U.S. Catholic bishops may decide when they meet in June to toughen their stance on Catholic politicians who publicly support abortion — politicians like President Joe Biden.
During their next annual meeting, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine will be drafting a document that will clarify their position regarding the longstanding question of how to handle Catholic politicians in open defiance of Church teaching on abortion, according to The Associated Press.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, who is chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has publicly and repeatedly rebuked Biden for supporting abortion, going so far as to say the president “should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic.”
“Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us,” Naumann told the AP. “It can create confusion. … How can he say he’s a devout Catholic and he’s doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?”
Naumann said the document, which the committee is preparing at the request of USCCB president Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, will clarify as the official position of the USCCB that any Catholic politician who supports legalized abortion should not take Communion. It must receive a two-thirds majority vote from the bishops to be approved.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco expressed support for the proposed USCCB statement, telling the AP “there’s a growing sense of urgency” surrounding the issue. “Abortion is not just one among many important issues. … It’s a direct attack on human life.”
“They need to understand the scandal that is caused when they say they are faithfully Catholic and yet oppose the church on such a basic concept,” he said.
Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego has a different view, saying in February, “I do not see how depriving the president or other political leaders of the Eucharist based on their public policy stance can be interpreted in our society as anything other than a weaponization of the Eucharist…to pummel them into submission.”
“In accordance with existing USCCB policy, it would still leave decisions on withholding Communion up to individual bishops,” the AP reported. “In Biden’s case, the top prelates of the jurisdictions where he frequently worships — Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware, and Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. — have made clear that Biden is welcome to receive Communion at churches they oversee.”
A Catholic priest in South Carolina did refuse Communion to Joe Biden because of Biden’s pro-abortion views.
“The Rev. Robert Morey said Monday that the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate attended Mass at Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence and was refused the sacrament because any ‘public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching,'” according to USA Today.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to Former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey told the outlet. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other, and the Church. Our actions should reflect that.”
As “a priest, it is my responsibility to minister to those souls entrusted to my care, and I must do so even in the most difficult situations. I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers,” Morey added at the time.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dismissed concerns raised by USCCB regarding Biden’s pro-abortion policies. As The Daily Wire reported:
EWTN reporter Owen Jensen asked Psaki to clarify the White House’s response to the recent rebuke from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops toward President Joe Biden for his decision to reverse former President Donald Trump’s ban on using aborted babies for taxpayer-funded research.
The bishops described the president’s decision as “deeply offensive to millions of Americans,” who object to their tax dollars being “used for research that collaborates with an industry built on the taking of innocent lives.”
“Look, I think the White House respectfully disagrees,” Psaki replied. “We believe that it’s important to invest in science and look for opportunities to cure diseases and that’s what I think this is hopeful to do.”