Joe Biden should not be allowed to receive the sacrament of communion, says an influential Catholic bishop.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, former head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, wrote Friday that the president-elect “gives scandal to the faithful” for vocally supporting abortion while publicly asserting his Catholic faith.
Biden’s participation in the Roman Catholic Church’s central sacrament, celebrated at the Sunday Masses he regularly attends, is “creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional,” Chaput, who retired from his post earlier this year, wrote in the journal First Things.
“And bishops give similar scandal by not speaking up publicly about the issue and danger of sacrilege,” he added — taking aim at his colleagues’ equivocation in recent weeks.
Biden’s victory Nov. 3 will make him the first Catholic President since John F. Kennedy — a point of pride for members of the faith. He received a congratulatory phone call from Pope Francis last month.
Yet his win has touched off a wrenching debate among church leaders who hail Biden’s stances on issues like immigration — but, following Catholic doctrine, see human life as sacred from the moment of conception.
“Many of [Biden’s] actions and words have … smoothed the way for grave moral evils in our public life that have resulted in the destruction of millions of innocent lives,” Chaput wrote.
The head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, said last month that he would form a working group to grapple with the “difficult and complex situation” that Biden’s presidency will present.
“When politicians who profess the Catholic faith support” abortion rights, Gomez said, “it creates confusion among the faithful about what the church actually teaches on these questions.”
But Cardinal Wilton Gregory, who leads the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., said he has no intention of denying the sacraments to the soon-to-be president.
“I hope we will have a conversational relationship where we can discover areas where we can cooperate that reflect the social teachings of the church,” Gregory told Catholic News Service last month.
Biden, he added, received communion regularly during his eight years as vice president — “and I’m not going to veer from that,” Gregory said.