The Rev. Richard Bucci marked the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision by issuing a flier listing the names of every Rhode Island legislator who voted last year to enshrine the right to an abortion in state law.
Father Bucci’s flier was handed out to his parishioners at Sacred Heart Church last Sunday. The lawmakers’ names appeared below this message:
“In accord with the teaching of the Catholic Church for 2000 years, the following members of the legislature may NOT receive Holy Communion, as are all the officers of the state of Rhode Island, as well as Rhode Island’s members of Congress. 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 Roman Catholic Diocese tacitly condoned the flier, which Father Bucci also mailed to the homes of several legislators.
Father Bucci, 72, readily took responsibility for the flier.
“If they are proud of what they have done, why do they want to keep it a secret? We all hear about responsibility. Let them take responsibility. If they think this is a good and wholesome and holy thing … they should be proud of it, and why should I hide that from my parishioners?” he asked rhetorically, in an interview with The Journal.
“They call me ‘Father’ so that I may have an influence in their lives, and this is a serious issue of life and death,” he said…
…Asked if Bishop Tobin approved of or condoned Father Bucci’s action — or knew of any other pastor in Rhode island who has done something similar — diocesan spokeswoman Carolyn Cronin emailed this response on Thursday:
“For every sacrament, the Church provides detailed norms for preparation and reception. 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.”