US bishops vote to draft statement that may rebuke Biden

Pablo Tucker
June 19, 2021

A divided conference of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops announced Friday that they have voted to draft a statement on Holy Communion that may admonish Catholic politicians, including President Joe Biden, who support abortion rights. For it to be adopted, the final draft will require approval by two-thirds of the bishop, and approval by the Vatican itself.

Biden, an abortion rights advocate who is the first Catholic US president in almost 60 years, is the most openly religious president since Jimmy Carter.

Sixty Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives released a "statement of principles" on Friday that declares, "no political party is perfectly in accord with all aspects of Church doctrine".

"The Catholic Bishops are moving on this resolution that would prevent you and others who've supported abortion from receiving communion".

Biden, a Catholic who has always been a proponent of abortion, responded to a reporter's question on Friday about the bishops' vote.

"That's a private matter, and I don't think that's going to happen", he told reporters Friday at the White House.

The election of Biden, only the second president of the Catholic faith, has reignited the debate about whether pro-abortion Catholics should receive Communion.

Rhoades also said the document would not mention Biden or other individuals by name and would offer guidelines rather than imposing a mandatory national policy.

As expected, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops discussed the document at its general assembly meeting this week, which took place virtually. He's taken several executive actions during his presidency that were hailed by abortion rights advocates. He supports the legality of abortion, while Catholic bishops have long made its abolition a foremost policy goal.

In another tweet, he said the Catholic Bishops "should be deeply ashamed for politically weaponizing the sacred sacrament of Communion".

The Vatican later warned USA bishops who were advocating against Biden being given Communion, saying that they were in danger of making the sacrament into a political weapon. The decision on whether Biden should be allowed to receive Communion would still be left up to individual bishops, as is standard for all churchgoers, but a new document would inform those decisions.

"That's a decision of his bishop", Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana said at a press conference. It cites a wide range of policy concerns, but abortion is also a priority. Maintaining that "supporting the murder of innocent children is incompatible with the faithful practice of Catholicism", she called on Church leaders to "act like it" by supporting the document.

The Vatican, meanwhile, has attempted to slow the US bishops' drafting of the document. So far, Republicans are "not having much luck demonizing Biden", so they are testing abortion as a potential issue on which to criticize him, as they did with transgender athletes in youth sports and critical race theory, said Mike Mikus, a political consultant in Pittsburgh who advises Democratic campaigns. They added that the "weaponization" of communion for those who support the right to abortion is inconsistent.

Other reports by iNewsToday