President Joe Biden was confronted Wednesday about his continued support for abortion despite being a Catholic Christian. The exchange with a reporter ended when first lady Jill Biden ushered her husband away from reporters.
During the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Biden claimed that preserving justice and liberty "requires protecting the rights of women" to have an abortion.
"The constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade, standing precedent for half a century, is under attack as never before," Biden said.
While talking with media upon leaving the White House, one reporter confronted Biden over his remarks at the State of the Union, which are contradictory to Catholic teachings.
"Last night, you continued to support Roe v. Wade. As a Catholic, why do you support abortion as a Catholic, defying church teachings?" the reporter asked.
"I tell you what, I don’t want to get in a debate with you on theology. But, you know— well, anyway," Biden responded. "I’m not going to make a— I’m not going to make a judgement for other people."
"But you're Catholic," the reporter responded, before being drowned out by others.
The confrontation happened on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season in which many Christians prepare for Easter. Biden appeared to take part in Ash Wednesday festivities because he had ashes on his forehead. Christians who participate in the liturgical season have ashes placed on their foreheads on the first day of Lent to symbolize penitence and mortality.
What is the background?
Just last year, some Catholic bishops pushed for Biden to be denied the Christian sacrament of Eucharist or Holy Communion because of his stance on abortion. By supporting abortion, Biden is squarely opposed the Catholic Church's teaching.
American bishops, however, stopped short of adopting a position that would deny communion to anyone who supports abortion. Under most ecclesial rules, only the pope or Biden's local bishop could deny him Holy Communion.
Biden actually met with Pope Francis in October, and revealed afterward the pope did not bar him from receiving the sacrament.
"We just talked about the fact that he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion," Biden said, according to Bloomberg.