Bishops Could Vote on Biden Taking Communion

President's support for abortion rights bothers some in the church
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2021 4:17 PM CDT
Bishops Could Vote on Biden Taking Communion
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, attend Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle during Inauguration Day ceremonies in January.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden presents a dilemma to some Catholic bishops. He's demonstrative about his faith, attending Mass regularly and saying the rosary when he has a moment of solitude. But Biden supports abortion rights, which the Catholic Church opposes. That difference will come up for discussion by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in June, the Washington Post reports. A panel is working on a document saying that politicians who support access to abortion should not receive Communion, per the AP. "How can he say he's a devout Catholic and he's doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?" said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan. A spokeswoman for the bishops said there will be some kind of vote concerning Communion, but it might just be about whether to vote on a policy at another time.

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, is among those who don't like the idea, partly because Pope Francis has asked for an emphasis on climate change, immigration, and inequality. "If a politician is targeted as a negative example by his own church, that sets a sad context in which the church can deal with this Catholic president," Stowe said. "It contributes to the polarization of the church and of society." That's true inside the church, too, per Time. Biden's election "exposes a divide among American Catholics that's been there for a long time," a religion professor said. "There's a big chasm, a growing chasm." Anything the conference decides won't be binding on local dioceses, and bishops in Delaware and Washington, DC—where Biden most often goes to church—have said they won't deny the president Communion. (More US Conference of Catholic Bishops stories.)

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