The upcoming meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will address the church’s policy on high-profile politicians who are anti-Life receiving Holy Communion. According to the Associated Press, for the bishops’ meeting in June the Committee on Doctrine is expected to have a draft of document clarifying the church’s stance.
Public support for abortion is considered a grave moral evil that is condemned under Catholic moral teaching. As such, politicians who obstinately persist in public support for anti-Life policies can be denied Communion. In recent years, however, the U.S. bishops have not adhered to a uniform policy but instead allowed individual bishops to determine if high-profile political figures are denied.
Since the campaign and inauguration of President Biden, who frequently pays lip service to his Catholic faith, the issue has gained greater scrutiny. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, who is chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has spoken out against Biden’s anti-Life positions and said the president “should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic.”
Naumann explained to the Associated Press, “Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us. It can create confusion. … How can he say he’s a devout Catholic and he’s doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?”
Several bishops, including Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, have voiced support for the proposed clarifying document. Cordileone said, “There’s a growing sense of urgency” about the church’s policy. He added, “Abortion is not just one among many important issues. … It’s a direct attack on human life.”
Cordileone hopes that such a statement would prompt reexamination part of high-profile politicians who describe themselves as Catholic yet persist in advancing radical, anti-Life policy. He said, “They [anti-Life politicians] need to understand the scandal that is caused when they say they are faithfully Catholic and yet oppose the church on such a basic concept.”
The need for clarity is obvious. Biden is only the second Catholic president of the United States and the first to be openly in support of abortion. During his time in office, Biden has already made major anti-Life changes to the policies of the executive branch, including allowing federal funding of life-destroying research using cells obtained from aborted babies, allowing Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups to receive taxpayer dollars through the Title X program, and allowing mothers to receive abortion pills via telemedicine during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite these aggressively anti-Life policies that favor Biden’s cronies in the abortion industry and go directly against the teachings of the church to which he claims to belong, Biden has not received public rebuke from his own bishop. As the Associated Press reports, because of the lack of uniform policy, individual bishops have taken different stances on denying Communion to anti-Life politicians. The AP states, “In Biden’s case, the top prelates of the jurisdictions where he frequently worships — Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware, and Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. — have made clear that Biden is welcome to receive Communion at churches they oversee.”
Many Catholics hope that the upcoming meeting of U.S. bishops will provide a clear rebuke to the increasingly radical anti-Life positions of the Biden Administration. Edward Peters, who teaches canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, told the Associated Press, “The bishops’ conference does have broad responsibility to speak out on matters that impact the effectiveness and clarity of Church’s mission,” Peters said via email. “The bad example being given by some high-profile Catholics who consistently fail to protect innocent human life is surely one of those matters.”
The leadership of the Catholic Church, and many other Christian churches, have refused to take a stand against Biden’s anti-Life policies. Courageous individuals, including Texas’s Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, have spoken out against Biden and defended true Christian teachings on Life issues. Pro-Lifers must call on all of our faith leaders to do the same.