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U.S. Catholic bishops debate whether to allow Biden to receive Communion

Several American Catholic bishops have suggested that when they hold their national meeting in June, they will discuss the denial of Holy Communion to Catholic President Joe Biden. This is because many believe that Biden’s support for abortion rights sets him apart from Catholic doctrine.

“If you find that you do not want or cannot give up your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion. To publicly assert the Catholic faith, while publicly rejecting one of its fundamental teachings, is simply dishonest.

Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone

“If you find that you do not want or cannot give up your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” said the Archbishop of San Francisco. Salvatore Cordileone mentionned Last week. “To publicly assert the Catholic faith, while publicly rejecting one of its fundamental teachings, is simply dishonest. “

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In March, a survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly 70% of American Catholics agree that Biden’s stance on abortion shouldn’t determine whether he receives Communion. The fact that conservative bishops are debating this point may have more impact outside the United States.

“I think the important thing is how influential the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is globally,” said Amanda Ussak, director of the international program for the Catholics for Choice group. “The USCCB is one of the most conservative national conferences in the world – what they say influences the lives of people all over the world.”

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Ussak said the group empowers conservative bishops in countries where church and state are not so firmly separated, where they can talk politics without risking losing their tax-exempt status.

“It deteriorates the separation of Church and State; which deteriorates [what separates] personal morality of public legality, ”she said. “And this is a very serious problem.”

For Catholics, Communion is an act of sacred communion in which priests deliver the body of Christ, in the form of a host, to the faithful. Refusing a Catholic fellowship is a form of punishment and, especially in small communities, a public disgrace.

The first American Catholic President – John F. Kennedy – was pursued by suspicion that his policies would be influenced by the Vatican. Biden is accused of the contrary. It caused concern to United States Conference of Catholic Bishops lifting restrictions on federal funding for fetal tissue research and restore grants to organizations around the world that perform abortions.

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The threat of not receiving Communion doesn’t seem to hold Biden back. When a priest denied him Communion in 2019, Biden the brush.

“It’s a private matter. I’m not going to talk about this. This is not a problem that I have found elsewhere, including the Holy Father, who gave me communion.

President Joe Biden

“It’s a private matter. I’m not going to talk about it, “he said.” It’s not a problem I’ve found elsewhere, including the Holy Father, who gave me Communion. “

Yet there are many places where conservative bishops are losing ground. Women celebrated when Argentina legalized abortion late last year. In 2018, the Irish did the same, despite the opposition of many religious leaders. Their objections were not part of the general debate in Ireland over whether to legalize abortion, said Sydney calkin, sociologist and lecturer at the Queen Mary University of London.

“The debate, for the most part, didn’t play out in terms of, you know, ‘What the Catholic hierarchy thinks’,” she said.

Calkin wrote an article contrasting what happened in Ireland and Poland, where the Catholic Church has institutional power and strong political ties. Despite massive protests, Catholic leaders succeeded in pushing to tighten restrictions on abortion.

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“Overall, the Catholic Church in Poland has this very, very strong set of anti-abortion preferences, and it has the institutional power to realize those preferences,” Calkin said, adding that 98% of abortions that would have been legal in 1993 are now illegal in Poland.

Pope Francis believes women who have abortions can receive Communion and be absolved, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Forgiveness defined the papacy of Francis. Conservative bishops would need the Pope’s approval if they were to make the church’s official policy of denying Biden Communion. Few believe that Francis would agree with this.

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