Archbishop Chaput: Pro-Abortion Joe Biden ‘Should Not Receive Holy Communion’

TOPSHOT - Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Archbishop Charles Chaput has warned of serious scandal if bishops indicate their willingness to give Holy Communion to Joe Biden despite his overt support for abortion.

“Public figures who identify as ‘Catholic’ give scandal to the faithful when receiving Communion by creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional,” Archbishop Chaput wrote in First Things this weekend. “And bishops give similar scandal by not speaking up publicly about the issue and danger of sacrilege.”

In a thinly veiled swipe at the archbishop of Washington D.C. — the newly made Cardinal Wilton Gregory — Archbishop Chaput notes that bishops contribute to the scandal when they act as if supporting abortion does not harm a person’s relationship with the Church.

“Those bishops who publicly indicate in advance that they will undertake their own dialogue with President-elect Joseph Biden and allow him Communion effectively undermine the work of the task force established at the November bishops’ conference meeting to deal precisely with this and related issues,” states Chaput, the former archbishop of Philadelphia.

“This gives scandal to their brother bishops and priests, and to the many Catholics who struggle to stay faithful to Church teaching,” he adds. “It does damage to the bishops’ conference, to the meaning of collegiality, and to the fruitfulness of the conference’s advocacy work with the incoming administration.”

These strong words followed on a recent public statement by Cardinal Gregory that he will continue to abide by the McCarrick Doctrine, which advocates offering Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who publicly support abortion rights, saying he will not “veer” from prior practice established by McCarrick in the archdiocese.

“The kind of relationship that I hope we will have is a conversational relationship where we can discover areas where we can cooperate that reflect the social teachings of the church, knowing full well that there are some areas where we won’t agree,” Gregory said.

In 2004, then-Bishop Gregory was then president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference and joined McCarrick in resisting Rome’s call for withholding Communion from pro-abortion Catholic politicians in accord with Canon Law no. 915.

That same year, Gregory formed a “Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians” and named Cardinal McCarrick, who was averse to refusing Communion to pro-abortion politicians, to head up the team.

McCarrick manipulated instructions from the Vatican, which underscored the seriousness of the abortion issue and declared that when a pro-abortion Catholic politician, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

Instead of conveying these indications to the other bishops, McCarrick “summarized” them, stating that Rome had said that each bishop should make up his own mind on how to proceed. The only other person who knew that McCarrick was lying was Bishop Gregory, who had received a copy of the letter from Rome.

Last month, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, the current president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, issued a stern declaration regarding the election of a pro-abortion Catholic president.

Anti-life policies “pose a serious threat to the common good whenever any politician supports them,” Gomez said. “We have long opposed these policies strongly, and we will continue to do so.

“But when politicians who profess the Catholic faith support them, there are additional problems,” he continued. “Among other things, it creates confusion with the faithful about what the Church actually teaches on these questions.”

In his own essay, Archbishop Chaput notes the gravity of the bishops’ responsibility to clearly teach the truth on this matter.

“When bishops publicly announce their willingness to give Communion to Mr. Biden, without clearly teaching the gravity of his facilitating the evil of abortion (and his approval of same-sex relationships), they do a serious disservice to their brother bishops and their people,” he writes.

“The reason is obvious. By his actions during the course of his public life, Mr. Biden has demonstrated that he is not in full communion with the Catholic Church,” he adds, and “many of his actions and words have also supported or smoothed the way for grave moral evils in our public life that have resulted in the destruction of millions of innocent lives.”

“Mr. Biden has said that he will continue to advance those same policies as president, and thus should not receive Holy Communion,” Chaput notes. “His stated intention requires a strong and consistent response from Church leaders and faithful.”

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