The parish council at President Biden’s church inserted itself this week into the debate on whether the Catholic president should be permitted to receive holy communion given his public support for abortion.
Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., issued a statement from its parish council on Tuesday “concerning the issues surrounding offering the Eucharist to American politicians.”
“As a parish which has a long history of welcoming all, we concur with and support the pastoral approach of our Archbishop. Holy Trinity Catholic Church will not deny the Eucharist to persons presenting themselves to receive it,” the parish council stated.
The parish council has no power over whether parishioners are allowed to receive sacraments.
The council said it agrees with the stance of Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, who said last year that he plans to allow Biden to continue to receive the sacrament.
“I’m not going to veer from that,” Gregory said in December, noting that Biden received holy communion during the eight years he was vice president.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to create a document on the meaning of the sacrament, prompting speculation that the document could lead to politicians like Biden who support abortion being barred from receiving holy communion.
Biden’s church’s parish council called it “shocking and disappointing” that Gregory’s request to delay the document was not successful.
“Sadly, the recent vote has caused considerable desolation among our parishioners as well as Roman Catholics throughout the nation,” the council said.
“As Pope Francis recently reaffirmed, communion should be viewed ‘not as a prize for the perfect, but as a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’ None of us, whether we stand in the pews or behind the altar, is worthy to receive it. The great gift of the Holy Eucharist is too sacred to be made a political issue,” the council’s statement concluded.
This is not the first time that the parish council of Holy Trinity, which is run by the Jesuit order, has weighed in on a heated political issue.
In March, when Pope Francis approved a Vatican decree stating that priests cannot bless same-sex unions because God “does not and cannot bless sin,” the parish council expressed its disappointment.
“Our lay-led ministry embraces individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer, intersex, asexual and their families and friends,” the parish council said in a statement.
“As pastoral ministers, parish leaders and parishioners at Holy Trinity, we have listened to the pain and frustration — and have experienced our own pain and frustration — caused by last week’s statement regarding the blessing of same-sex unions by the Vatican,” the council continued. “This statement opened yet another wound that leaves our LGBTQIA+ parishioners and their families and friends wondering: what is my place in the Church?”
The council continued, saying that “unequivocally, Holy Trinity affirms that LGBTQIA+ individuals have and always will have a valued place in our parish community,” and that they “must take steps to ensure the inclusion, voices and perspectives of those our society and Church often push to the margins.”
“To our LGBTQIA+ friends, we want to stress that Holy Trinity is enriched by your presence, ministry and leadership. Our parish is honored to baptize your children, accompany you in grief, celebrate your love and grow in holiness with you,” the council said.
On Monday, the U.S. bishops’ conference urged Congress to reinstate bans on federal funding for abortions in two appropriations bills that are currently making their way through the House.
Biden’s 2022 budget request, on which the appropriations bills are based, dropped the 45-year-old Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the federal government from using taxpayer funds for elective abortions.
“Emboldened by the White House, pro-abortion Democrats in Congress will stop at nothing to expand abortion on demand, paid for by taxpayers, at home and abroad,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.