Holy Spirit into their thick skulls. Our Lady of Guadeloupe, patroness of the unborn, pray for the conversion of all who support the culture of death.

  6. SKAY says:

    What Justalurkingfool said.

    Wonderful news.

  7. New Sister says:

    It is a start, but still difficult for me to comprehend how this is so different than what Fr. Guarnizo did to a professed, open lesbian in 2012.
    Also, why does it seem can 915 only gets enforced (or we only hear about it) regarding egregious pro-abortion politicians? Could/should it not also be applied to those openly advocating “gay marriage”, sterilizations, and/or socialism (etc.)?

  8. Qwikness says:

    So is that excommunication? [No, it is not. Sen. Durbin is still able to receive other sacraments, such sacramental absolution during the Sacrament of Penance.]

  9. Scott W. says:

    So is that excommunication?

    de facto, but not de jure as far as I know (which is not much).

  10. OrthodoxChick says:

    What a strong and powerful shepherd! I would give my right arm to have a bishop like him. Praying for him.

  11. O. Possum says:

    Praying for the protection of Bishop Paprocki and the repentance of Sen. Durbin. What a great Shepherd. :)

  12. O. Possum says:

    Why do I get the feeling that Pope Francis will invite Bishop Paprocki and Sen. Durbin to the Vatican for a beer? :P

  13. KateD says:

    Thank you, Bishop Paprocki!!!!! (such a great name!)

    Our family is praying for you and the priest.

  14. wmeyer says:

    Sad that this just action and support for it should be so remarkable.

    I cannot help wondering at Sen. Durbin’s obedience, apparently for years, which is a clear acknowledgment, it seems, of the obstinacy cited in Canon 915. I pray for his conversion.

  15. Eugene says:

    @Orthodox Chick
    ” What a strong and powerful shepherd! I would give my right arm to have a bishop like him. ”
    praying for him and the pastor of the parish

  16. joecct77 says:

    Which means that the Senator can still receive communion in Washington DC?

  17. DisturbedMary says:

    joecct77 Which means that the Senator can still receive communion in Washington DC?

    Probably. Card. Wuerl has said as much in his refusal to enforce the canon.

  18. Sonshine135 says:

    I shutter to think how many Priests violate Cannon 915 and how many Parishioners violate Cannon 916. I shutter even worse when I think about how many laity have never been taught either Cannon Law.

    It is really going to take bold action like this to change things in the church. We have to have more clergy like Bishop Paprocki and this Priest. We laity have to start providing them air cover and watching their backs. We have to open ourselves to the chastisement of the Lord if we want to bring more people to Our Lord. We could stand to take some plays out of the Liberal playbook. We need to be methodical and incessant to make “brick by brick” a reality.

  19. Priam1184 says:

    Thank you Bishop Paprocki

  20. MariaKap says:

    To Joecct and Disturbed Mary, I believe Card. Wuerl has said he would honor whatever decisions were made in a persons home diocese. I may be wrong but I thought I had read that somewhere.

  21. Vecchio di Londra says:

    As Dundonianski says above, we have a similar case in England with the Bishop of Portsmouth, who has been most disgracefully isolated by a craven (and inaccurate) press communication from the E&W bishops’ conference, claiming ‘There are no plans by any Bishops in England and Wales to deny communion to Catholic MPs who voted in favour of same sex marriage legislation last year’.
    Well, happily, there are such plans, by the Bishop of Portsmouth, who is a Bishop of England and Wales. He shows no sign of being at all swayed by the E&W statement, and I hope other bishops will now also feel emboldened to put their heads above the parapet.

    A suggestion: we owe it to such faithful and determined pastors to write to them and give them our backing and our prayers. (Most have email addresses.)
    There are many siren voices in the press and even in the hierarchy telling such courageous bishops as +Egan and +Paprocki that they ‘lack general support among the laity’. Let us help to stiffen their resolve with personal thanks and encouragement. We could offer them specific acts of prayer – eg a pledge to say the Rosary for nine days – or we could send a contribution to one of their personally supported charities.
    A bishop is a bishop is a bishop (as Gertrude Stein might have said:-) He need consult no ‘national hierarchy’ for his personal enforcement of Canon Law.
    National churches are a mistake – a severe doctrinal error, a primrose path. They corrupt the supranational ‘Communio’ and the term ‘people’ into a pseudo-democratic mishmash in which majority votes are taken on whatever agenda the liberal modernisers want to force through this week.
    How tempting: to conspire with the state and gain financial comfort in return.

  22. Northern Ox says:

    Apparently, the original decision by the parish priest dates back at least to 2004, which would have been during Bishop Lucas’ tenure. That explains Bishop Paprocki’s reference to his predecessor upholding the decision, etc.

  23. The Sicilian Woman says:

    I might just have a Mass said for Bishop Poprocki. While it was a brave thing for the priest who originally did this to do, and for Bishop Lucas to support it, things have greatly worsened in the past 10 years.

    Now, who else is going to follow suit? And more importantly, will the so-called, “Princes of the Church” and Pope Francis have the backs of such bishops and priests?

