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Should Priest have Denied Communion for Joe Biden?

A Catholic priest denied Communion for 2020 presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden at a South Carolina church.

During a campaign stop in the Palmetto State last weekend, a Catholic priest denied Communion for former Vice President Joe Biden.

The move raised eyebrows, of course. The priest made the decision based on Biden’s pro-choice stance on abortion.

In fact, the priest from the Florence County church explained his decision to the Florence Morning News:

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

The Catholic church, of course, takes an “anti-choice” stance when it comes to abortion. Anyone, therefore, who supports a woman’s right to choose, therefore, falls outside of the church’s teachings. In such a position, he or she would give up the right to receive communion.

Priests wield power over parishioners with Communion.

I recently wrote about a funeral I attended at a Catholic church. The priest invited Catholics to take communion. But he said those who weren’t Catholics — even if they are Christian — could not participate.

I never knew Catholic Communion was somehow too Christian for other Christians. I found myself surprised, annoyed and slightly offended.

Had I chosen to participate, it wouldn’t have been to mock the church. When I take communion, I don’t consider it gaining salvation. I think of it as celebrating the promise I already have and acknowledging it.

This priest decided Biden didn’t deserve to participate.

At the same time, this priest seems to forget that politicians govern by representing their constituents’ wants above their own.

And then, beyond that, a person who happens to be pro-choice is still not necessarily in favor of abortion. He merely believes the choice should reside with the couple, not the state. I know people who are pro-choice but still feel that abortion is wrong. But they also feel a victim of rape or incest should be able to make the decision.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan told Fox News that while he supports the priest, he would not have denied communion for Biden. He then cited a message from Pope Francis, who said he can never judge the state of a person’s soul. Dolan then said:

“I’m there as a pastor, as a doctor of souls. So it’s difficult to make a judgment on the state of a person’s soul. My job is to help people, with clear church teaching, make a decision on the state of their soul and the repercussions of that.”

So what’s the purpose of communion?

I found this article from GraceDoctrine. It doesn’t mention acknowledgment of perfection as a purpose.

As Dolan himself said, “If only saints could receive Holy Communion, we wouldn’t have anybody at Mass, including myself.”

If being perfect, if having all of the Biblically-correct answers, truly stood as a requirement for communion, who would be in line?

Newspring Church calls communion a “celebration.”

Christianity.com says, “The Lord’s Supper is a good time to stop and recall what Jesus has given us.”

For someone considered to be not toeing the church’s line on an issue, who’s to say allowing the person to partake in communion wouldn’t cause a moment of awareness?

If God supposedly works in such mysterious ways, as clergy likes to say, why wouldn’t we think that such a moment could inspire a reconsideration of one’s positions?

Through God, after all, all things are possible, right?

Do you think it was appropriate for the priest to have denied communion for Biden?

1 Comment

  1. I think the priest was wrong in denying Biden communion. Like you said “that politicians govern by representing their constituents’ wants above their own.”

    I remember when President Kennedy was running for office there was a big debate if he could represent the people and not the church (Also back then churches couldn’t endorse any politicians or they would lose their tax exempt status.).

    When my father passed away the same thing happened the priest invited only Catholics in good standing to take communion. My brother is now an Episcopalian but he went up anyway and took communion, he said that there was no way he was not going to take communion at our father’s funeral.

    And that brings up another sore point. My father was a Deacon, on the parish council, and was in the Knight of Columbus, when he became home bound he still sent in the weekly donation and a priest never came out to visit him. My aunt was a Congregationalist (It was an old New England Congregational Church, built in 1712) and when she became home bound the minister came out and visited her regularly. The minster used to bring cards that the children made and food when the church had a pot luck dinner, it made her so happy to get them.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.