Thursday, November 18, 2021
US bishops remain diffuse
Biden must continue to appeal to the Pope
US President Biden is a devout Catholic – with a complex political stance for the Catholic Church on the subject of the right to abortion. US bishops want to strictly sanction him for this, but he apparently has the Pope on his side.
A eagerly awaited document from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the US has not clarified whether US President Joe Biden may be denied communion because of his attitude towards abortion. At their autumn meeting, the US bishops adopted a text that emphasizes the importance of the sacrament of the Eucharist without addressing the political issue of how to deal with abortion advocates.
In May the Vatican warned the US bishops against taking measures against Catholics in political leadership positions who speak out in favor of the right to abortion, contrary to church teaching. Previously, conservative bishops had spoken out in favor of excluding these politicians from communion, the most important part of Catholic worship. At the time, however, the Bishops’ Conference had declared that the draft of the text that had now been adopted was not aimed at punishing individuals or groups.
Francis: Church should not interfere in politics
Biden is an avowed Catholic who goes to church almost every Sunday. While personally opposed to abortion, he supports the constitutional right of women to choose to have an abortion. In 2019, a priest refused to give him communion. However, after meeting Pope Francis in October, Biden said the Pope had told him to continue receiving communion. The Pope and the President had “talked about how glad I am that I am a good Catholic,” said Biden after the meeting. Pope Francis had previously stated that it was not the task of the church to interfere in politics. At the same time, the 84-year-old made his rejection of abortions clear, which he describes as “murder”.
According to the White House, the Pope praised Biden for his “leadership role in the fight against the climate crisis” and his commitment to an end to the corona pandemic “for all through the sharing of vaccines” as well as a “fair global economic recovery”. President Biden thanked His Holiness for her commitment to the world’s poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict and persecution, “the White House said. It was the fourth time the two men had met, but the first for Biden since his election into the White House. The 78-year-old is only the second Catholic US President after John F. Kennedy.