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Colorado Catholic Bishops tell politicians who support abortion to forego Holy Communion

Lawmakers who supported the passage of RHEA describe the new law as one designed to make Colorado a “safe haven” for abortions, serving women in nearby states.

Colorado Catholic Bishops tell politicians who support abortion to forego Holy Communion
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Catholic Bishops in Colorado called on Catholic lawmakers to forego receiving the Eucharist if they supported the state’s passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), which is the state of Colorado’s efforts to enshrine the right to abortion in legislation. 

On Monday, Catholic Bishops penned an open letter to all Catholic politicians who supported the legislation to “voluntarily refrain from Holy Communion.” 

“The recently concluded 2022 legislative session was difficult for many Coloradans who watched in dismay as their state legislators rushed one of the most extreme abortion bills in the country through the chambers of the Capitol and to Governor Polis’ desk for his signature,” the Bishops detailed. 

“As HB22-1279, the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), made its way through the legislature, there was a strong outcry against it,” the letter stated. “Thousands of people wrote to their lawmakers. Over 350 people testified against RHEA in the House and more than 215 testified against it in the Senate into the early hours of the morning. RHEA allows for abortion from conception until birth and for any reason, including the child’s race, sex, or a disability.” 

Lawmakers who supported the passage of RHEA describe the new law as one designed to make Colorado a “safe haven” for abortions, serving women in nearby states. 

Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, as the leaked Supreme Court draft earlier this year suggests it would, pregnant mothers intending to have abortions could end up flooding in from surrounding states where abortions are banned to have the procedure done in Colorado. 

“It causes us profound sadness and distress to know that some Catholic legislators voted for this,” said the Colorado Bishops. 

“We have a strong desire to discuss the spiritual and cultural impact of laws like RHEA with politicians of both parties who say they are Catholic and who represent people in our state,” the letter continued, adding that the Bishops lamented how several Catholic lawmakers “support ending the lives of unborn children and declaring that a 'fertilized egg, embryo or fetus' has no 'independent or derivative rights' in Colorado.” 

“These pre-born babies are worth less than those who have had the gift of being born,” they said. “Voting for RHEA was participating in a gravely sinful action because it facilitates the killing of innocent unborn babies and those Catholic politicians who have done so have very likely placed themselves outside of the communion of the Church.” 

“Until public repentance takes place and sacramental absolution is received in Confession, we ask that those Catholic legislators who live or worship in Colorado and who have voted for RHEA, to voluntarily refrain from receiving Holy Communion,” the letter concluded.

The letter was signed by Samuel J. Aquila, Archbishop of Denver; Stephen J. Berg, Bishop of Pueblo; James R. Golka, Bishop of Colorado Springs; and Jorge H. Rodriguez, Auxiliary Bishop of Denver.

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