An extensive list of lawmakers will not be able to receive Holy Communion at a Rhode Island parish after its parish priest declared that their support for abortion legislation disqualified them.
News outlets reported Rev. Richard Bucci put an insert in the Sacred Heart Church’s weekly bulletin, which contains a list of state lawmakers who voted for last year’s bill codifying protections on abortion access.
The public rebuke made by Bucci was just the latest point of tension as Catholic lawmakers showed support for access to abortion, a process that the Church has condemned for a very long time.
The insert read:
“In accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church for 2,000 years, the following members of the legislature may NOT receive Holy Communion, as all are the general officers of the State of Rhode Island, as well as Rhode Island’s members of Congress.”
It also emphasized that none of those individuals would be able to become godparents, witnesses to marriage, or lectors at church functions.
In the middle of a number of state-level restrictions, Catholic Democratic politicians got attention for their stances on the issue.
Joe Biden, former Vice President and current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, was reportedly denied Communion in South Carolina because of abortion.The Catholic clergy have persistently condemned both the act of abortion and pro-choice political advocacy.
Father Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church emphasized that the Church’s catechism describes abortion as a grave contrary to the moral law.
He pointed out that:
“The Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
The Diocese of Providence responded by saying that the priests have power over how they want to administer Communion.
She furthered explained:
“The Church entrusts to each pastor the duty of teaching, sanctifying, and governing his parish, the daily pastoral and administrative decisions are made at the local parish level,”
However, several lawmakers can’t help but criticize Father Bucci’s decision.
News outlets reported that State Rep. Carol McEntee received Bucci’s announcement in the mail and said:
“I feel that this notice is harsh and retaliatory especially toward me, as well as the other elected officials. Although I have long ago left the Catholic Church, they continue to berate and diminish the reality of what my sister and my family have endured because of their criminal behavior and lack of remorse or contrition.”
Apparently, McEntee’s sister, Ann Hagan Webb, allegedly experienced abuse from a former parish priest.
In an interview with the Providence Journal, Bucci stood his ground and aired his side. He said:
“If they are proud of what they have done, why do they want to keep it a secret? We all hear about responsibility. Let them take responsibility. If they think this is a good and wholesome and holy thing … they should be proud of it, and why should I hide that from my parishioners?”
Meanwhile, other lawmakers continued criticizing the announcement.
State Rep. Justine Caldwell (D) said:
“The idea that they would be sending that out rather than taking care of their own house is just baffling to me.”
Democrat Rep. Lianna Cassar said:
“I am a godparent,”
“Does this mean I have to tell my goddaughter that I’m not the godmother anymore? Just asking.”
State Sen. Adam Satchell, D, also shared similar sentiments and said:
“I was recently asked to be my niece’s godfather, and I happily accepted,”
“My wife was excited. It was going to be her first godchild, and now we can’t.”
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