Archbishop Charles Chaput said on Saturday that Joe Biden “is not in communion with the Catholic faith” and that “any priest who now provides Communion to the president participates in his hypocrisy.”
Speaking at a Eucharistic Symposium at the Diocese of Arlington on Oct. 22, the 78-year-old prelate also accused the second Catholic president in the history of the United States of “apostasy on the abortion issue.”
In his address, titled “Do this in Remembrance of Me: Memory, Culture, Sacrament,” the archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia spoke about “American Catholics and our 200-year struggle to fit into mainstream American culture.”
“We succeeded. But in the process, we’ve been digested and bleached out by the culture, rather than leavening it in a fertile way with a distinctive Catholic witness,” Archbishop Chaput said.
The archbishop continued: “Mr. Biden’s apostasy on the abortion issue is only the most repugnant example. He’s not alone. But in a sane world, his unique public leadership would make — or should make — public consequences unavoidable.”
“When you freely break communion with the Church of Jesus Christ and her teachings, you can’t pretend to be in communion when it’s convenient,” Archbishop Chaput said.
“That’s a form of lying. Mr. Biden is not in communion with the Catholic faith. And any priest who now provides Communion to the president participates in his hypocrisy.”
This is at odds with the stance of the Vatican, as reported last year:
The Vatican has warned conservative American bishops to hit the brakes on their push to deny communion to politicians supportive of abortion rights — including President Biden, a faithful churchgoer and the first Roman Catholic to occupy the Oval Office in 60 years.
But despite the remarkably public stop sign from Rome, the American bishops are pressing ahead anyway and are expected to force a debate on the communion issue at a remote meeting that starts on Wednesday.
“The concern in the Vatican,” said Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit priest and close ally of Francis “is not to use access to the Eucharist as a political weapon.”
Pope Francis, who has explicitly identified the United States as the source of opposition to his pontificate, preached this month that communion “is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners.” His top doctrinal official, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, wrote a letter to the American bishops, warning them that the vote could “become a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States.”