Since being appointed bishop of Springfield, Illinois in 2010, I have been asked many times about the matter of Holy Communion for Sen. Richard Durbin, whose home is in Springfield. In April 2004, Sen. Durbin’s pastor, Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, California), said he would “be reticent” to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position placed him outside of unity with the Church’s teachings on life. My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he supported Msgr. Vann’s decision. I have maintained that position.
This determination is based on Canon 915 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, which states that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” In our 2004 statement on “Catholics in Political Life,” the bishops of the United States said,