    If this angers the Protestants who pose as Catholics and they “leave” the Church officially, buh-BYE! They are welcome to return when they realize they’ve erred. I’ll take a smaller Church comprised of those individuals who truly do uphold doctrine than a Church inflated with scores of people who are ignorant, dissenting, and brazen about being both.

  24. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Not the least dismaying aspect is the way that public sinners now defend their own stubborn brazenness by referring to and relying on the words of the Holy Father: “The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine for the nourishment of the weak.” They choose to interpret that as meaning that communicants do not need to be in a state of grace. (If they even know what the latter means.)
    I pray that the Holy Father will now make it clear through formal teaching that he did not mean that Communion is for those who have committed mortal sin, but have not yet confessed and repented of their sin.
    Surely only a tiny number of the faithful can really believe that Communion is ‘for the perfect’; but a vast and increasing number of laypeople have now convinced themselves (if they ever think about it) that sins against chastity are either venial or not sins at all.
    Since the Pope’s pronouncement they now think that no sin can be a barrier to Holy Communion.

  25. Iacobus M says:

    We should pray that other clerics take heart and find the courage to do the same . . .

  26. djmarine81 says:

    God bless Bishop Paprocki!

    Semper Fidelis!

  27. LarryW2LJ says:

    The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in action! Yay!

    Fear of the Lord

    I repeat …… Yay!

  28. frjim4321 says:

    Need more light. Less heat.

  29. NBW says:

    May God Bless and protect Bishop Paprocki and the priest! We need more like them.

  30. The more I hear about Bishop Paprocki, the more I admire him. And good for the priest. May their courage be strong, may God protect them.

    In reality this is sad that so many approach Holy Communion without discernment, risk eternal damnation, and cause great scandal, so much so that it takes bravery for a cleric to honor the rights of God.

    How far have we gotten? Our Lord is thrown to the wolves because we would rather desecrate His Majesty rather than hurt somebody’s feelings? I was just reading a story from another era about a priest killed for defending the Holy Eucharist trying to block a vandal from accessing the Tabernacle. After murdering the priest, the young man stomped on all the Hosts and then broke into the Sacristy and drank out of the holy chalices. The horrified town has had a yearly procession of reparation ever since. It was revealed that the town would have suffered a terrible deluge had the people not made reparation immediately.

  31. Panterina says:

    New Sister,

    Dr. Peters weighted in on the incident involving Fr. Guarnizo in this post: The difference is that there is a strong burden on the priest to verify that all the factors mentioned in can. 915 are present. In Johnson’s case, it is unlikely that Fr. Guarnizo could have verified that Johnson exhbited persistent and obstinate behavior based on a single brief exchange in the sacristy. Sen. Durbin, on the other hand, has been reportedly warned of his situation as far back as 2004.

  32. Charles E Flynn says:

    The priests and bishops who refuse to follow this example are the very definition of “lukewarm”.

  33. StJude says:

    Good. I pray this leads Sen Durbin to the truth. It would be a glorious thing if it did.

    [That’s the point.]

  34. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    frjim4321 said: Need more light. Less heat.

    Are you talking about yourself, Father?

  35. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    @DisturbedMary: Cardinal Wuerl has said that it is up to the bishop in a politician’s home diocese to handle the matter of c. 915. In the case of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whom Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, has admonished not to receive Holy Communion when she was governor, the cardinal has said he will respect that. Now that it has become known that Sen. Durbin has been barred in his home diocese, we will have to see whether Cardinal Wuerl says anything. Perhaps Sen. Durbin is not even attending Mass in Washington. He might be home nearly every weekend, as many members of Congress are.

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  37. Minnesotan from Florida says:

    Vecchio di Londra very possibly did not say otherwise, but it should be noted that abortion is not a sin against chastity but against an innocent person’s right to life.

  38. bookworm says:

    “Senator Durbin was informed several years ago by his pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Springfield”

    The pastor at the time this decision was announced (it was publicized in the local press and I remember when it took place) was Fr. Kevin Vann, later bishop of Fort Worth and now of Orange, Calif. At the time it was presented as being mainly the pastor’s decision. I assumed, then as now, that then-Bishop Lucas must have backed it up, but the bishop never made any public announcement that I can recall.

    I suspect there may be other situations like this in other dioceses in which a pro-abortion Catholic politician has been privately warned by their pastor or bishop not to receive Communion in that parish or diocese, and they have complied without making a big public stink about it. So just because you don’t have a parade of bishops making public announcements that they are enforcing Canon 915 against a particular person, does not necessarily mean it’s not being enforced at all.

    Also several years ago, the late Tom Roeser, a Catholic/conservative political blogger from Chicago, stated that Durbin attended Mass in Chicago or D.C. whenever possible because he had been “banned” from receiving Communion in Springfield. I’ve not seen this claim made anywhere else and can’t verify it, but it sounds plausible.

  39. Scott W. says:

    Need more light. Less heat.

    Need more developed points. Less vague platitudes.

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