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Rhode Island Priest Warns Pro-Abortion Legislators Not To Receive Communion

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • A Catholic priest sent out flyers in January warning pro-abortion politicians not to receive communion at his parish.
  • The priest’s actions come after Rhode Island lawmakers voted in June 2019 to codify Roe v. Wade.
  • The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a “crime against human life.”

The pastor of a Rhode Island parish warned pro-abortion lawmakers not to attempt to receive Holy Communion at his parish and said their stances put them at odds with Catholic teaching.

Father Richard Bucci told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he distributed flyers in January warning pro-abortion politicians that they would be denied Holy Communion if they attended mass at his Catholic parish, Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick, Rhode Island.

The Catholic Church teaches that “abortion is a crime against human life.” Bucci, 72, said that any Catholic who is obstinately opposed to Catholic teaching, including abortion, should not receive Holy Communion. (RELATED: Joe Biden Denied Holy Communion In South Carolina Over Views On Abortion)

“In accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church for 2000 years, the following members of the legislature may NOT receive communion, as are all the general officers of the state of Rhode Island, as well as Rhode Island’s members of Congress,” Bucci’s flyer reportedly said. “In addition, they will not be allowed to act as witnesses to marriage, godparents, or lectors, at weddings, funerals, or any other church function.”

The flyer Bucci distributed on Jan. 26 included the names of lawmakers who voted for progressive abortion legislation in 2019, the Providence Journal reported.

Rhode Island legislators voted to codify Roe v. Wade and legalize abortions after fetal viability if the mother’s health is at risk, effectively allowing abortion up until birth. Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo signed this bill, HB 5125, into law in June 2019.

The priest explained that he was motivated to create the flyers after pro-abortion Democratic Rhode Island state Rep. Carol McEntee attended a December funeral, read one of the readings at the funeral and attempted to give a eulogy. When Bucci told McEntee she could not give a eulogy, he said that she began “screaming and yelling.”

“She says that I told her to leave the church, which I did not,” Bucci said. McEntee, who did not respond to a request for comment from the DCNF, told the Journal that she “was asked to leave a family member’s funeral by Father Bucci in a most disturbing way in December 2019 (in the middle of the funeral Mass).”

“This is nothing more than another vicious outburst by Father Bucci,” McEntee told the Journal. “He is unfit to be a priest, and I call on him to resign immediately. … I also call on Bishop [Thomas] Tobin to withdraw and disown this notice and issue a full apology to all individuals who are listed in this notice.”

McEntee’s sister contends that a former pastor at Sacred Heart Church molested her for eight years every day after school, Bucci told the DCNF. This priest has since died, and Bucci said that McEntee’s sister did not remember or come forward with accusations of molestation until after the priest had died.

“I have my reservations about that, but that had nothing to do with why I published it,” the priest said.

Bucci noted that lawmakers have pushed back against his comments and said that he sent out the flyer because he “was opposed to extending the statute of limitations on those who have been molested.”

“I never mentioned that,” he said. “I never thought about it. I actually testified in depositions against my pastor in Bristol, Rhode Island, who had been molesting children. And when the diocese didn’t do anything about it, I went to the state police.”

He added that his diocese “more or less ostracized” him after he went to the state police and attempted to leave him without an assignment.

“I have no problem with suing the diocese for people who were knowingly doing this and the diocese did nothing about it,” Bucci said.

Bucci’s actions follow a similar October 2019 incident where Father Robert E. Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church in South Carolina refused to allow former Vice President Joe Biden to receive communion. Bucci told the DCNF that he “would have done the same thing” and that Catholic politicians like Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should “absolutely not” be receiving communion.

For his fellow priests who may be on the fence about whether they should deny communion to pro-abortion politicians, Bucci warns that they will not be doing these politicians any favors.

“If they are receiving communion, it’s contrary to Canon law,” he said, adding that these priests would be “encouraging them to live in sin in effect and to commit sacrilege.”

Catholic Bishop Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment. Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence spokeswoman Carolyn Cronin told the Journal in an email statement that it is up to the parish to make daily pastoral and administrative decisions.

“For every sacrament, the Church provides detailed norms for preparation and reception,” Cronin said. “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,” she added.

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