Explainer: When can someone be denied the Eucharist?

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Have the “wafer wars” returned? The recent news that former Vice President (and current presidential candidate) Joseph R. Biden was denied Communion at a Catholic church in South Carolina suggests that a neuralgic issue for Catholics has once again reared its head: When is it permissible, acceptable or prudent to deny the Eucharist to someone?

In Mr. Biden’s case, the Rev. Robert Morey, the pastor of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, S.C., decided that Mr. Biden’s public pro-choice stance was reason enough to refuse him Communion on Oct. 27. “Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” the pastor wrote in a statement responding to queries from 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.”

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The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has traditionally given individual bishops a great deal of leeway to exercise their own prudential judgment in deciding how and when to try to apply Catholic teachings in their dealings with public officials.

Mr. Biden’s home diocese of Wilmington, Del., issued a statement on Oct. 29 that “[t]he Church’s teachings on the protection of human life from the moment of conception [are] clear and well-known. Bishop Malooly has consistently refrained from politicizing the Eucharist, and will continue to do so. His preference, as with most bishops, is to interact with politicians individually who disagree with significant church teachings.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has traditionally given individual bishops a great deal of leeway to exercise their own prudential judgment in deciding how and when to try to apply Catholic teachings in their dealings with public officials. In 2004, the U.S.C.C.B. stated:

The question has been raised as to whether the denial of Holy Communion to some Catholics in political life is necessary because of their public support for abortion on demand. Given the wide range of circumstances involved in arriving at a prudential judgment on a matter of this seriousness, we recognize that such decisions rest with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles. Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action.

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In a 2004 essay released by the U.S.C.C.B. by the then-archbishop of San Francisco, Archbishop William J. Levada, asked:

Who is to judge the state of a Catholic communicant’s soul? Who may make the decision to refuse Holy Communion? Ministers of Holy Communion may find themselves in the situation where they must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone in rare cases, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, interdict, or an “obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin.” A classic instance is the practice of a divorced and civilly remarried Catholic who is publicly known to be in this situation and still insists on presenting himself for Holy Communion. Here the 2002 Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts indicated that when “precautionary measures have not had their effect or...were not possible,” and the person in question still presents himself for Holy Communion with obstinate persistence, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it.”

Archbishop William J. Levada, 2004: "With regard to Catholic politicians, the prudent practice for ministers of Holy Communion would be to refer any question in regard to their suitability to receive the sacrament to the bishop of the Diocese."

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However, Archbishop Levada reached a different conclusion in 2004 from that of Father Morey this week:

With regard to Catholic politicians, the prudent practice for ministers of Holy Communion would be to refer any question in regard to their suitability to receive the sacrament to the bishop of the Diocese. Otherwise, the good reputation of the person might unnecessarily be jeopardized.

Different approaches

The incident with Mr. Biden reignited a furor that prominently figured in the 2004 presidential campaign, when the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John F. Kerry, a Catholic, was criticized for his pro-choice political stance as well as questions regarding his divorce and remarriage. The then-archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond L. Burke, told reporters that he would give Senator Kerry only a blessing if he came forward for Communion. When he was bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., then-Bishop Burke (who is also a canon lawyer) publicly notified three state legislators that they were not to receive Communion because of their pro-choice stances.

Also in 2004, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (he was elected Pope Benedict XVI the following year), released a document, “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles.” Among its dictums was the following:

Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

However, other canonists have disagreed with the approach of Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Ratzinger. The Rev. John P. Beal argued in a 2004 article for America, “Even if a politician’s views or votes can be fairly characterized as sinful, they do not qualify as ‘manifest’ grave sin, as that word has been used in canonical tradition. For a sin to be manifest, it is not enough that it be public or even notorious; it must also be so habitual that it constitutes an objectively sinful lifestyle or occupation.”

In another 2004 article for America, John Langan, S.J., noted that “political life in a modern democracy is complex and indirect. There is seldom a straight line from a value affirmed to a policy enacted. Governments are formed by coalitions, whose members have different priorities, even when they share many of the same values.” That means that “complex tradeoffs are an inescapable part of political life,” Father Langan wrote. “Thus, a pro-life voter may be urged by a pro-life political leader to vote for a pro-choice candidate, because the pro-choice candidate is thought to have a better chance of keeping the political seat for the pro-life party.”

