Catholic Churches mull withholding communion to pro-choice Democrats
A group of Catholic Democrats is at odds with the Church as Bishops consider withholding religious rituals from politicians who advocate for abortion. One politician went so far as to threaten to withdraw the Church’s tax-exempt status.
Democrat “Statement of Principles”
Nearly 60 Catholic House Democrats released a “statement of principles” warning Catholic Bishops that the Church may lose its tax-exempt status unless they toe the left-wing party line. The Democrats’ letter claims to express their “commitment to the dignity of life and their belief that government has moral purpose.”
“We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life. Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term and provide resources to raise healthy and secure children. We believe this includes promoting alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, improving access to children’s healthcare and child care, and creating a child benefit through the expanded and improved Child Tax Credit.
“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif) took this one step further, threatening that should the Catholic Church take a stand on abortion, the Democratic-run government would take away their tax exempt status.
If they’re going to politically weaponize religion by “rebuking” Democrats who support women’s reproductive choice, then a “rebuke” of their tax-exempt status may be in order. https://t.co/P6TGVCOMYp
— Rep. Jared Huffman (@JaredHuffman) June 18, 2021
Such a move, weaponizing the IRS, would violate the protected status of religious institutions but it would not be unprecedented by a Democratic government. In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed that it had selected Conservative political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny, triggering an FBI investigation.
Bishops: Withold Communion
The story began on Friday when an overwhelming majority of the bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted in favor of proceeding with the draft of a document providing guidelines for the reception of communion leaving “decisions on withholding Communion (referred to as the Eucharist) up to individual bishops.”
168 bishops supported the motion, 55 voted against proceeding, and six bishops abstained from the vote.
If passed, individual bishops can withhold Communion from politicians on the basis of their pro-abortion policies. The decision to do so would be based on the Church’s Code of Canon Law which states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
Bishop Robert McElroy, an opponent of withholding communion from pro-abortion Catholic politicians, contends that depriving “political leaders of Eucharist based on their public policy stance” amounts to a “weaponization of [the] eucharist.”
Biden: Flip-flopping on abortion
This became an issue in 2019 while Biden was campaigning for the presidency. Biden was refused communion at Saint Anthony Catholic Church where Father Robert E. Morey serves as pastor based on his abortion advocacy.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey told the media. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other, and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
“I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers,” the priest said to the media.
Biden is a Catholic but his position on abortion has shifted over the years.
In 1974, during his first term in the Senate, he said the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision “went too far” and he didn’t “think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”
In a 2006 interview, he referred to abortion as “a tragedy.”
“I do not view abortion as a choice and a right. I think it’s always a tragedy,” he said, noting that abortions should be “rare and safe.”
In his 2007 book, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, Biden said he had “stuck to my middle-of-the-road position on abortion for more than thirty years.”
“I don’t think I have the right to impose my view — on something I accept as a matter of faith — on the rest of society,” Biden wrote.
In 2019, Biden publicly stated his support for the Hyde Amendment, a long-standing law that blocks federal funding for abortion in most cases. One day later, he reversed that position.
“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent” on others who are trying to limit abortion access in some states.
More recently, while on the campaign trail, Biden tweeted out, “States across the nation are passing extreme laws that violate a woman’s constitutional right to choose. These bills are a blatant attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade. It’s wrong. It’s pernicious. We must #StopTheBans and ensure this choice remains between a woman and her doctor.”
States across the nation are passing extreme laws that violate a woman’s constitutional right to choose. These bills are a blatant attempt to overturn Roe v Wade. It’s wrong. It’s pernicious. We must #StopTheBans and ensure this choice remains between a woman and her doctor. pic.twitter.com/J4FL9nQgol
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 21, 2019
Ironically, doctors and health care professionals whose beliefs prevent them from performing or helping in abortions are concerned about the Equality Act which contains the phrase ‘pregnancy discrimination.” The Equality Act may be used to force these people to face legal consequences for refusing to do so.
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