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UNITED STATES, May 21, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Should pro-abortion politicians who say they are Catholic, like President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, be admitted to Holy Communion while attending Mass? The question has become a dividing line for U.S. cardinals and bishops. Some say that such a ban would amount to a “weaponization” or “politicization” of the Eucharist. Many more point out, however,  that such a ban is required by Church teaching and is necessary to protect the sacrament, to avoid scandalizing the faithful, and to call the sinner to repentance.

LifeSiteNews has put together a list of statements of cardinals and bishops who have publicly commented on the matter and who make clear what side of the line they fall on. The lists are ordered chronologically with the most recent statements at the top. LifeSite will add to this list as more information becomes available. Special thanks goes to The Pillar for beginning such a list. 

Bishops who support Church teaching in denying Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians

Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • May 20, 2021, First Things article: “Persons who do not believe in the Real Presence, who ignore or do not accept Church teaching, or who are otherwise objectively in a state of serious sin, should not present themselves for Communion. It’s that simple and that serious. If they do, they not only put their own souls in grave jeopardy, but—just as grievously—they also violate the rights of Catholics who do seek to live their faith authentically. This Eucharistic discipline, the coherence of Catholic belief and the behavior it requires, is rooted both in Scripture and constant Church practice. It applies to all Catholics, not merely public officials, and it applies all the time and everywhere. There is nothing intentionally “political” about it. Claiming that it weaponizes the Eucharist for political ends is both misleading and, when advanced by anyone in Church leadership, inexcusable.”

Bishop James Wall, Gallup, New Mexico

  • May 18, 2021, First Things article: “Our concern is not political but pastoral; it is for the salvation of souls. This issue has political ramifications, but that is not an excuse to shy away at this crucial moment. […] Back in 1998 our conference named abortion a ‘preeminent threat’ and in 2019 we reaffirmed that the ‘threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself.’ Pro-abortion political leaders have not heeded these calls, and now we seek to apply the last remaining and most severe medicinal option we have: eucharistic sanctions.”

Bishop David Ricken, Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • May 13, 2021 The Compass News article: “I am very grateful for Archbishop Cordileone’s letter because it expresses very concisely and clearly in one document what has been on my heart and mind. His words are what I have tried to convey in my preaching and teaching on behalf of life over all my years as a bishop, and I strongly encourage you to read his letter. […] When a Catholic assumes a public office, he or she cannot use the excuse that ‘personally I am opposed to abortion, publicly my party allows it.’ These and other similar words are an attempt to hide one’s cooperation in the sin of abortion, just as Adam and Eve tried to hide from God after eating the forbidden fruit in the garden. […] When Catholics in public positions of authority and trust provide active or passive approval, it contradicts the eternal truth that every life is sacred from the moment of conception and gives scandal to the people. Their willingness to deny this truth not only harms the unborn and the women and other family members impacted by an abortion, it puts their own souls in eternal jeopardy. Out of love for them and a desire to see them repent, I must speak up and share the truth!”

Bishop Thomas Tobin, Providence, Rhode Island

  • May 10, 2021, Tweet: “While the CDF letter on the U. S. Bishops study of the reception of Holy Communion offers some guidance, it would also be helpful if the CDF would again remind Catholic politicians that it is morally inadmissible for any Catholic leader to support, promote and fund abortions.”

Bishop Donald Hying, Madison, Wisconsin

  • May 7, 2021, Statement: “Almost fifty years after Roe v. Wade, 66 million lives have been snuffed out at the very beginning of their existence and countless individuals have been spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically damaged by this profound violence; we still have legal abortion in the United States, with many of our national leaders embracing a pro-abortion position, including self-professed Catholics. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the Archbishop of San Francisco, issued a pastoral letter on May 1, entitled, “Before I Formed You in the Womb, I Knew You.” A timely reflection on the moral evil of abortion, the need to challenge political leaders who are pro-abortion — especially those who profess Catholicism — and the linkage between the Eucharist and communion with the Church in her doctrinal and moral teaching, “Before I Formed You in the Womb, I Knew You” invites us to reflect on these important issues and to deepen our commitment to building a culture of life in our country and world.”

Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Phoenix, Arizona

  • May 6, 2021, Statement: “In his Pastoral Letter, “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone offers a powerful defense of the Church’s teaching on the dignity of all human life, which logically and morally requires a consistent condemnation of abortion. […] I thank Archbishop Cordileone and Archbishop Aquila, as well as all my brother priests and bishops who voice their loving concern not only for unborn children and their parents, but for those who have been led to believe that they can publicly disagree with the Church on abortion while continuing to claim their Catholic Faith and receive Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, it is an obligation and an act of love to proclaim and point out this truth in charity.”