Further, many have argued that there is a fundamental hypocrisy at work when the only reason someone is denied Communion is over his or her views on the legality of abortion, even though many Catholic politicians hold views antithetical to Catholic teaching on a number of other issues. John Gehring, the author of The Francis Effect, this week tweeted that “[w]hether it’s against Democrats or Republicans, the Eucharist should never be turned into a political weapon. Pope John Paul II, a hero of the pro-life movement, gave Communion to pro-choice politicians at the Vatican.” (St. John Paul II gave Communion to Rome’s pro-choice mayor, Francesco Rutilli, in 2001, and to Britain’s pro-choice prime minister Tony Blair in 2003.)

“Denying Communion to politicians, Democrat or Republican, is a bad idea,” wrote America’s editor at large James Martin, S.J., in a Tuesday tweet. “If you deny the sacrament to those who support abortion, then you must also deny it to those who support the death penalty. How about those who don’t help the poor? How about ‘Laudato Si’’’? Where does it end?”

Fr. John P. Beal, 2004: "For a sin to be manifest, it is not enough that it be public or even notorious; it must also be so habitual that it constitutes an objectively sinful lifestyle or occupation."

What does church law say?

The relevant sections in the Catholic code of canon law are canons 912, 915 and 916. The first, canon 912, states that “Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.” As Father Beal noted in 2004, “Exceptions to this norm are to be interpreted strictly, i.e., by giving them the narrowest construal consistent with their literal meaning (Canon 18).”

Canon 915, directed toward priests and eucharistic ministers, states that “[t]hose who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Canon 916, directed toward the individual communicant, states that “[a] person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.”

Many priests, noted Father Martin yesterday, were taught in seminary or studies to presuppose a person who presents himself or herself for Communion does so with a clear conscience and in a state of grace.

The devil in the details

The problem often lies in the application of canon law. Mr. Biden clearly has not been prohibited by church law from receiving the Eucharist, and so it would seem that he “can and must be admitted to holy communion,” according to canon 912. However, priests like Father Morey and bishops like Cardinal Burke seem to interpret canon 915 as the controlling legislation and have concluded that pro-choice politicians like Mr. Biden are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin.” In this view, canon 915's prohibition overrides canon 912's presumption of access to the sacrament..

However, as Father Beal noted in 2004, the denial of Communion to a Catholic suggests something more—a failure on the part of the Catholic Church to adequately convey essential truths about the sanctity of life:

Effective teaching requires something more than turning up the rhetorical volume and brandishing anathemas. Resort to disciplinary measures like refusal of Holy Communion is an implicit acknowledgment by church authorities that they have failed as teachers to convince Catholic politicians in particular and the larger society in general of the truth of the Gospel of life. Resignation to such a failure ill befits those who are charged to “proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, encourage with utmost patience in teaching” (2 Tim 4:2).

Giving the plus sign

Many priests, noted Father Martin in another tweet yesterday, were taught in seminary or studies to presuppose a person who presents himself or herself for Communion does so with a clear conscience and in a state of grace. “A priest has no idea what the state of a person’s soul is when the person presents himself or herself in the Communion line. As we were taught in theology studies, the person may have repented of any sins and gone to confession immediately before Mass.”

If the question of persevering in manifest grave sin involves public advocacy for immoral laws, then a priest who denies communion could argue that repentance would require a public repudiation of that advocacy. However, Father Martin noted, “as Pope Francis has said, the Eucharist ‘is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’”

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Crystal Watson
3 weeks ago

The conservatives want to use communion to extort certain political behavior from people. There's no scriptural basis for this - even Judas got to share the last supper.

James Carney
3 weeks ago

It is not clear whether Judas participated in the first Eucharist. He may have but my reading of relevant Scripture is that he left the meal before Jesus consecrated the bread and wine. Nonetheless, the other apostles at this stage were not yet "faithful Catholics" either.

