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Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

December 4, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Former Vice President Joe Biden has demonstrated through his support of legal abortion and same-sex unions that he is “not in full communion with the Catholic Church,” former Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput wrote Friday, contrary to the claims of some American Catholic leaders who have continued to recognize the presumptive future president as a Catholic in good standing.

As LifeSiteNews has previously covered, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. says he will administer Holy Communion to Biden, who claims to be Catholic, on the grounds that “it’s a matter of the responsibility that I have as the archbishop to be engaged and to be in dialogue with him, even in those areas where we obviously have some differences.”

But Chaput argues at First Things that it “give[s] scandal” for politicians such as Biden to receive Communion by “creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional.”

“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,” he continues. “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,” Chaput notes. “His stated intention requires a strong and consistent response from Church leaders and faithful.” 

Chaput grants that it is “not always wise or the best pastoral course” to publicly deny Communion to politicians, particularly in a “loud and forceful manner,” but recalls that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith laid out a proper course for handling such cases in 2004: priests are to first privately tell a wayward congregant not to present themselves for Communion until they resolve the sin in question, and if the congregant refuses to do so but presents himself for Communion anyway, the priest must refuse him.

“This is not a ‘political’ matter, and those who would describe it as such are either ignorant or willfully confusing the issue,” Chaput stresses. “This is a matter of bishops’ unique responsibility before the Lord for the integrity of the sacraments. Moreover, there is also the pressing matter of pastoral concern for a man’s salvation. 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. 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.”

Biden, who is expected to take office as President of the United States next month unless President Donald Trump can convince officials in multiple states to invalidate a sufficient number of questionable mail ballots, supports effectively-unlimited abortion at taxpayer expense and comprehensive recognition and accomodation of homosexuality and gender fluidity at the expense of religious or conscience rights, despite his stated faith affiliation.