Bishop Liam Cary, Baker, Oregon

  • May 6, 2021, Statement: “As I prepare to publish my own thoughts on the question, I wish here to endorse the pastoral letter of Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and two articles by Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver. […] To be faithful to their office, therefore, bishops must ‘correct Catholics who erroneously . . . promote abortion,” even if that correction leads to “the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table.’

Bishop James Conley, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • May 5, 2021 Tweet: “Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, released a clear and thorough pastoral letter on the Dignity of the Unborn, Holy Communion and Catholics in Public Life, so important for our times. I encourage you to read it.”

Bishop Robert Vasa, Santa Rosa, California

  • May 4, 2021, Statement: “We have lived with abortion in our country for nearly 50 years. Perhaps our hearts have grown calloused to the moral and physical evil of this denial of humanity. Archbishop Cordileone reminds us that legalized ‘abortion is the axe laid to the roots of the tree of human rights: when our culture encourages the violation of life at its youngest and most vulnerable condition, other ethical norms cannot stand for long.’ I commend the Archbishop for offering encouragement to Catholics in public life who advocate for life. I join him in asking that those who participate in or support this grotesque industry to actually look at the evil that is being done and open their hearts to God converting grace. I, too, call upon those in public life, especially Catholics, to recognize that the killing involved in an abortion is not in any way justifiable or defensible. They cannot support such evil and expect no spiritual consequences. The Archbishop makes it clear that we hate the evil of murder which abortion perpetrates but do not condemn the women or others who have been misled into choosing this evil. Finally, there is a call to all men and women of good will to persevere in respecting and affirming the goodness of every human life, born and unborn.”

Bishop Michael Barber, Oakland, California

  • May 3, 2021, Facebook post: “Archbishop Cordileone has written an excellent pastoral letter stating Christ and the Church’s teaching in defense of human life.  I recommend its careful reading and consideration by all the faithful in our Diocese of Oakland.”

Archbishop Alexander Sample, Portland, Oregon

  • May 3, 2021, Tweet: “Here is a recent pastoral letter by the Archbishop of San Francisco, the Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone.  It is well worth a careful read.  An important discussion for our times.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, San Francisco, California

  • May 1, 2021, Pastoral Letter: Catholic politicians who “reject the teaching of the Church on the sanctity of human life and those who do not seek to live in accordance with that teaching should not receive the Eucharist. It is fundamentally a question of integrity: to receive the Blessed Sacrament in the Catholic liturgy is to espouse publicly the faith and moral teachings of the Catholic Church, and to desire to live accordingly. […] Because we are dealing with public figures and public examples of cooperation in moral evil, this correction can also take the public form of exclusion from the reception of Holy Communion. […] If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion. To publicly affirm the Catholic faith while at the same time publicly rejecting one of its most fundamental teachings is simply dishonest. Heeding this perennial call to conversion is the only way to live the Catholic faith with integrity.”

Bishop John Doerfler, Marquette, Michigan

  • April 28, 2021, Facebook post: “There seems to be confusion these days about the worthy reception of Holy Communion.  In part, that confusion may be due to some Catholic politicians who actively support grave evils such as abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, etc., yet claim to be ‘good Catholics.’ A while back, I addressed the question of the worthy reception of Holy Communion in my column in The UP Catholic and a YouTube video.  It seems opportune to refer to that video again.  It applies to all of us, whatever our walk of life:  farmers and factory workers, clergy and lay persons, students and teachers, politicians and private citizens, etc.  We should all strive to prepare our hearts to receive the Lord.  There is no sin too great for the Lord to forgive, yet we must repent of our sin and seek the Lord’s mercy.  If it is a mortal sin, we should go to confession before receiving Holy Communion.”

Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Denver, Colorado

  • April 18, 2021, Catholic World Report article: “When one partakes of the Eucharist, one is stating by one’s very action that one is in communion with Christ and his Church. However, if one is in mortal sin when receiving Communion, one is telling a lie, for, in being in a state of mortal sin, one is neither in communion with Christ nor his Church.”