Kitt Lenington
3 weeks ago

Per MY reading of relevant Scripture: The dinner, Christ Jesus was celebrating with the apostles, was NOT a Catholic liturgy; it was Passover. As you may well know, Jesus was an observant Jew. The apostles were never "faithful Catholics" as you attempt to label them.

Joan Sheridan
2 weeks 6 days ago

As we were all taught the Last Supper was the First Mass.

Tim O'Leary
3 weeks ago

On April 16, 1962, (Monday before Easter), Archbishop Joseph Rummel excommunicated three local Catholics for defying the authority of the Church and organizing protests against the desegregation of Catholic schools. The excommunications made national headlines and had the tacit support of the papacy. Two of the three were reinstated into the Church after public retractions.

https://web.archive.org/web/20050419033555/http://catholiccitizens.org/platform/platformview.asp?c=18442

Crystal Watson
3 weeks ago

Catholic communion is based on the last sipper. As far as we know, Jesus didn't grill the disciples on their worth before he shared the bread and wine with them. The church just makes up these rules for exclusion.

Tim O'Leary
2 weeks 6 days ago

So you think the Louisiana bishop should not have withheld communion to the anti-desegregationists?

Paul Graham
2 weeks 6 days ago

It is easy to judge when your feet are not being held to the fire

Crystal Watson
2 weeks 6 days ago

I do think being an anti-segregationist is bad, but I'm not sure how not giving them communion helps anything. It's a punishment?

Crystal Watson
2 weeks 5 days ago

Eek - I meant "pro" segregationists are bad.

Judith Jordan
2 weeks 5 days ago

Tim:
They were pro-segregationists. The Church should have been denying segregationists Communion many years earlier.

Tim O'Leary
2 weeks 5 days ago

Judith - I agree. Certain immoral, ideological and doctrinal issues like racial supremacy in certain times cross a line that requires excommunication. Abortion and nazism and communism and rejection of infallible teaching should all satisfy this criterion, for the good of all, especially the wayward soul. As always, repentance and a truly contrite heart should result in open arms for welcoming the prodigal brother or sister home.

Judith Jordan
2 weeks 2 days ago

Tim O'Leary:
Aren’t there only two infallible teachings: the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. I find this interesting because they are certainly not hot button issues that would polarize Catholics.

Arnoldo Miranda
3 weeks ago

This whole article is wrong in all supporting documents. He is ignoring the Church's tradition. He's misrepresenting canon law. He cites no documents from the Church (i.e., documents on Church's body of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, documents from the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, and documents from other commissions, etc...). The explanations are not well explained at all but appeals to people's opinions.

Michael Bindner
3 weeks ago

Canon 915 does not apply to US abortion law because there is none. Dignitatis Humanae states that there need not be one.

Arnoldo Miranda
3 weeks ago

There is an obstinate position this politico takes that goes against the Church. It's pretty clear.

Arnoldo Miranda
3 weeks ago

Secondly, you should read this:

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/biden-communion-denial-was-required-by-diocesan-policy-90143

Michael Bindner
2 weeks 6 days ago

The policy is wrong because it is ignorant of the reality of abortion law in the US and the actual doctrine regarding the question of enacting Magisterium into law. Dignitatis Humanae declared, as doctrine, that it is not required.

Michael Bindner
3 weeks ago

The failure of education is not the Church's failure, it is the failure of Catholic politicians to educate the Church. One's position on abortion as a voter or legislator has no impact on the legality of abortion. There is no law permitting abortion, nor can there be one prohibiting it. Using police power to investigate list or aborted pregnancy is simply not allowed in the first trimester. Speaking the truth cannot be a sin. It is the duty of Catholic politicians to do so and the duty of USCCB staff to inform the bishops of their error rather than participating in Republican coalition politics.

Michael S
3 weeks ago

This kind of judgmental behavior is uncalled for. Even Judas Iscariot was allowed to receive communion at the last supper. The hallmarks of Christianity and forgiveness and unconditional love, not petty judgements and revenge. This priest reminds me of the Pharisee praying in the street.

John Graham
3 weeks ago

The comparison with the death penalty is a red herring for at least two reasons. The death penalty is not against traditional Church teaching. It is against Pope Francis' innovative and unclear teaching from August 2018 that the death penalty is "inadmissible" today for reasons he explained poorly. So, Catholic politicians who support the death penalty either need time to change or a better explanation of this new teaching by the Pope.

