Denying Holy Communion

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

LifeSiteNews shared with me last October 29 a report from Florence, South Carolina where a Catholic priest refused Holy Communion to Joe Biden, former United States Vice-President and current Democratic presidential candidate. His fault is persistent public support for abortion.

The priest is Fr. Robert E. Morey at St. Anthony Catholic Church who said he denied the Holy Eucharist to the former vice president when Biden presented himself to receive the Sacrament during the Sunday morning Mass.

According to Fr. Morey he“had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” because “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that.”

In his judgment Fr. Morey considered the public behavior of Biden does not reflect that he is “one with God.” He continued to say, “Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

Information said that Biden at certain times “is personally opposed to abortion” but “he has drifted farther and farther left on the issue over the years. He once supported the Hyde Amendment banning federal funding for most abortions but made headlines this June when he reversed his stance, saying that circumstances have changed.” In effect, he also changed his mind indicating that to him the matter of abortion is dependent upon the “circumstances of the time” and not an inalienable right of a fetus to life.

The platform on which Biden is now running includes a suggestion that doctors who refuse to commit abortions be punished and would “weaponize the Justice Department against states to strike down popular pro-life laws — like health and safety standards for abortion facilities, waiting periods, and parental involvement laws — and stop them from passing new ones.”

Susan B. Anthony List President, Marjorie Dannenfelsercommented in a July article in The Washington TimesaboutBiden’s behavior.

“As Vice President, the first ‘wedding’ Biden officiated was between two men.According to Canon 915 of the Catholic Code of Canon Law, those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.’”

The Church prohibits “marriage” between couples of the same gender. In this case, Biden publicly displayed his rejection and defiance of the Catholic doctrine.

The article continued to say, “Catholic politicians who publicly support abortion are considered by many leaders within the Catholic Church to be ‘persevering in manifest grave sin.’ Many American bishops, however, refuse to put such teaching into practice when it comes to public figures who support the killing of preborn children. Some are divided on the issue of giving Holy Communion to such high-profile pro-abortion “Catholics” as, for example, Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Earlier this year, LifeSitesNews reported that  Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane of, Washington said that pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians should not present themselves for communion in his diocese. Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois has delivered a similar warning. However, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has defended giving Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, saying that he thinks  it “counterproductive to impose sanctions, simply because they don’t change anyone’s minds.” Then why have Church law at all?

In 1974 Biden, LifeSitesNews said, “[When] it comes to issues like abortion, amnesty, and acid, I’m about as liberal as your grandmother.” In the wake of the high court’s decision in Roe v. Wade to allow abortion, he said, “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far.”

The Philippine Church has also this dilemma of Catholic public figures – government officials, people in the entertainment world and socialites – who openly defy Catholic doctrine. The closest we had was the time of martial law and the debate on contraception, absolute divorce and even of abortion, but nobody was denied the Eucharist. Not even a threat of it was heard. And so, the indifference to Catholic doctrine increased.

The only one I remember was the case of a priest who refused to give Holy Communion to a woman who was wearing a scandalously provocative dress. The woman, of course, left in a huff.

These opinions show division among the clergy. Some support the denial while others do not.

Without the direct order of the bishop, the priest or the Eucharistic minister is left to his discretion on the worthiness of the person. The doctrine is clear; church leaders are not.