‘Nuns on the Bus’ leader’s reaction to Bishop Paprocki, denying sacrament to lawmakers

File under keywords: hospitality, means of grace. This fits right in with an article I’m working up (on spec) about the 19th-century Augustana Synod Lutherans’ row with Congregationalists over church membership and access to the sacraments, contrasting Luther’s view of the means of grace with 19th-century American evangelical revivalist practice in a Calvinist gathered community.

Steven Spearie of the State Journal-Register covered Sister Simone Campbell’s appearance at the Springfield Dominican Sisters’ Jubilee Farm yesterday (July 19). Executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice group and the leader of the Nuns on the Bus campaign, she had a few choice words for President Trump — “it was ‘sinful’ how Trump addressed over the weekend four U.S. congresswomen of color, saying they should all go back to their ‘broken and crime-infested’ countries” — and Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki as well. Steve said:

Campbell told The State Journal-Register the church needs more leaders that model Pope Francis’ “pastoral and engaging” style of leadership rather than the heavy-handedness of Paprocki.

“Pope Francis says that sacraments should not be a tollhouse, a gatekeeper where you deny people access,” Campbell said before the roundtable discussion, which included about 20 community and religious leaders.

In June Paprocki barred Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton from receiving communion in Springfield-area churches because of their roles in the passage of the Reproductive Health Act. Paprocki said they shouldn’t present themselves for communion because they “cooperated in evil and committed grave sin” by backing the measure.

(Cardinal Blase Cupich and the archdiocese of Chicago threw serious shade on this gambit, saying the archdiocese has no plans for any such bar and noting that “Cardinal Cupich has had a longstanding position over his 20-plus years as a bishop that it is important to place the emphasis on teaching what the Church believes about important issues of the day, all the while maintaining an unshakable confidence that the Eucharist is an opportunity of grace and conversion to bring people to the truth.”)

Campbell’s response was withering:

“The sacraments are to support people on a struggling journey,” Campbell said, “and so one would think that those who are struggling the most should come to the sacraments most often and to be denied them because a bishop disagrees with a thoughtful stance?

“That’s just plain wrong.

“In our beloved church that’s so tarnished by this sexual abuse (scandal) and the incapacity to atone for past sins, the work we need to be about is the spiritual work of repentance, of public weeping and finding a new way forward together as a people of God.”

Steven Spearie, “‘Nun on the Bus’ criticizes Paprocki, Trump,” State Journal-Register, July 19, 2019 https://www.sj-r.com/news/20190715/nun-on-bus-criticizes-paprocki-trump?fbclid=IwAR3aOTPkaRj1f2gd6psoIVrzScZe7nvuVnF3JCXnQLdI8RmM7JLDaKhdrOc

3 thoughts on “‘Nuns on the Bus’ leader’s reaction to Bishop Paprocki, denying sacrament to lawmakers”

      1. I just read an article in the National Catholic Reporter about EWTN. I didn’t realize that it was now the FOX News for Catholics. You might check it out.


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