Jun 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Catholic leaders advance plan that could deny Biden Communion

Joe Biden and Jill Biden stand next to each other 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 overwhelmingly voted, 168-55, to draft a document that they hope will prevent President Biden and other Catholic politicians from receiving Communion if they advocate for abortion rights, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Biden is the United States' second Catholic president and the country's most religiously observant leader since Jimmy Carter, per the New York Times. Enforcing the rule to deny Communion would be up to individual bishops.

  • Last month, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the head of the Vatican's doctrine office, sent a letter to the conference imploring them to carefully deliberate before making the decision.
  • The cardinal advised that the bishops should seek unanimous approval, adding that it could become "a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States."

What they're saying: “That’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen," Biden told reporters on Friday, when asked about the vote.

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