Roman Catholic higher-ups in the United States have outrageously announced that they will draft guidance to deny President Biden communion because of his support of abortion rights.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, by 73-23 percent, voted that Biden should be denied the “Eucharist,” known as holy communion. The proposal must still be drafted and then approved by a two-thirds majority vote in November.
Biden recently showed integrity and backbone in omitting the Hyde Amendment, which denies low-income women on Medical Assistance abortion care, from his budget. Now the Catholic hierarchy in the United States is out for blood, or rather the communion wine (same thing?). How ironic, given that Biden makes continual display of his faith, crossing himself at the drop of a hat and even inflicting that debasing dirge, “Amazing Grace,” on the nation as part of his Inaugural.
But this is about politics, not piety. The Catholic upper hierarchy is declaring war, for partisan reasons, against a seated president — and such conduct is anathema.
It’s reassuring that 60 Catholic Democrats in Congress immediately condemned the announcement. The action was also over the objections of the Vatican, making for strange bedfellows.
In fact, while the Catholic Conference can inveigh and rant, only the local bishop in charge can actually deny communion. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of the D.C. Archdiocese, does not support the effort, and the bishop-elect in Biden’s Delaware Diocese has not committed. A slim majority of Catholics are pro-choice (shouldn’t they all be denied communion, too?), and their views are divided by party line, with 55 percent of Catholic Republicans concurring that Biden should be denied communion, and 87 percent of Catholic Democrats opposing such retribution. A 2019 Pew study found, to the credit of American Catholics, that only about a third believe communion bread and wine literally become the blood and body of Jesus during Mass.