Sen. Dick Durbin came to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s defenses on Tuesday, blasting the San Francisco Archdiocese for banning her from receiving communion — 18 years after the Illinois lawmaker was barred from receiving the sacrament in his home state.
“It’s very personal to Speaker Pelosi as it is to me,” Durbin told Fox News’ Chad Pergram during a press conference, blasting Catholic bishops for making decisions that should be left to one’s own conscience.
“The decision of the Catholic bishops and the treatment of pro-choice Catholics is different in dioceses by dioceses as a policy, they were poised to act for the entire nation, but then withdrew that decision,” the Democrat said, referring to a move to block all pro-choice Catholic politicians from recieving Communion that was considered last year.
“I still believe that the authorities in the church believe we have issues that can only be decided by our own conscience, and not by some bishop’s conscience,” the Democrat said.
In 2004, Durbin was barred by the Catholic Archdiocese of Springfield, Ill., due to his pro-abortion stance.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the diocese held up the decision in 2018, saying Durbin’s support for abortion represents “obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin,” according to Chronicle Illinois.
“[In 2004,] Sen. Durbin’s pastor, then Monsignor Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, Calif.) said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position puts him outside of communion or unity with the Church’s teachings on life,” Paprocki said at the time. “My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision. I have continued that position.”
Durbin’s comments came just days after San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly notified Pelosi that she would be denied Holy Communion until she publicly walks back on her abortion advocacy and “confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance.”
“A Catholic legislator who supports procured abortion, after knowing the teaching of the Church, commits a manifestly grave sin which is a cause of most serious scandal to others,” Cordileone wrote Friday. “Therefore, universal Church law provides that such persons ‘are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.’”
The archbishop did not indicate if he and the speaker had discussed the issue in the past but said he has “not received such an accommodation to my many requests” to speak again following the September passage of a controversial Texas abortion law that bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected, usually at six weeks.
At that time, Pelosi vowed to codify the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling into federal law. She has doubled down on her support of abortion in light of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that has indicated Roe will be overturned this summer.
Pelosi criticized the decision herself on Tuesday, telling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that while she respects people’s views if they oppose abortion, “I don’t respect us foisting it onto others.”
President Joe Biden has also recently come under fire for his pro-abortion beliefs, as many Catholic bishops moved to block him from receiving the Holy Eucharist during his campaign and time in office.
In June 2021, US Catholic bishops voted 168-55 to approve the drafting of a “teaching document” that many hoped would rebuke such politicians. The document was approved in November, though the final guidance stopped short of recommending barring politicians who support abortion from receiving the Eucharist.