Further, nobody ever said the death penalty was a matter of individual conscience but a policy of the state. Babies killed in their mothers' wombs have zero due process.

Michael Bindner
3 weeks ago

Nor can they in the first trimester. State government has no power to impose it nor could it be constitutionally enforced. No first trimester pregnancy loss can be investigated.

Robert Lewis
2 weeks 6 days ago

Pope John Paul II also clearly indicated that the death penalty has become inadmissible. The truth is that the Catholic Church has the right and the prerogative, granted her in the Petrine Commission ("what you shall bind on earth, I shall bind in heaven, and what you shall loose on earth I shall loose in heaven.") to change and adjust her teachings on moral theology (not dogma). She has done so regarding "just war," regarding usury, regarding slavery, regarding democracy, and regarding any number of things. Typically American, you really don't understand how the Magisterium of the Catholic and Apostolic Church works and uses its God-given authority. I suggest a crash course in John Henry Newman's "Development of Doctrine."

Stephen Shore
3 weeks ago

In regard to high profile, public political figures, the Bishops should take the lead and promote directly the tenets of the church to these politicians - on both sides of the political spectrum. Our church is profoundly pro-life - that means anti-abortion, against euthanasia, and including being against the death penalty in all but a very few circumstances. This PRO-LIFE stance for ALL aspects of life - from the beginning to the end - is what makes our church unique in the world, and makes me proud to be a Roman Catholic.

Our bishops and leaders need to be actively working on all Catholic public figures to change their hearts, and ultimately their minds, to coming home to their faith.

We need to promote our pro-life, anti-violence, and pro-worker beliefs.

Michael Bindner
3 weeks ago

The Church needs a good constitutional law class. It is clueless on abortion jurisprudence. It embarrassed itself.

Dolores Pap
2 weeks 5 days ago

Do you remember when JFK ran for president? One of the objections from mainline Protestants was the fear that Kennedy would govern as a CATHOLIC, and would substitute the laws of the RC church for our constitutionally protected rights. Kennedy swore that his religion would never be allowed to interfere in government.
Would you vote for a candidate who is unable to separate his religious beliefs, from his constitutional duty to represent ALL citizens, not just those who profess his religion? I would not...

J Jones
2 weeks 4 days ago

Dolores, I agree with you. Just wait until there is a Jewish president or a Muslim president or a Mormon or a Sikh or a Buddhist. It will happen eventually and Catholics will begin singing another tune. Loudly. Religious freedom for many Catholics really means freedom to be Catholic, period.

AP P
3 weeks ago

This politicizing of the Eucharist is ridiculous and irresponsible. Supporting abortion from a legal standpoint is not being active in the committing of one. It is a position held per a person's free will and this legislation of morality nonsense never works. If we make abortion illegal all we'll accomplish is nothing as it would merely go underground and into the back alleys as it was years ago or cause women to travel to states where it is legal to obtain one. It is to put the issue on the back burner and out of sight. Exactly where the conservatives seem to enjoy putting hard issues. No matter how obvious they may be to everyone else. By denying a pro-choice politician the host all a priest is doing is galvanizing himself. It is a selfish act.

Sha'Pearl Jones
2 weeks 6 days ago

"Supporting abortion from a legal standpoint is not being active in the committing of one." Hmm, I suppose the same could be said of those Catholics in Germany who in the 30's voted for and supported the Nazis and continued to support them in the 40's, while not actually participating in their genocide. I don't buy it. Biden, through his repeated support of abortion on demand is complicit in murder of countless unborn children. He's not in a state of Grace. He's in a state of mortal sin. He should not present for Communion until he has confessed and repented. Otherwise by receiving Communion in such a state he is guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ. "So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord." 1 Corinthians 11:27

Judith Jordan
2 weeks 5 days ago

Sha'Pearl Jones:
The Church did not deny Communion to the Nazis, nor did it excommunicate them. The Church disgraced itself in its work with Nazi Germany. The Church is fanatical about a frighten, scared woman getting an abortion and automatically excommunicates her. It even excommunicates anyone who knowingly drives her to get an abortion. Yet, it did not have that attitude toward the Nazis. The Nazis went right on receiving Communion while killing millions. This is one of the many reasons why some of us question the Church’s position on pro-life; and, when, how, and to whom they apply it.

