Though Joe Biden may indeed be a Catholic, he directly opposes church teaching on grave moral matters, especially abortion. As a public servant committing a public sin, church teaching stipulates that he should be denied access to the sacrament of Holy Communion until he repents. However, D.C. Cardinal Wilton Gregory has said he will administer Holy Communion to Joe Biden in the spirit of dialogue; former Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput disagrees.
Writing for First Things, Chaput argued that denying Joe Biden the sacrament of Holy Communion would be the most pastoral action, while acknowledging the importance of exercising prudence to avoid a public spectacle.
“Public figures who identify as ‘Catholic’ give scandal to the faithful when receiving Communion by creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional,” writes Chaput. “And bishops give similar scandal by not speaking up publicly about the issue and danger of sacrilege.”
“Those bishops who publicly indicate in advance that they will undertake their own dialogue with President-elect Joseph Biden and allow him Communion effectively undermine the work of the task force established at the November bishops’ conference meeting to deal precisely with this and related issues,” he continues. “This gives scandal to their brother bishops and priests, and to the many Catholics who struggle to stay faithful to Church teaching. It does damage to the bishops’ conference, to the meaning of collegiality, and to the fruitfulness of the conference’s advocacy work with the incoming administration.”
Chaput later asserts that bishops who regard abortion as one issue among others fail to recognize the gravity of Joe Biden’s decision to facilitate the evil of abortion.
“This is not a ‘political’ matter, and those who would describe it as such are either ignorant or willfully confusing the issue,” he concludes. “This is a matter of bishops’ unique responsibility before the Lord for the integrity of the sacraments. Moreover, there is also the pressing matter of pastoral concern for a man’s salvation.”
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, abortion is a grave moral evil that cannot be approved or tolerated in any circumstance.
Just last year, a Catholic priest in South Carolina reportedly enforced the church’s code of canon law by denying the former vice president the sacrament of Holy Communion due to his stance on abortion.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Father Robert E. Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church told reporters. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other, and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
This past June, after the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, struck down a Louisiana law requiring doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, Joe Biden spoke out about abortion.
“Women’s health care rights have been under attack as states across the country have passed extreme laws restricting women’s constitutional right to choice under any circumstance,” Biden said in a statement. “Today the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that states cannot put in place laws that unduly burden a women’s right to make her own health care decision with her doctor.”
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