It might sound like an absurd question considering the good work that Biden is doing to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, bolster the economy, and lift families out of poverty through increased government spending — but Biden supports abortion rights as a Democrat, and the Catholic faith frowns upon those who do just that. They will now be forced to decide whether or not to tell the president he is not welcome to receive Communion.
The United States Catholic bishops will decide whether or not to make this unusual political statement during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine. This is rarely a topic for discussion since Biden is only the country’s second Catholic president.
Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann said that Biden’s public stance is a “grave moral evil.” He added, “Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us. It can create confusion. … How can he say he’s a devout Catholic and he’s doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?”
The conference’s decision might send a clear message to public figures who are Catholic that they are not welcome to take Communion. However, the decision whether or not to provide Communion to Biden will still be left to those lower on the the Catholic hierarchical ladder, Bishop W. Francis Malooly in Wilmington, Delaware and Cardinal Wilton Gregory in D.C. Both figures have already said that Biden is welcome to receive Communion at their churches, so it remains a question whether or not they will change their minds should the conference decide to put a foot down.
Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky believes that the point will eventually be made. He said, “If a politician is targeted as a negative example by his own church, that sets a sad context in which the church can deal with this Catholic president. It contributes to the polarization of the church and of society.”