Rhett Segall
3 weeks ago

I think the pastor acted irresponsibly if Biden showed up at Church without notification. If a parishioner presents him/herself for communion the pastor should presume he/she is in good conscience. On the other hand, if the pastor knew Biden was going to present himself for communion he should have seen him before mass and said "I cannot offer you communion based on your public statements" This may have prevented scandal. The analogy given is that Bishops approved denying communion to those politicians who notoriously violated civil rights. Ideas gleaned from NCR. Of course there is no official policy of US Bishops.in this precise area.
From a purely political point of view, it raises the question of Biden’s prudence in not contacting the pastor ahead of time to see if there would be a problem. From a strategic and cynical perspective, perhaps his people did check it out and figured the pastor’s action would bring votes to B in as much as it illustrates his independence of the Catholic Church..

G Reeder-Ferreira
3 weeks ago

At a time when it seems like so many Catholics are boycotting the Eucharist holding it hostage seems rather counterproductive.

Christopher Minch
3 weeks ago

According to this article, this priest has not followed protocol in terms of not being Mr. Biden's pastor and discussing this personally with him. (A very, very poor example of pastoral counseling protocol. He doesn't have "the smell of the sheep" on him.) He is not following church policy or practice; therefore, he is imposing his own personal ethics. He has made himself a polarizing religious zealot, a caricature of an antiabortion prelate and the essence of a know-it-all clerical culture. (That is, if he not trying to ambitiously make a name for himself. My guess is he shot his mouth off with someone on what he would do if he had chance and he did it! —a very public political culture-warrior stunt.) His bishop needs to step in and put a public end to this kind of behavior and educate his priests and diocese about the difference between personal self-righteous ethics and their Priestly duties to individuals (those specifically under his care and those who are not) and to the Church, As a priest and a public RC official this is not just his personal church.

Arnoldo Miranda
3 weeks ago

You have it wrong. Read this:

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/biden-communion-denial-was-required-by-diocesan-policy-90143

Christopher Minch
3 weeks ago

And this is the essence and beginning of why the United States is so polarized and why political enemies are making hay of this. The Catholic Church, less than a majority of the People of the United States would rather see the United States hopelessly divided and possibly destroyed from within and eventually maybe from without too over this "intrinsic evil". Jesus Christ recognized religious zealotry for what it is, pure politics, a religious bigot's power grab in order to force by law, fines, jailing, execution or force of arms a people to love their God and do what they know what God wants--no better than the Crusaders or the inquisition I have no problem teaching Catholic children and the faithful in the pews about the evil of abortion but when the Catholic Church makes policy that for good or evil regardless of the consequences works to destroy the common good and will of all of a nation then that is recklessly self-righteous. These Catholic leaders have made this an all-or-nothing power play for the here-and-now rather than to do this in God's time--their choice. They have aligned themselves with very conservative and otherwise un-Catholic valued politicians to get what they want, now. Note, even now, the crass leader they have elected, the lies, the breaking of rules and laws (even of the Constitution--the heart of the nation), the division of families at the border, the undermining of the poor's safety nets, the breaking of promises to our allies, the alignment with dictators and fascists and white nationalists, the beginning breakdown and disparagement of law and order. the military armament of the populace where even the police cannot protect themselves, the destroying of the environment, and worse the undermining of fact and truth even in the sciences. How do you "walk" all that back once you get what you want? The simple answer is, you don't.

Arnoldo Miranda
3 weeks ago

You're going way off subject. The Church has the right to rule itself.

Christopher Minch
2 weeks 6 days ago

Read what I said before. I never said the church doesn't have a right to rule itself, its when they want to rule and subjugate others that they transgress what God & especially Jesus' word and example would most likely not want us to do.

Judith Jordan
2 weeks 5 days ago

Christopher Minch:
Your comments are excellent.

