By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 20, 2009 ( – Two days before he became the next American Vice President, Sen. Joe Biden attended John F. Kennedy’s own Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church for Mass, where parishioners gave the pro-abortion politician a standing ovation minutes after he received communion.

Biden has reportedly worshipped at Holy Trinity several times while serving as a senator.

The event sparked criticism because, according to Church teaching, public figures who support abortion legislation are automatically excommunicated for violating the Church’s pro-life teaching, and therefore should not be given communion.

“This episode perfectly illustrates the contrast between ‘identity Catholicism’ and ‘conviction Catholicism,’” said Thomas Peters of the American Papist blog.  The former, he said, “reduces the term Catholic to a merely technical description: in this way Joe Biden is a Catholic. He was baptized, attends Mass, puts ‘Catholic’ on his questionnaire.

“Conviction Catholicism,” however, means “that one allows their Catholic faith to shape their life, and therefore one actually tries to abide by it, in this way Joe Biden is not a Catholic: He is woefully ignorant of what his own faith teaches … and shows little desire to put his faith into action when it comes to issues as fundamental as safeguarding human life.”

Biden has come under fire several times from Catholic leaders and laity for misrepresenting Church teaching by insisting that his pro-abortion views are consonant with his Catholic faith, most notably on a Meet the Press interview last September. (

Strife has since erupted among Catholic bishops over whether to bar Biden and other pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians from receiving communion. Some bishops insist, despite Vatican instruction to the contrary, that such a move would “politicize” the Eucharist. (

Jeff Miller, Catholic author of the popular Curt Jester blog, commented: “For a group a Catholics to applaud a pro-abortion Catholic and soon to be Vice President and part of the probably the most extreme pro-abortion administration ever is beyond the pale. … Bad enough that he is given Communion in the first place. Nothing like an act of sacrilege to start your week.”

See related coverage:

Pro-Abortion Joe Biden is Receiving Communion and His Bishop Won’t Tell Him to Stop

Pelosi, and Now Biden: VP-Nominee says Life Begins at Conception, but Won’t “Impose” his Faith on Others

For Rome it is Very Clear – Pro-Abortion Politicians ‘Must’ be Denied Communion


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