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Denver archbishop Samuel AquilaFr. Zak Boazman / Flickr

DENVER, Colorado, December 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver has given his public support to Archbishop Charles Chaput and his declaration that former Vice President and ardent abortion supporter, Joe Biden, “should not receive Holy Communion.” 

On Saturday, Aquila tweeted a statement by Chaput and then added his own thoughts. Chaput stated in the journal First Things, regarding Biden’s promotion of permissive abortion laws, “Mr. Biden has said that he will continue to advance those same policies as president, and thus should not receive Holy Communion. His stated intention requires a strong and consistent response from Church leaders and faithful.” 

Aquila, answering Chaput’s call, wrote “Archbishop Chaput speaks the truth for the salvation of souls. The scandal & confusion are real & when we don’t treat the Eucharist with love & reverence our faith is weakened in the real presence.”

Dr. Alan Fimister, a professor at Denver’s St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, told LifeSiteNews that both Archbishop Aquila and his predecessor Archbishop Chaput are a credit to the diocese. “It is a source of tremendous pride that two successive Archbishops of Denver should be providing such moral leadership in the Church,” Fimister said.

In his First Things essay, Chaput wrote about the disagreements and soul-searching among American bishops when public figures who identify as Catholics “publicly and persistently diverge from Catholic teaching on issues like abortion.” The archbishop stated that he didn’t think denying Holy Communion to public officials “was always wise or the best pastoral course.” However, he also didn’t think the bishops should just maintain silence regarding their high-profile co-religionists' blatant disregard for Church teaching. 

Moreover, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made it clear in its July 2004 to then-Cardinal McCarrick that politicians who support permissive abortion or euthanasia laws should be told by their pastors not to present themselves for Holy Communion if they persist in their formal cooperation with evil. If the politicians do so anyway, they should not be given Holy Communion. 

“This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty,” the CDF declared.  

“Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.”

Chaput noted that this statement is still in effect. He also explained that both politicians who flout Catholic teaching and bishops who do not correct them cause scandal. 

“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. And bishops give similar scandal by not speaking up publicly about the issue and danger of sacrilege,” the archbishop wrote.

Chaput reproduced sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that explain the meaning of scandal: “an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil.” The person who gives scandal becomes “his neighbor’s tempter.” The Catechism notes that scandal can be brought even by laws and institutions, and that these can make it almost impossible for Christians to live a faithful life. 

The next part of the archbishop’s essay seems to be a reproof to the recently promoted Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Wilton Gregory, who has declared his willingness to give Holy Communion to the nominally Catholic Joseph Biden. Chaput wrote: 

When bishops publicly announce their willingness to give Communion to Mr. Biden, without clearly teaching the gravity of his facilitating the evil of abortion (and his approval of same-sex relationships), they do a serious disservice to their brother bishops and their people. The reason is obvious. By his actions during the course of his public life, Mr. Biden has demonstrated that he is not in full communion with the Catholic Church. To his credit, he has championed many causes and issues that do serve the common good. However, many of his actions and words have also supported or smoothed the way for grave moral evils in our public life that have resulted in the destruction of millions of innocent lives. Mr. Biden has said that he will continue to advance those same policies as president, and thus should not receive Holy Communion. His stated intention requires a strong and consistent response from Church leaders and faithful.  

Chaput underscored that barring Biden from the Eucharist was not a “political” matter but rather a deeply spiritual one, preserving the “integrity of the sacraments,” but also protecting the erring Catholic from committing the sin of profanation. 

“…There is also the pressing matter of pastoral concern for a man’s salvation,” the archbishop wrote.  

“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 continued.  

“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.”

LifeSiteNews has reached out to the Diocese of Denver for a fuller statement from Archbishop Aquila.