Rhode Island priest refuses communion to lawmakers who supported abortion rights bill

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A Rhode Island priest said he would bar state lawmakers from Communion if they voted last year to back an abortion rights bill.

The Rev. Richard Bucci of Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick placed a letter in the church’s weekend bulletin identifying lawmakers by name who voted for the Reproductive Privacy Act, which formally enshrines the Roe v. Wade decision in state law, and prohibiting them from receiving Communion, witnessing marriages or serving as godparents, he initially told NBC 10 last Monday.

Carolyn Cronin, a spokeswoman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, told the channel that while the church provides detailed instructions for sacraments it is “the pastor’s duty to apply them within his parish, in accord with Church law. This includes the proper reception of Holy Communion as outlined by the Code of Canon Law. Because 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.”

State Sen. Adam Satchell (D) said he found out his name was on the letter from friends who are parishioners at the church.

“I was recently asked to be my niece’s godfather, and I happily accepted,” Satchell said. “My wife was excited. It was going to be her first godchild, and now we can’t.”

State Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D) said Bucci told her to leave a relative’s funeral and forbade her to deliver a eulogy. McEntee’s older sister has previously testified that she was sexually abused as a child by a then-priest at Sacred Heart, the channel reported.

“If he wants to weigh the heinous crime that his predecessor committed on my sister, compared to what he believes I did wrong by voting for what I believe is right for the people of the state of Rhode Island, I don’t think they even compare,” McEntee said Monday.

Bucci doubled down Sunday, saying “We are not talking about any other moral issue, where some may make it a comparison between pedophilia and abortion. Pedophilia doesn’t kill anyone and this does,” according to NBC 10.  

Tags Abortion Catholic Church communion Rhode Island

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