Bishops Hit Gas On Hypocritical Political Activism

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of the Archdiocese of Denver.

KDVR FOX 31 reports that Catholic Church leadership representing the Front Range, led by Denver’s politically activist Archbishop Samuel Aquila, have sent a letter asking Colorado lawmakers who supported this year’s legislation codifying abortion rights into statute ahead of the anticipated repeal of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court to “voluntarily” refrain from taking Holy Communion, one of the harsher ecclesiastical penalties that Church leadership can impose short of excommunication and the really bad stuff from the Inquisition:

According to a letter sent out on Tuesday by “the united voice of the Catholic Bishops of Colorado, who serve the Archdiocese of Denver and the Dioceses of Pueblo and Colorado Springs,” any Catholic senator or representative who voted in favor of HB22-1279’s passing is now encouraged to refrain from taking part in the sacrament of Eucharist…

The authors responsible for the letter includes the Archbishop of Denver Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of Pueblo Rev. Stephen J. Berg, Auxiliary Bishop of Denver Rev. Jorge H. Rodriguez, and Bishop of Colorado Springs Rev. James R. Golka.

“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 reads.

As readers know, Denver Archbishop Aquila has a history of throwing the weight of his mantle around in the service of right-wing politics. In late 2020, Aquila called for President Joe Biden to be similarly punished, which was rejected by the Washington D.C. archbishop–and rendered silly when Biden met with the Pope himself the following year.

Aquila had no jurisdiction over Biden’s communion in Washington, but this is undeniably an escalation to target local Catholic lawmakers for sanction over supporting local abortion rights legislation. And it’s not just happening in Colorado–late last month, the archbishop of San Francisco announced that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be denied communion for her longstanding support for abortion rights. Obviously, that wasn’t because of Colorado’s abortion statute.

In December of 2020, Archbishop Aquila’s public attacks on Joe Biden took place just days after the disclosure in a damning investigative report that a prominent local priest, Father Charles “Woody” Woodrich, had sexually abused multiple young boys along with dozens of other priests accused of hundreds of such incidents across Colorado. The Catholic Church isn’t obligated to impose its religious doctrine by publicly attacking legislators who don’t do their bidding–but once they do, it’s entirely fair to ask what moral authority the Catholic Church has to do so.

Call it hypocrisy or appropriately separate church and state. Archbishop Aquila should find better things to do.

22 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnes says:

    As a militant atheist, I say: Fuck him!

  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    The bishops’ declaration is Exhibit A regarding why I left the Catholic faith during college years. I had been an ardent believer and even spent my freshman year of high school in seminary. 

    When I moved to Colorado many years ago; I was already a non-theist; I took a class through the then Denver Free University titled “I was Born Human, not Catholic.” Indeed.

  3. westslope says:

    I called it quits with the old men in skirts when my nana died. She was the only one who kept me very loosely connected with the church.

  4. MichaelBowman says:

    Holy Communion is a gift, not a prize. 

    • Thorntonite says:

      Yep.  A gift from God.

      As soon as clergy start limiting who can and who cannot have it (ie. substituting their judgement for that of God's) the communion becomes exactly what Trump called it, "…a little wine, a little cracker".  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  

  5. ParkHill says:

    Didn't the Catholic Church consider pregnancy to be, um not pregnant until after quickening?

  6. Genghis says:

    I wonder how many children that old man in a dress molested over the decades. It's just so adorable when Catholic clerics pretend to have any moral authority whatsoever.

  7. IndependentProgressive says:

    How any decent person can still be a member of the Roman Church is really beyond comprehension. 

    Between 1939 and 1989 Over 300,000 Newborns Were Sold in Spain

    >> The Spanish Catholic Church had been found out after many years to be at the roots of this secret network and being the ones making the big bucks on this organized crime. Who would expect priests or nuns to be so cruel and cold-hearted? No one, that is the reason why this managed to stay a secret for such a long time. Although you may be thinking how come no one buying these children exposed this secret network? <<

  8. NotHopeful says:

    These Catholic clerics are just clueless. Offensively so.

    They want to deny communion to politicians who won’t impose Catholic or fundamentalist “Christian” religious dogma on their constituents, but don’t say a word about those politicians who rabidly seek to arm every American and ignore the carnage that kills our children.

    Meanwhile these clerics lecture Americans about morality when men in their ranks have, for decades at least, sexually abused children and hidden their evil exploits.

    Why would anyone take seriously anything these bishops say?

    They represent an institution that has yet to come to terms with, let alone address, the evil it has done. And not only to children. The Catholic Church hierarchy did little to help Jews and others affected by the Holocaust. The Catholic Church and its hierarchy have done little or nothing to make whole native communities who were harmed, often in deadly ways, by its racism, colonialism, and intolerance.

    The bishops are hypocrites.

  9. Meiner49er says:

    Denying the Holy Sacraments used to be the stuff of revolutions. Now, who cares? Still, perhaps it might be fun to throw the good Bishop out a window just for old times' sake?

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