I have the same frustrations. How can the Church support politicians who want to make abortion illegal while simultaneously repudiating politicians who won’t make abortion illegal, but support the common good of our citizens? The Church’s support of Trump is both frightening and a scandal. To think that Trump has respect for ANY life is laughable.

As I have often posted, the Church did not deny Communion to the Nazis, nor did it excommunicate them. The Church disgraced itself in its work with Nazi Germany. The Church is fanatical about a frighten, scared woman getting an abortion and automatically excommunicates her. Yet, it did not have that attitude toward the Nazis. The Nazis went right on receiving Communion while killing millions. This is one of the many reasons why some of us question the Church’s "pro-life" position; and, when, how, and to whom they apply it.

John A. Maletic
2 weeks 5 days ago

Your obvious affliction with TDS effectively taints any constructive points you might have made, and relegates them to circling the bowl in perpetuity.

Christopher Minch
2 weeks 5 days ago

So, John. You are OK with Trump asking a foreign nation to investigate a citizen of the United States and a political rival AND secondly, holding up financial aid for a fight for its life as a nation that our duly elected Senate and House authorized to be given ASAP? You are also OK with Trump disparaging any departments and organizations and branch within our United States government that doesn't like him or agree with what he says, even to extent of providing support and help to dictatorships? You are also OK with his breaking of treaties and agreements that always benefit Russia, but also Syria and Turkey most recently? Therefore, you seem also against the United States Constitution that, in essence, not only sets up our form of government but also acts as a check and balance to each branch of government. Does this not concern you? You are also OK with Trump saying he could shoot anyone on 5th Ave in NYC and his followers would vote and support him anyhow, essentially making him above the law and a dictator? You are also OK with his cutting funding for the food stamp and medical programs that would help the poor or low income families? You are also OK with his deregulating environmental laws so that your drinking water or air quality can be carefully, regularly monitored because the indicators of pollution have been degraded or done away with and there are less people able to monitor and less stringent enforcement? And since this is a religious website are you not concerned about his support of white nationalists, racism, unwillingness to pay his debts and his constant lying and disparaging of anyone who gets in his way or he doesn't like. I would think that people have a right to be very concerned and worried about this presidency, the republican party, this nation, and this Church when the only reasons to keep Trump is to maintain and keep power to continue to degrade our government, and to support other foreign powers for HIS PRIMARILY OWN PERSONAL PURPOSES to increase his or his family's wealth or keep him in power and to get another anti-abortion supreme court justice, to primarily keep his conservative evangelical base happy. (Sorry about using caps but their is no way to bold.)

I know this is probably too much for you but this is why we worry and we are allowed to disagree with you.

J Jones
2 weeks 4 days ago

Thanks for saying this, Christopher

Judith Jordan
2 weeks 2 days ago

Christopher Minch:
Again, excellent comments. I don’t know if Trump supporters don’t know about the things you listed, but how can they not know? Or, if they know, but they don’t care. Either option is frightening.

I always thought that Trump’s comment about shooting anyone on 5th Ave in NYC and his followers would still vote for him was a terrible insult to his followers. Sadly, they don’t seem to mind.

Judith Jordan
2 weeks 2 days ago

John A. Maletic:
Every time someone criticizes Trump’s actions, they are accused of having TDS. Has Trump done away with the right to criticize a president? I am concerned about that because Trump has threatened various newspapers for reporting negatives about him. He even wanted to be able to do something about Saturday Night Live for making fun of him…something they have done to every president. Only Trump whines about it. Trump idolaters may think concern and defense of our American democracy belongs in the toilet bowl, but millions of us don’t.

Elizabeth Stevens
3 weeks ago

As I understand it, Vice President Biden personally believes that abortion is sinful, but he has chosen not to judge others who have a different opinion. If that is grounds for denying Holy Communion to a person, then I misunderstand much of the New Testament.

Jay Zamberlin
2 weeks 6 days ago

Christ said be "doers" of the Word, and not "hearers" only. He saved his greatest and most ominous condemnatory oprobrium for those who "would harm children." (Millstone around the neck and drowned). I may be opposed to children dying by way of parental abuse, but it means NOTHING if I would not break down the door, if it came to that, knowing that they would be killed with the next blow of the hand. So, talk, in the view of the New Testament, has always been cheap. Same with unctuous sentimentality that would not step in to "save" a child, if possible. Making you and I and others concientously opposed, pay for abortions, is not exactly the Catholic position. It is not even the equivocations of gutless Catholic lawmakers in years past. NO this is advocacy, pure and simple. Mental three card monty's and back flips don't make that all disappear.

