The Washington Post met with backlash earlier this week for describing President Joe Biden as “very Catholic,” while denouncing the group of U.S. Catholic bishops who are likely to rebuke him for his abortion views as “right-wing.”
“A rising group of right-wing U.S. Catholic bishops is colliding with a very Catholic president who supports abortion rights,” the official Twitter account of The Washington Post tweeted Wednesday, linking to an article by the Post’s religion reporter Michelle Boorstein.
A rising group of right-wing U.S. Catholic bishops is colliding with a very Catholic president who supports abortion rights. https://t.co/A351JzqRjB
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 28, 2021
“Catholic leaders, like their massive flock, are deeply divided about Biden, only the second U.S. president to come from the country’s largest faith group,” Boorstein wrote in part. “Since his election, the increasingly loud right wing of the church has made clear that Biden cannot continue to expand abortion rights and call himself Catholic and go unchallenged.”
Boorstein went on to explain that “experts” differ regarding whether the U.S. Catholic Church “will be more united or further split by the presidency of a cheerful, confident Catholic liberal.”
“Will they press harder on abortion purity? Will they seek compromise to work on the many issues on which the church agrees with Biden, such as refugees and immigration and poverty?” Boorstein asked.
The Post’s tweet and article were not well-received by many on social media, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Biden faces a potential formal rebuke by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), whose Committee on Doctrine will be drafting a document this June that will clarify their position regarding the longstanding question of how to handle Catholic politicians who are in open defiance of Church teaching on abortion. The bishops could potentially demand the president and other pro-abortion politicians no longer take Communion.
As The Daily Wire reported:
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.
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