US Catholic bishops move toward denying Biden communion in political decision violating Vatican direction
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops overwhelmingly voted on Friday to move toward chastising President Joe Biden, a devout Catholic, for his policies supporting and defending a woman's right to choose an abortion. It is the first official step toward denying the U.S. President communion. Biden personally opposes abortion but believes it should be a safe, protected, and legal right, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.
The Bishops voted 168-55 to create a "teaching document," as NBC News reports, to serve as a "rebuke" of Biden and other Catholic politicians who support abortion. The Roman Catholic Church opposes the move.
"The Vatican has warned conservative American bishops to hit the brakes on their push to deny communion to politicians supportive of abortion rights — including President Biden, a faithful churchgoer and the first Roman Catholic to occupy the Oval Office in 60 years," The New York Times reported Monday, suggesting the U.S. Bishops' move is just as much a political gesture as a religious rebuke.
"Some leading bishops, whose priorities clearly aligned with former President Donald J. Trump, now want to reassert the centrality of opposition to abortion in the Catholic faith and lay down a hard line — especially with a liberal Catholic in the Oval Office."
The Times reports the push to go after President Biden is being led by Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles (photo), the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“The focus of this proposed teaching document," Archbishop Gomez wrote in a memo, “is on how best to help people to understand the beauty and the mystery of the Eucharist as the center of their Christian lives."
But the Times noted the Vatican does not want "to use access to the Eucharist as a political weapon," Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit priest and close ally of Francis, said.
Conservative American bishops were demanding "a strong rebuke of Biden," NBC notes, "because of his recent actions protecting and expanding abortion access, while opponents warned that such action would portray the bishops as a partisan force during a time of bitter political divisions across the country."