Joe Biden questioned on 'rift' with the Catholic Church
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On Thursday, a group of Church leaders at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to draft a “formal document” on whether politicians who advocate against the Catholic Doctrine would be able to receive Communion during Mass. The move was passed by 168 to 55, with six abstentions.
Catholics believe that receiving bread and wine at Mass during Communion is akin to receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
However, many Catholics have raised concerns over whether Mr Biden should be allowed to receive Communion.
Mr Biden, who routinely attends the religious service, is the second Catholic elected President after John F Kennedy.
He could be the first person to be denied Communion by the Church following his support of abortion rights.
During a press conference, the US President was asked about the Church’s step towards him possibly not allowed Communion.
He replied: “That’s a private matter and I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
However, the US President has been accused of looking “like a deer in the headlights”.
Benny Johnson, the host of the Benny Report, tweeted: “Biden looked like a deer in the headlights just now as a reporter asked for his thoughts on US Catholic bishops taking steps toward possible rebuke of him due to his conflicting actions on abortions.”
The controversial issue over whether politicians in support of abortion could attend Mass face backlash from members of the Church.
Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, warned most priests would be “puzzled to hear that bishops now want to talk about excluding people at a time when the real challenge before them is welcoming people back to the regular practice of the faith and rebuilding their communities”.
However, Bishop Kevin Roades, of Fort Wayne-South Bend – who proposed the motion – said: “We weren’t targeting particular individuals or limited to one issue, but I think we need to accept the [Church’s] discipline that those who obstinately persist in grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Cardinal Luis Ladaria – the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s theological watchdog – called for a delay to the debate.
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Writing to the conference, he said it would be “misleading” to suggest abortion and euthanasia were “the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics”.
Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, who supported drafting the document, said: “Almost daily I speak with people, Catholics…who are confused by the fact that we have a president who professes devout Catholicism and yet advances the most radical pro-abortion agenda in our history.”
Catholics for Choice, an abortion-rights group, said it was saddened by the move from the Church saying the bishops were acting “cruel” rather than “Christ-like”.
Jamie Manson, the group’s president, said: “In a country and church already riven with tension and division, today the bishops chose to be partisan instead of pastoral, cruel rather than Christ-like.”
In 2019, a priest at a Catholic church in South Carolina refused holy communion to Biden because of his stance on abortion.
Mr Biden personally believes life begins at conception but he recognises other people do not share his view.
He said in 2015: “What I’m not prepared to do is impose a precise view that is borne out of my faith on other people.”
Mr Biden lifted restrictions on federal funding for research involving human foetal tissue, rescinded a Donald Trump policy barring organisations that refer women for abortions from receiving federal grants.
In a survey carried out by the Pew Research Center in March, more than two-thirds of US Catholics said Mr Biden’s views on abortion should not disqualify him from receiving communion.
During the US election last year, 51 percent of US Catholics voted in favour of Mr Biden and 47 percent voted for Mr Trump.
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