  • April 14, 2021, America Magazine article: “When the church minimizes the danger of an unworthy reception of the Eucharist, she fails to properly love those who continue to jeopardize their souls. […] I take this responsibility very seriously, which is why I am compelled to address the error that any baptized Catholic can receive Communion if he or she simply desires to do so. None of us have the freedom to approach the altar of the Lord without a proper examination of conscience and proper repentance if grave sin has been committed. The Eucharist is a gift, not an entitlement, and the sanctity of that gift is only diminished by unworthy reception. Because of the public scandal caused, this is especially true in the case of public officials who persistently govern in violation of the natural law, particularly the pre-eminent issues of abortion and euthanasia, the taking of innocent life, as well as other actions that fail to uphold the church's teaching regarding the dignity of life.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Springfield, Illinois

  • March 11, 2021, Canon Law Society of America conference talk: Bishop Paprocki said that Catholic politicians who publicly and obstinately advocate for abortion can and should be denied Communion. “I'm talking about their external actions. If they're living in a way or holding positions that are contrary to church teaching, then the Minister of Communion has to deny them the sacrament.”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Kansas City, Kansas, USCCB’s chairman of Committee on Pro-Life Activities

  • Feb. 13, 2021, Catholic World Report interview: “The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching. It would be a more honest approach from him to say he disagreed with his Church on this important issue and that he was acting contrary to Church teaching. When he says he is a devout Catholic, we bishops have the responsibility to correct him. Although people have given this president power and authority, he cannot define what it is to be a Catholic and what Catholic moral teaching is. […] I believe the president has the responsibility not to present himself for Holy Communion. When Catholics receive the Eucharist, they are acknowledging the Real Presence of Jesus, and also belief in the teachings of the Church. President Biden doesn’t believe in the Church’s teachings on the Sanctity of Human Life, and he should not put the priest in the situation where he has to decide whether or not to allow him to receive the Eucharist. He should know that after 78 years as a Catholic.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke

  • Sept. 28, 2020, Catholic Action for Faith and Family interview: Joe Biden is “not a Catholic in good standing” because of his support for abortion and, consequently, he “should not approach to receive Holy Communion.”

  • August 8, 2020, Fox News interview:  Pro-abortion Catholic politicians “may not present themselves to receive Holy Communion, because they’re not in communion with Christ. It’s not a punishment. Actually, it’s a favor to these people to tell them don’t approach, because if they approach, they commit sacrilege.”

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    PETITION: Urge Catholic bishops to refuse Holy Communion to pro-abortion Biden
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    PETITION UPDATE (3/15/21) - 

    Reports suggest that the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference (USCCB) is preparing a vote on what to do about pro-abortion Joe Biden (and, presumably, other abortion-promoting politicians) who continues to present himself (themselves) for Holy Communion.

    Public excommunication would be a suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of scandalously promoting abortion.

    Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this important petition.


    PETITION UPDATE (2/4/20)

    Since Joe Biden was sworn-in on the 20th of January, he has wasted no time in signing Executive Orders to destroy the protections which former President Trump offered to the unborn and to the innocence and modesty of children of the United States.

    In one executive order, Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the federal government from spending taxpayer monies on abortion and the promotion of abortion.

    And, in another executive order, Biden seeks to force girls' athletic programs, restrooms, and locker rooms to accept gender-confused males.

    Since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was shamefully silent throughout the presidential campaign on the pre-eminent issues of abortion and gender ideology, and what Biden vowed he would do as president, it is cold comfort that their pro-life office is now speaking up about this Administration's wilful disregard for human life and for God's design of human nature (i.e., two biological sexes).

    Stated plainly, Joe Biden is as bad as he said he would be, and the bishop, acting in unison (as the USCCB) have an obligation to the Lord (first) and to the faithful (second) to refuse Holy Communion to this grave public sinner.

    With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by dialoguing with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

    A man who continues to use the church as a backdrop for statements about how "Catholic/religious" he is, but, at the same time, is now doing everything in his power to protect the murder of the innocent, needs to publicly repent before dialogue can begin.

    The bishops should not dialogue with or congratulate someone who has publicly betrayed the Church's teaching and who is leading others astray.

    It's an embarrassment and a scandal for the bishops to continue to allow him to receive Holy Communion.

    Please SIGN and SHARE this petition today!


    PETITION UPDATE (12/10/20)

    Prior to the election on November 3, the U.S. bishops did not address Joe Biden’s anti-Catholic position regarding faith and morals as a unified body.

