New Mexico Catholic Bishop Peter Baldacchino defended his decision Monday to refuse Communion to a pro-abortion lawmaker who voted to keep abortion on demand up to birth legal in their state.
The Daily Wire reports a spokesperson for Baldacchino at the Catholic Diocese of Los Cruces spoke publicly about the matter after state Sen. Joe Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, criticized the bishop in a post Saturday on Twitter.
Cervantes said the bishop refused to allow him to participate in the sacrament during a Friday evening Mass because of his “political office” and his parish priest indicated that he will do the same.
A spokesman for the diocese told the Catholic News Agency that Cervantes’ pro-abortion voting record was the reason for the bishop’s action.
“It did not happen on the spur of the moment,” Christopher Velasquez, communications director at the diocese, told CNA. “In terms of the diocese, we regret the decision of Senator Cervantes to politicize this issue.”
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Velasquez said Baldacchino and a parish priest both confronted Cervantes privately about his pro-abortion voting record and warned him not to participate in Communion if he persisted in supporting the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
However, in February, Cervantes voted for a bill, Senate Bill 10, to keep abortions up to birth legal in New Mexico for years to come and to repeal the state’s only conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.
Because of his vote, Velasquez said Baldacchino refused to give Communion to Cervantes.
“Bishop Baldacchino did not receive a response from the senator,” Velasquez said. “[Cervantes] was contacted multiple times prior, letting him know that if he voted for Senate Bill 10, he should not present himself for Communion.”
He also said the bishop “definitely made it a priority of his to make himself available” to discuss the matter privately with the politician.
Cervantes supports the killing of unborn babies in abortions without limits, and New Mexico is home to one of the few late-term abortion facilities in the U.S.
In 2020, he told the Albuquerque Journal that he “fully” supports “choice,” meaning the choice to abort an unborn baby for any reason without limits.
“There should be no laws which outlaw the private decisions regarding pregnancy,” Cervantes told the newspaper.
The Pinon Post reports he also recently voted for a bill to legalize doctor-assisted suicide.
Across the U.S., Catholics are debating whether pro-abortion politicians should be denied Communion if they persist in advocating for the killing of unborn babies and refuse to repent.
In June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to draft a teaching document on the Eucharist after many expressed concerns that President Joe Biden is misleading people by claiming to be a devout Catholic while working to expand abortions.
In response, a group of pro-abortion Democrat lawmakers publicly criticized the Catholic bishops for being too political – even though the bishops’ real goal is to guide people in the faith. One lawmaker boldly challenged the bishops to “dare” to deny him Communion and another suggested revoking the church’s tax-exempt status.
Many bishops have expressed concerns that Biden’s claims about being a devout Catholic coupled with his radical abortion advocacy are misleading Catholics and creating scandal for the faith. They have said the church must do something to make it clear that Catholics cannot support the killing of unborn babies and must repent before participating in Communion.
The Catholic Church teaches that every human being is valuable from conception to natural death, and abortion is a grave moral evil. Abortion is the greatest human rights abuse today, having killed nearly 63 million unborn babies in the U.S. since 1973.