Sha'Pearl Jones
2 weeks 6 days ago

His position is absurd and not tenable. What do you think is the basis for Biden's personal belief that abortion is sinful? The church teaches that it is murder. So he believes that murder is sinful but he doesn't want to impose his opinion on anyone else?? Really? He's okay with human rights violations? His position makes no sense and is a cop out. Mario Cuomo was the author of such nonsense. It was nonsense then and it is nonsense now.

arthur mccaffrey
3 weeks ago

was this political act by the priest against Joe the private individual or Joe the elected politician? If the latter, the priest has forgotten that we have a separation of C&S in this country, such that politicians have to represent a whole spectrum of believers and non-believers, such that they may have to take positions that do not square 100% with their private beliefs, but still do not want to impose their views on their constituents.
It is a wee bit high and mighty for a Church which gets a lot of freedom in this country to impose its views everywhere, without fear of being muzzled by the State, yet the first time a politician shows up for communion, they lower the boom like a cop giving you a ticket. Very hypocritical of the priest and his bishop. When Joe is President and gets invited to the Vatican I hope he remembers to tell Pope Francis how he was treated in S. Carolina.

Lloyd William
3 weeks ago

People who state that while they personally oppose abortion, they don’t want to impose their views on others don’t really believe abortion is objectively wrong. Would they say the same thing if someone said it was ok to kill anyone over the age of 75? Of course not. This means that they don’t really believe it is wrong. You would not allow your neighbor to kill someone, except in self-defense. That means you really don’t believe that life is sacred and begins as the sperm fertilizes the egg. And because it is sacred, that life should be ended legally and safely) only under the most compelling circumstances.

rose-ellen caminer
3 weeks ago

I'm of the opinion that it is right to deny Holy Communion to public people who have consistently taken the position that goes against the teachings of the church in matters of grave moral import, such as abortion.Where I disagree with Cardinals Ratzinger And Burke is that I don't believe one can say that any such pro abortion politician, is in a state of sin because of his/her pro abortion advocacy. Only God can judge them; they in all sincerity believe they are doing what is right. There is no willful sinning going on.

The justification[imo] for denying them Holy Communion is not because we can determine them to be in a state of obstinate mortal sin, but simply because they have disobeyed the Church by publicly promoting this evil. What they truly sincerely believe in good conscience, makes them innocent of sinning [subjectively]. But what can be said is that in willfully disobeying the Church, the effect is the undermining of the Church;.i.e., is causing harm to other souls, and is killing people.[ that's the Church's business]. As public figures, as politicians with a certain degree of power and influence to sway others' beliefs including about what is right and wrong, good or evil, as well as on what laws are made,they have used their power to normalize evil deeds, This is undermining the church in the grave matter of life and death; Tough shalt not kill. They are WORKING against the very church they are part of in a matter of utmost moral import; we are created by God, in the image and likeness of God, we were created by God to share in the goodness of God's being, all human beings are a reflection, expression of the life of God. thous shalt not kill[murder].By doing this, they have excommunicated themselves.

With this logic; their public advocacy of that which the Church declares categorically as a great evil , followed by their refusal to obey the Church's directive to not promote publicly support for such evil ,places them in willful opposition to the Church on an issue of fundamental moral import. To choose to continuously disobey the Church on the issue of abortion, is to knowingly undermine the Church in a life and death human suffering heart of the matter christian /human ethos. There should be more of this going on; this is where Jesus' telling us ; "you can't serve two masters" ,is appropriate[IMO}.

Antony P.
3 weeks ago

This is really getting to be tiring ... the distance to which people are prepared to go to explain why something that is wrong and evil is still acceptable, is simply painful ... Of course, this is, and can be done only in case of abortion and mercy killing, or euthanasia, both of which are politically acceptable an correct, these days ...

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