Influential cardinal steps into debate, says Catholic Church should not deny Joe Biden fellowship


Joe Biden and Cardinal Peter Turkson

Demetrius Freeman / The Washington Post via Getty; Franco Origlia / Getty President Joe Biden (left) and Cardinal Peter Turkson

An influential cardinal who works in the Vatican with Pope Francis weighs in on the debate in the church over President Joe Biden receiving Communion, given his political views on abortion.

Some American Catholic bishops have suggested that Biden, a practicing Catholic, should not be allowed to receive the sacrament, also known as the Eucharist, because of his support for access to abortion.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, who works closely with the Pope and heads the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, said in a new interview that denial of the Eucharist should only be done in “extreme cases. “.

“The Eucharist must in no way become a weapon,” Turkson told the HBO series Sunday. Axes. “If you say that someone cannot receive Communion, you are basically judging that you are in a state of sin.”

When asked directly if a “state of sin” applied to the US president, the cardinal said no but gave the example of a priest refusing communion in a known murder, according to one. Washington post report.

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In June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to create a formal document on the meaning of the Eucharist after conservative bishops said Catholic politicians like Biden should not be allowed to participate in the sacrament if they support the right to abortion, which is against the church.

Biden, the second Catholic elected president of the United States, responded to the vote of the cardinals in June and to the idea that the church could deny him communion. “It’s a private matter and I don’t think it will happen,” he told reporters.

A vote on the new document is expected next month, according to the National Catholic journalist.

US President Joe Biden (R) and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware

US President Joe Biden (R) and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware

JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty From left to right: Jill Biden and Joe Biden

Whether bishops decide for or against to officially take a stand against Biden receiving Communion, individual bishops would still be able to decide for themselves who can and cannot receive the Eucharist. This means Biden could probably do it in the churches he attends regularly.

The Pope appears to support allowing politicians to commune regardless of their position on the right to abortion. While not directly addressing the US bishops’ debate, Francis said in September that the issue should be “pastoral” rather than political.

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“What should a shepherd do? To be a shepherd and not to go and condemn or not to condemn, ”he said, according to the National Catholic journalist. “They are to be a shepherd with the style of God. And the style of God is closeness, compassion, and tenderness.”

“If we look at the history of the church, we will see that any time the bishops have not acted like shepherds,” Francis added, it was a “problem”.

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