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Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev

MOSCOW, Russia (LifeSiteNews) – A Russian Orthodox Bishop has suggested that the current President of the United States “cannot call himself a Catholic.” 

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev made the remark during an October 30 interview with the Russian television program Church and Peace.  

“When they talk about the Catholic Biden, I always want to ask the question:`What, in fact, is Biden’s Catholicism?’” the Russian Orthodox prelate said.   

“The Catholic Church is against abortion, and Mr. Biden is for it. Does he do it as a Catholic or as the President of the United States? Does he do this proceeding from the dictates of his conscience or proceeding from the political situation?” he asked.   

“A person cannot call himself a Catholic, and at the same time violate and call for violation of the fundamental norms of Christian morality.”   

The titular Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, a city about 67 miles northwest of Moscow, Hilarion is an expert on ecumenical dialogue, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations. He is also a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Each week Hilarion speaks to viewers of Church and Peace on religious matters. 

On the October 30 program, Hilarion discussed G20 nations and a variety of political issues, He made his remarks about Biden’s integrity while fielding a question about the Texas Heartbeat Law, which prohibits abortion from the time a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks gestation.  

Hilarion highlighted the constant Christian teaching across denominational and confessional lines regarding the necessity to protect the unborn by stating, “The Catholic Church in the West, including the United States, the Orthodox Church, and many Protestants stand up to protect unborn babies, saying that abortion is murder, and everyone, including those who have not yet been born, has a fundamental right – the right to life.” 

The Orthodox bishop also criticized the West’s legislative trend in codifying “liberal norms.”  

“According to liberal norms, the life of the unborn baby is worth nothing and needs no protection, but the preservation of the rights of women is what matters,” Hilarion said.   

“In other words, the woman has the right to dispose of her own body [sic] and take decision on the abortion, and no one should prevent her from doing so. All the legislation of Western countries is moving in this direction.” 

He also slammed the hypocrisy of “modern human rights activists” who “defend all sorts of rights” such as the minor child’s “right” to “sex-reassignment” while “the fundamental human right to birth and life is rejected.” 

Bishop Hilarion engages with other Christian confessions as part of the World Council of Churches, which includes a selection of Eastern Orthodox Churches, as well as various Protestant denominations. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member of the Council but sometimes sends prelates to observe meetings. 

Relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church have not always been friendly, but in 2016 Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow signed a Joint Declaration that was welcomed by those hoping for reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic Church.  

Last week, President Biden, who is staunchly pro-abortion, met with Pope Francis and said that the Pontiff told him to “keep receiving Communion.” Canon 1398 of the Code of Canon Law stipulates that “a person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication.” Abortion is a grave sin, and those who publicly support abortion participate in the sin both by consenting to it and by defending the ill done. Catholics who are in a state of mortal sin are forbidden from receiving Holy Communion until they have been absolved through the Sacrament of Confession. 

On the eve of Pope Francis’ meeting with Biden, Cardinal Burke offered considerations on Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law which bars from Holy Communion people who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sins.”  

The Cardinal wrote: “From the time of my first episcopal ministry in the Diocese of La Crosse, I had confronted the situation of politicians presenting themselves as practicing Catholics and, at the same time, supporting and advancing programs, policies and laws in violation of the moral law.” 

Cardinal Burke lamented the “gravely scandalous situation of Catholic politicians who persist in supporting and advancing programs, policies and laws in grievous violation of the most fundamental precepts of the moral law, while, at the same time, claiming to be devout Catholics, especially by presenting themselves to receive Holy Communion.”