Bishop Michael Sheridan of the Roman Catholic diocese of Colorado Springs warned Vice President Joe Biden that “he ought not to be receiving Communion.”
In an interview with The Colorado Springs Gazette, Bishop Sheridan said that Canon Law states, “a Catholic politician who publicly espouses positions that are contrary, not just to any teachings of the Church, but to serious moral teachings, should not receive Holy Communion until they recant those positions publicly.” Sheridan stated that abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and religious liberty are not negotiable issues for Catholic politicians.
The bishop referenced the Church’s position against the HHS mandate as a violation of religious liberty. Sheridan said, “I think a Catholic politician who publicly and consistently defends the mandate, which causes people to violate their conscience — yes, I think that’s right up there with the rest of them.”
Asked if he would personally deny Biden Communion, Bishop Sheridan responded, “He should know, and I would do everything I could do to make sure that he knows he ought not be receiving Communion.”
Bishop Sheridan also indicated that the Church’s “social justice” teachings do not require Catholics to support government welfare programs. “I think we recognize that the government can and should do things for people, especially people who are in great need. But really the obligation is for us as individuals, as Catholics, as believers, to be charitable toward our neighbor.”
Stressing the importance of these issues, Sheridan explained, “It would be very difficult for me to understand how, if there are two candidates quite far apart in their positions on these matters, I could vote for the one who consistently opposes these Church teachings, simply because he might be in favor of a few good things.”
Regarding the significant differences between the two Catholic Vice Presidential candidates, Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Bishop Sheridan said, “Now you have two Catholics, two men who claim to be good, practicing Catholics, and they’re just diametrically opposed in so many areas. I’d say it gives us a pretty clear choice, that’s what I’d say. It gives me a pretty clear choice.”