The U.S. Catholic Church Weighs in on Abortion and May Rebuke Biden

Robert Turner

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President Joe BidenAssociated Press

America’s 46th president, Joe Biden is a devout Catholic with strong religious convictions. In stark contrast to the Catholic faith, however, the President supports women’s choice and the right to abortion. This is in keeping with the Democratic policy but stands in clear contradiction of Catholic doctrine. It is this contradiction that has irked US Catholic Church leaders and they have taken steps to address it.

In a 168–55 vote, US Catholic bishops agreed on Friday to draft a document that would detail the conditions under which Catholic politicians and public figures who do not follow church teaching on abortion and other issues may be denied Communion, according to The Associated Press and Wall Street Journal.

President Joe Biden, the second Catholic president in US history, stands to be rebuked if such a document is approved in November due to his support for abortion rights, The New York Times reports. In effect, he would be denied Communion.

Where do American Catholics stand on the issue? The graphic below, courtesy of Pew Research shows support for the President.

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Pew Research GraphicPew Research

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., heads the doctrinal committee for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Bishop Kevin RhoadesAssociated Press

Should Catholic politicians be entitled to support abortion?

Supporters of the document originally planned to outline a national policy on the issue but scrapped that idea when the Vatican warned last month that such a national policy would be divisive.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., head of the doctrinal committee, has said that the document may instead include practical guidance for individual bishops dealing with politicians who support abortion rights.

He also indicated that the document may include other activities — such as the leadership of a white supremacist organization — that could disqualify a person from receiving the sacrament.

The obvious issue here is the involvement of the church in the political sphere, traditionally a position the Vatican tends to shy away from. Biden is a devout Catholic and anyone would be hard-pressed to question his religious convictions.

By extending the categories the US Catholic bishops will choose to exclude from taking Communion, they are effectively bundling Biden and pro-abortionists in the same category as white supremacists and other radicals, hardly a fair comparison. The decision and vote of the Bishops is promising to prove highly divisive.

Last month, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the head of the Vatican's doctrine office, sent a letter to the conference imploring them to carefully deliberate before making the decision. In the letter the cardinal advised that the bishops should seek unanimous approval, adding that it could become "a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States."

Biden told reporters on Friday when asked about the vote;

“That’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen,"

The Eucharist, or holy communion, is one of the most sacred rituals in Christianity, and bishops have grown worried in recent years about declining Mass attendance and misunderstanding of the importance of the sacrament to Catholic life. Does this give them the right to seek to rebuke the President?

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A founder of Medika Life, We are driven to providing actionable and accurate health information for patients and professionals. We pride ourselves on highlighting patient needs and issues that directly impact access to care. I travel frequently and divide my time between Asia, England, and the US. Health fanatic, tech addict, and occasional surfer.

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