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Joe Biden should not receive communion, says former Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput

Former Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput said late last week that President-elect Joe Biden should be banned from receiving Communion because of his support for abortion rights, fueling an ongoing debate among Catholic leaders in the United States on how to relate to the country’s second Catholic president. .

Chaput, who led the Diocese of Philadelphia from 2011 to this year, said Biden ‘is not in full communion with the Catholic Church’ and criticized bishops who have come out in favor of letting Biden receive communion . He made the argument in a column titled, “Mr. Biden and the Matter of Scandal,” published Friday in the Catholic magazine first things.

The question of whether Biden, who supports same-sex marriage and abortion rights, should receive communion was raised at a meeting of the country’s bishops last month. At the meeting, the head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop of Los Angeles José Gomez, said he would form a working group to further discuss the “difficult and complex situation” of Biden’s presidency.

Since then, newly appointed Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, DC, said he wouldn’t deny Biden communion once he moves into the White House.

This isn’t the first time the subject of Biden and fellowship has come up. Biden, who grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Scrantonwas refused communion in South Carolina while campaigning there in October 2019. This prompted the bishop of his hometown of Wilmington, William Francis Malooly, to reiterate that he would not refuse communion to Biden.

When Biden ran for president in 2008, Malooly said the diocesan newspaper“I do not intend to get drawn into partisan politics or politicize the Eucharist as a means of communicating the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

chaput, an outspoken conservative member of the church, criticized the bishops for speaking out in favor of Biden’s communion.

“When the bishops publicly announce their willingness to give communion to Mr. Biden, without clearly teaching the seriousness of his facilitation of the evil of abortion (and his endorsement of same-sex relationships), they are doing a grave disservice to their fellow bishops and to their people,” he wrote.

“The reason is obvious,” he added. “By his actions during his public life, Mr. Biden has demonstrated that he is not in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

Catholics are taught to receive Communion only if they are in good standing and without sin, but a more specific rule ordering pastors to deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights was added to canon law in 2004, a writes Chaput.

Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson Pérez did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Biden and the communion. He previously told The Inquirer in a statement, “I pray that God will grant President-elect Biden the wisdom to govern in a way that promotes freedom and justice for all and respect for dignity and character. sacredness of life”.

The Biden Debate and Communion reflects greater political division in the church. It also shows how the issues facing Catholic Democratic politicians have changed. As John F. Kennedy, the nation’s first Catholic president, had to defend himself against accusations that he was too close to his faith to govern objectively, Biden had to counter criticism that his views conflicted with certain teachings. from the church.

Catholic voters are registered equally between the Democratic and Republican parties and split the presidential vote nationally. While Pope Francis, the leader of the church, is more liberal, American bishops have become more conservative over the years, said religious experts.

In Pennsylvania, exit polls show President Donald Trump winning the Catholic vote.