A retired Catholic archbishop has said that Joe Biden should not receive Holy Communion because of his stance on ‘evil’ abortion and same-sex relationships.
Charles J. Chaput, 76, is the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and stepped down as archbishop of Philadelphia earlier this year.
He claims that the president-elect’s pro-choice support has created a ‘scandal’ for the faithful, and means ‘he is not in full Communion with the Catholic Church.’
When he is sworn in Biden, 78, will become the second baptized Catholic to serve as president, after John F. Kennedy, and has frequently cited his faith as a source of strength and guidance in his life.
But his continued support for Roe v Wade, which first protected a woman’s right to abortion in the US in 1973, as well as same-sex marriage, which was legalized federally in 2015, has caused a schism between Catholic leaders.
Retired archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, has claimed that Biden’s pro-choice stance on abortion creates a ‘scandal’ in the Catholic faith. Chaput is pictured in 2011
Biden will be the second baptized Catholic to serve as president after John F. Kennedy. Biden is pictured in prayer at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin in September
Washington archbishop Wilton Gregory, who will be Biden’s local bishop when he moves in to the White House, said last month that he would not deny Biden the Communion. The president-elect is seen leaving church in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday
Biden attends St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine Church in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday. The church is the site of his son Beau’s grave
Biden traces his Catholic faith back to Catholic schools in Delaware and Pennsylvania
Writing in the conservative, religious journal, First Things, Chaput said: ‘The implications for the present moment are clear. 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.’
He added that bishops who give Biden Communion ‘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.’
Last month USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles announced the formation of a special committee, tasked with coordinating a united response to the incoming White House administration, Fox News reported.
Gomez upset some conservative bishops when he congratulated Biden on his victory and praised many of the president-elect’s stances, including on immigration and racial justice.
Biden’s Catholic faith and ‘liberal’ stances on abortion and LGBT+ rights have caused a split amongst US Catholic bishops, like ex Philadelphia archbishop Chaput (left) who thinks he should be denied Holy Communion, and Biden’s local Washington archbishop Gregory (right), who disagrees.
What is Holy Communion?
Holy Communion, also called Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper, in Christianity, is a ritual commemoration of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, at which he allegedly gave them bread with the words: ‘This is my body’ and wine with the words: ‘This is my blood’.
The Eucharist has formed a central rite of Christian worship and is a memorial action in which, by eating bread and drinking wine (or, for some Protestants, grape juice or water), the believer recalls what Jesus Christ was, said, and did.
Washington archbishop and soon to be Cardinal Wilton Gregory, who will be Biden’s local bishop when he moves in to the White House, said last month that he would not deny Biden any Communion and called the issue of denial a ‘confusion’ over Church teaching.
Biden could be seen attending Mass today at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery in Wilminton, Delaware.
Chaput does note that Biden ‘has championed many causes and issues that do serve the common good.’
But he added that ‘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.’
Chaput, who is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, was the second Native American to be consecrated a bishop in the United States and the first Native American archbishop.
He was the ninth archbishop of Philadelphia, serving from 2011 until 2020 and previously served as Archbishop of Denver (1997–2011) and Bishop of Rapid City (1988–1997).
Unlike many of his predecessors as archbishop of Philadelphia, the Capuchin Franciscan was not made a cardinal.