New Mexico Diocese Responds After State Senator Says He Was Denied Communion

The Diocese of Las Cruces told CNA on Monday that it is ‘unfortunate that a pastoral issue with a member of the local Church be publicized.’

Sen. Joe Cervantes posted the above tweet on July 17.
Sen. Joe Cervantes posted the above tweet on July 17. (photo: Screenshot from the Twitter account of Sen. Joe Cervantes, last visited 7/19/21)

After a New Mexico state senator said he was denied Communion this weekend because of a political matter, his diocese responded that it had privately warned him he should not present himself for Communion, due to his obstinate support for a pro-abortion bill. 

In a tweet on Saturday, July 17, New Mexico state Sen. Joe Cervantes, a Democrat, wrote that he “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,” Cervantes added. “Please pray for church authorities as Catholicism transitions under Pope Francis.” The senator represents New Mexico's 31st district, around Las Cruces.

In response, Christopher Velasquez, director of communications for the Diocese of Las Cruces, told CNA on Monday that it is “unfortunate that a pastoral issue with a member of the local Church be publicized.” 

He explained that both Cervantes’ pastor and local ordinary tried to contact him several times previously regarding his support for an abortion bill, warning him he should not receive Communion. “It did not happen on the spur of the moment,” Velasquez said of the denial of Communion.

“In terms of the diocese, we regret the decision of Sen. Cervantes to politicize this issue,” Velasquez said. 

He noted that both Cervantes’ pastor and Bishop Peter Baldacchino reached out to Cervantes privately, in regards to his support for a pro-abortion bill that was signed into law earlier this year.

“Bishop Baldacchino did not receive a response from the senator,” Velasquez said, adding, “He [Cervantes] was contacted multiple times prior, letting him know that if he voted for Senate Bill 10, he should not present himself for Communion.”

New Mexico’s Senate Bill 10, which Cervantes cosponsored, repealed a 1969 state law criminalizing abortions. That law has not been enforced since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide. However, supporters of S.B. 10 warned the ban could go back into effect if the Supreme Court were to repeal its Roe ruling.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 10 into law earlier this year.

Velasquez said the decision to deny Cervantes Communion “has nothing to do with his office or politics. It has to do with Senate Bill 10 ... with this particular bill, because of what it entails.”

Bishop Baldacchino, Velasquez added, has “an open-door policy” on Fridays if members of the faithful in the diocese have questions or concerns. 

“He has definitely made it a priority of his to make himself available,” Velasquez said.

Cervantes did not immediately respond to an interview request from CNA.

The Eucharist during a procession at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Eucharistic Consistency

A NOTE FROM OUR PUBLISHER: A revival of belief among Catholics in the Real Presence is necessary for there to be any understanding of why the conduct of some Catholic political leaders like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi is so egregious.

A 2020 procession of the Most Holy Eucharist takes place outside during the COVID-19 pandemic in Overland Park, Kansas. By the Solemnity of Corpus Christi on June 6, many dioceses in the U.S. will be reinstating the Sunday obligation
to return to Mass, and parishes will be able to resume the tradition of Eucharistic processions.

Eucharistic Coherence

A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER: It is not primarily a question of whether or not Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi or any other politician should receive Holy Communion. It poses a question of truth and fidelity each and every communicant needs to ask themselves, each and every time they present themselves to receive the Sacred Host.