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Cardinal Raymond Burke confects the eucharist in Croatia, Oct. 23, 2016. John-Henry Westen/

December 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The South Carolina priest who denied Holy Communion to former vice president and 2020 hopeful Joe Biden “performed a great act of charity on the part of Mr. Biden,” Cardinal Raymond Burke said.

In a recent video interview with Tom McKenna, Founder and President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, Burke supported Fr. Robert E. Morey’s upholding of canon law when Biden tried to receive Communion during Mass at his South Carolina parish. Burke also offered his counsel to priests and bishops who find themselves facing public figures who approach to receive Holy Communion despite expressing beliefs contrary to the teachings and morals of the Catholic Church. 

Biden supports and advocates for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. He has also officiated a same-sex “wedding.”

Burke is the former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s high court.

“When there’s a member of the faithful who is publicly committing a grave [sin] as, for instance, is Mr. Biden by his support among other things of the practice of procured abortion, the priest is obliged to counsel the person not to approach to receive Holy Communion,” said Burke. “And if the person approaches to receive Holy Communion, [the priest] is to refuse it.”

Burke said that while many people have the impression that a priest has a choice in the matter, “He does not.”

“Those who would say that [Biden] should be permitted to receive Holy Communion because ‘this would be unkind’” or who would assert that such an action makes the Eucharist a “kind of a political instrument,” are simply wrong. 

“We’re dealing here not with a question of politics,” said Burke. “We’re dealing with a question of the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, and with a question of a politician who by his very nature is a public person who has made himself unworthy to receive the Most Blessed Sacrament because he promotes legislation and policies that are egregiously contrary to moral law.”

 Cardinal Burke explained that denying Communion to such a politician is an act of charity in multiple ways. 

It is “an act of charity first of all, toward the person who has received Holy Communion so that he doesn’t commit the very grave sin of sacrilege,” said Burke.  

“It’s actually an act of charity toward other members of the faithful and toward other people of goodwill who, if they see a person who is publicly espousing legislation and policies contrary to the moral law receiving Holy Communion will be led into error – that is, will be led to think that it’s all right to support procured abortion or that it’s all right to support the so-called marriage of two people of the same sex,” he continued. 

“It’s certainly not charitable toward others for a priest to give them that impression by giving Holy Communion to the person who is in a public state of serious sin,” he added. 

McKenna pointed out that during a discussion at the recent meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), some challenged whether abortion should remain the preeminent life issue today among other concerns such as migration, poverty, and unemployment. 

“Of course” abortion is the preeminent issue today, said Burke unhesitatingly. 

“It is the direct taking of [the life of] an innocent and defenseless individual. This is the preeminent issue,” he emphasized. “If there’s no respect for the life of an innocent and defenseless infant in the womb, how is there going to be respect for a poor person or a person who is looking for work and not finding it?” 

“If we don’t practice this most fundamental act of justice, that is, respecting the life of the unborn, we have very little credibility in our efforts to address other moral issues,” asserted Burke.

The prelate pointed out how the Church over the centuries has never failed to address the full range of life issues, often leading the way.     

“The Catholic Church built the first hospitals and was the first to engage in the great social works, especially in the education of the population,” he said.  

But certain evils — such as homicide, abortion, and divorce — “are particularly grievous, and therefore must be given first attention,” noted Burke. These are issues which “attack the very fabric of our life.”

“I’m very happy that the bishops decided to maintain this language so that the Church doesn’t fall into the cultural malaise which wants to dull its consciousness – which has dulled its consciousness – to the horror of the practice [of] procured abortion,” he again said with emphasis.   

“That cultural malaise makes it even more important that the Church not give any impression that she is also confused with regard to the gravity of the evil involved in procured abortion,” he concluded. 

The Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ and therefore may only be received by practicing Catholics in a state of grace. 

Canon 915 of the Catholic Code of Canon Law says that those who “obstinately” persevere “in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”