Over the weekend, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was reportedly denied communion at a church in South Carolina because of his stance on abortion.
Though he used to identify as pro-life, Biden, the former vice president, has in the years since he began his U.S. Senate career in 1974 steadily moved to the left on the issue. In June, the 76-year-old politician denounced the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal dollars from being used to pay for abortions — a measure he once supported.
Father Robert Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence revealed Monday in a statement to Morning News that he “had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden.”
“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church,” Morey explained. “Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
“I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers,” the priest added.
Speaking to Fox News host Martha MacCallum this summer, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke said the denial of communion to those who favor abortion, in opposition to Catholic teaching, is “not a punishment.”
“It’s actually a favor to these people to tell them don’t approach,” he said, “because if they approach, they commit sacrilege.”
This is not the first time the issue of communion for pro-abortion lawmakers has come up. In June, the bishop of Springfield, Illinois, Thomas Paprocki, similarly banned pro-choice lawmakers in the state from participating in communion.
Paprocki’s decision came after Illinois passed its Reproductive Health Act, which codifies access to abortion up to nine months into pregnancy and also requires private insurance companies to cover the cost of an abortion.
“These persons may be readmitted to Holy Communion only after they have truly repented these grave sins and furthermore have made suitable reparation for damages and scandal,” the Springfield bishop wrote of lawmakers who supported the bill.
“A child in the womb is not a problem,” Paprocki later added. “He or she is a gift from God.”