There was a minor stir in the world of politics a couple of days ago when the Associated Press ran a story headlined: US Catholic bishops may press Biden to stop taking Communion.
When U.S. Catholic bishops hold their next national meeting in June, they’ll be deciding whether to send a tougher-than-ever message to President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians: Don’t receive Communion if you persist in public advocacy of abortion rights.
At issue is a document that will be prepared for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by its Committee on Doctrine, with the aim of clarifying the church’s stance on an issue that has repeatedly vexed the bishops in recent decades. It’s taken on new urgency now, in the eyes of many bishops, because Biden — only the second Catholic president — is the first to hold that office while espousing clear-cut support for abortion rights.
The Washington Post weighed in with this:
A rising group of right-wing U.S. Catholic bishops is colliding with a very Catholic president who supports abortion rights. https://t.co/A351JzqRjB
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 28, 2021
The Washington Post, being the Washington Post, tries to paint it in the light of electoral politics and, as it is written by someone who is unacquainted with Catholicism in any meaningful way, it has that “Gorillas in the Mist” flavor.
Having a U.S. president who attends Mass week after week and talks about his faith is powerful to millions of American Catholics. But to millions of others, a Catholic U.S. president enacting one policy after another in favor of abortion access is a source of shame. This conflict is now headed directly at the U.S. church’s leadership group, which plans a vote about it at its spring conference.
Now there is a Catholic U.S. president for the first time since the early 1960s, and one who is passionately open about both his Catholic faith and his liberal politics on topics like reproductive freedom and LGBTQ equality — both areas with which he and a majority of other U.S. Catholics disagree with their church’s doctrine.
The AP article is good as far as it goes as it reflects a tension, though a very fraudulent one, that exists among Catholic prelates about the Church’s relationship with the secular world and its desire to continue suckling at the teat of the government cash cow versus those who adhere to the faith and see the danger of the Church becoming just another secular, do-gooder group. This is not a left vs. right issue within the Catholic Church. It is a long-simmering conflict between Catholics who believe in the Faith as passed on by Jesus Christ and the Catholic-Lite types who pooh-pooh the work of salvation and evangelization and champion all manner of bad behavior under the rubric of “pastoral care” and “accompanying” of people who are not in compliance with Church teachings, who have no intention of ever complying with Church teachings, and who hold the whole “thou shalt not” part of Scripture in contempt.
Let’s clear away some underbrush.
Joe Biden is not “very Catholic.” At best, he’s a “smells and bells” Catholic. There is a huge question mark over the status of his marriage to Frau Doktor Professor Jill Biden. She’s divorced, her ex-husband alleges Jill and Joe were rutting while she and he were married, which resulted in the divorce, so there are questions that I can’t answer from my research, but if Joe is going to claim he’s a devout Catholic, merit exploration.
That, however, is the least of the issues.
His active promotion of abortion means that he has excommunicated himself, the term is latae sententiae, from the Catholic Church according to Canon Law. The left likes to claim this is just Biden enforcing the “law of the land,” and as we have an alleged wall of separation between Church and state, Biden is just doing his job. This is just bullsh**. Since entering office, Biden has acted to expand abortion by his abandonment of the so-called Mexico City policy. This is a willing and affirmative act that knowingly increases the number of aborted babies.
Likewise, Biden’s minions have moved to attempt to overturn a court decision that held that doctors could not be forced to perform sex-change operations against their will. I don’t know why anyone would want to try to force a doctor to do such a thing…you might emerge from the process with excess parts stapled to your forehead…but you know how these people roll, right? Here is a thread with more detail.
#BREAKING: The Biden Admin just filed an appeal seeking to force religious doctors and hospitals to perform potentially harmful gender-transition procedures against their conscience and professional medical judgment. This is bad for patients, doctors, and religious liberty. 1/
— Luke Goodrich (@LukeWGoodrich) April 20, 2021
Like with abortion, this is not merely the enforcement of something that just happens to exist and which can’t be changed by a president that also violates the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Canon Law, this is Biden aggressively acting to impose policies that did not exist upon the nation of his own volition.
Biden’s dismissal of core Church teachings runs deep. He officiated at a homosexual wedding. Not only was the wedding not licit…the Church does not recognize civil ceremonies, and conducting one simply give a fig leaf of legitimacy to allow people to enter a state of mortal sin…it was a great scandal (see paragraph 2284) by portraying himself as some sort of devout believer while engaging in an act expressly forbidden by the Church.
Though I oppose Biden and am among that majority of Republicans and conservatives who do not acknowledge Biden as lawfully elected, I would be opposed to denying him the Eucharist based upon his benefiting from the corruption of an election and the theft of the presidency. The Eucharist is not a prize for the worthy. It is not a cudgel to be used against people you don’t like. That said, the basic rule of the Church is:
As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.
Allowing Biden to continue to receive Communion while not merely supporting abortion and transgenderism, and homosexual marriage but actively promoting them and sending out his goons to proclaim him to be a devout Catholic is wrong. It is not wrong from a political stand point, it is wrong from a pastoral point of view. Every time Joe Biden steps up to receive the Eucharist he is showing the world that some Catholic bishops believe that there are one set of rules for the mopes in the pews who pay the bills and another set for the Very Important People who send billions of tax dollars to Church causes.
If the US Conference of Catholic Bishops doesn’t want to take any action that will draw the Church into a highly polarized political environment, that is understandable. But that is not what is happening. What is happening is that Biden is openly and loudly proclaiming that he is a faithful Catholic while actively undermining Catholic teaching. That is why they should act to make it clear that not only is Joe Biden not a faithful Catholic, he isn’t even repentant for the harm his horrible example sets for Catholics who might not know any more about Catholicism than a religion writer for the Washington Post.
As an afterthought:
One of the favorite games of David French and other leftists is “what about Trump?” If you read Twitter or Facebook on the Biden/Communion issue, you’ll inevitably see leftists and Bulwark and Dispatch writers making a claim to the effect that “this is all politics because no bishops made any noise about Trump’s adultery (to the extent that it is different that what is alleged about the Bidens) and divorces.” Easy answer. Trump is not a Catholic. He didn’t even play one on the internet. The Catholic Church does not impose sanctions on members of other denominations for their transgression of Catholic doctrine. Plus, Trump never tried to receive Communion in a Catholic Church.