Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have described themselves as devout Catholics, a description enthusiastically repeated by his press secretary and the media.
But now Pelosi’s hometown bishop is taking a not-so-subtle jab at her and Biden’s abortion advocacy, arguing that self-identified Catholics should refrain from publicly promoting the practice or face potential exclusion from Holy Communion.
“If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in a pastoral letter.
While he doesn’t mention Pelosi or Biden by name, the archbishop’s comments come as scrutiny has intensified surrounding the president’s stance on the issue.
Both Biden and Pelosi have repeatedly pushed expanded abortion access while claiming to be devout Catholics — a contradiction, according to both catechism and Cordileone’s statement.
In his letter, Cordileone argues that by participating in “moral evil,” public figures who support abortion may need to be excluded from communion.
“Because we are dealing with public figures and public examples of cooperation in moral evil, this correction can also take the public form of exclusion from the reception of Holy Communion,” he said.
“…this discipline has been exercised throughout our history, going back to the New Testament. When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table. This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it.”
He added: “Please stop pretending that advocating for or practicing a grave moral evil—one that snuffs out an innocent human life, one that denies a fundamental human right—is somehow compatible with the Catholic faith.”
“It is not. Please return home to the fullness of your Catholic faith. We await you with open arms to welcome you back.”
This is the second time in recent months Biden has been called out for this.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, who also serves as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, however, said that the president’s open support for legalized abortion should put that label to rest.
Speaking with Catholic World Report, Naumann flatly said that Biden “should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic” while acknowledging that his abortion views stand in direct opposition to the Catholic Church.
“Mr. Biden professes to be a devout Catholic, yet is 100% pro-choice on abortion. How do you think America’s bishops ought to respond to this situation?” CWR asked.
“I can tell you how this bishop is responding. The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching. It would be a more honest approach from him to say he disagreed with his Church on this important issue and that he was acting contrary to Church teaching. When he says he is a devout Catholic, we bishops have the responsibility to correct him. Although people have given this president power and authority, he cannot define what it is to be a Catholic and what Catholic moral teaching is.”
“What he is doing now is usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people,” Naumann added.
“He’s declaring that he’s Catholic, and is going to force people to support abortion through their tax dollars. The bishops need to correct him, as the president is acting contrary to the Catholic faith,” Naumann said.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, abortion is a grave moral evil that cannot be approved or tolerated in any circumstance.
“I believe the president has the responsibility not to present himself for Holy Communion. When Catholics receive the Eucharist, they are acknowledging the Real Presence of Jesus, and also believe in the teachings of the Church,” Naumann said.
“President Biden doesn’t believe in the Church’s teachings on the Sanctity of Human Life, and he should not put the priest in the situation where he has to decide whether or not to allow him to receive the Eucharist. He should know that after 78 years as a Catholic,” Naumann continued.