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Former Fargo bishop asks Colorado Catholic lawmakers to refrain from Communion after abortion vote

Colorado legislation prohibits state and local entities from denying the right to continue with a pregnancy or have an abortion. It also allows an individual the right to use or refuse contraception.

Samuel Aquila
Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila, formerly bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo.
Forum file photo
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DENVER — Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila, who served as bishop in Fargo for 10 years, has joined other Catholic leaders to ask Colorado legislators who voted in favor of abortion rights laws to "voluntarily refrain from Holy Communion."

In the Catholic leaders' open letter, they said voting for the legislation, signed into law in April, was "participating in a gravely sinful action because it facilitates the killing of innocent unborn babies," Religion News Service reported on Tuesday, June 7.

The legislation prohibits state and local entities from denying the right to continue with a pregnancy or have an abortion. It also allows an individual the right to use or refuse contraception.

It's estimated about 10 baptized Catholic lawmakers voted for the legislation, with four opposed, Religion News Service reported.

The bishops wrote that they have made efforts to speak with the Catholic lawmakers who voted for the bill to “ensure that they understand the Church’s teaching on receiving Holy Communion,” but noted that few lawmakers have accepted the invitation to meet.

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Along with Aquila, the letter was signed by Aquila's auxiliary bishop, Jorge Rodriguez; Stephen Berg, bishop of Pueblo; and James Golka, bishop of Colorado Springs.

Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice , said in a statement to the Religious News Service that Colorado’s Catholic bishops should listen to their people, noting that one in four abortion patients is Catholic.

Politicians supporting abortion rights have faced similar requests or possible denials of communion from bishops, including President Joe Biden. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been barred from taking communion in several jurisdictions.

The 72-year-old Aquila was bishop in Fargo from 2002 to 2012. He has held the view that faith and political life should not be lived separately and those who don't live according to church teachings should not receive communion, since at least 2004 when he first spoke out on the issue, according to the Catholic News Agency.

He was named archbishop of Denver in 2012.

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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