Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was reportedly denied Holy Communion in South Carolina on Sunday, by a priest who said he had to turn Biden away because the former vice president “advocates for abortion.”
What are the details?
Father Robert Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church confirmed to the Florence Morning News on Monday, “Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden.” The priest explained via email, “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.”
Fr. Morey added, “I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers.”
A Biden spokesperson refused to confirm or deny whether the lifelong Catholic attended Saint Anthony on Sunday, but the Associated Press reported that the candidate was campaigning in South Carolina over the weekend.
The Daily Mail noted that Biden “has wrestled publicly with abortion policy for decades.”
Biden has said several times over his decades in public service that he is personally opposed to abortion but does not feel it is his right to impose his view on others. He was also a longtime supporter of the Hyde Amendment — which prohibits federal tax dollars being spent on abortion services — but changed his mind this summer amid pressure from progressive groups.
While Fr. Morey — a former attorney who worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy before becoming a priest — did not go into greater detail as to why he denied Communion to Biden, at least one other member of the clergy threatened to do so many years ago.
In 2012, Bishop Michael Sheridan of the Diocese of Colorado Springs reportedly told the Gazette-Telegraph that if Biden happened to attend his Mass while touring during then-President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, “He should know, and I would do everything I could do to make sure that he knows, he ought not to be receiving Communion.”