by Mary Margaret Olohan
Catholic bishops may ask President Joe Biden to stop receiving communion if he continues to support and expand access to abortion in the United States, according to a leading bishop.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will hold a national meeting in June where the bishops will decide whether to tell the president, and other high profile Catholic politicians, not to receive Communion at mass if they continue to publicly advocate for abortion, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
If the bishops send this message, it would be through a document prepared by the Committee on Doctrine for the USCCB, according to the AP.
“Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, 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?”
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone told the publication he hopes the statement from the USCCB would move the consciences of Biden and other high profile Democrats.
“Abortion is not just one among many important issues,” he said. “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,” Cordileone said.
The document would still leave the decision on whether or not to withhold Communion up to individual bishops, in accordance with USCCB policy, the AP reported. Bishops like Washington, D.C. Cardinal Wilton Gregory have publicly stated that they have no qualms giving the pro-abortion president Communion.
The bishops will vote in June on whether the committee should continue its work on the document and publicly release it, according to the AP. Naumann told the publication that they would need a two-thirds majority in order for the document to proceed.
Biden, the second Catholic in the nation’s history to assume the highest office in the land, has frequently drawn criticism for supporting and advocating for policies which the Catholic Church explicitly opposes.
Though Biden referenced his faith as a reason for his pro-life votes in the Senate earlier in his career, he has changed his abortion stances and today champions almost unlimited abortion access as a presidential candidate. This prompted a priest to deny Holy Communion to Biden during mass at a Catholic church in South Carolina in October 2019.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Father Robert E. More told the Morning News. “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.”
The former vice president later refused to discuss the incident, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “I’m not going to discuss that, that’s my personal life and I’m not going to get into that at all.”
The USCCB has warned that Catholics in politics “have an obligation in conscience to work toward correcting morally defective laws, lest they be guilty of cooperating in evil and in sinning against the common good.”
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is “a crime against human life,” “constitutes a grave offense” and that a person who obtains an abortion is automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.