    The USCCB, the organization to which every U.S. bishop belongs and which is staffed and led by bishops, remained disgracefully silent in the run-up to the election.

    What were the bishops afraid of, losing their charitable tax status with the IRS, or being deprived of fat checks from the HHS (immigration programs) and USAID (foreign aid programs)?

    Or, were they just too cowardly to clearly declare Christ's law to be above man's law and risk the ire of a Joe Biden as president?

    Either way, the bishops’ lack of clarity in this regard is a terrible scandal in itself and probably greatly contributed to the possible election of a pro-abortion, anti-Catholic Catholic to the presidency.

    Given the fact that exit polling shows Catholics split their vote 50-50 for Trump and Biden, even a slight deviation in the heavily-Catholic swing-states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania could have produced different results.

    The bishops could have spoken out against Biden’s pro-abortion stance collectively, but, again, they were overwhelmingly and shamefully silent.

    Because of this, they will be at least partly responsible for the policies advanced by a Biden administration, in the event that Biden is sworn into office.

    However, the bishops can, even now, mitigate the damage done by their inaction by taking the following steps: 1) Speak with one voice, as the USCCB, and plainly condemn Biden's pro-abortion stance; 2) Publicly advise Biden not to present himself for Holy Communion because of his scandalous position on abortion and homosexual "marriage;" and, 3) Tell Biden to publicly repent of publicly promoting the wilfull murder of the preborn, sins against nature, and diminishing the natural family.

    Thankfully, some individual bishops have spoken out forcefully on Biden's scandalous behavior, and his standing in the Church.

    On November 9, Archbishop Strickland of Tyler, Texas tweeted: “A dark cloud has descended on this nation when the USCCB and Planned Parenthood speak in unison in support of a Biden-Harris administration that supports the slaughter of innocents by abortion for all 9 months of pregnancy.”

    Additionally, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, Colorado and Archbishop Charles Chaput have both declared publicly that Joe Biden “should not receive Holy Communion."

    But, to add insult to injury, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C. has said that he will give Holy Communion to Biden because “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.”

    And, Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Delaware and Bishop McElroy of San Diego also congratulated Biden in statements, but they have not indicated whether or not they would administer Holy Communion to him.

    With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by dialoguing with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

    A man who uses the church as a backdrop to make sickening political advertisements about how "Catholic/religious" he is, but, at the same time, says that he will do everything in his power to protect the murder of the innocent, needs to publicly repent before dialogue can begin.

    The bishops should not dialogue with or congratulate someone who has publicly betrayed the Church's teaching and who is leading others astray.

    It's an embarrassment and a scandal for the bishops to continue to allow him to receive Holy Communion.

    Please SIGN and SHARE this petition today!



    PETITION UPDATE (9/29/20)

    Cardinal Raymond Burke has stated that Democratic candidate Joe Biden should not receive Holy Communion because of his support for abortion.

    In an interview for Thomas McKenna's Catholic Action for Faith and Family podcast, Cardinal Burke states the following (starting around 5:00):

    First of all, I would tell him [Biden] not to approach to receive Holy Communion, out of charity toward him, because that would be a sacrilege and endanger the salvation of his own soul.

    But, also, he should not approach to receive Holy Communion because he gives scandal to everyone, because if someone says, 'I'm a devout Catholic," and, at the same time is promoting abortion, it gives the impression to others that it's acceptable for a Catholic to be in favor of abortion.

    Of course, it's absolutely not acceptable, and never has been, and never will be.

    We give thanks for Cardinal Burke's frankness and clarity. And, we call on every U.S. Catholic bishop to follow Cardinal Burke's lead and call out Joe Biden for his bloody-minded hypocrisy on the issue of abortion.

    To reiterate: You cannot be a Catholic and support abortion.

    Thank you for continuing to sign this urgent petition.


    PETITION UPDATE (8/17/20)

    The Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, keeps claiming to be Catholic but has said he will do everything in his power to support abortion.

    And, with his pick of California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, Biden has just cemented abortion into the Democrats' 2020 presidential ticket.

    Indeed, Harris is vehemently pro-abortion.

    During her time as attorney general of California, Harris played a key role in defending Planned Parenthood over its sale of aborted baby parts (which violated multiple federal laws, according to undercover video of abortion industry personnel).

    And, last year, Harris unveiled a plan to essentially force pro-life states to seek permission from the federal government before pro-life laws can take effect.

    Additionally, Harris has dangerous views on religious liberty and freedom of speech.

