Both sides of the political aisle have made much of Joe Biden’s Catholic faith. The right points out the inconsistencies between Rome’s teachings and Biden’s position on abortion, while the left views Biden as a new kind of Catholic, taking positions in line with modern, worldly views.
The president visited Rome ahead of a climate summit in Scotland and visited with Pope Francis. The pontiff shares many of Biden’s liberal ideas, and the two had a strange meeting. Biden left the presidential-papal powwow remarking that Francis considered him a “good Catholic” who could take Communion. He later received Communion during the Saturday Vigil Mass at St. Patrick’s church.
Pope Francis may think that Biden is worthy of taking Communion, but American bishops disagree. Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin tweeted:
I fear that the Church has lost its prophetic voice. Where are the John the Baptists who will confront the Herods of our day?
— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) October 29, 2021
Bishop Joseph Strickland, of Tyler, Texas, tweeted a link to a blistering blog post from Cardinal Raymond Burke:
Thank you your Eminence for this clear statement of Catholic teaching. Let us pray for the repentance of all who support the murder of the unborn…..Catholic Politicians and Non-Admittance to Holy Communion – Cardinal Raymond Burke https://t.co/cJZhDZfqYB
— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) October 29, 2021
Cardinal Burke writes powerfully:
The Catholic Church’s witness to the beauty and goodness of human life, from its first moment of existence, and the truth of its inviolability has been grievously compromised to the point that non-Catholics believe that the Church has changed or will change what is, in fact, an unchangeable teaching. While the Church, carrying out the mission of Christ, her Head, for the salvation of the world is totally opposed to the attack on innocent and defenseless human life, the Catholic Church in the United States seems to accept the abhorrent practice, in accord with a totally secularized view of human life and sexuality.
I’m not Catholic, but I know that the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life is unequivocal. As a conservative Christian, the idea of a politician who has so forcefully spoken out in favor of abortion taking Communion without exhibiting repentance doesn’t sit well with me.
Fox News points out that the president taking Communion in Rome was a strong signal:
While Biden regularly receives Communion in his home dioceses in Washington and Delaware, it was significant that he also received Communion in Rome. The pope technically is the bishop of Rome, and while he delegates day-to-day administration to his vicar, St. Patrick’s parish is technically in the pope’s archdiocese. As such, Biden received Communion in the pope’s archdiocese.
Rev. Joe Ciccone, the rector of St. Patrick’s, reflected on what he considered the honor of hosting President Biden for Mass:
“Communion is what brings us together in the Lord. None of us are pure and perfect. We struggle through life. We’re all saints and sinners,” Ciccone told The Associated Press after the service.
Pope Francis has sent a message to Catholics that it doesn’t really matter what your position is on abortion, regardless of how important that teaching is supposed to be. What teachings will fall next under this pontiff?
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