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Catholic bishops ask pro-abortion Colorado legislators to refrain from Holy Communion

Colorado bishops

Catholic bishops from Colorado are asking lawmakers who voted for a recent pro-abortion law to “voluntarily refrain from Holy Communion,” according to an open letter signed June 6.

The abortion bill referenced by the bishops is the Reproductive Health Equity Act, signed into law on April 4. The law created a “fundamental right” to abortion in the state, stripping every preborn human being from fertilization until birth of his or her human right to life. The letter was signed by Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Denver Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, Pueblo Bishop Stephen Berb, and Colorado Springs Bishop James Golka.  

“Voting for RHEA was participating in a gravely sinful action because it facilitates the killing of innocent unborn babies, and those Catholic politicians who have done so have very likely placed themselves outside of the communion of the Church,” the bishops wrote

They continued, “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.”

In the letter, the bishops praised the strong show of support against the legislation. They noted that over 350 people testified against RHEA in the House and more than 215 testified against it in the Senate. Tragically, the bill passed the state Senate on March 23 by a vote of 20-15 and was signed into law in early April by Colorado Governor Jared Polis. 

READ: Biden says ‘revolution’ will result if Roe falls: ‘I don’t think the country will stand for it’

The bishops mourned the fact that the extreme pro-abortion bill received the support of some Catholic legislators, despite the fact that the Catholic Church is clear and unwavering in its opposition to abortion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

The bishops said the request was not one they made “lightly.” They also noted that the burden of deciding whether to receive Communion rests not on “the shoulders of priests, deacons or lay Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist,” but “upon the consciences and souls of those politicians who have chosen to support this evil and unjust law.”

“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,” they stated. 

The Catholic Church reaffirmed the importance of the Eucharist (Communion) last year when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a new document on the Eucharist. The bishops did not explicitly mention whether pro-abortion politicians should be refused Communion, but they did explain why Catholics should not receive the Eucharist when in a state of mortal sin. 

In their letter, the Colorado bishops noted that receiving Communion in the state of mortal sin is “a failure to show the reverence due to the sacred Body and Blood of Christ.”

Some bishops have barred Catholic politicians from receiving Communion. In April, Salvatore Cordileone, the Archbishop of San Francisco, issued a public notification to Nancy Pelosi — who claims to be a devout Catholic while also supporting abortion — asking her to either stop advocating for abortion, or stop mentioning her Catholic faith. She did neither, prompting the archbishop to ban her from receiving Communion. Pelosi is just one of several pro-abortion Catholic politicians banned by certain Church officials from receiving Communion for supporting abortion.

With the possibility of the overturning of Roe v. Wade looming ahead, now more than ever it is critical that Catholic lawmakers defend the right to life of our nation’s preborn children. 

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