    Harris displayed anti-Catholic bigotry in the confirmation hearings of Judge Brian Buescher. Harris cited his membership in the “all-male society” the Knights of Columbus and its stances against abortion and same-sex “marriage” as grounds for rejecting Buescher for a federal district court in Nebraska.

    And, David Daleiden, head of the pro-life investigative group Center for Medical Progress, wrote that from his firsthand experience, he considers Harris the “greatest threat to First Amendment civil rights our country has ever seen.”

    Joe Biden has seriously erred by taking on Kamala Harris as his running mate, further distancing himself from the truths of the Catholic Faith, especially that every life is sacred from conception till natural death.

    Please CLICK HERE to read an article which details one U.S. bishop's warning about the Biden-Harris ticket.

    And, please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition.


    Of course, these two things are incompatible: you cannot be Catholic and pro-abortion.

    And, a "Catholic" politician's responsibility in this regard is absolute: On pain of serious sin, he or she can never promote abortion because abortion is the wilful murder of innocent preborn human beings, and also because doing so causes grave scandal to the Church and the faithful.

    Please SIGN this urgent petition asking the bishops of the United States to refuse to give Holy Communion to Joe Biden until he publicly repents from his scandalous promotion of abortion.

    Biden recently promised to “codify Roe v. Wade” as president, adding, "my Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate a woman’s protected, constitutional right to choose."

    And, since starting his latest run for the presidency, Biden also flip-flopped against the Hyde Amendment, saying that he would allow federal funds to be spent on abortion - a position he claimed to be against for more than 40 years.

    In short, Joe Biden will do everything in his power to enable and defend the wilful murder of innocent preborn human beings.

    So, this should not be a hard decision for our U.S. bishops. In fact, in another circumstance, it was already done by an Illinois bishop.

    Indeed, Bishop Paprocki, of Springfield, Illinois, invoked Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law to withdraw Holy Communion from two Illinois state politicians who had worked to enact radical new abortion legislation in 2019.

    Canon 915 states: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

    Of course, no-one, least of all the bishops, wants anyone to be deprived of Holy Communion.

    A politician who publicly and obstinately advocates for the murder of innocent preborn babies puts himself out-of-communion with the Church and her teaching. 

    Pro-abortion politicians should not think that they can advocate for the murder of the unborn and receive the Body of Christ at the same time. This would be to defile the Eucharist while giving scandal to the faithful.

    Depriving politicians of Holy Communion is not just meant to prevent scandal; it is also designed to bring a grave public sinner to repentance. In this way, such an action is meant to be for the good of their souls, too.

    Thank you for SIGNING this urgent petition which calls on the U.S. Catholic bishops to refuse to admit Joe Biden to Holy Communion until he publicly repents from his scandalous promotion of abortion.


    Joe Biden: I support abortion ‘under any circumstance’ -

    Catholic priest denies Joe Biden Holy Communion for pro-abortion stance -

    Cardinal McCarrick and the Concealing of Rome’s Position on Denying Communion  -

    **Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts / Getty Images

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Cardinals, bishops who back giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians

Bishop Robert McElroy, San Diego, California

  • May 5, 2021, America Magazine: “The Eucharist is being weaponized and deployed as a tool in political warfare. […] A national policy of excluding pro-choice political leaders from the Eucharist will constitute an assault on that unity, on that charity [to which the Church is called by Christ].”

  • Feb.1, 2021, Georgetown University talk: “I do not see how depriving the president or other political leaders of Eucharist based on their public policy stance can be interpreted in our society as anything other than the weaponization of Eucharist and an effort not to convince people by argument and by dialogue and by reason, but, rather, to pummel them into submission on the issue.”

Bishop John Stowe, Lexington, Kentucky

  • April 28, 2021, AP News quote: “If a politician is targeted as a negative example by his own church, that sets a sad context in which the church can deal with this Catholic president. It contributes to the polarization of the church and of society.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich, Chicago, Illinois

  • April 14, 2021 Letter: Cupich raises “a number of concerns” with Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s hard-hitting article explaining why pro-abortion politicians who say they are Catholic cannot receive Holy Communion. “I write as a brother bishop with the suggestion that you consider offering a public clarification of your point,” wrote Cupich.

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Washington D.C.

  • Nov. 24, 2020, Catholic News Agency: Noting that Biden went to Mass and received Communion for eight years as vice president, Gregory said that “I’m not going to veer from that. […] “On my part, 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.”