Washington’s archbishop and soon-to-be cardinal Wilton Gregory said he will not refuse communion to President-elect Joe Biden despite Biden’s support for abortion.
Hoping for dialogue, Gregory said he wants to foster a relationship where "we can discover areas where we can cooperate that reflect the social teachings of the church, knowing full well that there are some areas where we won’t agree," as reported by Catholic News Service.
His comments come as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed concern over Biden's abortion positions, including his vow to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law and use taxpayer money to pay for abortions.
Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of USCCB, said at a virtual meeting this month that as they anticipate a transition to the nation's second Catholic president, it presents "challenges" and "confusion" due to Biden's abortion advocacy.
Hugh Brown, executive vice president of the American Life League, a Catholic pro-life group, told The Christian Post that "the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion is fairly simple: Life begins at the moment of creation and a child in the womb is created in the image of God.”
“[Abortion is] obviously murder,” he stressed.
Catholics consider abortion a “grave sin,” Brown said. In Catholic theology, a grave sin means one that willingly breaks God’s law in a grievous manner with full knowledge of what the sin means. According to Catholic church law, people committing grave sins cannot take communion.
“[Those] obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion,” the Vatican’s Canon Law 915 reads.
Biden was previously refused communion in 2019 due to his pro-abortion stance. But during Biden's time in Washington as vice president, he has never been denied communion over his views on abortion, the Washington Examiner reported.
Denouncing Gregory’s decision to allow communion for Biden, Brown said, “Gregory is like thousands of men who put the respect of the world above that of the Holy Spirit. Joe Biden is one of the pillars of the culture of death. The church in its cowardice has allowed him to go unchecked.”
Christians who say they don’t personally support abortion but that women should decide if they wish to kill their unborn children are telling lies, Brown contended. If they really wanted to save life, they would try to stop the slaughter of unborn children instead of finding technical phrasings that allow them to say they don’t want abortion but still want it legal.
“If you’re unwilling to stand up for life in the womb, you shouldn’t be Catholic. You’re not a Christian,” he said. “Christianity is polluted by the idea that there are liberal Christians and conservative Christians. That’s a lie. You’re either faithful or you’re not.”
For Christians who support abortion, excommunication is the church’s most caring option, Brown said. When church leaders give communion to Biden, they imply to other believers that abortion isn't a serious sin and put them in danger of Hell.
“You have to judge people based on their scandalous actions. We’re all going to face judgment. I’m trembling and shaking [about it],” he added. “If the Lord walked through the door right now, I’m a sinner and no better than anybody else, but I live my life trying to fight the good fight. Biden is not a Christian. I don’t care how many rosaries he carries in his pocket.”
Ahead of the presidential election, Biden emphasized that he relies on his faith and that the biblical commandment to love God and love others has been “at the very foundation of my faith.”
Biden also stated, “My Catholic faith drilled into me a core truth – that every person on earth is equal in rights and dignity, because we are all beloved children of God. We are all created 'imago Dei' – beautifully, uniquely, in the image of God, with inherent worth.”