A Catholic priest has drawn criticism for suggesting that abortion is a worse offense than sex crimes against children because “pedophilia doesn’t kill one.” Reverend Richard Bucci made the comments after he banned 44 Rhode Island lawmakers from receiving communion due to their support for reproductive rights.
— Ian Donnis (@IanDon) January 31, 2020
Richard Bucci clearly feels strongly about abortion. While it’s no surprise that a Catholic priest would be against a woman’s right to choose, to go so far as to claim that deciding to end a pregnancy a woman doesn’t want to continue with is worse than crimes against children is not only incredibly inappropriate, it’s astounding in its ignorance. God help him (pun intended) if that’s what he actually thinks.
His argument doesn’t seem very sound, unfortunately. “We are not talking about any other moral issue, where some may make it a comparison between pedophilia and abortion,” he told local TV station WJAR. “Pedophilia doesn’t kill anyone and this does.” What does he mean about “any other moral issue” in which people would compare the two? This statement literally makes no sense.
Bucci didn’t stop at banning the lawmakers from taking communion. Referencing “2,000 years” of Catholic teachings, he also prohibited the 44 lawmakers, whose names he posted publicly on Twitter, from becoming godparents, witnessing marriages, and reading during funerals. Um, can he even do that? Weirdly, it seems so.
The lawmakers are feeling the brunt of Bucci’s decision. Democratic senator Adam Satchell and his wife were asked to be godparents to their niece but Satchell couldn’t accept the position due to Bucci’s ruling. “My wife was excited,” he said, according to The Guardian. “It was going to be her first godchild, and now we can’t.” In addition, Democratic state representative Carol Hagan McEntee claims she was barred from delivering the eulogy at a relative’s funeral and was even asked to leave by Bucci.
Bucci doesn’t really seem to get it. Hagan McEntee led the motion to pass a state law extending the statute of limitations for child sex abuse. Not only that, but her older sister was a victim of sex abuse by Bucci’s predecessor at Sacred Heart. “The heinous crime that [Bucci’s] predecessor committed on my sister,” she told CBS, is nothing like “what he believes I did wrong by voting.” She added, “When he says that pedophilia doesn’t kill people, well, he clearly doesn’t understand. He should’ve come to the statehouse and listened to the testimonies because there are lot of victims who are no longer with us.”
Ultimately, making these decisions is down to Bucci. He seems like he’s on a bit of a power trip to me, but unfortunately, the higher-ups in the Catholic church won’t be intervening on his measures. Diocese spokeswoman Carolyn Cronin told WJAR that it’s ultimately “the pastor’s duty to apply them within his parish, in accord with church law,” adding, “Because the church entrusts to each pastor the duty of teaching, sanctifying and governing his parish, the daily pastoral and administrative decisions are made at the local parish level.”
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