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18 Jun, 2021 20:52

Biden reacts to Catholic bishops’ plan to deny him Holy Communion over pro-abortion views

Biden reacts to Catholic bishops’ plan to deny him Holy Communion over pro-abortion views

US Catholic bishops have overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a document that will set out their position on pro-abortion politicians receiving Holy Communion. The vote is widely seen as a rebuke of President Joe Biden.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced on Friday that they had voted 168 in favor and 55 against drafting a document condemning Catholic politicians who support abortion – like President Joe Biden. The proposed document will need a two-thirds majority vote to be formally adopted at the conference’s next in-person meeting, a likelihood after Friday’s vote.

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Biden is the US’ first Catholic president since John F. Kennedy, and is often photographed attending mass with his family. However, Biden is a supporter of abortion, and one of his first executive orders after taking office in January was to repeal a Trump administration ban on the provision of foreign aid for NGOs that provide abortion. He also ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to review a Trump-era policy withholding federal grants from abortion providers in the US, and pulled the country out of the anti-abortion ‘Geneva Consensus Declaration’, which recognized that “there is no international right to abortion.”

Needless to say, these views are at odds with those of the Catholic Church. Speaking during this week’s conference, Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, said that his flock are confused by the idea of a Catholic president who promotes “the most radical pro-abortion agenda in history,” and are looking for “direction” from Hying and his fellow bishops, AP reported.

Others, however, spoke out against the “weaponization of the Eucharist,” claiming that should Biden eventually be denied the sacrament of Communion, this could harm the Church’s standing to speak on political and social issues in future.

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Even though the chairman of the USCCB’s doctrine committee, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Indiana, said that the document will not mention Biden by name, the president would nevertheless be the highest public figure impacted by it.

Asked on Friday about the bishops’ vote, Biden told reporters “that’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Biden is likely correct. Should the USCCB adopt a doctrine forbidding him from receiving Communion, individual bishops will be able to make their own decision on whether to give the sacrament to the president.

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