In the wake of this year’s passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), which enshrines the right to an abortion in Colorado law, Colorado’s Catholic bishops released a letter asking lawmakers who voted “yes” on RHEA to refrain from receiving Communion until they confess their mortal sins.
“Until public repentance takes place and sacramental absolution is received in Confession, we ask that those Catholic legislators who live or worship in Colorado and who have voted for RHEA, to voluntarily refrain from receiving Holy Communion,” stated Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Pueblo Stephen J. Berg, Colorado Springs Bishop James R. Golka, and Auxiliary Bishop of Denver Jorge H. Rodriguez in the June 6 open letter.
The letter explained that lawmakers should not receive Communion, which represents Jesus Christ, while having a “conflict” on the soul.
“We pray that this letter and our request to refrain from receiving Jesus in the Eucharist spurs sincere reflection and conversion in the hearts of those who have participated in allowing this grave act of injustice to become law,” states the letter. “This request is not one that we make lightly, but since it is our duty to safeguard the faith and care for the souls of all the faithful – including these politicians – we must make it.”
According to the letter, the bishops have requested meetings with state legislators who voted for RHEA to ensure that they understand the teachings of the Church and the importance of spiritual disposition while receiving the Holy Communion.
Colorado Rep. Monica Duran, a Democrat who is Catholic, told the National Catholic Reporter that the Bishops letter “sends the wrong message” to Catholics.
“When you say, ‘Because you supported this piece of legislation you should not be able to partake in something so personal and private between you and your God,’ I take issue with that,” Duran told the newspaper, adding, “Jesus brought everybody to the table.”
With the U.S. Supreme Court deciding if the landmark case Roe v. Wade, which protects the consitutional right to abortion, should be overturned, some states are starting to pass laws either restricting or protecting the right to abortions. Colorado is one of eight states that has no restrictions on abortion, according to the research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute.
The Colorado bishops ended their letter with, “We are always willing to engage in conversation with any Catholic politician to whom this applies, and we want you to know that we regularly pray for all who hold public office.”
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democcrat, has been denied the Sacrament of Holy Communion by the San Francisco Archbishop, Salvatore J. Cordileone. He wrote Pelosi a letter stating that he will have to deny her Communion until she stops publicly supporting the right to abortion and states that she is a faithful follower of the church.
“That is why I communicated my concerns to you via letter on April 7, 2022, and informed you there that, should you not publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion ‘rights’ or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion,” states Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone in his letter to Pelosi. “I would have no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915, that you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Pope Francis recently shared his opinion on the matter of archbishops denying or asking lawmakers to not take Communion.
“If we look at the history of the church, we will see that every time the bishops have not managed a problem as pastors, they have taken a political stance on a political problem,” stated Francis in a news interview. “What must the pastor do? Be a pastor, don’t go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated.”
Francis has taken a stance on abortion with the Catholic Church, referring to it as murder.
But Francis has never denied someone the Sacrament of Communion, he’s said, adding that “the eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners.”