Rev. Peter Baldacchino denied New Mexico State Sen. Joe Cervantes (D) Communion in response to him voting for a pro-abortion bill.
Baldacchino, the bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces in New Mexico, tried to contact Cervantes prior to the incident regarding his support for the bill, director of communications for the diocese Christopher Velasquez told the Catholic News Agency (CNA).
“He was contacted multiple times prior, letting him know that if he voted for Senate Bill 10, he should not present himself for Communion,” Velasquez said, noting that the bishop never received a response from Cervantes.
According to the text of the legislation, Senate Bill 10 repealed certain penalties for abortions, titling the bill the “Repeal Abortion Ban.”
Cervantes tweeted in response to the incident on Saturday.
“I was denied communion last night by the Catholic bishop here in Las Cruces and based on my political office,” he shared in a tweet. “My new parish priest has indicated he will do the same after the last was run off. Please pray for church authorities as Catholicism transitions under Pope Francis.”
I was denied communion last night by the Catholic bishop here in Las Cruces and based on my political office. My new parish priest has indicated he will do the same after the last was run off. Please pray for church authorities as Catholicism transitions under Pope Francis.— Sen. Joe Cervantes (@SenJoeCervantes) July 17, 2021
In a statement he made in response on Monday, Cervantes explained that his vote was not meant to support abortion but merely repeal a law he saw to be unconstitutional.
Cervantes also shirked responsibility for politicizing the faith despite sanctity of life being a top policy issue for many Catholics.
“While I ordinarily prefer to practice my faith privately with my family, I felt it necessary to address those who would politicize, and thereby belittle, the promises of the Eucharist,” he said.
Though Cervantes does not believe that his abortion-related vote should dictate whether he is able to receive Holy Communion, a vast majority of Catholics disagree.
A poll released in June by CatholicVote indicated that 74 percent of Catholics support denying Communion to politicians who oppose key Catholic issues like the sanctity of life.