New Mexico State Senator Joseph Cervantes, a Democrat, was recently denied communion by a Bishop in the Las Cruces Diocese for his vote to protect abortion access in the state.
Cervantes then said that he will not be “bullied” for his pro-abortion votes.
He stated, “I won’t have any problem finding to place to receive Communion. In fact, I look forward one day to receiving Communion at the same parish where President Biden does.”
The Las Cruces Diocese confirmed that Bishop Peter Baldaccino denied Cervantes communion at a recent Mass.
His pastor implored him to abide by his faith over the abortion vote before it went down: “In a personal letter to Senator Cervantes, his pastor advised him that a vote in favor of this particular Senate bill would constitute a grave moral evil and that he should not present himself for Communion,” the diocese said in a statement.
Cervantes did not do so.
“Pro-abortion Catholic” politicians have faced increasing scrutiny in recent years.
The most notable of which are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden. Pelosi has come under fire by several local church officials in her home state of California.
The most recent dust up took place as Pelosi referred to herself as a “devout Catholic” while defending tax-payer funded abortions.
She stated, “It’s an issue of health of many women in America, especially those in lower income situations, and different states, and it is something that has been a priority for many of us a long time.”
Archbishop Of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone was blunt in his reproach of Pelosi.
“Let me repeat. No one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it. The right to life is a fundamental — the most fundamental — human right, and Catholics do not oppose fundamental human rights.”
Cordileone also said that he has had “conversations” with Pelosi about abstaining from communion as a pro-abortion Catholic.
At their annual conference in June, the question of how to handle communion of pro-abortion Catholic politicians was an item on the agenda for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Ultimately, the Bishops voted by a 73% margin to draft criteria in which Catholic politicians could be denied communion. However, Pope Francis and a few of his allies within the Conference of Bishops have raised objections.
Vatican official Cardinal Luis Ladaria thought caution should be exercised during any such debate, citing concerns over it causing “discord” among Bishops. San Diego Bishop Robert McElvoy fears it will divide Catholics politically and would “weaponize” the Eucharist.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, however, not only agreed with denying pro-abortion politicians communion, he thought that the church should label any politicians supporting views that are antithetical to church teaching as apostates, and should be denied the sacraments entirely.
While some Bishops are willing to be defiant of the Vatican despite admonitions, the Bishops also clarified at their meeting that no national policy concerning Catholic politicians and communion would be put in place.
And what may be a microcosm of the Catholic community as a whole can be seen just in New Mexico. While denying communion in the Las Cruces diocese, in Santa Fe, the largest diocese, says it will not prevent elected officials from receiving communion.
Andrew Chesnut, the Bishop Walter F. Sullivan chairman in Catholic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University says that, “The New Mexico case shows that conservative U.S. bishops have been emboldened by the conference’s vote and we might see more cases like this.”
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