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FLORENCE, South Carolina, October 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― A Catholic priest refused Holy Communion to Joe Biden, former U.S. Vice-President and current Democratic presidential candidate, because of his public support for abortion. 

Biden, 76, was refused communion by Fr. Robert E. Morey at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina during Sunday morning Mass. 

“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” the priest subsequently told the Florence Morning News.

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church,” he continued. “Our actions should reflect that.” 

“Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

Biden has at times claimed he is personally opposed to abortion. He has drifted farther and farther left on the issue over the years.

He once supported the Hyde Amendment banning federal funding for most abortions, but made headlines this June when he reversed his stance, saying that “circumstances have changed.” 

The platform on which Biden is now running includes a suggestion that doctors who refuse to commit abortions be punished and would “weaponize the Justice Department against states to strike down popular pro-life laws — like health and safety standards for abortion facilities, waiting periods, and parental involvement laws — and stop them from passing new ones,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser explained in a July piece in The Washington Times.

As Vice President, the first “wedding” Biden officiated was between two men.

According to Canon 915 of the Catholic Code of Canon Law, those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.” 

Catholic politicians who publicly support abortion are considered by many leaders within the Catholic Church to be “persevering in manifest grave sin.” Many American bishops, however, refuse to put such teaching into practice when it comes to public figures who support the killing of preborn children. Some are divided on the issue of giving Holy Communion to such high-profile pro-abortion “Catholics” as, for example, Democrat Nancy Pelosi. 

Earlier this year Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Washington said that pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians should not present themselves for communion in his diocese. Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois has delivered a similar warning. However, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has defended giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, saying that he thinks  it “counterproductive to impose sanctions, simply because they don’t change anyone’s minds.” 

In 1974 Biden said, “[When] it comes to issues like abortion, amnesty, and acid, I’m about as liberal as your grandmother.” In the wake of the high court’s decision in Roe v. Wade to allow abortion, he said, “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far.” 

However, Biden’s recent record on the issue has been far from clean. As a senator, he usually voted according to the dictates of Planned Parenthood and NARAL. As Vice President to Barack Obama, Biden spent eight years in what was arguably the most pro-abortion administration in American history, during which he told a Chinese audience he “fully understand[s]” and was “not second-guessing” the country’s practice of forcing families into abortion and sterilization. The Obama administration also attempted to force the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious employers to participate in the provision of abortion-causing drugs. 

Biden's last pretense at a moderately pro-life stance officially ended on June 7. After growing criticism and pressure from pro-abortion activists and celebrities, including actress Alyssa Milano, Biden gave up his support for the Hyde Amendment, saying that times had changed. 

“I’ve supported the Hyde Amendment like many, many others have because there was sufficient monies and circumstances where women were able to exercise that right” to kill their unborn children, Biden said.  

“But circumstances have changed. I’ve been working through the final details of my healthcare plan like others in this race and I’ve been struggling with the problems that Hyde now presents,” he continued. 

“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to [abortion] and the ability to constitute, exercise their constitutionally protected right [to kill their unborn children]. If I believe [abortion] is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code,” he said. 

Biden was swiftly rebuked by Archbishop Charles Chaput in a June 10 column that appeared on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia website.

Chaput wrote: “On June 6, the Wall Street Journal reported ('Biden’s Abortion Views Irk the Left') that Biden faced growing criticism from abortion activists and his party’s leadership for his Hyde Amendment track record.  Exactly 24 hours later, on June 7, the same paper noted that Biden had sharply changed his thinking ('Biden, in Reversal, Backs Abortion Funding').”  

“Translation: The unborn child means exactly zero in the calculus of power for Democratic Party leaders, and the right to an abortion,  once described as a tragic necessity, is now a perverse kind of ‘sacrament most holy,’” the archbishop continued.  

“It will have a candidate’s allegiance and full-throated reverence . . . or else.” 

Fr. Morey, the priest who refused Biden Holy Communion, told the Florence Morning Herald that he would keep Biden in his prayers. 

This article has been updated.