The archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia proclaimed that Joe Biden should be denied the sacrament of Holy Communion. The former archbishop maintains that his opinion is not "political," but rather a "pastoral concern."
Charles Chaput said that despite Biden being Catholic, the former vice president should not receive Holy Communion. Chaput asserts that Biden's support for the "grave moral evil" of abortion should disqualify him from Holy Communion.
"Public figures who identify as 'Catholic' give scandal to the faithful when receiving Communion by creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional," Chaput wrote. "And bishops give similar scandal by not speaking up publicly about the issue and danger of sacrilege."
"Those bishops who publicly indicate in advance that they will undertake their own dialogue with President-elect Joseph Biden and allow him Communion effectively undermine the work of the task force established at the November bishops' conference meeting to deal precisely with this and related issues," Chaput explained. "This gives scandal to their brother bishops and priests, and to the many Catholics who struggle to stay faithful to Church teaching. It does damage to the bishops' conference, to the meaning of collegiality, and to the fruitfulness of the conference's advocacy work with the incoming administration."
"This is not a 'political' matter, and those who would describe it as such are either ignorant or willfully confusing the issue," he continued. "This is a matter of bishops' unique responsibility before the Lord for the integrity of the sacraments. Moreover, there is also the pressing matter of pastoral concern for a man's salvation."
"At minimum, every bishop has the duty of privately discussing these vital moral issues and the destructive effect of receiving Communion unworthily with public figures who act contrary to Church teaching," he concluded. "Reception of Communion is not a right but a gift and privilege; and on the subject of 'rights,' the believing community has a priority right to the integrity of its belief and practice."
The debate is ignited because Washington, D.C., Cardinal Wilton Gregory proclaimed that he would administer Holy Communion to Biden.
Cardinal-designate Gregory told the Catholic News Service, "I'm not going to veer from that," in regards to Biden receiving Holy Communion.
He said there is a need for dialogue within the church among people who think differently.
"Conflict within the church is not a new reality; it goes back to apostolic times," Gregory said. "What seems to be new is the capacity for people to broadcast the conflicts and to allow social communications to intensify the conflict."