US Catholic Bishops Could Publicly Admonish Joe Biden to Not Receive Holy Communion Until He Stops Advocating for Abortion Rights

US Catholic bishops may soon issue a public exhortation directed at President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians who present themselves for Holy Communion yet persist in advocating for the right to kill unborn children.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is set to hold its annual Spring General Assembly in June. One of the major discussion points will concern Biden’s reception of the Eucharist and his advocacy for political positions antithetical to Church dogma.

Although this includes a variety of social issues like abortion, homosexual marriage, and transgenderism, the bishops would likely focus on Biden’s advocacy for abortion rights. Leading up to the 2020 presidential election, numerous American bishops and priests said that the threat of abortion is the “preeminent priority” of our time.

But now that Biden is president, many bishops feel a sense of urgency to clarify Church teaching on Holy Communion and send a message to a pro-choice president whom the media lauds as “very Catholic.”

The USCCB’s chairman of the pro-life activities committee, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, is an outspoken critic of Biden’s stance on abortion and believes he needs to be publicly admonished.

“Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us,” Archbishop Naumann told the AP. “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?”

Even if the USCCB were to approve and publish the exhortation next month, it would not impinge on the authority of individual bishops in matters of withholding the Eucharist. The bishops of the dioceses where Biden attends Holy Mass—Wilton Cardinal Gregory of Washington, DC, and Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware—have already said that the president can receive the Eucharist at any of their parishes.

Nevertheless, the exhortation could represent a teaching moment for millions of Catholics, a reminder that one should not be obstinate in grave sin before receiving the Eucharist. Because the Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, someone who knowingly receives Him in a state of grave sin would be committing an act of sacrilege.

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