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Even though Joe Biden supports abortion, the majority of American Catholics still believe he should be allowed to receive Holy Communion. But for Republican Catholics, the idea is a no-go.
A new Pew Research survey reveals only 29% of U.S. Catholics believe Catholic lawmakers who disagree with Church teaching on abortion should be denied the Eucharist.
But among Catholics who lean Republican, 55% believe Catholic politicians who support abortion should not receive.
Biden has himself put the question on the table by frequently referring to his Catholic faith.
Biden: “I’m a practicing Catholic, and Beau was a devout Catholic as well,” Biden told Megyn Kelly in an interview.
The American hierarchy is split on the topic.
When a South Carolina priest denied Biden Holy Communion, Cdl. Timothy Dolan of New York went on Fox and Friends and ultimately threw the priest under the bus.
Cdl. Dolan: “I think what he [the priest] said was to the point. Whether that provincial judgment was wise … I don’t know. I don’t want to judge him either. I wouldn’t do it.”
Archbishop Emeritus Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, in an essay for First Things magazine titled “Mr. Biden and the Matter of Scandal,” points out this problem came up before — when John Kerry was running for president in 2004.
At that time, Theodore McCarrick and a number of other bishops supported allowing Kerry to receive Communion.
In response, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led by Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger, wrote a memorandum on the topic, specifically addressed to McCarrick.
The memo instructed bishops to meet with politicians and counsel them regarding Church teaching on abortion.
If, after taking this step, “the person in question with obstinate persistence still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it,” the memo says.
Chaput writes, “To my knowledge, that statement remains in effect.”
On this Holy Thursday, American Catholics are reflecting on the Last Supper and on whether a Catholic president who supports abortion is worthy to receive.