Apr 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Catholic leaders may move to pressure Biden to stop taking Communion

Joe and Jill Biden stand in a church pew

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attend Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, on Jan. 20. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will vote in June on whether the church should forcefully say public figures and politicians — like President Biden — will be denied Communion if they advocate for abortion rights, AP reports.

Why it matters: Although enforcing the rule would be up to individual bishops, critics inside the Catholic Church expect the vote to continue drafting a formal document to "win overwhelming approval," the AP says. A two-thirds majority vote is needed.

  • Cardinal Wilton Gregory in Washington, D.C. and Bishop W. Francis Malooly in Wilmington, Delaware have said that Biden is still welcome to receive Communion at their churches, where he frequently worships.

The big picture: Biden is the second-ever Catholic president, joined only by John F. Kennedy. Within his first 100 days in office, his administration has moved to reverse a Trump-era rule banning federally funded health care providers from referring women for abortions.

What they're saying: “There’s a growing sense of urgency,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone told AP. “Abortion is not just one among many important issues. ... It’s a direct attack on human life.”

  • “They need to understand the scandal that is caused when they say they are faithfully Catholic and yet oppose the church on such a basic concept,” he said.
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