The United States Catholic Bishops have voted this Friday in favor of equipping themselves with a document on the meaning of Eucharistic communion, and on whether the opinion expressed in public by those who request it on matters such as abortion influences whether that sacrament is administered or not. This is actually a first step in a campaign by certain bishops to deny communion to the nation’s president, Joe Biden, who is Catholic, and also only the second of that creed to hold office after John Kennedy.
The prelates had been meeting virtually in their annual meeting since Wednesday but the document on communion was voted on this Friday after a heated three-hour debate. It has been proposed by some bishops who recommend that Biden be denied communion because he openly supports abortion. Has finally been approved by 168 votes in favor, only 55 against and six abstentions.
That document that will now be prepared is a triumph of bishops critical of Biden, as it allows them to make a list of conditions that discourage a Catholic from receiving communion, such as being in favor of abortion. They will vote for it in November at another meeting, and if approved, Biden, like other politicians who support abortion or other actions against the teachings of the Church, could be denied communion. According to the Code of Canon Law, receiving communion is a basic right and “sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who request them in a timely manner, are well disposed, and are not legally prohibited from receiving them.” In the end, it would be up to each priest to give communion to the politician in question.
The obispo Donald Hying, de Madison, in the state of Wisconsin, he said during the previous debate that among the Catholics in his diocese there are many “confused by a Catholic president who promotes the most radical pro-abortion agenda in history.” “These believers need our guidance,” he added.
The Bishop Robert McElroy of San DiegoIn California, he responded that Catholicism will suffer “destructive consequences” if it adopts such a document that is directed against the president. “If we adopt it, it will be impossible to prevent the use of the Eucharist as a weapon,” he added.
In this heated debate even the Vatican intervened, which recently warned the most conservative US bishops to stop this campaign against Biden. The Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a letter to the US bishops warning them that this vote on the issue could “become a source of contention rather than uniting the episcopate and expanding the church in the United States.” .
A matter of coherence
One of Biden’s first decisions in the White House was to sign a decree that removed most of the barriers imposed on abortion by its predecessor, Donald Trump, there were many. The Democrat has defended this decision as a general defense of “women’s access to health,” which is the language of advocates of greater permissiveness of pregnancy termination.
The American Bishops’ Conference already warned Biden then that, as a practicing Catholic, he would send the wrong signal by re-lifting restrictions on abortion, as many other Democrats before him have done.
The current president go religiously to mass every Sunday, whether you’re in Washington or at home in Delaware. Biden has always defined himself as a deeply Catholic person, and one of the photos he has placed behind his desk in the Oval Office is of Pope Francis.
It so happens that the second person in the line of presidential succession, and the woman with the most power on Capitol Hill, is also Catholic: Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives and who also supports abortion.
In 2019, before the initiative now under discussion, Thomas Paprocki, the Bishop of Springfield, in Illinois, he forbade communion in the churches of his diocese to rulers who support abortion since they “stubbornly persist in manifest grave sin and should not be admitted to Holy Communion.” Days earlier, Illinois passed a law declaring abortion a “fundamental right of women,” in contrast to much more restrictive measures on termination of pregnancy in other US states.
Just that year, to Biden, who was not in public office then, he was not allowed to commune on a Sunday at a Catholic church in South Carolina for her support of abortion. Father Robert Morey, of Saint Anthony Church in Florence, then told the Florence Morning News that he had denied Biden communion because “any public figure who defends abortion puts himself out of teaching of the church”.
Since the Ronald Reagan years, Republican presidents have applied what is called “Mexico City policy,” and Democrats lift it. This so-called politics is actually a 1984 decree that Reagan announced during a summit in Mexico City and denies assistance to foreign non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services, advise patients on abortion or promote greater permissiveness with the termination of pregnancy.